November 30, 2017 – Zé Pedro (Xutos & Pontapés) was born José Amaro dos Santos Reis on September 14, 1956 in Lisbon Portugal.
Times were difficult as Portugal suffered under a right wing dictatorship and personal freedom was of no consequence. Dictator Salazar is firmly in power and crushes anything that does not fit his agenda without mercy: including the arrival of rock and roll. Using his heavy handed censorship and ubiquitous secret police to quell any type of opposition, life in Portugal was a far cry from today’s laid back holiday atmosphere.
April 8, 2017 – Keni Richards was born in 1956 in Des Moines, Iowa but spent his high school years Village Park California. As a youth he learned to play the piano and picked up the drums.
Keni Richards on how it all started:
I was working with A&M for a band called The TUBES at the time and had played with Steve Plunkett (Autograph singer) in a band around 1980 called John Doe. We had not been a part of that whole Gazarris, Whisky club thing going on with all the metal bands. We did however, have a gig working on a demo at Record Plant with Andy Johns (Led Zeppelin) and we were really invested in that. I had gotten an invitation from my good friend then and jogging buddy David Lee Roth to go out on the road with him in 1984…..to just go out and party basically and I explained to him that I couldn’t and I had this gig doing a demo and that was it. The next day I go down to The Troubadour club with Dave and he goes hey I got a surprise for you, Edward’s on the phone for you. So I get on the phone with Eddie Van Halen and he’s like “Hey, we need a T-shirt band” and of course I’m like “Well, what’s a T-shirt band” and Eddie Van Halen’s like “It’s a band that goes out on the road with us and people boo you cuz they don’t like you and they go buy one of our t-shirts” (laughs).Continue reading Keni Richards 4/2017
March 10, 2017 – Joni (Joan Elise) Sledge (Sister Sledge) was born on Sept. 13, 1956, in Philadelphia to Edwin Sledge, a performer on Broadway, and Florez Sledge, an actress who oversaw her daughters’ careers as their business manager and traveled with them on tours.
Joni and her sisters, Debbie, Kim and Kathy, received voice training from their grandmother Viola Williams, a former operatic soprano, and gained early experience singing at the family church, Williams Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal.
Best known for their work with Chic in the late ’70s, siblings Debbie, Kim, Joni, and Kathy Sledge — collectively Sister Sledge — reached the height of their popularity during the disco era, but had been recording since the early ’70s and were still active in the late ’90s. Continue reading Joni Sledge 3/2017
July 24, 2011 –DanPeek (America) was born on November 1st 1950 in Panama City, Florida as his dad was in the US Airforce.
Via a short stay in Pakistan, the family ended up in London, England and it was at London Central High School, a school for children of U.S. armed services personnel, where he met Bunnell and Beckley. All three were musically inclined, and when they decided to form a band, they wanted to avoid anyone thinking they were Brits trying to sound American, so they settled on the name America.
December 24, 2009 – Tim Hart (Steeleye Span) was born January 9, 1948 in Lincoln, grew up in St.Albans Hertfordshire, where several young British music careers started in the sixties. His father was a vicar. At St Albans school, he was a member of the Rattfinks, a pop band that never rivalled the school’s best-known alumni, the hit-making Zombies. He worked, briefly, as a bookbinder, blacksmith, cost clerk, civil servant and hospital washer-up, while diversifying his musical interests and singing at St Albans folk music club. He met Maddy Prior there in 1965 and, by January 1966, they were singing together professionally.
January 29, 2009 – John Martyn born Iain David McGeachy OBE on September 11, 1948. He began his professional musical career when he was 17, playing a blend of blues and folk that resulted in a unique style that made him a key figure in the London folk scene during the mid-1960s, releasing his first album, ”London Conversation”, in 1968.
By 1970 he had developed a wholly original and idiosyncratic sound: acoustic guitar run through a fuzzbox, phase-shifter, and Echoplex. This sound was first apparent on album Stormbringer! in 1970.
January 6, 2009 – Ronald Franklin Ron Asheton was born in Washington D.C. on July 17, 1948. As a founding member of the legendary Stooges (Iggy Pop), Asheton forever changed the face of rock & roll, his raw, primordial riffs presaging the rise of punk by a decade. His distorted guitar was a hallmark of the Iggy Pop-led group.
He first surfaced in the teen band the Dirty Shames before joining the Iggy Pop-led Stooges in 1967; the Ann Arbor, MI-based group made its live debut on Halloween of that year, earning immediate notoriety for its frighteningly intense live presence and blistering, primitivist sound. Although celebrated in certain underground circles, the band – which also included Asheton’s drummer brother Scott and bassist Dave Alexander – was otherwise almost universally reviled, but still was signed by Elektra to record its self-titled 1969 debut LP; the album sold poorly, as did its successors (1970’s Fun House and 1973’s Raw Power), but the Stooges’ long-term impact was incalculable – in effect, their aggressive, take-no-prisoners approach laid the groundwork for the emergence of punk.
July 1, 2008 – Mel Galley (Whitesnake/Trapeze) was born Melvin John Galley on March 8th 1948 in Cannock, Staffordshire, England.
Mel Galley became a leading light of the Midlands rock scene and played with the bassist and vocalist Glenn Hughes and the drummer Dave Holland, first as Finders Keepers, then forming the group Trapeze. In 1969, they signed to Threshold, the Moody Blues label, and issued three critically acclaimed albums. Hughes departed to join Deep Purple in 1973. Galley took over lead vocals and the group signed to Warner Brothers and concentrated on the US market, where they developed a substantial following for their robust rock. A high-water mark for Trapeze was a support slot with the Rolling Stones and the Eagles in front of 120,000 people at Dallas Cotton Bowl in July 1975.
February, 26, 2008 – George Allen ”Buddy” Miles, Jr. (Band of Gypsies) was born on September 5, 1947 in Omaha, Nebraska. Buddy’s father played upright bass for the likes of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Charlie Parker, and Dexter Gordon and by age 12, Miles Jr. had joined Miles Sr. in his touring band, The Bebops. In 1964, at the age of 16, Miles met Jimi Hendrix at a show in Montreal, Canada, where both were performing as sidemen for other artists.
“He was playing in the Isley Brothers band and I was with Ruby & The Romantics,” Miles remembered, adding: “He had his hair in a pony-tail with long sideburns. Even though he was shy, I could tell this guy was different. He looked rather strange, because everybody was wearing uniforms and he was eating his guitar, doing flip-flops and wearing chains.”Continue reading Buddy Miles 2/2008
June 29, 2007 – George McCorkle (Marshall Tucker Band)was born on August 23, 1947 in Chester, South Carolina, but raised in nearby Spartanburg from the age of two. As the youngest of three brothers he grew up aware of the long and hard hours mother Mildred worked at the cotton mill.
“We were a typical South Carolina mill family,” George recalled in his web page bio. “Very poor.”So he developed a strong and active work ethic. Although his greatest achievements were from music, he took gigs as a dental lab technician, race-car driver, and car salesman, owner of both a glass company and a car lot to supplement his professional music livelihood. He believed his work ethic has its roots in his “meagre beginnings” and “growing up Southern”.
February 28, 2007 – Billy Thorpe (Thorpie and The Aztecs) was born on March 29th 1946 in Manchester England. His parents, Bill and Mabel Thorpe and he emigrated to Australia in 1955, arriving in Melbourne and then settling in Brisbane, Queensland. He performed as a ten-year-old under the pseudonym Little Rock Allen. Six months later, after he was heard singing and playing guitar by a television producer, Thorpe made regular musical appearances on Queensland television.
By the time he was 15, Thorpie had worked in stage shows, variety television, clubs and even vaudeville at Brisbane’s Theatre Royal with George Wallace. He toured regional venues with Reg Lindsay in 1961, and national venues with Johnny O’Keefe and with Col Joye. By 1963, as an experienced singer and musician, he decided to relocate to Sydney, where he joined The Aztecs.
January 28, 2005 – Jim Capaldi (Traffic) was born on August 2, 1944 died of stomach cancer in London at age 60. He co-founded the psychedelic rock band Traffic in 1967 with Steve Winwood with whom he co-wrote the majority of the band’s output. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a part of Traffic’s original line-up.
Capaldi was a magnificent drummer, who later also mastered guitar. His songwriter credits include the Eagles’ “Love will keep us alive” and the catchy “This is Reggae Music”. His “Dear Mr. Fantasy” for the Traffic album with the same title established him as one of the greats.
A rock drummer, songwriter and founder member of Traffic, Jim Capaldi’s talents were used by Bob Marley, Eric Clapton and the Eagles and so many more.
August 31, 2004 – Carl Wayne (the Move/The Hollies) was born Colin David Tooley on August 18th 1943 in Winson Green, Birmingham, England. Carl grew up in the Hodge Hill district of Birmingham. Inspired by the American rock’n’roll of Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent, he formed The G-Men in the late 1950s, and joined local band The Vikings, where his powerful baritone and pink stage suit helped make them one of the leading rock groups in the Midlands of their time.
In 1963 they followed in the footsteps of the Beatles and other Liverpool bands, by performing in the clubs of Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Nuremberg etc. On returning to Birmingham, in the wake of the Beatles’ success, record companies were keen to sign similar guitar bands. The Vikings went with Pye Records, but all three singles failed to chart.
August 16, 2000 – Alan Caddy (Johnny Kidd & the Pirates/The Tornadoes) was born on February 2nd 1940 in Chelsea, London.
Alan Caddy’s father was a dance band drummer who also ran his own jazz club. At the Emanuel School in Battersea, the young Caddy was head chorister and leader of the school orchestra. Naturally talented as a treble, he regularly sang at Westminster Cathedral and he studied the violin at the Royal Academy of Music. But he was enthralled by the emergent skiffle and rock’n’roll, and switched to the guitar. He left school at 17 and played guitar in his spare time, moving through several amateur and semi-professional groups in the Battersea area. One of those bands was the Five Nutters, a skiffle outfit that he joined in 1957, who were based in Willesden and played five nights a week at their own club, known as the KKK. They added a new singer that year, one Frederick Heath, who later started billing himself as Johnny Kidd — and in short order, they were Johnny Kidd & the Pirates.
January 20, 2000 – Ray Jones was born October 22nd 1939 in Liverpool, England. In 1963 Brian Epstein signed The Dakotas to be a backing band for Billy J. Kramer. Billy had been friends with John Lennon for some time and John gave the group a demo of a new song, “Do You Want to Know a Secret”, which they perfected whilst working in Hamburg at the Star Club. On returning to Britain, the song was recorded at Abbey Road studios, with producer George Martin. It stormed up the charts and reached No.2 in the spring of 1963.
This was followed by a No.1 hit “Bad to Me” c/w “I Call Your Name”, and was awarded a gold disc, followed by another hit with “I’ll Keep You Satisfied”. In addition to backing Billy J on his hits, the group itself is perhaps best known for their instrumental single called “The Cruel Sea”, which reached No.18 in the UK charts in July 1963.
Ray Jones had joined the band as bassist replacing Ian Fraser and Mike Maxfield joined the band in February 1962 as lead guitarist replacing Bryn Jones after being with a Manchester band called the Coasters. The group first backed Pete MacLaine (February 1962 – January 1963). However, Brian Epstein, who was managing Billy J. Kramer, made the Dakotas an offer to become Kramer’s backing band, which they accepted. Epstein insisted the name was Billy J Kramer with The Dakotas, not “and”. The group and Billy J Kramer then went to Hamburg to perfect their act.
In addition to backing Kramer on his hits, the group itself is perhaps best known for their instrumental single called “The Cruel Sea”, a composition of Maxfield that reached No.18 in the UK charts in July 1963. The track was re-titled “The Cruel Surf” in the U.S., and was subsequently covered by The Ventures.
The band released by “Magic Carpet” by George Martin in September 1963. It was not a hit. Their next single, “Oyeh” (November 1964), was not a chart success either. After a row with Epstein, Ray Jones left the group in July 1964. Robin MacDonald moved to bass to make way for a new lead guitarist, Mick Green from Johnny Kidd and The Pirates.
Ray Jones never went back into professional music and died from an undisclosed cause on January 20, 2000 at age 60.