May 13, 2017 – Jimmy Copley was born in London on December 29, 1953.
Jimmy started playing drums at the age of 5 years old, accompanying his Mother’s (Nina) Jazz piano at parties. Jimmy turned professional joining the band ‘Spreadeagle’ who had just signed to Charisma Records and performed live, opening for various headlining acts such as ‘Genesis’, ‘Lindisfarne’ and ‘Audience’. Jim recorded the Spreadeagle album ‘The Piece of Paper, produced by Kinks and Who producer: Shel Talmy. Continue reading Jimmy Copley 5/2017
27 June 2015 – Christopher Russell Edward ‘Chris’ Squire was born March 4, 1948 in the Kingsbury area of London. was an English musician, singer and songwriter. He was best known as the bassist and founding member of the progressive rock band Yes. He was the only member to appear on each of their 21 studio albums, released from 1969 to 2014.
Squire took an early interest in church music and sang in the local church and school choirs. After he took up the bass guitar at age sixteen, his earliest gigs were in 1964 for The Selfs, which later evolved into The Syn. In 1968, Squire formed Yes with singer Jon Anderson; he would remain the band’s sole bassist for the next 47 years.
January 20, 2012 – Etta James was born Jamesetta Hawkins on January 25th 1938 in Los Angeles, California, but due to her 14 year old mother Dorothy Hawkins, being often absent, Etta lived with a series of caregivers, most notably ‘Sarge’ and ‘Mama’ Lu. Her father was long gone, and young James Etta never knew for sure who he was, although she recalled her mother telling her that he was the celebrated pool player Rudolf Wanderone, better known as Minnesota Fats.
She sang at the church from the age of 5 and at home was beaten and forced by Sarge to sing in the early hours at drunken poker games. She began singing at the St. Paul Baptist Church in Los Angeles at 5 and turned to secular music as a teenager, forming a vocal group with two friends. In 1950 after Mama Lu died, Etta’s real mother took her to the Fillmore, in San Francisco.
Within a couple of years, Etta inspired by doo-wop, formed a girl group, called the Creolettes. Johnny Otis took the group under his wing, helping them sign to Modern Records and changing their name to the Peaches and gave Etta her stage name, reversing Jamesetta into Etta James. Continue reading Etta James 1/2012
September 16, 2009 – Mary Travers was born in Louisville, Kentucky on November 9th 1936, but at the age of 2, her family moved to Greenwich Village in New York City, where she attended the Little Red School House, she left school in the eleventh grade to pursue her singing career.
But while still in high school, she joined The Song Swappers, a group who sang backup for Pete Seeger when he recorded the album Talking Union, in 1955. The Song Swappers recorded a total of four albums in 1955, all with with Peter Seeger. Mary was also cast in the Broadway-theatre show, The Next President.
June 7, 2009 – Hugh Hopper (Soft Machine) was born on April 29, 1945 in Canterbury, England.
Hugh C. Hopper was perhaps the central figure of the whole famous Canterbury scene. In a career spanning forty years, he played with litterally everyone : Robert Wyatt, Daevid Allen, Richard Sinclair, Elton Dean, Mike Ratledge, Phil Miller, Dave Stewart, Pip Pyle…
January 13, 2007 –Michael Leonard Brecker was born on March 29th 1949 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Michael Brecker was exposed to jazz at an early age by his father, an amateur jazz pianist. Among the generation of jazz musicians that saw rock music not as the enemy but as a viable musical option, Brecker began studying clarinet, then moved to alto saxophone in school, eventually settling on the tenor saxophone as his primary instrument. After only a year at Indiana University, Michael Brecker moved to New York City in 1970 where he carved out a niche for himself as a dynamic and exciting jazz soloist.
He first made his mark at age 21 as a member of the jazz/rock band Dreams – a band that included his older brother Randy, trombonist Barry Rogers, drummer Billy Cobham, Jeff Kent and Doug Lubahn. Dreams was short-lived, lasting only a year, but influential (Miles Davis was seen at some gigs prior to his recording “Jack Johnson”).
August 2, 2006 – Arthur Lee (Love) was born Arthur Taylor Porter on March 7, 1945 in Memphis, Tennessee. During his parents’ divorce proceedings in early 1950, Lee and his mother packed their things and took a train to California, while his father was at work.
Lee’s first musical instrument was the accordion, which he took lessons from a teacher. He adapted to reading music and developed a good ear and natural musical intelligence. While he was never formally taught about musical theory and composition, he was able to mimic musicians from records and compose his own songs. Eventually, he persuaded his parents to buy him an organ and harmonica. Graduating from High School, Lee’s musical ambitions found opportunities between his local community and classmates. As opposed to attending a college under a sports scholarship, he strived for a musical career. His plan of forming a band was under the influence of Johnny Echols,(lead guitarist for LOVE, after seeing him perform “Johnny B. Goode” with a five-piece band at a school assembly.
July 13, 2004 –Arthur Kane Jr. (the New York Dolls) was born on February 3, 1949 in New York, the only child of Erna and Harold Kane. Arthur was close to his mother and her aunt, his Aunt Millie, who used to like to listen to Elvis records. The first word that he learned as a young child was “record.” When Arthur was seventeen, his mother died of cancer (leukemia). His father was an abusive alcoholic, and when he quickly remarried, Arthur left home for good.
He graduated from Martin Van Buren High School in Queens. He first played bass in the band Actress along with other original New York Dolls: Johnny Thunders, Rick Rivets and Billy Murcia.
January 12, 2004 – Randy VanWarmer was born Randall Van Wormer, the third of four boys, in Indian Hills, Colorado on March 30th 1955. His parents were very active in the community church, so Randy was practically born singing standards from the old Baptist hymnbook.
His father, Roger VanWormer, was killed in a car accident when Randy was 12. At 15, three years after the death of his father he moved with his mother to Looe, a small fishing village on the Southwest coast of Cornwall, England. It was here, during England’s long winter days that Randy began writing songs and playing the folk clubs around Cornwall.
While still a teenager, a girlfriend from the United States came to visit England, and spent several months with him. She then returned home and this experience with the girl ultimately became the inspiration for his one hit song.
VanWarmer has said however that the song “Just When I Needed You Most” is really about the weather. “It’s not hard to write a really sad song in the winter in Cornwall,” he was quoted saying. Allegedly, he worked, for a while, in the Fish & Chip Shop close to the Three Pilchards pub on Quay Street in Polperro, Cornwall.
February 14, 2002 – Mick Tucker (the Sweet) was born in Harlseden, Northwest London on July 17th 1947.
As a boy, his first interest was drawing art. By fourteen he had changed to drums, influenced by Sandy Nelson, Buddy Rich, and Gene Krupa. Tucker’s father bought him a drum kit but only if he take’s drumming seriously. Hubert Tucker encouraged his son even getting him his first gig, sitting in for Brian Bennett of legendary British beat group the Shadows at a local workingman’s club. “He did well”. say’s Tucker’s wife, Janet, “If he had known who he was replacing, he would have been so scared!”
In 1965, Mick and vocalist Ian Gillan (Deep Purple) formed a soul band Wainwright’s Gentlemen and embarked on a career in pop music, playing around pubs and clubs. Vocalist Brian Connolly replaced Gillan when he moved on to DeepPurple fame, while Wainwright’s Gentlemen kept playing a mixture of R&B, Motown, and early psychedelic sounds. The band split in 1968.
He then became a founding member of the band “Sweetshop” in January 1968 along with Steve Priest, Brian Connolly, and Frank Torpey, who was later replaced by Mick Stewart who was himself succeeded by Andy Scott. The name “Sweetshop” was a reflection of a sugary trend in Rock and Roll with bandnames like Marmalade, Strawberry Jam, Clockwork Orange, Tangerine Peel etc. and was shortened to “The Sweet” in 1968 as a name that instigates all of the sweetness of flower power.
Sweet became one of the main glam rock acts in the 1970s. During the early years of 1971 and 1972, Sweet’s musical style followed a marked progression from the bubblegum style of the first hit, “Funny Funny”, to a Who influenced heavy rock style supplemented by a striking use of high-pitched backing vocals. The band achieved notable success in the UK charts, with thirteen Top 20 hits during the 1970s alone, with “Block Buster” in 1973 topping the chart, followed by three consecutive number two hits in “Hell Raiser” and “The Ballroom Blitz” both in 1973 and “Teenage Rampage” in 1974. Their first self-written and produced single “Fox on the Run” in 1975 also reached number two on the UK charts.
Sweet extensively toured the US and had a strong following in America. On an objective view Mick Tucker was a very talented drummer with a range of complex rhythms who could have helped any band considerably. Steve Priest said of Tucker “He was the most underrated drummer that ever came out of England,”. ″He was the powerhouse of the band. He was technically marvelous. His timing was impeccable, and yet he had a lot of soul as well and he really felt what he was playing.” Tucker was able to improvise tirelessly and played a seemingly never-ending flow of creative solos. Tucker began and ended his drum solos with his rendition of Elmer Bernstein’s theme from the 1955 film The Man With the Golden Arm.
Tucker also used two projection screens that was above his drum riser. One screen played a videos of him playing the drums, simultaneously the other video showed him playing timpani. He would trade off solos with these videos, then came out front and play the timbales along with a fast Christmas-style recording. Just before the band would come back, he would play the Bernstein melody on tubular bells and timpani. Tucker tried to make sure his solos appealed to all of the audience. Tucker understood that a great performance consisting of great played technique and presentation in equal doses.
His style reminded of an early Keith Moon. Mick was one of the few double bass drummers that didn’t let the second bass drum get in the way of a swinging tune like ‘Ballroom Blitz.’ He had a great feel on double bass, played them effortlessly.
“And those guys knew how to have fun,” Cheap Trick drummer Bun Carlos once said. “We’d call them back on stage during our encores and jam on ‘Let It Rock.’ Mick would play my kit with the 26″ bass drum and just rock out with us. I’d hop up on the riser with him, playing guitar and watching him play. We had some great times together.”
Other drummers who where influenced by Tucker fans are J and Snowy Shaw (King Diamond, Dream Evil, Mercyful Fate, IllWill, Notre Dame and Memento Mori).
Jack Irons of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, and Wallflowers stated of Tucker, “Mick was a great drummer.” “He had that fluid, ’60s/’70s rock ‘n’ roll freedom. His drumming was super-tight and musical, technical, and rocking.”
Snowy Shaw, said of Tucker, “Mick’s tastefulness, precision, and strong signature put him at the very top of the list of drumming heroes I had when I was trying to master the profession,” he says. Technically, he was right up there with Ian Paice and John Bonham. Like a kid in a candy store, I devoured his selection of trademark tricks and licks, which he delivered so musically, and with conviction and grace like no one else. It may have been Peter Criss who first got me into drums, but it was Mick Tucker whose drumming most influenced me and who taught me how to play music.”
In 1997 Tucker had a bone marrow transplant from his brother to combat his leukemia. He had recurring infections however, before succumbing to the illness at the hospital in Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, Southeast England. He was 54 years old when he died on 14 February 2002.
August 26, 1995 – Ronald Anthony ‘Ronnie’ White (The Miracles) was born on April 5, 1939 in Detroit, Michigan. White began his friendship with fellow Miracles co-founder Smokey Robinson when they were kids. The pair started singing together when White was 12 and Robinson was 11 as the duo Ron & Bill. They were soon joined by a third boy, Pete Moore, and in 1955, the trio formed a quintet called The Five Chimes, with two other boys.
After the inclusion of Bobby Rogers and his cousin Emerson “Sonny” Rogers, the group changed its name to the Matadors, and changed their name again to The Miracles after Claudette Rogers, of the sister group the Matadorettes, replaced “Sonny”.
The quintet soon began working with Berry Gordy following a failed audition with Brunswick Records and soon found fame after signing with Gordy’s Motown label under the Tamla subsidiary. White helped Robinson compose several hit singles including The Miracles’ “My Girl Has Gone” and “A Fork in the Road” and is known as the co-writer and co-producer of The Temptations’ signature song, “My Girl” and also co-wrote the same group’s “Don’t Look Back”. He also co-wrote Mary Wells’ “You Beat Me to the Punch” and Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t That Peculiar”. White would later win awards as a songwriter from the BMI. He also helped to bring a then unknown Stevie Wonder, his 11 year old neighbor, to Motown after overhearing him playing with White’s cousin; Wonder was signed immediately afterwards.
In 1966, The Miracles briefly retired from the road to work as staff songwriters and executives for the label, but soon complained of not getting paid, and returned to perform on the road the following year, in 1967. After Smokey and Claudette Robinson and long-time guitarist Marv Tarplin left the group in 1972, the group carried on with Billy Griffin as their new lead singer, scoring two more hits with Motown including the number-one smash, “Love Machine”, before leaving Motown in 1977 for Columbia Records. The group disbanded in 1978 after Pete Moore opted for retirement and Billy Griffin returned to his solo career.
White and Bobby Rogers revived the Miracles in 1980 with Dave Finley and Carl Cotton, calling themselves “The New Miracles”. This lasted until 1983, when White faced personal struggles following the death of his first wife, Earlyn Stephenson, who died from breast cancer that year. White announced a retirement shortly afterwards and the Miracles again disbanded. White and Rogers revived the Miracles again in 1993. From his marriage to Earlyn, he fathered two daughters, Michelle Lynn and Pamela Claudette. He later fathered a son, Ronald Anthony, II.
His only granddaughter, Maya Naomi, was born to Pamela after his death. White’s first born daughter, Michelle, succumbed to leukemia at the age of 9. White would later fight his own battle with leukemia and died, August 26, 1995, at the age of 57.
Ronnie can be seen performing with the Miracles on the 2006 DVD release: Smokey Robinson & The Miracles:The Definitive Performances 1963-1987 and in The T.A.M.I. Show (1964).
In 1987, Smokey Robinson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist. Controversially, Ronnie White and the other original members of The Miracles, Bobby Rogers, Marv Tarplin, Pete Moore and Claudette Robinson, were not. However, The Miracles, including White, would later be retroactively inducted into the Hall of Fame by a special committee in 2012, alongside Smokey Robinson.
He was posthumously awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame on March 20, 2009 along with the other original members of The Miracles.
March 7, 1966 – Mike Millward (The Fourmost) was born May 9th 1942. In the late 50’s he played rhythm guitar and sang with Bob Evans and the Five Shillings, which became “The Vegas Five”, then “The Undertakers”, after which he became an original member the Four Jays in 1961.
In the summer of 1963, the group, considered a Mersey Beat act, now called The Fourmost – signed up with Brian Epstein. This led to their being auditioned by George Martin and signed to EMI’s Parlophone record label.
Their first two singles were written by John Lennon. “Hello Little Girl”, one of the earliest Lennon songs dating from 1957. Their follow-up single, “I’m in Love” a Lennon/McCartney song, was released on 15 November 1963.
Their biggest hit “A Little Loving”, written by Russ Alquist, reached Number 6 in the UK Singles Chart in mid 1964. The band appeared in the 1965 film, Ferry Cross the Mersey and are on the soundtrack album of the same name. The group’s only album, First and Fourmost, was released in September 1965.