This Day In Music: December 17
December 16 ~ Birthdays/All ~ December 18
December 17, 2022 ~ Charles Anthony Graci, commonly known as rock, R&B singer, guitarist Charlie Gracie, passed away in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA ~ Drew from country, rockabilly, rock & roll, R&B, jump blues. Best known for a number of mid- to late-1950s songs including Boogie Woogie Blues, All Over Town, Butterfly and Fabulous ~ Graci was born in 1936
December 17, 2022 ~ Classical timpanist Elayne Jones, full name Elayne Viola Jones, passed away in Walnut Creek, California, USA ~ Broke racial barriers in classical music. Closely associated with the New York City Opera, playing with the orchestra for about a decade starting in the late 1940s. Has also worked with the New York Metropolitan, the American Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and notably as principal cellist with the San Francisco Symphony under the direction of Leopold Stokowski starting in 1972, the latter making her the first African-American to achieve such a position with a major orchestra ~ Jones was born in 1928
December 17, 2020 ~ Gunnar Olof Björksten, commonly known as jazz bandleader, saxophonist Hacke Björksten, passed away in Stockholm, Sweden ~ Served under Kenneth Fagerland in his teens. Would go on to lead a popular 1950s ensemble featuring sidemen such as Ake Persson, Rune Ofwerman and Kurt Weil. Has also worked with Mel Lewis and Ulf Johansson ~ Björksten was born in 1934
December 17, 2020 ~ Jazz pianist Stanley Cowell passed away in Dover, Delaware, USA ~ Co-founder of Strata East Records label. Cowell played with Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Marion Brown, Max Roach, Bobby Hutcherson, Clifford Jordan, Harold Land, Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz, Gary Bartz, Larry Coryell, Richard Davis, Sonny Fortune, Roy Haynes, Jimmy Heath, the Heath Brothers, Johnny Griffin, JJ Johnson, Oliver Nelson, Art Pepper, Charles Sullivan, Buddy Terry, and Charles Tolliver ~ Cowell was born in 1941
December 17, 2019 ~ Country singer Jake Hoot wins NBC's The Voice ~ Jake Hoot wins the 17th season of NBC's talent show The Voice, runner-up would be pop singer Ricky Duran
December 17, 2018 ~ Musical theaatre, jazz, funk, classical, film composer Galt MacDermot, full name Arthur Terence Galt MacDermot, passed away in Staten Island, New York, USA ~ Wrote African Waltz, an unexpected hit for Cannonball Adderley in 1960 earning MacDermot a Grammy Award. Perhaps best known for writing the music for the 1967 rock musical Hair, which spawned the hits Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In, Good Morning Starshine and the title track Hair. Earned a Tony Award for Best Musical for his Two Gentlemen Of Verona, premiered in 1971. Composed the soundtracks for Cotton Comes To Harlem, Rhinoceros, and others. Formed the New Pulse Jazz Band in 1979, a jazz band noted for their use of the synthesizer ~ MacDermot was born in 1928
December 17, 2017 ~ Jazz singer Kevin Mahogany passed away in Kansas City, Missouri, USA ~ Learned piano, clarinet, saxophone as a child. Cites Lambert Hendricks & Ross, Al Jarreau, and Eddie Jefferson as vocal influences. Mahogany's singing has been compared to Billy Eckstine, Joe Williams and Johnny Hartman ~ Mahogany was born in 1958
December 17, 2013 ~ Singer Tessanne Chin wins NBC's The Voice ~ Chin wins the 5th season of NBC's talent show The Voice, runner-up would be pop singer Jacquie Lee
December 17, 2010 ~ Don van Vliet, commonly known as singer, songwriter Captain Beefheart, passed away in Arcata, California, USA ~ Backed by the Magic Band recorded some dozen albums drawing from blues, free jazz, rock, and avant-garde. Critically acclaimed, especially for the albums Safe As Milk and Trout Mask Replica. Worked with Alexis Shouffer, Frank Zappa, John French, Denny Walley, Jeff Cotton, Jerry Handley, Bruce Botnick, Bill Harkleroad, Gary Marker, Mark Boston, and others ~ Van Vliet was born in 1941
December 17, 2010 ~ Ska, rocksteady, reggae organist, singer Glen Adams passed away in Kingston, Jamaica ~ Brother of singer Yvonne Adams. Formed the duo Ken & Glen with Ken Boothe. Co-founded the Heptones. Member of the Pioneers, present on songs such as Shake It Up and Good Nanny. Would go on to work as a solo artist and session singer and organist for artists such as Lester Sterling, Slim Smith, the Hippy Boys, the Upsetters, the Wailers, writing the latter's Mr Brown ~ Adams was born in 1945
December 17, 2006 ~ Beat, pop, rock, jazz saxophonist Denis Payton, full name Denis Archibald West Payton, passed away in Bournemouth, UK ~ Best known as a member of the Dave Clark Five, scoring hits with songs such as Glad All Over, Bits And Pieces and Over And Over ~ Payton was born in 1943
December 17, 2005 ~ Singer, actor Shayne Ward wins The X-Factor UK ~ Ward wins the 2nd edition of British talent show The X-Factor. Runner-ups would be singer Andy Abraham in 2nd place, the sibling duo Journey South in 3rd
December 17, 2004 ~ Jazz, blues, blues-rock, post bop, jazz fusion saxophonist, clarinetist, pianist Dick Heckstall-Smith, full name Richard Malden Heckstall-Smith, passed away in Hampstead, UK ~ Influenced by Sidney Bechet, Lester Young, Wardell Gray. Important figure in 1960s and 1970s English blues, blues-rock circles. In-demand collaborator, closely associated with acts such as Blues Incorporated (R&B From The Marquee), the Graham Bond Organisation, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers (Bare Wires), Colosseum. Has also worked with Battered Ornaments, Manchild, Sweet Pain, Big Chief, the Famous Bluesblasters, Mainsqueeze, John Ethridge, Jack Bruce, and others ~ Heckstall-Smith was born in 1934
December 17, 1999 ~ Smooth jazz, jazz-pop saxophonist Grover Washington Jr passed away in Manhattan, New York, USA ~ Considered one of the founders of smooth jazz. Known for songs such as Mr Magic, Reed Seed and Black Frost. Especially known for a number of collaborations including duetting with Patti Labelle on The Best Is Yet To Come, with Phyllis Hyman on A Sacred Kind Of Love, and with Bill Withers on Just The Two Of Us ~ Washington was born in 1943
December 17, 1999 ~ Actor, singer, songwriter Rex Allen, full name Rex Elvie, passed away in Tucson, Arizona, USA ~ Popular actor starting in the late 1940s, early 1950s. Dubbed “the Arizona Cowboy”. As a recording artist known for songs such as Afraid, The Roving Kind, Crying In The Chapel and the 1961 Billboard top 20 hit Don't Go Near The Indians ~ Allen was born in 1920
December 17, 1996 ~ Valentin Brunel, commonly known as Kungs, born in Toulon, France ~ First gained attention with This Girl, a remix of an original Cookin' On 3 Burners song, reaching the top 10 in charts across Europe. Released his full-length debut album, Layers, later the same year
December 17, 1992 ~ Alternative hip hop act Arrested Development play the Ed Sullivan Theatre, New York, New York ~ Hailed as the hottest thing in hip hop for their 3 Years 5 Months And 2 Days In The Life Of debut album released earlier the same year, the band play the Ed Sullivan Theatre, their performance taped for the MTV Unplugged TV series, with an accompanying album released the following March. While their debut album reached top 10 Billboard Hot 100, spawned three Billboard Hot 100 top 10 singles, and earned the band several nominations, winning two Grammy Awards including one for Best New Artist, sadly both their 1993 MTV Unplugged and the 1994 sophomore studio album Zingalamaduni scored significantly less, neither reaching the top 50. The band called it quits by the mid-1990s, and reconvened in the early 2000s
December 17, 1991 ~ Indie folk, indie pop, indie rock singer, guitarist, songwriter Tom Walker, full name Thomas Alexander Walker, born in Kilsyth, UK ~ Rose to fame with the 2017 single Leave A Light On reaching the UK top 10. A re-release of Just You And I would reach top 10 the next year. Both hits would be included on his What A Time To Be Alive debut album released in 2019
December 17, 1989 ~ Johnny Jones, commonly known as singer, songwriter Little Sonny Jones, passed away in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA ~ Released a handful of New Orleans blues singles, starting with Do You Really Love Me in 1953, but failed to reach the charts. Would serve however as opening act for Fats Domino through 1961 and regularly perform at the annual the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival ~ Jones was born in 1931
December 17, 1987 ~ William Lee Barefield III, commonly known as Christian rapper, singer Trip Lee, born ~ Co-founding member of 116 Clique. Released his If They Only Knew solo debut album in 2006. As a solo artist best known for songs such as Shweet, Sweet Victory featuring Dimitri McDowell & Leah Smith, and Manolo featuring Lecrae
December 17, 1986 ~ Post-hardcore, metalcore, alternative rock, punk rock singer, guitarist Masato Hayakawa, full name Masato David Hayakawa, born in Nagoye, Japan ~ Influenced by Linkin Park, Papa Roach, Pearl Jam, Silverchair, Slipknot, Sevendust. Frontman of Coldrain, known for songs such as Gone, Mayday, Coexist, Die Tomorrow, and Feed The Fire. Previously a member of AVER, alongside drummer Katsuma Minatani
December 17, 1984 ~ John Stephen Sudduth, more commonly known as indie pop, alternative rock singer, songwriter Mikky Ekko, born in Nashville, Tennessee, USA ~ Best known as featured artist Rihanna's 2013 hit Stay. Released his solo debut album, Time, in 2015. Has collaborated with Two Inch Punch, Chris Malinchak, Giorgio Moroder, Clams Casino, Steve Angello, French Montana, David Guetta, and others
December 17, 1982 ~ Neo-psychedelia, new wave, art rock, synth-pop singer, keyboardist, guitarist, percussionist, songwriter Benjamin Goldwasser, full name Benjamin Nicholas Hunter Goldwasser, born in Mishawaka, Indiana, USA ~ Formed the duo MGMT with Andrew VanWyngarden, their sound descrived as a “brand of shape-shifting psychedelic pop” by Spin, the band drawing from psychedelica, synth-pop, indie, and electronica. Active since the late 2000s, they are especially acclaimed for their 2010 Congratulations sophomore album. The duo has also guested on recordings by rapper Kid Cudi, rocker Beck, and guitarist Lou Reed
December 17, 1982 ~ Joseph Lee Williams, commonly known as Delta blues guitarist, singer Big Joe Williams, passed away in Macon, Mississippi, USA ~ Plays a nine-string guitar. Known for songs such as Baby Please Don't Go, Crawlin' King Snake and Peach Orchard Mama. Worked with Sonny Boy Williamson I, Robert Nighthawk, and Peetie Wheatstraw ~ Williams was born in 1903
December 17, 1982 ~ Guitarist, songwriter Stephan Meidell born in Kristiansand, Norway ~ Critically acclaimed for his 2014 solo debut album Cascades. Schooled in jazz but draws from rock, pop, noise and sound art. Worked with Cakewalk, Krachmacher, Velkro, the Sweetest Thrill, Vanilla Riot, Øyvind Hegg-Lunde, Mari Kvien Brunvoll, Stein Urheim, and others
December 17, 1981 ~ Indie rock, alternative R&B, art rock singer, guitarist, songwriter David Longstreth born in Southbury, Connecticut, USA ~ Lead singer, guitarist, sole constant member of the Dirty Projectors, debuting in 2003 with the The Glad Fact and best known for their 2009 break through album Bitte Orca. Also appears on fourfiveseconds, a collaborative hit in 2015 for Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney
December 17, 1979 ~ Hardcore punk, alternative metal, post-hardcore guitarist Justin Beck born in Long Island, New York, USA ~ Along with singer Daryl Palumbo co-founding and constant member of Glassjaw. The band is considered one of the most influentual post-hardcore bands, noted for their unique jazz-like sound and especially acclaimed for their 2000 Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence debut album. Previously Beck has played with straight edge hardcore group the Sons Of Abraham. Beck also co-founded the band merchandise company MerchDirect after refusing to give up the rights to his merchandising to a major label
December 17, 1979 ~ Pop punk, punk rock, alternative rock singer, guitarist, songwriter Ryan Key, full name William Ryan Key, born in Jacksonville, Florida, USA ~ Lead singer, rhythm guitarist for emo, pop punk group Yellowcard, with whom he recorded over half a dozen albums since the early 2000s. The band is known for songs such as Ocean Avenue, Only One, and Lights And Sounds, and is especially acclaimed for their eponymous 2016 Yellowcard album. Key has also recorded with Greetings, Lucky Boys Confusion, and Inspection 12, and recorded several solo EPs starting with Thirteen in 2018
December 17, 1978 ~ Post-hardcore, emo, alternative rock, indie rock, hardcore punk Beau Burchell born in Orange County, California, USA ~ Best known as co-founding member of Saosin. In-demand collaborator, producer, engineer. Has worked with the Kosmos Express, As Hope Dies, Open Hand, the Higher, the Bled, the Scars Of Tomorrow, Underoath, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Emery, Moose Blood, and Senses Fall
December 17, 1978 ~ Trumpeter, drummer, bandleader, composer Don Ellis passed away in Hollywood, California, USA ~ Influenced by Tommy Dorsey, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie. Leader, sideman, film composer. As a film composer Ellis scored the soundtracks for films such as The French Connection (1975) and Ruby (1977). Worked with Glenn Miller, Cedar Walton, Eddie Harris, Don Menza, Charlie Barnet, Maynard Ferguson, Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy, George Russell, Jaki Byard, Paul Bley, Gary Peacock, Ron Carter, Charlie Persip, Steve Swallow, Lou Glucklin, JR Monterose, Slide Hampton, Barry Galbraith, and others ~ Ellis was born in 1934
December 17, 1978 ~ Violinist, bandleader Erskine Tate passed away in Chicago, Illinois, USA ~ Early figure on Chicago's jazz scene. Has worked with sidemen such as Louis Armstrong, Freddie Keppard, Buster Bailey, Jimmy Bertrand, Ed Atkins, Teddy Weatherford, Stump Evans, Bob Shoffner, Punch Miller, Omer Simeon, Preston Jackson, Fats Waller, Teddy Wilson, and others ~ Tate was born in 1895
December 17, 1978 ~ Post-grunge, alternative rock drummer, keyboardist, singer, songwriter Neil Sanderson born in Peterborough, Canada ~ Influenced by John Bonham, Danny Carey, Stewart Copeland. Briefly a member of Thousand Foot Krutch. Co-founding member of Three Days Grace, known for songs such as Wake Up, Animal I Have Become, Pain, Break, World So Cold, Chalk Outline, The High Road, Painkiller, The Mountain, Right Left Wrong, and Somebody That I Used To Know
December 17, 1976 ~ Jazz singer, composer Andreas Schaerer born in Visp, Switzerland ~ Known for using an extensive array of vocal techniques and timbres, including scat singing, sprechgesang, and beatboxing, at times incorporating several into the same song. Founded the Hildegard Lernt Fliegen sextet, with whom he toured Europe, Russia, China. Collaborated with Bobby McFerrin on the late 2000s improvised opera Bobble. Has also worked with Banz Oester, Lucas Niggli, Christy Doran, Martin Eberle, Peter Rom, and Elina Duni
December 17, 1975 ~ Theodore Roosevelt Taylor, commonly known as blues singer, guitarist, slide guitarist Hound Dog Taylor, passed away in Chicago, Illinois, USA ~ Bruce Iglauer, then working at Delmark Records, tried to persuade his employer to sign Taylor, to no avail. The following year Iglauer used a modest inheritance to found his own Alligator Records, and recorded Taylor's Hound Dog Taylor & The Houserockers debut album. Until his death in 1975, Taylor recorded two more albums for the label, and performed with the likes of Muddy Waters, Freddie King, and Big Mama Thornton. A live recording of Elmore James's The Sky Is Crying by George Thorogood, included on the 1986 Live album, would be dedicated to the memory of the late Hound Dog Taylor ~ Taylor was born in 1915
December 17, 1974 ~ Jazz pianist Anders Aarum born in Moss, Norway ~ Worked with Sonny Simmons, Ola Kvernberg, Tine Asmundsen, Sigurd Kohn, Borre Dalhaug, Nora Brockstedt, Even Kruse Skatrud, Mats Eilertsen, Torstein Ellingsen, Thomas Stronen, Ole Morten Vågan, Håvard Fossum, Jens Fossum, Jarle Vespestad, Andreas Bye, Funky Butt, Per Hoglend, Randy Tytingvång, Solvi Hansen, Majken Christiansen, Hilde Louise Asbjørnsen, the Jazzmob, Bertine Zetlitz, Banne Tveter, Christina Bjordal, Guro von Germeten, and Julie Dahle Aagård
December 17, 1971 ~ Actor, comedian, drummer, singer, songwriter Kasper van Kooten born in Zuidoostbeemster, the Netherlands ~ Best known as actor and TV personality. As a singer, songwriter has recorded since the early 2000s, best known for the single Harde Noten released in 2013. Has also backed pop, folk-pop duo Acda & De Munnik
December 17, 1970 ~ Singer Andy Williams records Where Do I Begin (Love Story) ~ Originally intended as an instrumental theme for the 1970 film Love Story, music by Francis Lai, lyricist Carl Sigman was asked to write lyrics. After the film distributor rejected the lyrics it would remain an instrumental version in the film. Sigman did rewrite the lyrics, irritated at first for the rejection he sat about rewriting the lyrics, thinking “where do I begin” and he found his hook. Williams would take the song, now with revised lyrics, to the Billboard Hot 100 top 10. The song would notably covered by Shirley Bassey
December 17, 1970 ~ Craig Anthony Bullock, commonly known as DJ, turntablist, rapper, singer DJ Homicide, born in Pasadena, California, USA ~ Best known as member of Sugar Ray, joining the band shortly after the completion of their Lemonade And Brownies replacing DJ Lethal. The latter did not care for performing live with the band and suggested his friend Bullock. Previously briefly a member of the Alkoholiks
December 17, 1966 ~ Country bassist, keyboardist, singer Duane Propes born in Texas, USA ~ Co-founding member of Little Texas, remaining with the band through 1997 and rejoining in 2004. Present on most of the band's best-known including Some Guys Have All The Love, You And Forever And Me, What Might Have Been, My Love, Amy's Back In Austin and Life Goes On, all of which reached top 10 Billboard Country in the 1990s
December 17, 1966 ~ Jazz samba, bossa nova singer Silvia Telles passed away ~ Popular 1950s, 1960s singer. Preceded the advent of bossa nova. Especially known as an interpreter of Antônio Carlos Jobim's songs. Mother of singer Claudia Telles. Worked with Barney Kessel, Lucio Alves, Roberto Menescal, Edu Lobo, Trio Tamba, the Quinteto Villa-Lobos, and others. Passed away age 32 in a car accident ~ Telles was born in 1934
December 17, 1966 ~ Singer, songwriter Tracy Byrd, full name Tracy Lynn Byrd born in Beaumont, Texas, USA ~ Known for a string of 1990s, early 2000s Billboard Country top 10 hits starting with Holdin' Heaven of his eponymous 1993 Tracy Byrd debut album. Well known songs include Lifestyles Of The Not So Rich And Famous, Keeper Of The Stars, Big Love, Don't Take Her She's All I Got, I'm From The Country, and Ten Rounds With José Cuervo
December 17, 1965 ~ Jazz saxophonist Phil Dwyer born in Duncan, Canada ~ Leader and sideman. Actively recording since the early 1990s. Has collaborated with Dave Young, Hugh Fraser, Joe Sealy, Guido Basso, Don Thompson, Molly Johnson, Terry Clarke, Diana Panton, and others
December 17, 1964 ~ David Leslie Walls, commonly known as rock guitarist, singer, songwriter Ginger Wildheart, born in South Shields, UK ~ Member of the Quireboys, replaced by Guy Griffin prior to recording their debut album. Best known as founder, frontman, sole constant member of the Wildhearts, merging hard rock with melodic pop. The band has scored UK top 20 hits such as I Wanna Go Where The People Go, Sick Of Drugs, and Stormy In The North (Karma In The South). Wildheart has also recorded over half a dozen albums as a solo artist, starting with Valor Del Corazon released in 2005
December 17, 1961 ~ Country singer Patsy Cline records She's Got You at Bradley Film & Recording Studio, Nashville, Tennessee ~ Written by Hank Cochran. Produced by Owen Bradley. Paired with Strange on the flip side released the next January. The single would top Billboard's Country chart, peak at No.14 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100. Cline was backed by Bob Moore acoustic bass, Shot Jackson 6-string electric bass, Floyd Cramer piano, Walter Haynes steel guitar, Randy Hughes acoustic guitar, Grady Martin electric guitar, Bill Pursell organ, vocal group the Jordanaires providing the backing vocals
December 17, 1961 ~ Singer, songwriter Sarah Elizabeth Dalin, full name Sara Elizabeth Dallin, born in Bristol, UK ~ Founding member of Bananarama, known for hits such as Cruel Summer, I Heard A Rumour, Really Saying Something, Robert de Niro's Waiting, Love In The First Degree and perhaps their best-known Venus, the latter topping the charts in numerous countries in 1986 including America
December 17, 1959 ~ Guitarist Bob Stinson, full name Robert Neil Stinson, born in Waconia, Minnesota, USA ~ Lead guitarist, co-founding member of the Replacements, conisdered one of the most influential rock acts of the 1980s, with whom he recorded four albums, including the highly acclaimed Tim. Stinson was ousted from the band in 1985, most likely due to a power struggle with the band's singer Paul Westerberg. As Prefix Magazine later documented: “Whether he was thrown out for the way his alleged alcohol problems had destroyed his skills or he left voluntarily due to creative tension is a moot point. What matters is this: Stinson was gone, and with him went much of the band's edge.” Stinson would pass away at age 35, his overall health diminished by frequent drug use. A park bench dedicated to Stinson sits next to a quiet canal near Lake Of The Isles, Minneapolis. It was purchased by his mother Anita in his honor ~ Stinson passed away in 1995
December 17, 1958 ~ Alternative rock, college rock, jangle pop bassist, guitarist, keyboardist, singer, songwriter Mike Mills, full name Michael Edward Mills, born in Orange, California, USA ~ Co-founding member of REM. Primary songwriter on songs such as Nightswimming, At My Most Beautiful, Wendell Gee, Don't Go Back To Rockville, and What's The Frequency Kenneth. Member of the Baseball Project. Has also worked with acts such as Hindu Love Gods, Warren Zevon, the Cynics, the Indigo Girls, Kevin Kinney, Robbie Robertson, the Smashing Pumpkins, Backbeat Band, and others
December 17, 1956 ~ Jazz, jazz fusion percussionist Armando Marçal, full name Armando de Souza Marcal and sometimes referred to as Marçalzinho, born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil ~ Internationally best known for his association with Pat Metheny, appearing on the 1980s albums Still Life (Talking) and Letter From Home and briefly rejoining the Pat Metheny Group in the mid-1990s. Has also worked with Gal Costa, Jorge Ben, Vanessa Da Mata, Chico Buarque, Julio Iglesias, Stephan Remmler, Djavan, Paul Simon, Matt Bianco, Lio, Ivan Lins, Stefano Bollani, João Bosco, and Elis Regina
December 17, 1953 ~ Singer Sharon White born in Abilene, Texas, USA ~ Married to singer Ricky Skaggs. Member of the Whites, which also includes her sister Cheryl White and father Buck White, known for 1980s hits such as You Put The Blue In Me, Give Me Back That Old Familiar Feeling, If It Ain't Love Let's Leave It Alone, and Hometown Gossip
December 17, 1952 ~ Ira Williams, commonly known as jazz drummer Buddy Williams, born in New York, New York, USA ~ Active in the 1970s and 1980s. Not to be confused with Australian country singer Buddy Williams. Ira ‘Buddy’ Williams played with Grover Washington Jr, Cedar Walton, David Sanborn, Kirk Whalum, Joe Sample, Nat Adderley, Andy Bey, Carla Bley, George Freeman, Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Grusin, Jaroslav Jakubovic, Lee Ritenour, Sonny Sharrock, Valerie Simpson, Bob Stewart, McCoy Tyner, Hugh Masekela, and notably with Luther Vandross on the double Grammy-winnning 1981 album Never Too Much
December 17, 1952 ~ Donald Eugene Jones, commonly known as pop rock, glam rock bassist Mickie Jones ~ Bassist of Angel from 1975 to 1977, present on the albums Angel, Helluva Band and On Earth As It Is In Heaven. The band was discovered by Kiss guitarist Gene Simmons and known for their androgynous image. Slammed by rock critics and ridiculized by Frank Zappa in the song Punky's Whips, the band never achieved mass commercial succes but enjoyed a cult following. Both Jones and bandmate Punky Meadows were asked to join the New York Dolls but declined. Jones also previously played in BUX ~ Jones passed away in 2009
December 17, 1951 ~ Singer Wanda Hutchinson born in Chicago, Illinois, USA ~ Member of sibling outfit the Emotions, critically regarded as one of the most influential girl groups. Artists influenced by the band include En Vogue, Anita Baker, Shanice, Regina Belle. Erykah Badu, Sheena Easton, Teena Marie, and Fantasia. They are best known for the mid 1970s albums Flowers and its follow-up Rejoice. Best known for songs such as Flowers, I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love, Best Of My Love, Don't Ask My Neighbours and Smile
December 17, 1950 ~ Reggae, ska, rocksteady drummer, percussionist Carlton Barrett born in Kingston, Jamaica ~ Popularized the one drop rhythm drumming style. Brother of bassist, guitarist Aston Barrett, bandmate in Lee Scratch Perry's houseband the Upsetters as well as in Bob Marley's backing unit the Wailers. Barrett remained with Marley from the late 1960s until Marley's death in 1981, co-writing songs such as Talkin' Blues and Them Belly Full. Also worked with the Impact All-Stars ~ Barrett passed away in 1987
December 17, 1949 ~ Singer, guitarist, keyboardist, drummer Paul Rodgers, full name Paul Bernard Rodgers, born in Middlesbrough, UK ~ Cited as an influence by John Mellencamp and Freddie Mercury. Lead singer of Free, known for the 1970 hit All Right Now which reached top 10 in over a dozen countries including America and the band's native UK. Lead singer of Bad Company, known for hits such as Can't Get Enough, Feel Like Makin' Love, and Rock 'n Roll Fantasy. Recorded over a dozen albums as a solo artist, starting with Cut Loose in 1983, and worked with the Firm, the Law, and with a post-Mercury incarnation of Queen
December 17, 1948 ~ Avant-garde, free jazz saxophonist, bandleader, composer Allan Praskin, full name Allan Conrad Praskin, born in Los Angeles, California, USA ~ Worked with Gunter Hampel, Barbara Dennerlein, Özay Fecht, Fritz Pauer, Branislav Lala Kovacev, Warne Marsh, Hans Koller, Wolfgang Köhler, and Larry Porter
December 17, 1948 ~ Singer Clémence Bringtown born in Le Robert, Martinique ~ Member of pop unit La Compagnie Créole, founded in 1975. The band originally sang in Creole but quickly adopted French as their main language. Known for their feel-good, happy-go-lucky vibe they have recorded about two dozen albums and would enjoy popularity in the Francophone world and beyond especially in the 1980s, reportedly selling over 60 million records over the course of their career. Well-known songs include Vive Le Douanier Rousseau, C'est Bon Pour Le Moral, Le Bal Masqué, Ça Fait Rire Les Oiseaux, and Ma Première Biguine-Partie
December 17, 1948 ~ Progressive rock, folk, acid folk, classical violinist, pianist, songwriter Darryl Way born in Taunton, UK ~ Founding member of Curved Air, co-wrote the band's Back Street Luv. Has also worked with Trace, Gong, Jethro Tull, appearing on the latter's 1978 Heavy Horses album. As a solo artist has released about a dozen albums straddling rock and classical music
December 17, 1948 ~ Rock drummer Jim Bonfanti born in Windber, Pennsylvania, USA ~ Member of the Choir, known for the 1967 It's Cold Outside single. Subsequently a member of the Raspberries, best known for the Billboard Hot 100 top 10 hit Go All The Way of their 1972 eponymous Raspberries debut album
December 17, 1946 ~ Drummer Martin Smith born ~ Best known as a member of Gentle Giant, appearing on the band's eponymous Gentle Giant debut album and its follow-up Acquiring The Taste, before being replaced by Malcolm Mortimore. Has also worked with Simon Dupree & the Big Sound ~ Smith passed away in 1997
December 17, 1944 ~ Peter Leslie Dines, commonly known as Dino Dines, born in Hertfordshire, UK ~ Best known as member of T.Rex frim 1974 until the band's dissolution in 1977 after the death of frontman Marc Bolan, present on hits such as Light Of Love, New York City and I Love To Boogie. Had previously played with Apostolic Intervention, known for Tell Me Have You Ever Seen Me, and with the Keef Hartley Band ~ Dines passed away in 2004
December 17, 1942 ~ Blues harpist, singer Paul Butterfield, full name Paul Vaughn Butterfield, born in Chicago, Illinois, USA ~ Best known for being one of the first white musicians to achieve commercial success with hard-edged, raw Chicago blues, notably with the 1960s the Paul Butterfield Blues Band albums The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and its follow-up East-West. Butterfield has worked with Muddy Waters, Nick Gravenites, Elvin Bishop, Michael Bloomfield, John Mayall, and others ~ Butterfield passed away in 1987
December 17, 1941 ~ Fitzroy Marshall, commonly known as ska, rocksteady, reggae singer Larry Marshall, born in St Ann Parish, Jamaica ~ Half of Larry & Alvin, the other half being Alvin Leslie, known for songs such as Nanny Goat. As a solo artist debuted in 1973 with the album Presenting Larry Marshall and known for songs such as A Promise Is A Comfort To A Fool, I've Got Another Girl, and Please Stay. Worked with Philip Yaz, Coxsone Dodd, Prince Buster, Enid Cumberland, Burning Spear, King Tubby, and others ~ Marshall passed away in 2017
December 17, 1940 ~ Son, jazz pianist, composer Lázaro Valdés, full name Lázaro Valdés Espinosa, born in Havana, Cuba ~ Leading figure in Cuban jazz. Son of percussionist Oscar Valdés. Pianist for Benny Moré's big band the Banda Giganta, taking over leadership of the band after Morés death in 1963 ~ Valdés passed away in 2023
December 17, 1940 ~ Folk singer, banjoist, actor Luke Kelly born in Dublin, Ireland ~ Regarded by some as one of Ireland's greatest folk singers. Co-founded the Dubliners, serving as co-lead singer alongside Ronnie Drew from 1962 through 1983 with a temporary hiatus in 1964. The band is known for their energetic stage presence and scored chart success with singles such as Seven Drunken Nights, Black Velvet Band, Hand Me Down My Bible, Free The People and The Irish Rover, the latter a collaborative single with the Pogues ~ Kelly passed away in 1984
December 17, 1939 ~ Singer Eddie Kendricks born in Union Springs, Alabama, USA ~ Co-founded the Temptations in 1960 and stayed with the band through 1971. Sang lead on songs such as The Way You Do The Things You Do, I'll Be In Trouble, The Girl's Alright With Me, Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue) (which he co-wrote), Get Ready, Please Return Your Love To Me, and Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me). Responsible for most of the group's vocal arrangements. Feeling uncomfortable with the move to psychedelic soul Kendricks left the band pursuiing a solo career. As a solo artist best known for songs such as Girl You Need A Change Of Mind, Keep On Truckin', Boogie Down, Son Of Sagittarius, Shoeshine Boy, He's A Friend, and Intimate Friends. The latter would be sampled by Alicia Keys on Unbreakable ~ Kendricks passed away in 1992
December 17, 1939 ~ Pianist James Booker, full name James Carroll Booker III, born in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA ~ Known for songs such as Doin'The Hambone, Thinkin About My Baby, Gonzo. Has worked with Fats Domino, Smiley Lewis, Lloyd Price, John Boudreaux, Jessie Hill, Alvin Robinson, John Mayall, Ringo Starr, the Doobie Brothers, Labelle, Maria Muldaur, Dr John, and others ~ Booker passed away in 1983
December 17, 1937 ~ Singer, keyboardist, songwriter Art Neville, full name Arthur Lanon Neville, born in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA ~ Influenced by James Booker, Bill Doggett, Booker T Jones, Lloyd Glenn. Member of the Neville Brothers, Wild Tchoupitoulas, the Meters. As a solo artist known for recordings such as Cha Dooky Doo, Too Much, You Won't Do Right, and Hook Line & Sinker. Also worked with the Hawketts, Labelle (Lady Marmalade), Paul McCartney, Lee Dorsey, Dr John, Professor Longhair, Betty Harris, the Pointer Sisters, and the Rolling Stones ~ Neville passed away in 2019
December 17, 1936 ~ Pianist, conductor, composer, TV personality, politician Tommy Banks, full name Thomas Benjamin Banks, born in Calgary, Canada ~ TV personality known for a variety of TV shows, perhaps most notably the Tommy Banks Show which aired from 1968 through 1983. Musical director, conductor at several prestigous events including the EXPO '86 and the 1988 Olympic Winter Games held in Calgary. Guest conductor for renowned orchestras including the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and the Toledo Symphony Orchestra. Served as Senator for the Liberal party for over a decade starting in 2000, representing Alberta ~ Banks passed away in 2018
December 17, 1936 ~ Thomas Hicks, commonly known as skiffle, rock & roll singer, guitarist, actor Tommy Steele, born in Bermondsey, UK ~ Generally regarded as Britain's first teen idol and rock & roll star, known for a string of hits from the mid- to late-1950s including Rock With The Caveman, Singing The Blues, Butterfingers, Water Water, Nairobi, Little White Bull, and What A Mouth (What A North And South). By the start of the 1960s Steele shifted away from rock & roll to become an all-round entertainer, starring in musicals performing both in London's West End and on New York's Broadway, and venturing into acting for film and TV
December 17, 1935 ~ Jazz bassist Ronnie Boykins born in USA ~ Best known for his association with pianist Sun Ra. Also worked with Muddy Waters, Johnny Griffin, Jimmy Witherspoon, Bill Barron, Elmo Hope, Archie Shepp, the Free Jazz Society, John Hicks, the Melodic Art-Tet, Roger Blank, Charles Bracken, Ahmed Abdullah, Steve Lacy, Denis Charles, Mary Lou Williams, Marion Brown, Sarah Vaughan, Hajj Daoud Haroon, George Benson, Bill Dixon, Eric Kloss, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Sam Rivers, Arthur Blythe, John Ore, and others ~ Boykins passed away in 1980
December 17, 1934 ~ Worship, contemporary Christian music pianist, arranger, composer Kurt Kaiser, full name Kurt Frederic Kaiser, born in Chicago, Illinois, USA ~ For over five decades, Kaiser influenced modern day church music and helped usher in a new era in American Christian music. Has recorded well over a dozen albums since the late 1950s, noted especially for Psalms Hymns & Spirituals released in 1994, has led numerous workshops, served as A&R director, and has arranged and produced for the likes of George Beverly Shea, Jerome Hines, Burl Ives, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Ethel Waters, Ken Medema, and Kathleen Battle ~ Kaiser passed away in 2018
December 17, 1933 ~ Jazz bassist John Ore born ~ Worked with Tiny Grimes, George Wallington, Lester Young, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Elmo Hope, Bud Powell, Freddie Redd, Thelonious Monk, Double Six, Teddy Wilson, Earl Hines, Sun Ra, Hank Mobley, Cecil Payne, Charles Tyler, Eric Alexander, Billy Bang, Andrew Cyrille, Marva Josie, Steve Lacy, Hampton Hawes, and others ~ Ore passed away in 2014
December 17, 1933 ~ Jazz bassist Walter Booker born in Prairie View, Texas, USA ~ Played clarinet and saxophone in college. Took up the bass while serving in the same US Army unit as Elvis Presley. Married to pianist Bertha Hope, with whom he formed a trio which also included drummer Jimmy Cobb. Closely associated with both Cannonball Adderley and Nat Adderley, appearing on over half a dozen albums of each of the brothers' individual albums. Underrated stylist, reliable sideman present on albums by Sonny Rollins (On Impulse), Andrew Hill, Donald Byrd, Lee Morgan (The Procrastinator), Art Farmer, Hank Mobley, Wayne Shorter, Archie Shepp, Joe Zawinul, Betty Carter, Maria Muldaur (Sweet And Slow), A Tribe Called Quest (Peoples Instinctive Travels & The Paths Of Rhythm), and Roy Hargrove ~ Booker passed away in 2006
December 17, 1932 ~ Jazz saxophonist, composer Sonny Red born in Detroit, Michigan, USA ~ Leader and sideman. Worked with Art Blakey, Donald Byrd, Grant Green, Blue Mitchell, Wynton Kelly, Billy Higgins, Cedar Walton, Curtis Fuller, Yusef Lateef, Pony Poindexter, Paul Quinichette, Frank Wess, and others ~ Red passed away in 1981
December 17, 1931 ~ Country singer Frankie Miller born in Victoria, Texas, USA ~ Known for songs such as Blackland Farmer, Family Man, Baby Rocked Her Dolly and A Little South Of Memphis
December 17, 1930 ~ Blues singer Lucille Bogan records Black Angel Blues ~ Bogan is credited as the first who recorded the song, a mid-tempo twelve-bar blues accompanied by piano. Tampa Red would do a cover in 1934, slowing down the pace and adding prominent slide-guitar. Red's version inspired Robert Nighthawk's 1949 version with bass from Willie Dixon and Ernest Lane tingling the ivories. Nighthawk's version in turn inspired BB King to write and record Sweet Little Angel in 1956 only to find out later the song originated from Bogan's 1930 single
December 17, 1928 ~ Leo Edward Donald Jr, commonly known as R&B, rock & roll singer Larry Darnell, born in Columbus, Ohio, USA ~ Dubbed “Mr Heart & Soul”, known for a string of late 1940s, early 1950s hits including I'll Get Along Somehow, For You My Love, I Love My Baby, and Oh Babe ~ Donald passed away in 1983
December 17, 1923 ~ Jean Marcopoulos, commonly known as singer, composer Jean Marco, born in Constantinopel, Turkey ~ Best known as lead singer for Jacques Hélian's orchestra from 1947 to Hélian passing in 1953. One of the first to perform C'Est Si Bon, as early as 1948, a song later made famous by Eartha Kitt, also recorded either in French or English by Yves Montand, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, Barbra Streisand, Dr Buzzard's Original Savannah Band, Abbey Lincoln, and numerous others ~ Marcopoulos passed away in 1953
December 17, 1910 ~ Donnell Clyde Cooley, commonly known as Western swing bandleader, actor, TV personality Spade Cooley, born in Grand, Oklahoma, USA ~ Dubbed “the King of Western Swing”. Known for songs such as Shame On You, A Pair Of Broken Hearts, Detour, and You Can't Break My Heart. Convicted in 1961 and sentenced to a life sentence for the murder of his second wife ~ Cooley passed away in 1969
December 17, 1910 ~ Melvin James Oliver, commonly known as jazz trumpeter, singer, bandleader, arranger, composer Sy Oliver born in Battle Creek, Michigan, USA ~ Closely associated with Ella Fitzgerald, conducting and arranging on many of her records during the Decca Records years. Also worked with Zack Whyte, the Chocolate Beau Brummels, Alphonso Trent, Jimmie Lunceford, Tommy Dorsey, Jo Stafford, the Sentimentalists, Jimmie Lunceford, Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Caterina Valente, and others ~ Oliver passed away in 1988
December 17, 1903 ~ Raymond Stanley Noble, commonly known as bandleader, composer, arranger, actor Ray Noble, born in Brighton, UK ~ English bandleader and composer who authored or co-authored and first recorded many jazz standards including Love Is The Sweetest Thing, Cherokee, The Touch Of Your Lips, I Hadn't Anyone Till You, and The Very Thought Of You ~ Noble passed away in 1978
December 17, 1899 ~ Jazz pianist, bandleader Joe Steele, full name Joseph Alexander Ellis Steele, born in Savannah, Georgia, USA ~ Worked with the Savoy Bearcats, Henri Saparo, Ward Pinkett, Langston Curl, Bubber Miley, Harry Carney, Wendell Culley, Johnny Hodges, Joe Garland, Jimmy Archey, Charlie Holmes, Manzie Johnson, Pike Davis, Chick Webb, and others. Also served as an arranger for artists such as Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Paul Whiteman and for Cab Calloway ~ Steele passed away in 1964
December 17, 1885 ~ Jazz drummer, bandleader Louis Mitchell born ~ Led the Southern Symphonists Quartet. Has also worked with James Reese Europe, Sidney Bechet, and others ~ Mitchell passed away in 1957