This Day In Music: December 31
December 30 ~ Birthdays/All ~ January 1
December 31, 2022 ~ Singer Anita Pointer, full name Anita Marie Pointer, passed away in Los Angeles, California, USA ~ Founding member of sibling outfit the Pointer Sisters, known for songs such as Yes We Can Can, Fairytale, Fire, He's So Shy, Slow Hand and I'm So Excited. Pointer also duetted with Earl Thomas Conley on Too Many Times, a Billboard Country top 10 hit in 1986. Released a solo album, Love For What It Is, the following year which included the Philip Bailey-duet The Pledge and the moderately successful singles Overnight Success and More Than A Memory ~ Pointer was born in 1948
December 31, 2022 ~ Rock, indie rock drummer Jeremiah Green, full name Jeremiah Martin Green, passed away ~ Founding member of indie rock outfit Modest Mouse, active with the band since 1993 with a brief hiatus in 2003 and 2004. Has previously worked with Satisfact, Red Stars Theory, Peeved. Later collaborations include Vells and Psychic Emperor ~ Green was born in 1977
December 31, 2019 ~ Victor Edward Jurusz Jr, commonly known as jazz guitarist Vic Juris, passed away in Livingston, New Jersey, USA ~ Active since the mid-1970s. Rooted in hard bop, with a knack for avant-garde and jazz fusion. As a leader or co-leader recorded about two dozen albums, especially noted for Steeplechase released in 1994. Closely associated with Richie Cole, with whom he recorded over half a dozen albums, and with Dave Liebman, appearing on well over a dozen of the saxophonist's albums. Other notable associations include Eric Kloss, Barry Miles, Don Patterson (Movin' Up), Brian Torff, Lenore Raphael, Lee Konitz, Biréli Lagrène, Jeanie Bryson, and Stephanie Nakasian ~ Jurusz was born in 1953
December 31, 2018 ~ Singer, percussionist, guitarist Ray Sawyer passed away in Daytona Beach, Florida, USA ~ Member of Dr Hook & the Medicine Show, known for songs such as Sylvia's Mother, The Cover Of The Rolling Stone, Only Sixteen, A Little Bit More, Sharing The Night Together, When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman, Better Love Next Time, Sexy Eyes and Baby Makes Her Blue Jeans Talk ~ Sawyer was born in 1937
December 31, 2018 ~ Urban Clifford Green, commonly known as trombonist Urbie Green, passed away in Hellertown, Pennsylvania, USA ~ Leader and sideman. Appears on over 250 recordings. Two dozen albums to his own name. Influenced by Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Perry Como, and Louis Armstrong. Highly respected by fellow trombonists. Worked with Gene Krupa, Woody Herman, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Jack Jenney, Walter Wanderley, Herbie Mann, Manny Albam, Steve Allen, Count Basie, Ray Bryant, Trigger Alpert, Kenny Burrell, Buck Clayton, Ray Conniff, Paul Desmond, Gil Evans, Art Farmer, Aretha Franklin (Soul '69), Johnny Griffin, Billie Holiday (Lady In Satin), Milt Jackson, JJ Johnson, Quincy Jones, Blue Mitchell, Wes Montgomery, Sonny Stitt, Stanley Turrentine, Joe Wilder, Dinah Washington, Joe Newman, and others ~ Green was born in 1926
December 31, 2017 ~ Jacqueline Nash, commonly known as singer, actress Gale Sherwood, passed away ~ Performed with Nelson Eddy from 1953 until his death in 1967. Starred in a number of musical productions for stage, notably a 1967 production of Show Boat with the Los Angeles Light Civic Opera, and for screen including They Shall Have Music, Let's Make Music and the 1955 TV operetta The Desert Song ~ Nash was born in 1929
December 31, 2017 ~ Music journalist, author Richard Havers, full name Richard John Havers, passed away in Minehead, UK ~ Airline industry manager turned music promoter and author of books and articles on jazz, blues, pop music. Co-authored Bill Wyman's Blues Odyssey with Bill Wyman. Co-authored several books on the Rolling Stones, starting with Rolling With The Stones published in 2003. Wrote books about the famed Blue Note and Verve record labels, the the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, and the Beatles. His articles have been published by the Daily Telegraph, the Times and Record Collector ~ Havers was born in 1951
December 31, 2014 ~ Music critic Michael Kennedy, full name George Michael Sinclair Kennedy, passed away ~ Chief classical music critic for the Daily Telegraph from 1986 through 2005, and of The Sunday Telegraph from 1989 through 2005. Has written a number of biographies, including on composers such as Ralph Vaughan Williams, Edward Elgar, John Barbirolli, Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss and Benjamin Britten ~ Kennedy was born in 1926
December 31, 2002 ~ Bluegrass, country, gospel guitarist, singer Jim McReynolds, full name Jesse Lester McReynolds, passed away ~ Formed the duo Jim & Jesse with his brother Jesse McReynolds, recording and performing from the 1950s until Jim's death in 2002. The brothers were backed by the Virginia Boys, which at times included musicians such as Vassar Clements, Allen Shelton, Carl Jackson, Randall Franks, and others ~ McReynolds was born in 1927
December 31, 2002 ~ Pop, power pop guitarist, singer, songwriter Kevin MacMichael, full name Kevin Scott MacMichael, passed away in Halifax, Canada ~ Member of Cutting Crew from 1985 through 1993, present on songs such as I've Been In Love Before, One For The Mockingbird, Everything But My Pride and their best-known I Just Died In Your Arms, the latter a Billboard Hot 100 No.1 hit in 1986. Also worked with Fast Forward, Robert Plant, Tribute, the Rankin Family, and with the Sons Of Maxwell ~ MacMichael was born in 1951
December 31, 2000 ~ Folk singer, guitarist Isaac Guillory passed away in England ~ Member of the Cryan Shames. Studied classical guitar and would incorporate quasi-classical playing into his folk songs. Released his eponymous solo debut album Isaac Guillory in 1974. Has worked with Al Stewart, Donovan, Mick Jagger, Elkie Brooks, Peter Sarstedt, Buggles, Barbara Dickson, Nick Heyward, and others ~ Guillory was born in 1947
December 31, 1999 ~ Banjoist, fiddler Matokie Slaughter, full name Matokie Worrell Slaughter, passed away in Pulaski, Virginia, USA ~ Enjoyed local popularity from the 1940s forward. Gained a wider audience among old-time aficionados during the 1960s, some of her recordings appearing on compilation albums and performing regularly at folk festivals with the Back Creek Buddies which included her sister Virgie Worrell and revivalist Alice Gerrard. The San Francisco-based graffiti artist Margaret Kilgallen began using Slaughter's name in the 1990s as an hommage ~ Slaughter was born in 1919
December 31, 1997 ~ Pianist Floyd Cramer passed away in Nashville, Tennessee, USA ~ Considered one of the pioneers of the Nashville sound. Frequent collaborator of guitarist Don Gibson and saxophonist Boots Randolph. Renowned for his slip note technique. Has recorded prolifically as a solo artist, his instrumental renditions of classics, including Last Date, On The Rebound, and San Antonio Rose, regularly becoming hits. In-demand session pianist, present on hit singles by Elvis Presley (Heartbreak Hotel), Brenda Lee, Hank Locklin (Please Help Me I'm Falling), Patsy Cline, the Browns, Jim Reeves, Eddy Arnold, Roy Orbison, Don Gibson, and the Everly Brothers ~ Cramer was born in 1933
December 31, 1986 ~ Jazz trumpeter Don Sleet, full name Donald Clayborn Sleet, passed away in Hollywood, California, USA ~ Critically compared to Kenny Dorham and Art Farmer. Played with Terry Gibbs, the San Diego Symphony, Howard Rumsey, and Lenny McBrowne. Sadly, shortly after the release of his sole album as a leader, 1961's All Members, Sleet's struggles with substances would lead to him abandoning music altogether. His sole album, however, would be held in the highest regard by jazz aficionados, described as “outstanding” by Down Beat. Besides Sleet the album featured an all-star line-up with saxophonist Jimmy Heath, pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Jimmy Cobb. Sleet has only performed occasionally since, and would pass away decades later of lymphoma ~ Sleet was born in 1938
December 31, 1985 ~ Eric Hilliard Nelson, commonly known as rock & roll, pop singer, actor, teen idol Ricky Nelson, passed away in De Kalb, Texas, USA ~ Stole America's hearts as child actor in the radio and TV series The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet. Would go on to score numerous hits, popularizing rock & roll. Best known for songs such as A Teenager's Romance, Be-bop Baby, Stood Up, Poor Little Fool, Lonesome Town, Sweeter Than You, Travelin' Man, Hello Mary Lou, Teen-age Idol, It's Up To You, For You, Garden Party, and others ~ Nelson was born in 1940
December 31, 1984 ~ Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen loses an arm when he crashes his Corvette ~ While driving in the countryside near Sheffield, a car in front of Allen's deliberately slowed for Allen to catch up, only to speed up as he tried to pass. This went on for several miles until, in frustration, Allen accelerated to finally pass, at which point he lost control of the car, hit a dry stone wall and entered a field. Allen's left arm would be severed, entangled in the seat belt. Doctors initially re-attached the arm, but it was later amputated due to an infection. Allen would remain to drum for Def Leppard, using specifically designed electronic drum kits and relying heavily on his feet. The band would go on to their commercially most successful period, with Allen regularly cited as among the UK's all-time best drummers. Allen is referenced in the Bloodhound Gang song Why Is Everybody Always Pickin' On Me in the line “the drummer from Def Leppard's only got one arm”, repeated several times
December 31, 1982 ~ Latin pop, pop pianist, guitarist Jesse Huerta, full name Jesse Eduardo Huerta Uecke, born in Mexico City, Mexico ~ Forms the sibling duo Jesse & Joy with drummer, guitarist, singer Joy Huerta, known for songs such as Corre, La De La Mala Suerte, Quien Se Queda El Perro, Llorar featuring Mario Domm, Ecos De Amor, No Soy Una De Esas featuring Alejandro Sanz, 3AM featuring Gente De Zona, Te Esperé, Mañana Es Too Late featuring J Balvin, all of which reached the No.1 spot in their native Mexico
December 31, 1981 ~ Songwriter, arranger, producer, label executive Dave Cavanaugh passed away in Los Angeles, California, USA ~ Started his career as a saxophonist sessioning for Eddie Miller, Bobby Sherwood, Benny Carter, Woody Herman, Sammy Davis Jr, Ella Mae Morse, and Peggy Lee. Became Capitol Records Director of A&R in the early 1950s signing artists such as Dakota Staton, Donna Hightower, Nancy Wilson, Plas Johnson, and Sandler & Young. Cavanaugh continued to become one of the label's main producers, working with Nat King Cole, Stan Kenton, Kay Starr, Billy May, and Frank Sinatra. Cavanaugh would eventually rise to the position of President of the label in the 1970s and continue to work until his death at age 62 ~ Cavanaugh was born in 1919
December 31, 1980 ~ Miles Wheeler, commonly known as soul singer Masspike Miles, born in Sacramento, California, USA ~ Lead singer of Perfect Gentlemen. Released a full-length solo album, Power, in 2018. Has collaborated with Statik Selektah, Rick Ross, the Triple C's, TI, French Montana, Erick Sermon, and others
December 31, 1979 ~ Singer, drummer, hornist, vibraphonist, keyboardist Isolde Lasoen born in Brugge, Belgium ~ Best known as member of DAAN, joining the band in 2002. Has also worked with Absynthe Minded, Saint Marteau, the Happy, the Whodads, Billie King, Briskey, Guido Belcanto, Willy Lambregt, Flip Kowlier, Raymond van het Groenewoud, Novastar, Jack van Poll, Lady Linn, and others
December 31, 1978 ~ Country singer, songwriter Craig Wayne Boyd born in Mesquite, Texas, USA ~ Best known for winning season 7 of NBC's talent show The Voice, beating Matt McAndrew. Boyd would subsequently score a country hit with My Baby's Got A Smile On Her Face after which further success eluded him
December 31, 1973 ~ Power metal, grindcore, folk rock drummer Kai Hahto born in Vaasa, Finland ~ Best known as member of Rotten Sound. Has also worked with Cartilage, Max On The Rox, Wintersun, Swallow The Sun, Nightwish, Trees Of Eternity, Auri, Darkwoods My Betrothed, Arthemesia, and others
December 31, 1970 ~ Britpop, rock singer, guitarist Danny McNamara, full name Daniel Anthony McNamara, born in Halifax, UK ~ Member of rock outfit Embrace, sharing lead vocals with his baby brother Richard McNamara. The band is known for a string of hits starting in the late 1990s including the UK top 10 hits All You Good People, Come Back To What You Know, My Weakness Is None Of Your Business, Gravity, Nature's Law, and World At Your Feet
December 31, 1970 ~ Raymond Brost, commonly known as pianist, songwriter Ray Henderson, passed away in Greenwich, Connecticut, USA ~ Frequent collaborator of Lew Brown and BG DeSylva. Songs written or co-written include Bye Bye Blackbird (Sam Lanin, Gene Austin, Leo Reisman), I'm Sitting On Top Of The World (Art Gillham, Al Jolson, Roger Wolfe Kahn), The Birth Of The Blues (Irving Abrams, the Revelers, Bing Crosby), Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries (Ethel Merman, Ben Bernie, Rudy Vallée), Animal Crackers In My Soup (Don Bestor, Shirley Temple), and Sonny Boy (Ruth Etting, the Andrews Sisters, Jackie Wilson) ~ Brost was born in 1896
December 31, 1962 ~ Contemporary classical composer Jennifer Higdon, full name Jennifer Elaine Higdon, born in Brooklyn, New York, USA ~ Cites pop bands such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Simon & Garfunkel as major influences rather than classical music. Served as composer-in-residence with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Bay Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Fort Worth Symphony, and others
December 31, 1961 ~ Electric blues, Americana, blues-rock, jazz fusion Hank van Sickle born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA ~ Plays both bass guitar and upright bass. Member of John Mayall's the Bluesbreakers from 2000 to 2008. Has also worked with Jimmy Smith, Robben Ford, Rod Piazza, Taj Mahal, Candye Kane, Guitar Shorty, Smokey Wilson, Denny Freeman, Kirk Fletcher, Rosie Flores, Wanda Jackson, James Intveld, Billy Swan, Yma Sumac, Judy Tenuta, Ray Campi, Floyd Sneed, and others
December 31, 1961 ~ Jacinto Chabania, commonly known as jazz alto saxophonist Jerry Blake, passed away ~ Played violin before switching to reeds. Worked with the Sells Fioto Circus Band, Al Wynn, Bobby Lee, Charles Turner, Sam Wooding, Chick Webb, Zack Whyte, Don Redman, Willie Lewis, Claude Hopkins, Fletcher Henderson, Cab Calloway, Count Basie, Earl Hines, Lionel Hampton, and others ~ Chabania was born in 1908
December 31, 1960 ~ Anarcho-punk, pop singer Dunstan Bruce born in Billingham, UK ~ Best known as Chumbawamba lead singer from 1982 through 2004, including on their biggest hit Tubthumping. Previously a member of Men In A Suitcase. Formed Interrobang in 2012
December 31, 1953 ~ New acoustic, world, new age guitarist Michael Hedges, full name Michael Alden Hedges, born in Enid, Oklahoma, USA ~ Classically trained. Influenced by John Martyn, the Beatles, Igor Stravinsky, Edgard Varèse, Anton Webern. Briefly a member, playing guitar and flute, of the Lotus Band before venturing out on his own playing as a solo acoustic guitarist. Signed to Windham Hill, the preeminent New Age label, by William Ackerman in 1980. Would release his acclaimed 1981 Breakfast In The Field debut album, its 1984 follow-up Aerial Boundaries and the 1985 Watching My Life Go By album ~ Hedges passed away in 1997
December 31, 1951 ~ Jazz fusion, rock, R&B, bassist, songwriter Jimmy Haslip, full name James Robert Haslip, born in New York, New York, USA ~ Best known as co-founding member of the Yellowjackets, remaining with the band through 2012. Has also worked with Street Punk, Harvey Mandel, Jeff Lorber, Eric Marienthal, Bruce Hornsby, Rita Coolidge, Gino Vannelli, Tommy Bolin, Allan Holdsworth, Marilyn Scott, Chaka Khan, Al Jarreau, Donald Fagen, Blackjack, the Paley Brothers, Jing Chi, and Renegade Creation
December 31, 1949 ~ Gospel singer, songwriter Douglas Miller, full name Douglas Lee Miller, born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, USA ~ Debuted in 1984 with the I Still Love The Name Jesus album which reached top 10 on the Billboard Gospel album charts. Would continue to record through the early 1990s with three more albums reaching top 20 and one, his 1985 sophomore Unspeakable Joy effort, also making it to the top 10 ~ Miller passed away in 2021
December 31, 1948 ~ Ladonna Adrian Gaines, commonly known as singer Donna Summer, born in Boston, Massachusetts, USA ~ Dubbed “the Queen of Disco”, known for a string of hits, often produced by Giorgio Moroder, including Love To Love You Baby, Last Dance, I Feel Love, Macarthur Park, Heaven Knows, Hot Stuff, Bad Girls, Dim All The Lights, and with Barbra Streisand, No More Tears (Enough Is Enough), On The Radio, and others ~ Gaines passed away in 2012
December 31, 1948 ~ Country, rock guitarist, singer Philip Donnelly born in Dublin, Ireland ~ Following a mid-1970s tour backing Donovan, Donnelly settled in Los Angeles, California, to become an in-demand session musician. In his native Ireland perhaps best known for his work with several major Irish acts such as Clannad, the Fleadh Cowboys, the Hothouse Flowers, and De Dannan after returning home in the late 1980s to help care for his mother. Produced Townes Van Zandt's final album, 1994's No Deeper Blue, having played previously on Townes's albums. Donnelly has appeared on albums by the likes of Gary Moore, Bonnie Koloc, Tracy Nelson, Johnny Cash, Nanci Griffith (Once In A Very Blue Moon), Emmylou Harris, and Rita Connolly. As a solo artist Donnelly is best known for his final album, 2015's Beyond The Pale, which includes duets with John Prine and Crystal Gayle ~ Donnelly passed away in 2019
December 31, 1947 ~ Rock singer, guitarist, pianist, flutist Burton Cummings, full name Burton Lorne Cummings, born in Winnipeg, Canada ~ Fronted the Guess Who from 1966 through 1975, known for hits such as These Eyes, Laughing, No Time, American Woman, No Sugar Tonight, and Share The Land. Released his eponymous Burton Cummings solo debut album in 1976, spawning the Billboard Hot 100 top 10 hit Stand Tall. Subsequent well known singles include Timeless Love, I Will Play A Rhapsody, and You Saved My Soul
December 31, 1947 ~ Singers Dale Evans and Roy Rogers get married in Davis, Oklahoma ~ An on- and off-screen team the singers marry at the Flying L Ranch where they had earlier filmed the movie Home In Oklahoma. Evans' fourth marriage, Rogers' third, the marriage would prove to be lasting, the couple remaining together until Rogers death in 1998
December 31, 1947 ~ Rita Lee Jones, commonly known as rock, pop, psychedelic rock singer, songwriter Rita Lee, born in São Paulo, Brazil ~ Founded Os Mutantes with Arnaldo Baptista and Sérgio Dias. As a solo artist has over 20 albums to her name, starting with Build Up released in 1970. Has sold over 60 million records. Collaborated with Tutti Frutti, Gilberto Gil, and with her husband guitarist Roberto de Carvalho ~ Jones passed away in 2023
December 31, 1946 ~ Rock, hard rock, blues, country, R&B bassist, guitarist, singer, songwriter Peter Wells, full name Peter William Wells, born in Brisbane, Australia ~ Co-founding member, bassist for Buffalo, a band considered influential in the development of Australia's heavy metal, pub rock and psychedelic rock movements. When the band folded in 1976, Wells formed Rose Tattoo, with whom he recorded three albums. The band is perhaps best known for their Bad Boy For Love hit single taken of their 1978 Rose Tattoo debut album. Wells also recorded as a solo artist and with Blues Hangover ~ Wells passed away in 2006
December 31, 1944 ~ Jazz pianist, organist, composer Bernie Senensky, full name Bernard Melvin Senensky, born in Winnipeg, Canada ~ Described himself as “essentially a bebop player, and beyond.” Closely associated with Moe Koffman, playing intermittently with the saxophonist for about two decades until Koffman's death in 2001. Recorded over half a dozen albums as leader or co-leader, noted specifically for Fun & Games released in 1989. Has guested on recordings by Bernie Senensky, Kenny Wheeler (1976), Peter Appleyard, Stefan Bauer (Coast To Coast), Tony Quarrington, Bill McBirnie, Pat Bianchi (East Coast Roots), and Bill Mays
December 31, 1943 ~ Henry John Deutschendorf Jr, commonly known as singer, songwriter John Denver, born in Roswell, New Mexico, USA ~ One of the most popular singers of the 1970s, known for songs such as Take Me Home Country Roads, Annie's Song, Rocky Mountain High, Calypso, Thank God I'm A Country Boy, Leaving On A Jet Plane, and Sunshine On My Shoulders. Member of the Mitchell Trio, replacing founder Chad Mitchell. Member of the Alpine Trio. Political activist, especially concerned about the environment, but also engaged in charitable causes for the homeless, the poor, and the African AIDS crisis. Campaigned for Jimmy Carter, who became a close personal friend. Founded the Windstar Foundation, dedicated to promoting sustainable living ~ Denver passed away in 1997
December 31, 1943 ~ Peter Alexander Greenlaw Kinnis, commonly known as rock bassist Peter Quaife, born in Tavistock, UK ~ Co-founding member, bassist for the Kinks, apart from a half-year hiatus following a traffic accident remaining with the band through their 1968 Village Green Preservation Society album. Though Quaife announced his departure in early 1969, his bandmates did not believe him until they read about his new band, country-rock outfit Mapleoak, in the music press. Singer Ray Davies pleaded with him to stay, but to no avail. Quaife recorded one single, Son Of A Gun, with his new band before retiring from music altogether. Quaife did not appear on his new band's sole album, the eponymous Mapleoak released in 1971 ~ Quaife passed away in 2010
December 31, 1942 ~ Andrew James Somers, commonly known as guitarist Andy Summers, born in Lancashire, UK ~ Member of Zoot Money's R&B outfit the Big Roll Band, which eventually evolved into Dantalian's Chariot. Briefly a member of Soft Machine. Briefly a member of the Animals, appearing on the 1968 Love Is album. Member of Strontium 90. Rose to fame as co-founding, constant member of the Police, scoring hits such as Message In A Bottle, Roxanne, Don't Stand So Close To Me, and Every Breath You Take, specifically noted for writing the distinctive guitar riff for the latter. Occassionaly took lead vocals, for instance on Be My Girl (Sally), Friends, Mother, and Someone To Talk To. Summers has also recorded as a solo artist, composed soundtracks, and worked with Circa Zero, Robert Fripp, John Ethridge, and Fernanda Takai
December 31, 1940 ~ Manfred Neumeier, commonly known as rock, krautrock, free jazz singer, drummer Mani Neumeier, born in Munich, Germany ~ Best known as frontman of krautrock group Guru Guru. Has collaborated with numerous artists including Dieter Moebius, Damo Suzuki, Harmonia, Hans-Karsten Raecke, Peter Brötzmann, Sonny Sharrock, Uchihashi Kazuhisa, Kawabata Makoto, Tatsuya Yoshida, Acid Mothers Temple, and Hijokaidan
December 31, 1935 ~ Bandleader Peter Herbolzheimer, full name Peter Alexandru Herbolzheimer, born in Bucharest, Romania ~ Founded and led the Rhythm Combination And Brass big band which accompanied artists such as Esther Phillips, Stan Getz, Nat Adderley, Gerry Mulligan, Toots Thielemans, Clark Terry, and Albert Mangelsdorff. Served as musical director of Germany's youth orchestra, the Bundes Jazz Orchester, from 1987 to 2006 ~ Herbolzheimer passed away in 2010
December 31, 1933 ~ Guitarist, mandolinist, bassist Fred Carter Jr born in Winnsboro, Louisiana, USA ~ Among a group of first call session musicians collectively dubbed the Wrecking Crew. Worked with Slim Whitman, Floyd Cramer, Sonny James, Hank Snow, Faron Young, Johnny Horton, Jim Reeves, Roy Orbison, Dale Hawkins, Ronnie Hawkins, Simon & Garfunkel (The Boxer), Bob Dylan, John Anderson (I'm Just An Old Chunk Of Coal), Levon Helm, Booker T Jones, Dr John, Waylon Jennings (I've Always Been Crazy), Donald Duck Dunn, Joan Baez, Ronnie Hawkins, and Kenny Rogers ~ Carter passed away in 2010
December 31, 1931 ~ Film composer Gil Melle, full name Gilbert John Melle, born in New York, New York, USA ~ Painter, sculptor. Created cover art for albums by Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins. Played baritone sax with George Wallington, Max Roach, Tal Farlow, Oscar Pettiford, Ed Thigpen, Kenny Dorham, and Zoot Sims, and led a number of sessions for Blue Note Records and Prestige Records through mid to late 1950s. Composed for over 100 films, mostly in the 1970s and 1980s. Melle reportedly was the first to compose a main theme for a television series, namely Rod Serling's Night Gallery, arranged entirely for electronic instruments ~ Mellé passed away in 2004
December 31, 1930 ~ Electric blues, jump blues, rock & roll singer, guitarist, drummer, songwriter Goree Carter born in Houston, Texas, USA ~ Best known for his 1949 Rock Awhile single, one of the records regularly cited as one of the first rock & roll records. After serving in the military, including a deployment to Korea, would record throughout the mid-1950s yet mostly retire from music on account of discontement with the music industry. Carter would occasionally perform locally or sit in with visiting artists including BB King ~ Carter passed away in 1990
December 31, 1930 ~ Odetta Holmes, mononymously known as gospel, folk singer, guitarist, songwriter Odetta, born in Birmingham, Alabama, USA ~ Influential on key figures of the folk revival including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Mavis Staples, and Janis Joplin . Icon of the civil rights movement. Described as “the Queen of American folk music” by Martin Luther King Jr. Drew from folk, blues, jazz, and spirituals. Over a dozen albums to her name since the mid-1950s, especially acclaimed for Sings Ballads And Blues and Odetta And The Blues. Best known for Take This Hammer, which is regularly named as one of the 20th century's greatest songs ~ Holmes passed away in 2008
December 31, 1920 ~ Actor, singer, songwriter Rex Allen, full name Rex Elvie, born in Willcox, 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 passed away in 1999
December 31, 1914 ~ Jazz pianist Cedric Haywood born in Houston, Texas, USA ~ As a teenager, still in high school, played with Arnett Cobb. His first professional gig was with Chester Boone's band in 1934. Went on to play with Milt Larkin, whose line-up at the time included Illinois Jacquet, Tom Archia and Eddie Cleanhead Vinson. Haywood also played with Floyd Ray, Lionel Hampton, Sidney Bechet, Saunders King, Cal Tjader, Kid Ory, Brew Moore, and with Lightnin' Hopkins ~ Haywood passed away in 1969
December 31, 1908 ~ John Kirk, commonly known as jazz bassist, trombonist, tuba player John Kirby, born in Winchester, Virginia, USA ~ Led a popular chamber jazz sextet in the late 1930s and early 1940s known for songs such as Loch Lomond and the first recorded version of Undecided, the latter becoming a jazz standard covered by Chick Webb, the Dandridge Sisters, Django Reinhardt's the Quintette du Hot Club, the Ames Brothers, and others. ~ Kirk passed away in 1952
December 31, 1905 ~ Julius Kerwin Stein, commonly known as songwriter, composer Jule Styne, born in London, UK ~ Best known for a series of Broadway musicals including Gypsy, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Funny Girl. Well known songs written or co-written by Styne include Let Me Entertain You (Sandra Church, Bob Crewe, Ann-Margret), I Don't Want To Walk Without You (Kate Smith, Guy Lombardo, Dinah Shore), It's You Or No One (Harry James, Doris Day, Sarah Vaughan), Saturday Night Is The Loneliest Night Of The Week (Frank Sinatra, Woody Herman, Cootie Williams), Everything's Coming Up Roses (Ethel Merman, Diahann Carroll, Johnny Mathis), Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend (Carol Channing, Marilyn Monroe, Lena Horne), Don't Rain On My Parade (Barbra Streisand, Nancy Wilson, Bobby Darin), and Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow (Vaughn Monroe, Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby) ~ Stein passed away in 1994
December 31, 1885 ~ Lyricist Edgar Leslie born in Stamford, Connecticut, USA ~ Founding member of ASCAP. Has co-written songs such as Among My Souvenirs (the Kit-Cat Band, Jack Hylton, Paul Whiteman, Louis Armstrong), Getting Some Fun Out Of Life (Billie Holiday, Maxine Sullivan), For Me & My Gal (MJ O'Connell, Abe Lyman, Vera Lynn), By The River St Marie (Guy Lombardo, Jimmie Lunceford, the Platters), Moon Over Miami (Roy Smeck, Eddy Duchin, Connee Boswell), and A Little Bit Independent (Jimmy Carr, Fats Waller, Nat King Cole) ~ Leslie passed away in 1976