John Benson Sebastian (born March 17, 1944) is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist and harmonicist who founded the rock band The Lovin’ Spoonful. He made an impromptu appearance at the Woodstock festival in 1969 and scored a U.S. No. 1 hit in 1976 with “Welcome Back.” Sebastian was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 as a member of the Lovin’ Spoonful.
The Lovin’ Spoonful is an American rock band popular during the mid- to late-1960s. Founded in New York City in 1965 by lead singer/songwriter John Sebastian and guitarist Zal Yanovsky, the band is widely known for a number of hits, including “Summer in the City”, “Do You Believe In Magic”, “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?”, and “Daydream”. The Lovin’ Spoonful was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, and in 2006 the group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
Lloyd Price (March 9, 1933 – May 3, 2021) was an American singer-songwriter, record executive and bandleader, known as “Mr. Personality”, after his 1959 million-selling hit, “Personality”. His first recording, “Lawdy Miss Clawdy”, was a hit for Specialty Records in 1952. He continued to release records, but none were as popular until several years later, when he refined the New Orleans beat and achieved a series of national hits. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
Price and his wife resided in Westchester County, New York. He died from diabetes complications on May 3, 2021, at a long-term care facility in New Rochelle, New York, aged 88.
Gary Anthony James Webb (born March 8, 1958), known professionally as Gary Numan, is an English musician. He entered the music industry as frontman of the new wave band Tubeway Army. After releasing two albums with the band, he released his debut solo album The Pleasure Principle in 1979, topping the UK Albums Chart. While his commercial popularity peaked in the late 1970s and early 1980s with hits including “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” and “Cars” (both of which reached number one on the UK Singles Chart), Numan maintains a cult following. He has sold over 10 million records.
Numan faced intense hostility from critics and fellow musicians in his early career, but has since come to be regarded as a pioneer of electronic music. He developed a signature sound consisting of heavy synthesiser hooks fed through guitar effects pedals, and is also known for his distinctive voice and androgynous “android” persona. In 2017, he received an Ivor Novello Award, the Inspiration Award, from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors.
Jason Aldine Williams (born February 28, 1977) is an American country music singer and songwriter. Since 2005, Aldean has been signed to Broken Bow Records, a record label for which he has released nine albums and 24 singles. His 2010 album, My Kinda Party, is certified quadruple-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). His 2012 album Night Train is certified double-platinum, while his 2005 self-titled debut, 2007 album Relentless, 2009 album Wide Open, 2014 album Old Boots, New Dirt are all certified platinum.
Aldean married Jessica Ann Ussery on August 4, 2001. Together, the couple have two daughters: Keeley born February 2003, and Kendyl born August 2007. On September 30, 2012, Aldean admitted to having “acted inappropriately at a bar” with former American Idol contestant, Brittany Kerr, responding to reports linking her and Aldean. In a statement, Kerr said she had suffered “a lapse in judgment” and “would like to sincerely apologize to everyone that has been affected by this.” Aldean filed for divorce on April 26, 2013, citing irreconcilable differences and listing the filing date as the formal separation date.
Aldean and Kerr began dating and made their first public appearance as a couple at the 2014 CMT Awards. On September 24, 2014, Aldean and Kerr announced their engagement. The couple were married on March 21, 2015. On May 8, 2017, Aldean and Kerr announced that they were expecting a baby. Their son Memphis Aldean was born in December 2017. On July 10, 2018, Aldean and Kerr announced that they were expecting their second child together. Their daughter Navy Rome was born February 4, 2019.
Antoine Dominique Domino Jr. (February 26, 1928 – October 24, 2017), known as Fats Domino, was an American pianist, singer and songwriter. One of the pioneers of rock and roll music, Domino sold more than 65 million records. Born in New Orleans to a French Creole family, Domino signed to Imperial Records in 1949. His first single “The Fat Man” is cited by some historians as the first rock and roll single and the first to sell more than 1 million copies. Domino continued to work with the song’s co-writer Dave Bartholomew, contributing his distinctive rolling piano style to Lloyd Price’s “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” (1952) and scoring a string of mainstream hits beginning with “Ain’t That a Shame” (1955). Between 1955 and 1960, he had eleven Top 10 US pop hits. By 1955, five of his records had sold more than a million copies, being certified gold.
Domino was shy and modest by nature but made a significant contribution to the rock and roll genre. Elvis Presley declared Domino a “huge influence on me when I started out” and when they first met in 1959, described him as “the real king of rock ‘n’ roll”. The Beatles were also heavily influenced by Domino.
Four of Domino’s records were named to the Grammy Hall of Fame for their significance: “Blueberry Hill”, “Ain’t That a Shame”, “Walking to New Orleans” and “The Fat Man”. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of its first group of inductees in 1986. The Associated Press estimates that during his career, Domino “sold more than 110 million records”.
Mary Chapin Carpenter (born February 21, 1958) is an American singer-songwriter. Carpenter spent several years singing in Washington, D.C. clubs before signing in the late 1980s with Columbia Records, who marketed her as a country singer. Carpenter’s first album, 1987’s Hometown Girl, did not produce any singles, although 1989’s State of the Heart and 1990’s Shooting Straight in the Dark each produced four Top 20 hits on the Billboard country singles charts.
Carpenter’s most successful album to date remains 1992’s Come On Come On, which yielded seven charting country singles and was certified quadruple platinum in the US for sales exceeding four million copies. She followed it with Stones in the Road (1994) and A Place in the World (1996), which both featured hit singles. In the 2000s, Carpenter’s albums departed both thematically and musically from her early work, becoming less radio-friendly and more focused on societal and political issues. In 2007, she released The Calling. She followed that with The Age of Miracles (2010), Ashes and Roses (2012) and the orchestral album, Songs From the Movie (2014).
Carpenter has won five Grammy Awards and is the only artist to have won four consecutive Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, which she received from 1992 to 1995. She has sold more than 12 million records worldwide. On October 7, 2012, Carpenter was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Carpenter has performed on television shows such as Late Night with David Letterman and Austin City Limits and on radio shows such as The Diane Rehm Show. She also tours frequently, returning to Washington almost every summer to perform at Wolf Trap.
She is a direct descendant of Deacon Samuel Chapin, United States Chief Justice John Marshall and a fifth cousin of the late singer and humanitarian Harry Chapin (along with his brothers Tom and Steve).
Steely Dan is an American rock duo founded in 1972 by core members Walter Becker (guitars, bass, backing vocals) and Donald Fagen (keyboards, lead vocals). Blending rock, jazz, latin music, reggae, traditional pop, R&B, blues, and sophisticated studio production with cryptic and ironic lyrics, the band enjoyed critical and commercial success starting from the early 1970s until breaking up in 1981. Throughout their career, the duo recorded with a revolving cast of session musicians, and in 1974 retired from live performances to become a studio-only band. Rolling Stone has called them “the perfect musical antiheroes for the Seventies”.
After the group disbanded in 1981, Becker and Fagen were less active throughout most of the next decade, though a cult following remained devoted to the group. Since reuniting in 1993, Steely Dan has toured steadily and released two albums of new material, the first of which, Two Against Nature, earned a Grammy Award for Album of the Year. They have sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2001. VH1 ranked Steely Dan at #82 on their list of the 100 greatest musical artists of all time. Founding member Walter Becker died on September 3, 2017, leaving Fagen as the sole official member.
Heart is an American rock band formed in 1970 in Seattle, Washington by Steve Fossen (bass guitar), Roger Fisher (guitar), David Belzer (keyboards), and Jeff Johnson (drums). It evolved from an existing band, White Heart. Since 1973 the vocalists for Heart have been sisters Ann Wilson (lead vocals, flute, guitar) (born June 19, 1950) and Nancy Wilson (vocals, guitar, mandolin) (born March 16, 1954). Over Heart’s history, it has had three primary lineups.
Heart first found success when its members moved to Canada, in part to avoid the draft, then later in the United States, and ultimately worldwide. Heart rose to fame in the mid-1970s with music influenced by hard rock and heavy metal, as well as folk music. Their popularity declined in the early 1980s; but in 1985, Heart launched a successful comeback which continued into the 1990s, releasing numerous hard-rock songs and ballads. Heart disbanded in 1998, then resumed performing in 2002. In the summer of 2019, Heart ended their 2016 acrimonious break-up by launching their “Love Alive” tour.
In February 2019, Heart announced their hiatus had ended and that they would embark on the Love Alive tour in the summer. Although Ann and Nancy were reuniting, the former Heart members who had joined Nancy’s solo effort were not invited back and the new lineup consisted of Ann’s touring band, replacing Ben Smith on drums, Dan Rothchild on bass, and Chris Joyner on keyboards. In June 2019, the band announced that the Love Alive tour had been extended through October 2019.
To date, Heart has sold over 35 million records worldwide, including over 22.5 million in album sales in the U.S. They have had top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2010s. Heart was ranked number 57 on VH1’s “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock”. In 2006, Ann Wilson was listed as one of the “Top Heavy Metal Vocalists of All Time” by Hit Parader magazine. In 2013, Heart was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Backstreet Boys are an American vocal group consisting of Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, AJ McLean, and cousins Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson. The group was formed in 1993 in Orlando, Florida.
The group rose to fame with their debut international album, Backstreet Boys (1996). In the following year, they released their second international album Backstreet’s Back (1997) along with their self-titled U.S. debut album, Backstreet Boys (1997), which continued the group’s success worldwide. They rose to superstardom with their third studio album Millennium (1999) and its follow-up album, Black & Blue (2000). They also released a greatest hits album, The Hits – Chapter One (2001), with a new single, “Drowning”. After a two-year hiatus, they regrouped and released a comeback album Never Gone (2005). After the conclusion of the Never Gone Tour in 2006, Richardson left the group to pursue other interests. The group then released two albums as a quartet: Unbreakable (2007) and This Is Us (2009).
Richardson permanently rejoined the group in 2012. In the following year, they celebrated their 20th anniversary and released their first independent album, In a World Like This. Their follow-up album DNA (2019) debuted at number one, more than two decades after the group formed, and 19 years after they last topped in 2000. They also became the first boy band to top the U.S. album charts in three different decades.
The Backstreet Boys have sold over 100 million records worldwide, making them the best-selling boy band of all time, and one of the world’s best-selling music artists. They are the first group since Led Zeppelin to have their first ten albums reach the top 10 on the Billboard 200, and the only boy band to do so. The albums Backstreet Boys and Millennium were both certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), making them one of the few bands to have multiple diamond albums.
The group received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 22, 2013. They also released their first documentary movie, titled Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of in January 2015. In March 2017, the group began a residency in Las Vegas that lasted two years, titled Backstreet Boys: Larger Than Life.
The J. Geils Band was an American rock band formed in 1967, in Worcester, Massachusetts, under the leadership of guitarist John “J.” Geils. The original band members included vocalist Peter Wolf, harmonica and saxophone player Richard “Magic Dick” Salwitz, drummer Stephen Bladd, vocalist/keyboardist Seth Justman, and bassist Danny Klein. Wolf and Justman served as principal songwriters. The band played R&B-influenced blues rock during the 1970s and soon achieved commercial success before moving toward a more mainstream radio-friendly sound in the early 1980s, which brought the band to its commercial peak. They performed a mix of cover songs of classic blues and R&B songs, along with original compositions written by primarily by Wolf and Justman, as well as some group compositions written under the pseudonymous name Juke Joint Jimmy, representing compositions credited to the entire band as a whole. After Wolf left the band in 1983 to pursue a solo career, the band released one more album in 1984 with Justman on lead vocals, before breaking up in 1985. Beginning in 1999, the band had several reunions prior to the death of its namesake, J. Geils, on April 11, 2017.
The band first released several Top 40 singles in the early 1970s, including a cover of the song “Lookin’ for a Love” by The Valentinos (which reached No. 39 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972), as well as the single “Give It to Me” (No. 30 in 1973). Their biggest hits included “Must of Got Lost” (No. 12 in 1975), “Come Back” (No. 32 in 1980), “Love Stinks” (which reached No. 38 in 1980 and was featured in several films), “Centerfold” (No. 1 in 1982), and “Freeze-Frame” (No. 4 in 1982).
UB40 are an English reggae and pop band, formed in December 1978 in Birmingham, England. The band has had more than 50 singles in the UK Singles Chart, and has also achieved considerable international success. They have been nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album four times, and in 1984 were nominated for the Brit Award for Best British Group. UB40 have sold over 70 million records worldwide. The ethnic make-up of the band’s original line-up was diverse, with musicians of English, Welsh, Irish, Jamaican, Scottish and Yemeni parentage.
Their hit singles include their debut “Food for Thought” and two Billboard Hot 100 number ones with “Red Red Wine” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love”. Both of these also topped the UK Singles Chart, as did the band’s version of “I Got You Babe”. Their two most successful albums, Labour of Love (1983) and Promises and Lies (1993), reached number one on the UK Albums Chart. UB40 and the English ska band Madness hold the record for most weeks spent by a group in the UK singles chart during the 1980s, with 214 weeks each.
The band’s line-up was stable for nearly 29 years, from March 1979 until January 2008, when frontman Ali Campbell left the band, followed shortly thereafter by keyboardist Mickey Virtue. Another member, Astro, remained with the band until November 2013, when he departed the original band to team up with Campbell and Virtue in a new version of UB40. In 2014, legal advice was sought by the original band (now consisting of remaining co-founding members drummer Jimmy Brown, guitarist Robin Campbell, bassist Earl Falconer, percussionist Norman Hassan, and saxophonist Brian Travers, along with new vocalist Duncan Campbell) who took action against the group containing Campbell, Virtue, and Astro over usage of the band name, due to its being used by both parties.
Rasie Michael Bailey (February 14, 1939 – August 4, 2021) was an American country music artist, known professionally as Razzy Bailey. In the early 1980s, he scored 5 No. 1’s on the Billboard country music charts.
In the mid 1970s, Dickey Lee recorded “9,999,999 Tears”, and it became a country and pop hit in 1976, and in 1977, Lee repeated this with another Bailey tune, “Peanut Butter,” which also went into the charts. As his songwriting talents became known, Bailey signed with RCA Records and, in 1978, began releasing singles of his own songs. His first hit as a singer-songwriter, “What Time Do You Have To Be Back in Heaven?”, was on the charts for over four months. Bailey charted a total of seven No. 1 singles on Billboard’s “Country” charts and another eight Top 10 in the late 1970s and early 1980s. His sound combines R&B influences with country; his version of Wilson Pickett’s “In the Midnight Hour” was a country hit. His last country No. 1 hit was with “She Left Love All Over Me” in 1982.
Bailey had three double sided number 1’s in succession on the Country chart, a feat never accomplished by any other artist. He also operated Razzy’s Hit House, his recording studio where he helped other artists with their projects.
Robert Kelly Thomas (born February 14, 1972) is an American singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist best known for being the lead singer of the rock band Matchbox Twenty. Thomas also records and performs as a solo artist, with “Lonely No More” released in 2005 becoming his biggest solo chart success. Thomas received three Grammy Awards for co-writing and singing on the 1999 hit “Smooth” by Santana and it also was his first song as a solo artist.
He has also been a songwriter for artists such as Willie Nelson, Mick Jagger, Marc Anthony, Pat Green, Taylor Hicks, Travis Tritt, and Daughtry. Since 1996, his band has released a string of hit singles to radio, including “Push”, “3AM”, “Real World”, “Back 2 Good”, “Bent”, “If You’re Gone”, “Mad Season”, “Disease”, “Unwell”, “Bright Lights”, “How Far We’ve Come”, and “She’s So Mean”. In 2004, the Songwriters Hall of Fame awarded Thomas its first Hal David Starlight Award, recognizing young songwriters who have already had a lasting influence in the music industry.
Curtis Ousley (born Curtis Montgomery; February 7, 1934 – August 13, 1971), who performed under the stage name King Curtis, was an American saxophonist known for rhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul, blues, funk and soul jazz. Variously a bandleader, band member, and session musician, he was also a musical director and record producer. Adept at tenor, alto, and soprano saxophone, he played riffs and solos on such hit singles as “Respect” by Aretha Franklin, and “Yakety Yak” by The Coasters (the latter of which later became the inspiration for Boots Randolph’s “Yakety Sax”) and his own “Memphis Soul Stew”.
Curtis was stabbed on August 13, 1971, during an argument with a pair of drug dealers he discovered on the steps outside his Manhattan apartment. Curtis was attempting to carry an air conditioner into his apartment when Juan Montanez refused to move from the entrance. A fight ensued and Montanez stabbed Curtis. Curtis was transferred to Roosevelt Hospital, where he died. In March 1972, Montanez had his sentence reduced from second degree murder to second degree manslaughter in exchange for pleading guilty and served seven years. However he was released on December 5, 1977 from Wallkill State Correctional for good behavior.
On the day of Curtis’s funeral Atlantic Records closed their offices. Jesse Jackson administered the service and as the mourners filed in, Curtis’s band, the Kingpins, played “Soul Serenade”. Among those attending were Ousley’s immediate family, including sister Josephine Ousley Allen, other family members, Aretha Franklin, Cissy Houston, Brook Benton and Duane Allman. Franklin sang the closing spiritual “Never Grow Old” and Stevie Wonder performed “Abraham, Martin and John and now King Curtis”. Allman went on to honor Curtis by interleaving a medley of “Soul Serenade” into the band’s rendition of “You Don’t Love Me”, first in a show at the Academy of Music on East 14th Street in Manhattan on August 15, and later during a live in-studio recording at A&R Studios in Manhattan on August 26, recorded for posterity and released on LP as part of the band’s Dreams compilation in 1989.
Curtis was buried in a red granite-fronted wall crypt in the ‘West Gallery of Forsythia Court’ mausoleum at Pinelawn Memorial Park in Farmingdale, New York, the same cemetery where Count Basie and John Coltrane are buried.
Natalie Maria Cole (February 6, 1950 – December 31, 2015) was an American singer, songwriter, and actress. Cole was the daughter of American singer and jazz pianist Nat King Cole. She rose to success in the mid-1970s as an R&B singer with the hits “This Will Be”, “Inseparable” (1975), and “Our Love” (1977). She returned as a pop singer on the 1987 album Everlasting and her cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Pink Cadillac”. In the 1990s, she sang traditional pop by her father, resulting in her biggest success, Unforgettable… with Love, which sold over seven million copies and won her seven Grammy Awards. She sold over 30 million records worldwide.
Cole canceled several events in December 2015 due to illness. It was reported on January 1, 2016, that she had died the day prior at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Her family stated that at the time of her death, Cole had “ongoing health issues”. According to Cole’s publicist, Maureen O’Connor, the singer’s death was the result of congestive heart failure. Cole’s last musical performance was a short set of three songs in Manila.
In official news on her cause of death, her family stated that Cole was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension after her kidney transplant in 2009.
Cole’s son, along with her sisters, offered the following comment. “Natalie fought a fierce, courageous battle, dying how she lived… with dignity, strength and honor. Our beloved mother and sister will be greatly missed and remain unforgettable in our hearts forever.”
Cole’s funeral was held on January 11, 2016, at the West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles. David Foster, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Lionel Richie, Chaka Khan, Eddie Levert, Mary Wilson, Gladys Knight, Ledisi, Jesse Jackson, Angela Bassett, Denise Nicholas, Marla Gibbs, Jackée Harry and Freda Payne were among the mourners at the funeral. After the funeral, she was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.