February 15 – 21st – Birthdays! This week’s birthdays include Gary Clark, Jr., Irma Thomas, Tony Iommi, Sam Myers, Walter Becker, Kurt Cobain, Nina Simone. Along with David Geffen!
Gary Clark, Jr.- 2/15/1984
Besides, being an Award-winning Texas blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist, whose career has been on the rise since 2004. His joyfully fuzzy and skilled guitar playing, and smooth vocals are major draws of his contemporary take on Texas blues. The fresh style which he has built upon also incorporates elements soul, R&B, hard rock, hip hop, and country. Furthermore, he’s shared the stage with Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, The Rolling Stones, and Dave Matthews Band. Later, he wins a Grammy Award and Blues Music Award in 2014.
Irma Thomas – 2/18/1941
Often referred to as the “Soul Queen of New Orleans”, Irma Thomas is an American singer from New Orleans. While Irma Thomas ranks among Crescent City R&B’s greatest and most enduring musical ambassadors, She never enjoyed the coast-to-coast commercial success of contemporaries like Aretha Franklin and Etta James. Nevertheless, she breathes the same rarified air in the minds of many soul music aficionados. Finally, in 2018, Thomas receives the Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance at the Americana Music Honors & Awards.
Tony Iommi – 2/19/1948
Anthony Frank Iommi is an English guitarist, songwriter, and producer. He is lead guitarist and one of the four founding members of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath. He is the band’s primary composer and sole continual member for nearly five decades. Iommi briefly leaves Black Sabbath in 1968 to join Jethro Tull. Later he returns to Sabbath in 1969. In 2000, he releases his first solo album Iommi, followed by 2005’s Fused, which features his former bandmate Glenn Hughes.
After releasing Fused, he forms Heaven & Hell, which disbands after Ronnie James Dio’s death in 2010. Iommi is ranked number 25 in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”. In 2011, he publishes his autobiography, entitled Iron Man: My Journey through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath.
Sam Myers – 2/19/1936
In his early days, Sam Myers frequented the local blues clubs on Chicago’s South Side. Furthermore, it’s where he sat in on drums with the likes of Muddy Waters, Houndog Taylor, and Howlin’ Wolf. His Blues career really begins in 1952, when he joins Elmore James’ band, in the studio and on the road. When James’ passes away in 1963, he performs throughout the Chitlin’ Circuit. Later he partners up with Anson Funderburgh and The Rockets in 1986. Even more impressive is that Myers provided both vocals and the harmonica for The Rockets until his death in 2006. His debut solo album had been released two years prior to his passing.
Walter Becker – 2/20/1950
Becker is an American musician, songwriter, and record producer. He is best known as the co-founder, guitarist, bassist, and co-songwriter of the jazz rock band Steely Dan. Becker met future songwriting partner Donald Fagen while they were students at Bard College. After a brief period of activity in New York City, the two moved to Los Angeles in 1971. Which is where they form the nucleus of Steely Dan, which enjoyed a critically and commercially successful ten-year career.
Following the group’s dissolution, Becker moves to Hawaii and reduces his musical activity, working primarily as a record producer. In 1985, he briefly became a member of the English band China Crisis. Producing and playing synthesizer on their album Flaunt the Imperfection. Following a brief battle with esophageal cancer, he died on September 3, 2017.
Kurt Cobain – 2/20/1967
Kurt Cobain starts the grunge band Nirvana in 1988 and made the leap to a major label in 1991, signing with Geffen Records. Cobain also began using heroin around this time. After releasing the highly successful album “Nevermind”, Nirvana’s highly acclaimed album In Utero releases in 1993 and catapults to the top of the music charts.
Nina Simone – 2/21/1933
Nina Simone, a classically trained pianist, singer, songwriter, and civil rights activist who has performed in numerous genres. From blues and jazz to gospel and pop. Her work has inspired a wide number of musicians, including Aretha Franklin, Maynard James Keenan, Janis Joplin, David Bowie, and Mos Def.
David Geffen – 2/21/1943
David Geffen is a music and movie executive who established a vast Hollywood-based empire, featuring Geffen Records and DreamWorks. Geffen began developing relationships with musical talent. Soon on he is managing the career of the promising singer/songwriter Laura Nyro.
Which leads to contacts with other up-and-coming stars such as Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Along with Janis Joplin. In 1970, Geffen cofounded Asylum Records with Elliot Roberts, a friend from his days at William Morris. It was at Asylum Records that Geffen cultivated his knack for spotting new talent and trends in the entertainment industry.
That’s all for this week’s February 15 – 21st! Be sure to check back next week for more KTBA Birthdays!