Blues News

January 18th – 24th Birthdays

January 18th – 24th Birthdays!

This week includes Luther Dickinson, Janis Joplin, Lead Belly, Blind” Willie Johnson, John Belushi, and Beth Hart.

Luther Dickinson – 1/18/1973

Founding member, lead guitarist, and singer of the award-winning Southern rock and blues group The North Mississippi Allstars. Collaborating with such artists as John Hiatt, Robert Randolph, John Medeski, R.L. Burnside. And for three years as a lead guitarist for The Black Crowes.

Janis Joplin – 1/19/1943

Known as “The Queen of Rock and Roll”, she is perhaps the most popular female rock singer of the 1960’s. During the height of her career, she performs in a wide range of genres, including blues, soul. As well as psychedelic rock, and country. With her unique voice, she captivates audiences with her electrifying live performances.

Besides rising to fame as the lead singer of “Big Brother and the Holding Company.”  She sets out as a solo artist first backing “The Kozmic Blues Band” and later by “The Full Tilt Boogie Band”. Her hits include “Me and Bobby McGhee”, “Ball ‘n’ Chain”, “Cry Baby”, “Kozmic Blues”, and “Piece of My Heart”.

Lead Belly – 1/20/1888

In true songster fashion, Lead Belly travels throughout the United States with his iconic twelve-string guitar performing music. While most of his choices of genres are usually folk, gospel, and a number of blues songs. Often finding himself incarcerated, he would spend his time as a prisoner learning all styles of blues songs.

Turns out, what music he learns in prison, he performs throughout the rest of his life. On more than one occasion he even uses his music as a means of attaining early release. “Goodnight Irene”, “Black Betty”, and “In the Pines” are just a few songs that have gone on to influence artists. With the likes of Peter Seeger and Creedence Clearwater Revival to Nirvana and Old Crow Medicine Show.

“Blind” Willie Johnson – 1/22/1897

With his gravelly voice and skill as a slide guitarist. This gospel blues musician spends the majority of his life performing on the streets of Texas. From 1927 to 1930 he records 30 songs, which influences future generations of blues musicians. “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground” remains his most famous song.

Also, it’s one of 27 pieces of music on the Voyager Golden Record chooses to represent life on Earth. Launching into space in 1977. His music inspires many musicians including the likes of Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Nina Simone. Along with Led Zeppelin, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Gov’t Mule, Ben Harper, Alvin Youngblood Heart, and The White Stripes. 

John Belushi – 1/24/1949

Starting out as a comedy sketch show on “Saturday Night Live.” Belushi helps create the phenomenon that is The Blues Brothers. Next, it quickly expands into a full-fledged blues, soul, and rhythm & blues revivalist band.

Backing them are Matt Murphy, Steve Cropper, and Alan Rubin. With Belushi on lead vocals, The Blues Brothers’ debut album, “Briefcase Full of Blues” sells over two million copies. Today, it’s a musical outfit that continues to perform to this day.

Beth Hart – 1/24/1972

Grammy-nominated blues rock and soul singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. Beth Hart comes into the scene her powerful vocals and hit song “California Song (Out of This Town)”. She’s been on tours with Jeff Beck, Gov’t Mule, Slash, Vintage Trouble and since 2011 has an ongoing collaboration with Joe Bonamassa. 

That’s it for this week’s January 18th – 24th Birthdays! 

Help us with our mission of Keeping the Blues Alive in schools! To learn more or donate to Keeping the Blues Alive, visit our website at https://keepingthebluesalive.org/donate

Credits: John Belushi  –  Alamy Image ID: BPTT55

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