Blues News

March 29th – April 4th Birthdays!

March 29th – April 4th

March 29th – April 4th. This week’s Birthdays include: Bobby Kimball, Eric Clapton, Sonny Boy Williamson, Norah Jones, Etta Baker, Mick Ralphs, John Barbata. As well as Marvin Gaye, Leon Wilkerson, Richard Manuel, Muddy Waters, Berry Oakley, and Gary Moore!

Bobby Kimball – 3/29/1947 

An American singer and songwriter best known as the original and longtime front-man of the rock band Toto. From 1977 to 1984 and again from 1998 to 2008.

Eric Clapton – 3/30/1945

With his work in bands such as Cream, The Yardbirds, Blind Faith, Derek and the Dominos and a solo career spanning five decades, the importance of Eric Clapton’s contributions to blues, rock & roll, and music in general cannot be stressed enough. Not only one of the most important musicians to have emerged from the British Blues scene of the 1960’s. But also, one of the most essential guitarists and celebrated musical icons of the last 50 years.  

Sonny Boy Williamson – 3/30/1914

Singer and master harmonica player who is a key figure in making the instrument a prominent component in the blues. Referred to as “The Father of the Modern Blues Harp”, he inspires the greatest harpists of the past 60 years. From Billy Boy Arnold and Junior Wells Muddy Waters and Jimmy Rogers. Williamson is an outstanding musician whose recordings influences generations still to this day. Furthermore, his most celebrated song is “Good Morning Little, School Girl”, in which a plethora of artists have covered. Everyone from Chuck Berry to Widespread Panic.

Norah Jones – 3/30/1979

Award-winning contemporary jazz singer, songwriter, pianist, and guitarist who has gained both critical acclaim and masses of fans worldwide. Come Away with Me, her debut in 2002, with makes her a certified star. As well as her signature mixture of jazz, blues, soul, country, and folk music to the top of the charts. Since her debut, she has since sold more than forty million albums around the globe. Even more, she gets to work with the likes of Ray Charles, Herbie Hancock, the Foo Fighters and Willie Nelson. 

Etta Baker – 3/31/1913

Hailing from North Carolina, this singer, banjo player and master Piedmont Blues guitarist plays the blues almost all her life. Learning to play music at the age of three, she spends most of her life out of the limelight. Furthermore, she only begins to record music in the early nineties when she’s near eighty. She imparts her knowledge of the Piedmont style to such musicians as Bob Dylan, Taj Mahal, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. In 1991, she’s the recipient of the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship award and other numerous honors from her home state.

Mick Ralphs – 3/31/1944

English guitarist, keyboardist, and songwriter who hits the British music scene in 1969 with Mott the Hoople. However, people know him best as a founding member and guitarist of the supergroup Bad Company. He’s responsible for writing a number of hits, such as “Can’t Get Enough” and “Good Lovin’ Gone Bad”. Besides reunion tours for both of the aforementioned groups he also tours with the Mick Ralphs Blues Band in 2011.

John Barbata – 4/1/1945

John Barbata is an American drummer, who was active especially in pop and rock bands in the 1960s and 1970s, both as a band member and as a session drummer. Barbata has served as the drummer for The Turtles, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship, and Sammy & the Holly Rebs with guitarist Sam DeLuca.

 Marvin Gaye – 4/2/1939

Marvin Gaye was a soul singer-songwriter with Motown in the 1960s and 1970s. He produced his own records and often addressed controversial themes.

Leon Wilkerson – 4/2/1952

Rock Musician. He was the bass guitarist for the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. On stage and on record, their full-throttle boogie style was both explosive and surprisingly graceful as evident in the genre’s landmark “Free Bird” and “Sweet Home Alabama.” Known for his outlandish hats.

Richard Manuel – 4/3/1943 

was a Canadian composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist, best known as a pianist and lead singer of The Band. The five members existed from December 1961 as The Hawks, becoming The Band in 1967, effectively breaking up in 1976, then re-formed in 1983. 

Muddy Waters – 4/4/1913

Arguably the most important bluesman to emerge in the musical era that followed World War II. Rightfully revered as the “Father of Modern Chicago Blues” with the influence of the Delta flowing within. Adding the ferocity of the electric guitar, he is the pioneer and purveyor of the dominating blues of Chicago. Forming bands that acted as a launchpad for future legends, at one point or another included: Little Walter, Otis Spann. Along with Luther “Snake Boy” Johnson, James Cotton, Pinetop Perkins, and Junior Wells.

Furthermore, his 1958 tour of England is quite possibly the first instance of electrified contemporary blues that the nation experienced. Furthermore, it’s essential to the development of the blues and rock scene that would soon explode there. Waters goes on to produce music that inspires the likes of Chuck Berry, Buddy Guy, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Etta James. Along with Freddie King, Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck, Angus Young, Tom Petty, Phish, Motorhead, and, naturally, The Rolling Stones. In short, Muddy Waters is and forever will be the Blues.

Berry Oakley – 4/4/1948

Founding member and original bassist of the legendary blues rock sextet The Allman Brothers Band. He’s responsible for introducing guitarist Dickey Betts to the other founding members of the band. While providing a solid bassline to anchor the furious, dueling guitars of Betts and Duane Allman. Tragically, he passes away in 1972. His final contributions to the Allman Brothers can be heard on the cherished Brothers and Sisters. He was only twenty-four.

Gary Moore – 4/4/1952

Renowned Irish multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and record producer who is best remembered as an unparalleled virtuoso guitarist. Moore enjoyed a lengthy and busy career, spread out over his time with Skid Row, Thin Lizzy. As well as Coliseum II, and his own celebrated works as a solo artist. He successfully spanned the genres of hard rock, heavy metal, progressive rock, and, perhaps most celebrated of all, the blues. While he’s no longer with us, his influence lives on through the likes of Kirk Hammett, Joe Bonamassa and more.

March 29th – April 4th – Keeping the Blues Alive

Help us with our mission of Keeping the Blues Alive in schools! March 29th – April 4th

To learn more or donate to Keeping The Blues Alive, visit our website at

Share this post