Blues News

May 17 – 23rd KTBA Birthdays

May 17 – 23rd KTBA Birthdays. Celebrating Birthdays include Taj Mahal, Big Joe Turner, Pete Townshend, Dusty Hill, Joe Cocker, Son House, Calvin Simon. And Robert Moog!

Taj Mahal – 5/17/1942 

An iconic blues singer and multi-instrumentalist born in Harlem and grows up in Springfield, Massachusetts. With his very musical parents, that give him a shortwave radio. Picking up music from around the world, further instills an interest in world music from an early age. Also with a good singing voice, and a few piano lessons he starts playing his stepfather’s guitar.

After graduating college with a degree in agriculture in 1964, Taj moves to LA in to form a band “The Rising Sons” which includes guitarist Ry Cooder. As a result, he’s exposed to diverse musicians including Howlin’ Wolf, Otis Redding, Buddy Guy, and the Rolling Stones. While forging his own unique style of blues, blending elements of African music, calypso, jazz, country blues, and gospel.

Big Joe Turner 5/18/1911

Besides the song “Shake, Rattle, and Roll”, this Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee has a career that spans six decades. Diving head first into big band jazz, jump blues, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll, Turner finally returns to the blues that jump starts his career in Kansas City, and dominates the last twenty years of his career. Some of his early performances bring jazz and the blues to wider American audiences, and he continues to record for most of his life before his passing in 1985.

Pete Townshend – 5/19/1945

As co-founder and principal songwriter for one of the most important and influential bands in rock history. Pete Townshend has written over 100 songs for The Who. Also lending his voice and inimitable albeit sometimes aggressive guitar stylings to the band for over 50 years. And continues to work on new projects which never fail to receive critical and popular acclaim.

Dusty Hill – 5/19/1949

An American singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. Most know as the bassist of the Texas blues rock act, ZZ Top. Selling over 50 million albums and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 2004. Starting out the band with a heavy blues rock sound along with his brother Rocky in Texas bands. Such as the Warlocks, Dusty eventually opts for a more psychedelic sound. In 1969, he and Frank Beard join Billy Gibbons in Houston. And as ZZ Top they’ve been recording and touring ever since. Along with many projects on the horizon!

Joe Cocker – 5/20/1944

His gritty renditions of many popular songs are what skyrocketed into commercial success. But it’s Joe Cocker’s unforgettable and raucous performance of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends” at Woodstock that forever cements him as a rock star. His career spans over 50 years of sabbaticals and resurgences, with several top-charted recordings, and over 20 albums, and he will always be remembered as one of the most soulful British rock singers. Cocker dies from lung cancer in 2014 at the age of 70.

Son House – 5/21/1902

Son House is a preeminent Delta, country, and gospel blues musician, known for his captivating performances, emotionally charged singing, and impassioned slide guitar. He spent the early years of his career in Robinsonville, MS as a preacher by day and juke-joint extraordinaire by night, but eventually his trance-like performances brought him international prominence during the blues revival of the 1960s. Also music is an inspiration for many blues musicians we’ve come to love, including Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Rory Gallagher, Bonnie Raitt, and Warren Haynes.

Calvin Simon – 5/22/1942S

Calvin Simon is American Rock Vocalist and a member of the bands Parliament and Funkadelic. He’s also a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as being an inductee in 1997 with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelic. After a hiatus from the music industry, Simon turns to gospel music and now records for his own label, Simon Says Records.

Robert Moog – 5/523/1942

an American engineering physicist and pioneer of electronic music. He’s the founder of Moog Music and the inventor of the first commercial synthesizer, the Moog synthesizer, debuts in 1964. This is followed in 1970 by a more portable model, the Minimoog, most describing as the most famous and influential synthesizer in history.

May 17 – 23rd Birthdays. Be sure to check back Next Week!

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

Share this post