This week’s blues birthdays feature Pete Townshend, Joe Cocker, Son House and more!
Big Joe Turner 5/18/1911
Most famously known for his recording of “Shake, Rattle, and Roll”, this Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee had a career spanning six decades. He delved into big band jazz, jump blues, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll, until finally returning to the blues that got him started in Kansas City, and dominated the last twenty years of his career. Some of his early performances helped bring jazz and the blues to wider American audiences, and he continued 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. He has also lent his voice and inimitable albeit sometimes aggressive guitar stylings to the band for over 50 years, and they continue to work on new projects which never fail to receive critical and popular acclaim.
Joseph Hill AKA Dusty Hill: 5/19/1949
Dusty Hill is an American singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist best known as the bassist of the world-renowned Texas blues rock act, ZZ Top, which has sold over 50 million albums and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 2004. Starting out with a bluesier sound along with his brother Rocky in Texas bands like the Warlocks, Dusty eventually opted for a more psychedelic sound. In 1969, he and Frank Beard joined Billy Gibbons in Houston, and as ZZ Top they have recorded and toured ever since, with several projects and tours planned.
Joe Cocker 5/20/1944
His gritty renditions of many popular songs are what skyrocketed into commercial success, but it was Joe Cocker’s unforgettable and raucous performance of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends” at Woodstock that forever cemented him as a rock star. His career spanned 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 died from lung cancer in 2014 in at the age of 70.
Eddie House, Jr. AKA Son House: 5/21/1902
Son House was 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. His music was an inspiration for many blues musicians we have come to love, including Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Rory Gallagher, Bonnie Raitt, and Warren Haynes.
Richard “Rich” Robinson: 5/24/1969
Richard Robinson, with his brother Chris Robinson, was one of the founding members of the blues rock band, The Black Crowes. The band formed in the 1990s, at a time where their Stones-style of rock-and-roll was largely out of style. But Rich’s rhythmic and relentless guitar, along with the rest of the band’s fervor allowed them to evoke the nostalgic yet fresh reinvention of a foregone era that so many classic rock fans longed for.
That’s all for this week’s May 18 – May 24 birthdays!
Sol Canal for Keeping the Blues Alive
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