I wouldn’t want to live in the past. But I still like to visit every now and then. Here are the musical birthdays we’ll be celebrating and the anniversaries we’ll be marking over the next week:
BIRTHDAYS & ANNIVERSARIES
Monday February 18
ARRIVING: In 1959, Ray Charles recorded What’d I Say in New York City. In 1965, The Beatles recorded John Lennon’s You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away and Paul McCartney’s Tell Me What You See at Abbey Road Studios in London. A year later in 1966, Brian Wilson recorded Good Vibrations in Los Angeles.
LEAVING: In 1995, The Replacements’ troubled former lead guitarist Bob Stinson died of a drug overdose in Minneapolis.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Artist and much-beloved vocalist Yoko Ono was born on this day in 1933.
Tuesday February 19
CLASS ACTS: In 1982, Ozzy Osbourne was arrested in San Antonio for urinating on the cenotaph at the Alamo. He just put out a plush headless bat to celebrate the anniversary of biting off a bat’s head, so this could be interesting. Moving on, in 1995, Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee married Baywatch star Pamela Anderson on a Cancun beach in Mexico four days after meeting her. The bride wore a white bikini. And in 2004, Johnny Cash’s family blocked an attempt by advertisers to use his hit song Ring of Fire to promote hemorrhoid-relief products.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Motown legend Smokey Robinson was born in 1940; Black Sabbath guitarist Toni Iommi was born in 1948 with all his fingers. He lost the tips of two of the at the age of 17 on his last day of work in a sheet metal factory.
Wednesday February 20
DEATH: In 1980, AC/DC singer Bon Scott died after suffocating on his own vomit while sleeping off a heavy night’s drinking in the passenger seat of a friend’s parked car. In 2003, 100 people died after pyrotechnics ignited a club during a gig by Great White in West Warwick, R.I.
LIFE: Buffy Sainte-Marie was born on this day in 1941; guitarist Jerome Geils was born in 1946; Steely Dan guitarist Walter Becker was born in 1950; Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain arrived in 1967; and Rihanna was born in 1988
Thursday February 21
ENTERING: Nina Simone was born in 1933 and Mudhoney frontman Mark Arm appeared in 1962. In 1986, Metallica released their third album Master of Puppets.
EXITING: Former Supremes vocalist Florence Ballard died of cardiac arrest in 1976 at age 32. Ballard had left the group in 1967 and was living on welfare when she died.
Friday February 22
GOOD IDEAS: In 1978, The Police appeared in a Wrigley’s gum commercial. The band dyed their hair blonde for the spot and kept the look. In 1989, the Grammys awarded the first trophy for Heavy Metal to Jethro Tull instead of Metallica. Fans were not amused.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: British pop balladeer James Blunt was born in 1974. I strongly recommend you follow his amazing Twitter feed. Here’s an example: Recently someone sent him this tweet: “my sister just got married at reef villa, Sri Lanka and apparently they are staying in the same room as you did. What we wanna know, did you bang in that bed…could be their claim to fame!” His reply: “Sadly not. I had a dodgy tummy that night and shat the bed. Do send them my regards.” Beautiful.
Saturday February 23
COMING: In 1940, Woody Guthrie wrote the lyrics to This Land Is Your Land in his room at the Hanover House Hotel in New York City. Nearly 80 years later to the day, Gary Clark Jr. used it as the inspiration for his new song and album This Land. Coincidence? Yeah, probably.
GOING: In 2003, bassist Howie Epstein died of a drug overdose in Mexico. He had played with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and also worked with Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Stevie Nicks, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Linda Ronstadt and Del Shannon.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Blues guitarist Johnny Winter was born in 1944; Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford came on the scene in 1952.
Sunday February 24
FIRST: Led Zeppelin released their sixth album Physical Graffiti in 1975; Kurt Cobain married Courtney Love in Hawaii in 1992.
LAST: In 1969, The Jimi Hendrix Experience played their last British gig at the Royal Albert Hall. In 1973, The Byrds played their final concert at The Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ. In 1990 singer Johnnie Ray died of liver failure in Los Angeles.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: If you like pina coladas, buy one for Rupert Holmes, who turns 72 today.