Music Diary – 31st January

Welcome to my Music Diary – today for 31st January!

John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten (Sex Pistols)

John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten (Sex Pistols)

 Happy birthday to Mr. John Joseph Lydon, who was born on the 31st January 1956 in London! Under his stage name Johnny Rotten and as the frontman of the legendary Punk band Sex Pistols, he became one of the outstanding singers in Rock music history!

At the age of 15, John crossed paths with John Simon Ritchie, who was later nicknamed Sid Vicious. Both jobbed around and they started going to various clubs. And they also visited the fetish clothing shop called „SEX„, who was run by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren. In 1975, McLaren was working on promoting a new band called Sex Pistols, which was formed by Steve Jones (guitar), Glen Matlock (bass) and Paul Cook (drums). Due to Lydon’s ragged look and his coulered hair and after singing to Alice Cooper’s tune „I’m Eighteen„, which was played on the store’s jukebox, he became the frontman of the group and Malcolm McLaren began to manage the Punk quartet.

On the 26th November 1976 the debut single „Anarchy in the U.K.“ was released, which went to No. 38 in the UK. Before the next single was recorded, some heavy tensions between Johnny and Glen arose. This led to the quit of Matlock, who left the band finally in Feburary 1977. Sid Vicious was asked to be the new bass player and he joined the band. His first gig with the Sex Pistols happened on the 3rd April 1977. Some weeks later, on the 27th May, the second single „God Save the Queen“ hit the stores. Although the BBC and the Independent Broadcasting Authority refused to play the song on national radios, because of the controversial lyrics and cover art, the track reached No. 2 in the UK.

On the 27th October 1977, the legendary debut album „Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistolswas released and the LP became one of the most important albums in history of rock music.

The release of the debut album was the beginning of the end for the Sex Pistols:
Vicious‘ realationship with Nancy Spungen and his heroin addiction caused big problems in the band and on the 14th January 1978 the last concert happened in San Francisco. Three days later, on the 17th January 1978, the Sex Pistols called it a day. After the break-up, guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook founded The Professionals, while singer John Lydon formed in 1978 the group PiL (Public Image Limited). Bass player Sid Vicous died one year later (2nd February 1979) on an overdose.

The remaining four members reunited three times after the break up. These unnecessary reunions happened in 1996, 2002 and 2007.

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Music Diary – 29th January

Welcome to my Music Diary – today for the 29th January!

Thomas Erdelyi aka Tommy Ramone (29th January 1949 – 11th July 2014)

Thomas Erdelyi aka Tommy Ramone (29th January 1949 – 11th July 2014)

Happy birthday to Mr. Thomas Erdelyi alias Tommy Ramone, who was born on the 29th January 1949 in Budapest, Hungary!

Thomas was Jewish and his parents had survived the Holocaust. In 1953, his family emigrated to the USA and settled down in Forest Hills, New York. In the sixties and during his time at High School, he began playing drums and with guitarist John Cummings they performed together in a group called Tangerine Puppets. After the band broke up in 1967, Tommy and John became friends with bassist Douglas Colvin and singer Jeffrey Hyman. In 1974 they founded their own band called Ramones and the members changed also their surnames into Ramone. John Cummings became Johnny Ramone, Douglas Colvin named himself Dee Dee Ramone and Jeffrey Hyman called himself Joey Ramone. Tommy was supposed to be the manager but he overtook the drums, because nobody was able to play this fast tempo. On the 30th March 1974, the Ramones played their first gig at Performance Studios and in August the quartet performed the first time at the legendary CBGB (usually referred to as CBGB’s). The Ramones became very quick one of the most well known Punkbands in and around New York. In 1975 the group was signed by Seymour Stein of Sire Records. Until 1979 the studio albums „Ramones“ (1976), „Leave Home“ (1977) and „Rocket to Russia“ (1977) were released and also the live LP „It’s Alive“ (recorded in 1977 and released two years later) hit the stores.

Tommy Ramone’s last show as the Ramones drummer took place on the 4th May 1978 at the CBGB’s, but he stayed in the band for a while as the manager and producer. Later he performed with Claudia Tienan (formerly of underground band the Simplistics) as a Bluegrass Folk duo called Uncle Monk.

Tommy Ramone later suffered from bile duct cancer and on the 11th July 2014 he passed away at the age of 65.

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Music Diary – 28th January

Welcome to my Music Diary – today for the 28th January!

Dick Taylor (The Rolling Stones, The Pretty Things)

Dick Taylor (The Rolling Stones, The Pretty Things)

Happy birthday to Mr. Richard Clifford „Dick“ Taylor, who was born on the 28th January 1943 in Dartford, Kent (UK). Dick was the first bass player for The Rolling Stones back in 1962 and founded one year later the legendary The Pretty Things!

In the sixties, guitarist Dick Taylor attended the Sidcup Art College in London and during that time, he played with singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards together in a group called „Little Boy Blue And The Blue Boys“. In July 1962 the trio joined Brian Jones and Ian Stewart, who founded the band „Rollin‘ Stones“. Since two guitarists were in the line-up, Dick took over the bass part. In November 1962, Dick Taylor left the band and returned to art college. Mr. Bill Wyman took over the place in December of the same year and became the new member of the now called The Rolling Stones.

In September 1963, Dick Taylor founded his own band The Pretty Things. Beside him as the guitarist, vocalist Phil May, Brian Pendleton on rhythm guitar, bassist John Stax and Pete Kitley on drums completed the line-up. They recorded over 10 studio albums and are still active and performing. Dick Taylor worked also with other bands, like The Mekons, and he produced Hawkwind’s self-titled debut album in 1970.

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Music Diary – 26th January

Welcome to my Music Diary – today for the 26th January!

eddievanhalenprofHappy birthday to Eddie Van Halen, who was born on the 26th January 1955 in Nijmegen, The Netherlands!


1957, Born on this day, Eddie Van Halen, Dutch guitarist with Van Halen who had the 1984 US No.1 & UK No. 7 single ‚Jump‘. His guitar solo in the track ‚Eruption‘ was voted No.2 on Guitar World magazine’s readers poll of the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos.

Edward Lodewijk „Eddie“ Van Halen (born January 26, 1955 in Nijmegen) is a Dutch-born American musician, songwriter and producer. He is best known as the lead guitarist, keyboardist and co-founder of the hard rock band Van Halen. He is considered to be one of the world’s greatest guitarists, and one of the most influential rock guitarists of the 20th century. In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Van Halen number eight in the list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists. In 2012, he was voted in a Guitar World magazine reader’s poll as the number one of „The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time“ over Brian May of Queen (number two) and Alex Lifeson of Rush (number three).[1]

In 1972 David Lee Roth met the Van Halen brothers Eddie and Alex who had a band called Genesis. Bass player Michael Anthony completed the line up and shortly after that they changed the group name into Mammoth. In 1974 Roth suggested to change the name again – into Van Halen. Under the new moniker the quartet performed in several clubs in Pasadena and Hollywood and they became famous in California, especially in and around Los Angeles. In 1977 Gene Simmons of Kiss produced a demo tape but Van Halen didn’t succeeded. Shortly after that Mo Ostin and Ted Templeman of Warner Bros. Records attended a Van Halen show at the Starwood in Hollywood and they were deeply impressed by the performance and offered the band a recording contract. In September/October 1977 Van Halen recorded their self titled debut at Sunset Sound Recorders studio, which was released in February 1978 and reached Nor. 19 on the Billboard charts. It features classics like “Runnin’ with the Devil” and the outstanding guitar solo “Eruption“, which showcased Eddie’s use of a brandnew technique at that time – the so-called “finger-tapping”. In 1979 the follower “Van Halen II” with the hit single “Dance the Night Away” hit the stores. With the albums “Women and Children First” (1980),Fair Warning” (1981) and “Diver Down” (1982) the fanbase grew bigger and bigger. The LP “1984” marks Van Halen’s big breakthrough. The single “Jump” went No. 1 and also the other three outtakes “Panama“, “I’ll Wait” and “Hot for Teacher” charted. Due to personal tensions David Lee Roth decided to leave the band on the 1st April 1985 and started his successful solo career featuring his big hits “California Girls” and “Just like Paradise” (from the album “Skyscraper“) and “Just a Gigolo” right after leaving Van Halen. In 2006 David Lee re-joined Van Halen and recorded the comeback album “A Different Kind of Truth“, which was released finally in 2012.

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Music Diary – 25th January

Welcome to my Music Diary – today for the 25th January!

Etta James (25th January 1938 – 20th January 2012)

Etta James (25th January 1938 – 20th January 2012)

Happy birthday to Jamesetta Hawkins aka Etta James, who was born on the 25th January 1938 in Los Angeles, Callifornia (USA)!

At the age of five years, Jamesetta received her first vocal training from James Earle Hines, musical director of the Echoes of Eden choir, at the St. Paul Baptist Church in Los Angeles. Turned 14, she founded the girl group called „The Creolettes“ and shortly after that, the talented and young singer met musician Johnny Otis, who took her under his wings. Otis changed the band name into „The Peaches“ and Jamesetta into the stage name Etta James. In early 1955 the single „Dance with Me, Henry“ was released, which reached number one on the Hot Rhythm & Blues Tracks chart. Due to this success, The Peaches got an opening spot on Little Richard’s national tour.

After leaving the band, Etta was signed by the legendary label Chess Records. With male singer Harvey Fuqua she recorded the singles“If I Can’t Have You“ and „Spoonful„. With „All I Could Do Was Cry“ (1960), Etta had her first solo hit. In the same year her album debut „At Last!“ was released, which offered a varied choice of Jazz standards, Blues tunes, Doo-Wop elements and Rhythm & Blues. Especially James‘ interpretations of the title song, „I Just Want to Make Love to You“ and „A Sunday Kind of Love“ became classics. In 1961 her second LP „The Second Time Around“ featuring the two hits „Fool That I Am“ and „Don’t Cry Baby“. Etta James expanded her style with more Gospel elements – this can be heard on the two recordings „Something’s Got a Hold on Me“ and „Stop the Wedding“. In 1967, the LP „Tell Mama“ hit the stores. The title track and also the tracks „Security“ and „I’d Rather Go Blind“ became further hits.

In the seventies, Etta James continued recording and more albums were released, although she had no big hits anymore. In 1978 she was the opening act for The Rolling Stones and also performed at the legendary Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Then she left Chess Records, stopped working and began struggeling with drug addiction and alcoholism. In 1989 Etta signed with Island Records and her albums „Seven Year Itch“ and „Stickin‘ to My Guns“ were released. Three years later, the LP „The Right Time“ (on Elektra Records) followed and in 1992 Etta James was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

With her tribute album to Billie Holiday called „Mystery Lady: Songs of Billie Holiday“ (1993), Etta James won her first Grammy Award in the category „Best Jazz Vocal Performance“ and ten years later, she was honoured with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. And she picked her next Grammy  (in the category „Best Contemporary Blues Album„) for „Let’s Roll“ in 2005.

Etta became seriously sick and suffered from dementia and leukemia. In November 2011 her last album „The Dreamer“ was released. On the 20th January 2012, Etta James died at the Riverside Communiy Hospital in Riverside (California) – just five days before her 74th birthday and only three days after the passing of Johnny Otis, who discovered her in the fifties.

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Music Diary – 24th January

Welcome to my Music Diary – today for the 24th January!

epstein_beatlescontract460On the 24th January 1962, manager Brian Epstein signed a contract with The Beatles. The management deal was time-limited for five years and gave Epstein 10 – 15 % of their income. Interestingly, Epstein didn’t sign this first contract: „Well, if they ever want to tear it up, they can hold me but I can’t hold them“. After that, Brian Epstein formed his own management company „NEMS Enterprises“. And on the 1st October 1962, the deal was renewed (including a three years publishing contract signed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney) and gave the manager 15 unitl 25 % of revenues, depending on Epstein’s help to increase the band’s earnings.

Four days later, the first single by The Beatles was released: „Love Me Do„, backed by „P.S. I Love You„, reached No. 17 on the UK chart and marked the beginning of an outstanding career of one of the most successful pop bands in history.


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Music Diary – 23rd January

Welcome to my Music Diary – today for the 23rd January!

Bruce Springsteen & Danny Federici (23rd January 1950 – 17th April 2008)

Bruce Springsteen & Danny Federici (23rd January 1950 – 17th April 2008)

 Happy birthday to Daniel Paul „Danny“ Federici, who was born on the 23rd January 1950 in Flemington, New Jersey (USA)! Danny was the long time organ, glockenspiel and accordion player for Bruce Springsteen.

At the age of seven, Danny started to play accordion. Beside a classical education, he also began to study Jazz and Blues. During his high school time at Hunterdon Central High School, he started a band called „Child“ with his friend Vini Lopez – and the singer became a guy named Bruce Springsteen! Federici and also Lopez later joined Bruce’s group Steel Mill, which became later Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. And Danny worked with „The Boss“ over 40 years.

In the nineties, when the E Street Band was – more or less – inactive, Danny played with a Country/Americana band called Diamondback and they recorded the album „Ragin Wind“. Danny Federici also recorded four solo LPs. Best known is his release „Flemington“ (1997), which features also bassist Garry Tallent and guitarist Nils Lofgren from the E Street Band. Beside this, Federeici also worked with other artists like Joan Armatrading, Graham Parker, Gary U.S. Bonds and Garland Jeffreys.

On 21st November 2007, it was officially announced, that Danny Federici would take a break from the E Street Band to pursue treatment for melanoma. Sadly, Danny returned only one time on stage again – on 20th March 2008 in Indianapolis. One month later, on the 17th April 2008 and after three years suffering with melanoma, Danny Federici died at the age of 58 years.


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Music Diary – 22nd January

Welcome to my Music Diary – today for the 22nd January!

Steven Adler (Guns N' Roses)

Steven Adler (Guns N‘ Roses)

Happy birthday to Mr. Michael Coletti aka Steven Adler, who was born on the 22nd January 1965 in Cleveland, Ohio (USA)! Steven is very well known as the drummer of Guns N‘ Roses (from 1985 – 1990).

Adler grew up firstly in San Francisco, but due to his bad behaviour he was sent to his grandparents in Hollywood. At the Bancroft Junior High, Steven became a friend of Saul Hudson, who later changed his name into Slash. During that time he began learning the drums. In 1983, Adler founded with Slash the band Road Crew. Bassist Duff McKagan joined and the trio began to rehearse some songs – one of them should became later the Guns N‘ Roses tune „Rocket Queen„. As they didn’t find an adequate lead singer, the band called it a day one year later. Steven Adler joined then a local band called Hollywood Rose, which featured vocalist Axl Rose and guitarist Izzy Stradlin. In 1985, Axl, Izzy and several members of the band L.A. Guns founded Guns N‘ Roses. Slash and Duff completed the legendary line-up and the group started to play local nightclubs like the Whisky a Go Go, The Roxy and The Troubadour. In March 1986 the band was signed to Geffen Records. The debut album „Appetite for Destruction“ followed in July 1987 and it has sold over 28 million copies worldwide and it became the best-selling debut album of all time in the USA, by selling 18 million units. During that time, Steven’s drug problem became worse and the band decided to fire him on 11th July 1990. Adler’s last show happened on 7th April 1990 at the charity event Farm Aid IV, in Indianapolis.

After being an ex-Gunner, Steven Adler reformed his old band band Road Crew and briefly joined BulletBoys. In 2003, Steven formed with guitarist  Keri Kelli (from Slash’s Snakepit) the band Adler’s Appetite. The line-up was completed by second guitarist Brent Muscat (Faster Pussycat) with bassist Robbie Crane and singer Jizzy Pearl (both formerly members of Ratt). The setlist consisted beside original material also of songs from the legendary Guns N‘ Roses first LP. The group broke up in 2011. Shortly after that, Steve founded his new band simply called Adler. The debut album „Back from the Dead“ was released on 26th November 2012 and it features also guest appearances from Slash and John 5.

Beside his activities as a drummer, Steven Adler appeared also on the second (2008) and fifth season (2011) of the reality TV show „Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew „, as well as on „Sober House“ (2009).

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Music Diary – 21st January

Welcome to my Music Diary – today for the 21st January!

Edwin Starr (21st January 1942 – 2nd April 2003)

Edwin Starr (21st January 1942 – 2nd April 2003)

Happy birthday to Charles Edwin Hatcher aka Edwin Starr, who was born on the 21st January 1942 in Nashville Tennessee!

Before becoming a famous Soul singer, Edwin moved with his cousins Roger and Willie Hatcher to Cleveland, Ohio and later to Detroit (Michigan), where he formed his own group called „The Future Tones“ in 1957. In the sixties he began recording for the small label Ric-Tic and later for the famous Motown Records. Some of Starr’s hits were „Headline News“, „Back Street“ (cover versin of The Miracles‚ „Way Over There„) and „S.O.S. (Stop Her on Sight)“. And he wrote the song, „Oh How Happy“ for The Shades of Blue – this tune reached No. 12 at the US chart in 1966. Two years later, Edwin recorded with „25 Miles“ his first international success – the single peaked at No. 6 in the USA.

Edwin Starr’s biggest hit was the Vietnam War protest song „War“ (1970), which topped the Billboard charts for three weeks and sold over three million copies. This song is also featured on Starr’s fourth studio album „War & Peace„.

In 1973, the Soul singer moved to England, where he continued recording. During the Disoc era he released with „(Eye-to-Eye) Contact“ another hit, which went to No. 6 in the UK. Edwin continued recording during the eighties and nineties and in 1987 he joined the charity project Ferry Aid for recording the Beatles classic „Let it be„.

On 2nd April 2003, Edwin Starr suffered a heart attack – he died at his home in Bramcote (near Nottingham) at the age of 61 years.

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Music Diary – 20th January

Welcome to my Music Diary – today for the 20th January!

Ian Hill (Judas Priest)

Ian Hill (Judas Priest)

 Happy birthday to Judas Priest bassist Ian Frank Hill, who was born on the 20th January 1951 in West Bromwich (UK)!

Taught by his father, who played in local Jazz bands, Ian Hill learned how to play the double bass. At the age of 19, Ian founded with guitarist Kenny “K.K.” Downing the band Judas Priest. Singer Rob Halford and second guitarist Glenn Tipton joined later. And with drummer John Hinch the debut album “Rocka Rolla“ (1974) was recorded. The LP was anything but a success. With the follow-up “Sad Wings of Destiny” (1976) the group became better known. Classic tracks like “Victim of Changes“, “The Ripper” and “Dreamer Deceiver” should get a fix place on future setlists. The special Judas Priest sound, with two guitars and Halford’s unique voice, has been refined over the years. Due to albums like “Sin After Sin” (1977), „Stained Class“, “Killing Machine” (both 1978) and “British Steel” (1980) the band is conisdered as the pioneer of British Heavy Metal.

Ian Hill has only three songwriting credits („Winter“ and „Caviar and Meths“ – both featured on „Rocka Rolla“ and „Invader“ from „Stained Class“). After the departing of K.K. Downing in 2011, Ian Hill is the sole constant founding member of Judas Priest.

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