| || || |
| || || |
| || || |
| || || |
On February 19th, 1940, two musical brothers (not biological) were born in the same city. Ironically, they both became members of The Miracles. THE FIRST MIRACLE: singer, guitarist, songwriter, producer, Motown mogul, pianist, record executive, and founding member of The Miracles-Smokey Robinson (William Robinson Jr.) was born in Detroit, Michigan. Smokey’s uncle Claude gave him the nickname of 'Smokey Joe,' when he was young. He started writing songs, and formed a doo wop group called The Five Chimes in 1955-which morphed into The Matadors after adding THE SECOND MIRACLE Bobby Rogers in 1957 (both men share the same birthday, and year, the time is inconclusive).
Once Rogers was added, also a Detroit native, they started gigging around city and changed their name to The Miracles. They tried to get a deal with Brunswick Records, but were turned down. Berry Gordy signed them to his Tamla imprint (later Motown) in 1957. Robinson showed Gordy his Big 10 notebook, which contained over 100 songs he’d written in high school. Some of these songs went on to become Motown hits. The group released their first single, Got A Job, in 1959 on Tamla Records. Their first hit, Shop Around, came a year later and was the label’s first million selling single. Robinson eventually went solo from The Miracles in the early 70s, while Rogers stayed with the group until his death in 2013 (at the age of age 73). Smokey is still alive and doing it! He’s 79 today.
On February 19th, 1946, composer, student of philosophy, painter, writer, and member of the prog rock band Focus-Pierre Van Der Linden was born in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Pierre had some prominent influences that shaped his lifestyle and approach when composing music. His influences on the drums were Buddy Rich, Elvin Jones (of The John Coltrane Quintet) and Tony Williams (part of Miles Davis' second Quintet, with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Wayne Shorter). Van Der Linden started on the drums as a child, using both traditional grips (both hands hold the sticks differently) and matched grips (both hands hold the sticks the same way). This made him a versatile drummer, that could do jazz and classical music with the traditional grips-plus funk, rock, blues, and soul with the matched grips.
He started playing professionally as a teen in the early 1960s, and was a member of several bands like-ZZ En De Maskers, Johnny And His Cellar Rockers, After Tea, The Friendship Quartet, Brainbox, and Tee Set. In 1970 he teamed up with Jan Akkerman, and they joined Focus. His play influenced many rock musicians worldwide as the title cut from their 1970 LP-Hocus Pocus-became a huge hit in The United States. He left Focus in 1973 to joint Trace, another Dutch-based prog rock outfit. Pierre turns 73 today.
..."Lemme hear ya say FAT BOYS! You know we’re down by law!"…On February 19th, 1960, tru skool rapper, actor, songwriter, producer, radio personality, vice-president of the Uncle Louie Music Group, and co-founding member of The Disco 3-Prince Markie Dee (Mark Anthony Morales) was born in Brooklyn, NY. Most of the readers know Markie as the skinnier member of the hip hop trio called The Fat Boys. Originally named as The Disco 3, the trio recorded their first single under this name in 1983-came back as The Fat Boys on their self-titled single b/w Human Beat Box in 1984.
The former is the song featured in the 1985 film Krush Groove, which is loosely based around the rise of Kurtis Blow & the formation of Def Jam Records. Their 1984 single put them on the map, making the name change inevitable. They were doing what people saw Eminem do during battles in 8-Mile (2002) as a group name, something that would permanently stick with them-but 18 years prior. The Fat Boys blew up in the mid 80s, but faltered afterwards. Markie released his solo LP, Free, in 1992 on Columbia Records. He went on to have a successful career as a co-producer with Cory Rooney (Soul Convention). They produced songs for others like J-Lo, Marc Anthony, Mariah Carey, and Mary J. Blige. He’s 51 today.
On February 19th, 1972, we lost a jazz icon, trumpeter, sideman, flugelhornist, composer, arranger, producer, bandleader, and be bop innovator-Edward Lee Morgan. He was shot to death by a woman he was living with, while gigging at a New York City club, for being with another woman. Morgan is one of my favorite trumpeters and sideman soloists. The Philly native did his thing with Blakey, Dizzy, Trane, Charles Earland, Larry Young, Wayne Shorter, and many more. His music is legendary, and his life story is better than the best dramatic movie you’ve seen for several reasons: it has elements of youth, tragedy, saviors, success, more tragedy, a love triangle, a great comeback, and a murder. Most importantly, it’s REAL…meaning it all really happened. I had a few Lee Morgan LPs with him solo, and as a sideman, on Blue Note from the late 1950s and 1960s.
His sound back then was mostly hard bop and modal, with a be-bop edge. It was funky and soulful, before things were funky and soulful. I strongly encourage you to listen to his music and watch the documentary on Netflix about his life: I Called Him Morgan (2016). After I watched it, I had a ‘new’ ear open when listening to his music. I also had a new respect, admiration, and understanding…after all, if we don’t have a clear understanding of one another, what do we have?...I say that to emphasize that we must constantly learn about one another, but more importantly, respect and accept those things in others that we can not change…
HONORABLE MENTION: On February 19th, 1957, singer, guitarist, pianist, rapper, bassist, songwriter, and 80s New Wave pioneer-Falco (Johann Holzel) was born in Vienna, Austria. He’s most known for his 1986 hit Rock Me Amadeus. The single made him the 1st Austrian musician to have a number #1 Hit in both The US & The UK. Falco started playing the baby grand piano when he was four, and began writing & composing his own tunes during his teens. He released seven LPs between 1982 and 1972. Falco died in a fatal automobile accident, at the age of 40, in 1998.
On February 19th, 1982, one of the wildest rock stars of all time-singer, songwriter, TV personality, co-founder of Black Sabbath, and solo artist Ozzy Osbourne was arrested for disgracing The Alamo. As the story goes, Ozzy was in San Antonio for a performance. He went to the Alamo and urinated on The Centoaph, which honors the people that defended the fort. Not only was he detained, he also was banned from ever performing in San Antonio. The press took comments after his arrest, and Ozzy told him that The White House lawn was next.
On February 19th, 1995, drummer, percussionist, TV personality, celebrity sex tape legend, actor, producer, solo artist, songwriter, and co-founder of Motley Crue-Tommy Lee married then Baywatch star Pamela Anderson...The festivities went down in Cancun, Mexico; and in true Baywatch fashion, Pamela wore a white bikini. Their courtship lasted only four days. Yes, they ‘dated’ for four days before deciding to get married. Both were big pop culture figures at the time. They were married for three years, before divorcing in 1998. Their sex-tape paved the way for Paris Hilton & Kim Kardashian to do the same.
For more information on any musician or event reviewed in posts, or for additional information on The Wandering Eyes Blog overall, use the search bar and search the artist or event using keywords. It’s like a Google search for the site. A myriad of information, covering several topics exists on this site going back to 2013 when it was created. PEACE