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On February 13th, in 1950, singer, pianist, drummer, songwriter, flautist, producer, Nobel Peace Prize Man of Peace award winner and co-founding member of Genesis-Peter (Brian) Gabriel was born in Cobham, Surrey, England. Gabriel is most known for his 1985 Sledgehammer animated video. His mother was a musician, and taught him the piano when he was a child. He joined his first band when he was in his teens. He was the drummer for the outfit. When he was 17, in 1967, Gabriel, with classmates Anthony Phillips (guitar), Chris Stewart (drums), Tony Banks (keys) and Mike Rutherford (bass, rhythm guitar) formed the band Genesis. They got the band’s name from their first producer and English pop music icon-Jonathan King.
They released their recording debut in 1969 on Decca Records-From Genesis to Revelation. It put the band on the map with a unique sound and Peter’s original vocal styles. He was influenced by the Arthur Brown (theater singer) and Roger Chapman (lead singer of the Family). Gabriel drew attention to the band by his outlandish stage costumes and unique performances when he’d have monologues with the crowd in florescent garb under blacklights. They did well commercially in the late 60s and early 70s. In 1975, Gabriel left Genesis for a solo career. The Grammy award-winning, Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame artist is 69 today.
On February 13th, in 1961, singer, songwriter, punk innovator, TV show host, author, activist, motivational speaker, radio host, journalist, comedian and former lead singer of Black Flag-Henry (Lawrence) Rollins was born in Washington, D.C. He started working as a roadie for local punk bands like the Teen Idles in the early 80s, and joined State of Affairs (S.O.A.) acting as their lead singer. In 1981, he became the lead singer for Back Flag. He got a tattoo of the band’s name on his arm and the back of his neck. He played his first gig with them in 1981 at the Cuckoo’s Nest in Mesa, California. He used to come out in black shorts, run around the stage and grind his teeth before shows to hype himself up, and the crowd.
His stage presence was undeniable, as well as the energy he brought to his performances. A lot of the band members liked this at first, but then it started making them feel like it was Henry Rollins & Black Flag (mid 80s). In 1986, he went solo and released his first LP-Hot Animal Machine. He officially started the Rollins Band around 1987. They released their debut-Life Time later that same year. He got into acting around the early 90s, after his video for Liar/Disconnected dropped. He has been writing all his life, and currently hosts a show on History Channel. Rollins is 58 today.
On February 13th, in 1979, singer, songwriter, poet, actress, rapper and co-founding member of Floetry-Floacist (Natalie Stewart) was born in London, England. Stewart’s family has Jamaican roots, and her father was in the British military. Thus, the family moved often which allowed Stewart got the opportunity to soak up Asian and European culture as a child. She got into writing and formed her first poetry collective when she was a student at the University of North London-3 Plus 1. In 1999, she was at a Poetry Slam with Marsha Ambrosius called Poets vs MC’s. They did a duo piece that incorporated singing, rapping and spoken word (Fantasize).
This led them to the USA where they started doing slams around Atlanta and Philly. In 2000, Darren Limitless Henson and Keith Keshon Pelzer with DJ Jazzy Jeff’s Touch of Jazz imprint got the duo signed to DreamWorks Records. They released their debut in 2002-Floetic. Many people know them for the song-Getting Late which is on this LP. They followed it up with a 2005 release-Flo’Ology which featured Common on SupaStar. Stewart went solo in 2006, releasing her debut EP in 2010-Spoken Soul. Later that year, she came with a full-length LP-Floetic Soul (Shanachie Records). She has been recording, acting, touring, speaking and releasing LPs since. She’s 40 today.
On February 13th, in 1993, singer, bassist and co-founding member of Musical Youth-Patrick Waite (c) passed away. He was the brother of Freddie Waite who played drums for the band. Their father was a member of the Jamaican reggae vocal group called The Techniques. Musical Youth started in 1979, with none of the members being over 16. They performed gigs around Birmingham and released their first single in 1981-Generals b/w Politics. They got signed to MCA in 1982 and released their hit single-Pass The Dutchie. The song was a rework of the Mighty Diamonds’ song Pass the Koutchie, which referred to a chalice used by Rastas to smoke marijuana.
Ironic that they’d have kids singing about smoking weed, but it’s still a really tight song. The original is dope as well. They released their full-length LP later that year-The Youth of Today. They rode the wave of the success from Pass the Dutchie until the mid 80s. Most people can only name this song from their discography. After 1986, gigs and legal troubles over money started to mount. They disbanded in 1989 and Patrick, always termed the ‘bad boy’-the Bobby Brown of Musical Youth if you will, returned to the streets. He was 24 when he died.
HONORABLE MENTION: On February 13th, in 1996 two seminal Hip Hop LPs were released by Tupac Shakur & the Fugees. First, Pac released All Eyez on Me (Deathrow-Interscope). It was the first rap double-LP on a major imprint. This is the album he released right after he got out of jail. California Love, I Ain’t Mad at Cha, How Do U Want it and 2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted are some of the songs the label made singles. Second, the Fugess released-The Score. It was their second and most successful LP. Notable singles were: Fu-Gee-La, Cowboys and How Many Mics.
February 13th proved to be a significant day in the King of Pop’s life two times over. First, I 1988, He purchased a large ranch in Santa Ynez, California. He began development on it shortly after and changed the name to-Neverland Ranch. 9 short years later, in 1997, he and his then wife-Debbie Rowe, welcomed their first child into the world together (Michael’s first child ever)-Prince. Rowe was Michael’s second wife, his first being Lisa Marie Presley. She later gave up her parental rights over Prince, and Michael was awarded full-custody.
On February 13th, in 1983 Marvin Gaye forever changed the singing of the USA’s national anthem when he sang at the NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles, California. It wasn’t his first time singing for a big sports event-Game 4 of the 1968 World Series and the NFL Superbowl in 1971. However, it was the first time he changed the melody and added a beat behind it. From that moment on, people began to expect artists to put their own spin on the anthem based on their style. Marvin was inspired by Jose Feliciano who changed the anthem’s melody for game 5 of the 1968 World Series.
On February 13th, in 1944, session musician, drummer, percussionist, African drummer and bandleader-Rebop Kwaku Baah (Anthony Kwaku Baah) was born in Konongo, Ghana. TOV covered his death on the January 12th post. Please refer to it for more information. Baah started playing drums with Randy Weston in the late 60s. He joined Traffic in the early 70s, and recording his first solo LP in 1972-Reebop. In the mid 70s, he worked with Eric Clapton and Wings. In the early 80s, he recorded with Zahara-an African funk outift. Rebop was 38 when he died.
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