Country singer and songwriter Eddie Rabbitt would be 80 years old today (he died from lung cancer in 1998). Eddie was born in Brooklyn to Irish immigrant parents and raised in East Orange, New Jersey. He started out as a songwriter, writing such hits as "Kentucky Rain" for Elvis Presley and "Pure Love" by Ronnie Milsap. "I Love A Rainy Night" reached #1 on the Hot 100, the Country chart, and the Adult Contemporary chart in the US, #4 on the Country chart in Canada, #6 in Australia and #8 in New Zealand in 1980.
Cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, the creator of, and for almost 50 years the artist behind, the comic strip Peanuts, would be 99 years old today. He passed away on Frbruary 12, 2000 after a long battle with colon cancer; the final original strip of the series was published the next day. In 1965 Schulz created the Christmas special A Charlie Brown Christmas, featuring the music of jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi. One of the songs written for the special was "Linus and Lucy," which was used in most subsequent Peanuts specials. As the Christmas season begins today (at least in the United States), I thought it was an appropriate song.
Alto saxophonist and composer Paul Desmond was born on this day in 1924. As a member of The Dave Brubeck Quartet in the ’50’s and ’60’s, he played on the groundbreaking album Time Out, in which all the songs were written in time signatures other than 4/4 or 3/4. He composed what might be the most famous jazz piece of the late 20th Century, "Take Five."
Jazz pianist Teddy Wilson, who played with Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, and Billie Holiday, was born on this date in 1912. He, Benny Goodman, Gene Kupa and Lionel Hampton made up the Benny Goodman Quartet, one of the first racially mixed musical groups in the 1930’s. "All Of Me" is a song by Seymour Simons and Gerald Marks and is from his 1956 Verve release I Got Rhythm. With him are bassist Gene Raney and drummer Papa Jo Jones.
Singer Betty Everett, whose "The Shoop Shoop Song" reached #6 on the Hot 100 in 1964, was born on this day in 1939. She was working with The Rhythm and Blues Foundation when she attempted a comeback in the ’80’s, but was unable to revive her career due to health issues. "You’re No Good" only reached #51 in 1963, but was a #1 hit for Linda Ronstadt in 1975.