Allen Collins (Lynyrd Skynyrd)

SkynyrdAllen Collins, the American guitarist and songwriter with Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Rossington-Collins Band, and Allen Collins Band was Born 19 July 1952. Allen Collins joined Skynyrd in Jacksonville, Florida just two weeks after Ronnie Van Zant and Gary Rossington, along with Bob Burns and Larry Junstrom. So came the birth of Lynyrd Skynyrd in the summer of 1964. Allen Collins and lead singer Ronnie Van Zant co-wrote many of the biggest Skynyrd hits, including “Free Bird”, “Gimme Three Steps”, and “That Smell”. The band received national success beginning in 1973 while opening for The Who on their Quadrophenia tour. On October 20, 1977, the Skynyrd plane crashed into a forest in Mississippi killing three band members, including Van Zant. Collins was seriously injured in the crash, suffering two broken vertebrae in his neck and severe damage to his right arm. While amputation was recommended, Collins’ father refused and Allen eventually recovered.

During the early 1980s, Collins continued to perform on stage in The Rossington-Collins Band which enjoyed modest success, releasing two albums (Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere, and This Is the Way), and charting a few singles (notably “Don’t Misunderstand Me”). Tragedy struck again just as the Rossington Collins Band was getting off the ground. In 1980, during the first days of the debut concert tour, Allen’s wife, Kathy, suddenly died of a hemorrhage. This forced the tour’s cancellation. With the lingering effects of losing his friends in the plane crash, Kathy’s death devastated Allen. The Rossington-Collins Band disbanded in 1982. Allen continued to pursue music, starting the Allen Collins Band, which released one album, Here, There & Back in 1983. The six members were Skynyrd keyboardist Billy Powell and bassist Leon Wilkeson, along with lead singer Jimmy Dougherty, drummer Derek Hess, and guitarists Barry Lee Harwood and Randall Hall. In 1984, Collins tried to resurrect band, hiring Jacksonville guitarist Mike Owings and bassist Andy Ward King. Later members included guitarist-vocalist Michael Ray FitzGerald and bassist “Filthy Phil” Price. However, Collins crashed his vehicle into a ditch, killing his girlfriend and paralyzing himself.

In 1987 Collins and his manager-father decided to reform Lynyrd Skynyrd and began recruiting former Lynyrd Skynyrd members. Sadly though On January 29, 1986, Collins was involved in a car accident, claiming the life of his girlfriend and leaving the guitarist paralyzed from the waist down, with limited use of his arms and hands. Collins pleaded no contest to vehicular manslaughter as well as driving under the influence of alcohol. He would never play guitar on-stage again.

Collins’ last performance with Lynyrd Skynyrd was at the band’s very first reunion (after the plane crash) at the 1979 Volunteer Jam V in Nashville, Tennessee. All remaining members of Lynyrd Skynyrd reunited officially in 1987, but due to his injury, Collins only served as musical director. As part of his plea bargain for the 1986 accident, Collins addressed fans at every Skynyrd concert with an explanation of why he could not perform, citing the dangers of drinking and driving, as well as drugs and alcohol. Also because of Collins’ accident, the band donated a sizable amount of concert proceeds from the 1987–88 tour to the Miami Project, which is involved in treatment of paralysis. Collins founded Roll For Rock Wheelchair Events and Benefit Concerts in 1988 to raise awareness and to provide opportunities for those living with spinal cord injury and other physical challenges. Allen Collins died on January 23, 1990 from chronic pneumonia, a complication of the paralysis; he is buried beside his wife in Jacksonville, Florida.

Keith Godcheaux (Grateful Dead)

Grateful_Dead_Tapestry_72004DKeith Godchaux, American keyboard player and songwriter (Grateful Dead and Heart of Gold Band) was born 19 July 1948. The Grateful Dead were fomed in 1965 in the San Francisco Bay Area and were known for their unique and eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, folk, bluegrass, blues, reggae, country, improvisational jazz, psychedelia, and space rock. These various influences made the Grateful Dead “the pioneering Godfathers of the jam band world.” They were ranked 57th rolling Stone’s Greatest Artists of all Time poll and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and their Barton Hall Concert at Cornell University was added to the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry.The founding members of the Grateful Dead were Jerry Garcia (guitar, vocals), Bob Weir (guitar, vocals), Ron “Pigpen” McKernan (keyboards, harmonica, vocals), Phil Lesh (bass, vocals), and Bill Kreutzmann (drums).

Lesh was the last member to join the Warlocks before they became the Grateful Dead; he replaced Dana Morgan Jr., who had played bass for a few gigs. With the exception of McKernan, who died in 1973, the core of the band stayed together for its entire 30-year history. The Grateful Dead began their career as the Warlocks, in early 1965 from the remnants of a jug band called Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions, although The band later changed their name to The Grateful Dead, I.e “the soul of a dead person, or his angel, showing gratitude to someone who, arranged their burial.”One of the group’s earliest major performances in 1967 was at the Avalon Ballroom by the San Francisco Hare Krishna temple, where The Grateful Dead performed alongside the Hare Krishna founder Bhaktivedanta Swami, poet Allen Ginsberg, bands Moby Grape and Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin, donating proceeds to the Krishna temple.

The band’s first LP, The Grateful Dead, was released in 1967. 1970 included tour dates in New Orleans, Louisiana, where the band performed at The Warehouse for two nights. Mickey Hart quit the Grateful Dead in February 1971, leaving Kreutzmann once again as the sole percussionist. However Hart rejoined the Grateful Dead in October 1974. Tom “TC” Constanten was added as a second keyboardist from 1968 to 1970, while Pigpen also played various percussion instruments and sang. Following the Grateful Dead’s “Europe ’72″ tour, Pigpen’s health seriously deteriorated and he could no longer tour with the band. His final concert appearance was June 17, 1972 at the Hollywood Bowl, in Los Angeles and died in March, 1973 of complications from alcohol abuse. The Grateful Dead formed their own record group, Grateful Dead Records & released the album, the jazz influenced Wake of the Flood in 1973 and in 1974 they released the classic album, Grateful Dead from the Mars Hotel. Then the Grateful Dead decided to take a break from live touring, however This hiatus was short lived, and they resumed touring in 1976, and released the album Terrapin Station in 1977.During the 1980s the bands sound transformed. Sadly though Garcia’s health began to decline. His drug habits caused him to lose his liveliness on stage. After kicking his drug habit in 1985, he slipped into a diabetic coma for several days in July 1986. After he recovered, the band released In the Dark in 1987, which resulted as their best selling studio album release, and also produced their only top-10 chart single, Touch of Grey. Inspired by Garcia’s improved health and a successful album, the band’s energy and chemistry peaked in the late 1980s and 1990 and they enjoyed a resurgence in their popularity.

Sadly The band’s “high time” came to a sudden halt when Mydland died in 1990. So Vince Welnick, joined on keyboards and vocals and Bruce Hornsby joined the band on Piano and vocals on September 15, 1990.The fans of the Grateful Dead, some of whom followed the band from concert to concert for years, are known as “Deadheads” and are known for their dedication to the band’s music. From 2003 to 2009 former members of the Grateful Dead, along with other musicians, toured as The Dead and The Other Ones. There are many contemporary incarnations of the Dead, with the most prominent touring acts being Furthur and Phil Lesh & Friends and although both Jerry Garcia, Brent Mydland and Keith Godcheaux have passed away, they remain popular.

Brian May (Queen)

Brian May, English guitarist with British rock band Queen was born July 19th 1947. Queen were formed in London in 1971, consisting of Freddie Mercury (lead vocals, piano), Brian May (guitar, vocals), John Deacon (bass guitar, guitars), and Roger Taylor (drums, vocals). Queen’s earliest works were influenced by progressive rock, but the band gradually ventured into more conventional and radio-friendly works, incorporating more diverse and innovative styles in their music.Before joining Queen, Brian May and Roger Taylor had been playing together in a band named Smile with bassist Tim Staffell. Freddie Mercury (then known as Farrokh/Freddie Bulsara) was a fan of Smile, and encouraged them to experiment with more elaborate stage and recording techniques

After Staffell’s departure in 1970. Mercury himself joined the band shortly thereafter, changed the name of the band to “Queen”, and adopted his familiar stage name. John Deacon was recruited prior to recording their eponymous debut album (1973). Queen enjoyed success in the UK with their debut and its follow-up, Queen II (1974), but it was the release of Sheer Heart Attack (1974) and A Night at the Opera (1975) that gained the band international success. The latter featured “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which stayed at number one in the UK Singles Chart for nine weeks; it charted at number one in several other territories, and gave the band their first top ten hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. Their 1977 album, News of the World, contained two of rock’s most recognisable anthems, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions”.

By the early 1980s, Queen were one of the biggest stadium rock bands in the world, and their performance at 1985′s Live Aid is regarded as one of the greatest in rock history. In 1991, Mercury died of bronchopneumonia, a complication of AIDS, and Deacon retired in 1997. Since then, May and Taylor have infrequently performed together, including a collaboration with Paul Rodgers under the name Queen + Paul Rodgers which ended in May 2009.The band have released a total of 18 number one albums, 18 number one singles, and 10 number one DVDs. Estimates of their album sales generally range from 150 million to 300 million albums, making them one of the world’s best-selling music artists. They received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Phonographic Industry in 1990, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

Edgar Degas

World renowned French artist Edgar Degas was born 19th July 1834 in Paris. He is famous for his work in painting, sculpture, printmaking and is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism although he rejected the term, and preferred to be called a realist. A superb draftsman, he is especially identified with the subject of the dance, and over half of his works depict dancers. These display his mastery in the depiction of movement, as do his racecourse subjects and female nudes. His portraits are notable for their psychological complexity and depiction of human isolation.

Early in his career, he wanted to be a history painter, a calling for which he was well prepared by his rigorous academic training and close study of classic art. In his early thirties, he changed course, and by bringing the traditional methods of a history painter to bear on contemporary subject matter, he became a classical painter of modern lifeDegas’s work was controversial, but was generally admired for its draftsmanship. His La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans, or Little Dancer of Fourteen Years, which he displayed at the sixth Impressionist exhibition in 1881, was probably his most controversial piece; some critics decried what they thought its “appalling ugliness” while others saw in it a “blossoming” The suite of pastels depicting nudes that Degas exhibited in the eighth Impressionist Exhibition in 1886 produced “the most concentrated body of critical writing on the artist during his lifetime … The overall reaction was positive and laudatory”

Sadly Degas passed away on the 27th September 1917 and During his life, public reception to his work ranged from admiration to contempt. As a promising artist in the conventional mode, Degas had a number of paintings accepted in the Salon between 1865 and 1870. These works received praise from Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and the critic, Jules-Antoine Castagnary. He soon joined forces with the Impressionists, however, and rejected the rigid rules, judgements, and elitism of the Salon—just as the Salon and general public initially rejected the experimentalism of the Impressionists.Recognized as an important artist in his lifetime, Degas is now considered “one of the founders of Impressionism”. Though his work crossed many stylistic boundaries, his involvement with the other major figures of Impressionism and their exhibitions, his dynamic paintings and sketches of everyday life and activities, and his bold color experiments, served to finally tie him to the Impressionist movement as one of its greatest artists. His paintings, pastels, drawings, and sculptures are on prominent display in many museums and he also greatly influenced several important painters, most notably Jean-Louis Forain, Mary Cassatt, and Walter Sickert and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Jack Irons (Red Hot Chili Peppers

RedhotJack Irons, American singer and musician (The Wallflowers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, and Eleven was born 18 July 1962. Formed in Los Angeles in 1983. The Peppers’ musical style is a mix of funk, alternative rock, hard rock and punk rock. The band’s influences include Defunkt, Parliament-Funkadelic, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Gang of Four, Bob Marley, Big Boys, Sly and the Family Stone, Ohio Players, Queen, Stevie Wonder, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Black Flag, Ornette Coleman, Led Zeppelin, Bad Brains, Fugazi, Fishbone, Marvin Gaye, Billie Holiday, Santana, Elvis Costello, The Stooges, The Clash, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Devo, and Miles Davis. Live, they incorporate many aspects of jam rock due to the improvised nature of much of their performances. Currently, the band consists of founding members Anthony Kiedis (vocals) and Michael “Flea” Balzary (bass), longtime drummer Chad Smith, and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, who joined in late 2009, following the departure of John Frusciante. The Red Hot Chili Peppers have won seven Grammy Awards and sold over 80 million albums worldwide. In 2012 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The band’s original line-up featured guitarist Hillel Slovak and Jack Irons, alongside Kiedis and Flea. Cliff Martinez was the drummer for the first two records (Irons played on the third), and guitarist Jack Sherman played on the first. Slovak performed on two albums Freaky Styley (1985) and The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1987); but died of a heroin overdose in 1988, resulting in drummer Irons’ departure. Parliament-Funkadelic guitarist DeWayne McKnight was brought in but he was replaced by John Frusciante in 1988. Former Dead Kennedys drummer D.H. Peligro was brought in to replace Irons but was soon replaced by Chad Smith that same year. The line-up of Flea, Kiedis, Frusciante and Smith was the longest-lasting, and recorded five studio albums starting with 1989′s Mother’s Milk.In 1990, the group released the album Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991), which became the band’s first commercial success. Frusciante left abruptly in 1992, in the middle of the album tour. so they recruited guitarist Arik Marshall to complete the tour, Kiedis, Flea, and Smith employed Jesse Tobias who was replaced by Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction for their subsequent album, One Hot Minute (1995).

Although commercially successful, the album failed to match the critical or popular acclaim of Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Navarro left the band in 1998 and Frusciante, rejoined the band that same year at Flea’s request. The reunited quartet returned to the studio to record Californication(1999), which became the band’s biggest commercial success with 15 million copies worldwide. That album was followed three years later by By the Way(2002), and then four years later by the double album Stadium Arcadium (2006), their first number one album in America. After a world tour, the group went on an extended hiatus. Frusciante announced he was amicably leaving the band to focus on his solo career. Josh Klinghoffer, who had worked both as a sideman for the band on their Stadium Arcadium tour and on Frusciante’s solo projects, joined as lead guitarist in 2009 and the band spent the next year and a half recording their tenth studio album, I’m with You, which was released in 2011 and topped the charts in 18 different countries. The Red Hot Chili Peppers latest album The Getaway was released in 2016.