Born Today in History ›
Getty / NBC
Published: 7 months ago
Davy Jones was one of the top teen idols of the 1960s and '70s, thanks to his role as one of the Monkees. Though the group of actors and musicians was fabricated for their eponymous TV show, nothing was fake about Jones' talent. He shined as lead vocalist on tracks including "I Wanna Be Free" and the smash hit "Daydream Believer," and he followed his stint in the Monkees with a solo recording career as well as further acting appearances. We remember Jones' life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1945: Davy Jones, English singer-songwriter and actor known best as one of the Monkees, is born in Manchester, England.
When the concept of the Monkees was born – a manufactured rock band, made just for TV – Jones was in on the early auditions, and was the first band member to be cast. The Monkees received criticism for their genesis, sometimes called the Pre-Fab Four … and while it's true that success was handed to them easily by television, each band member was cast because of his talent. As the band and the show grew, they fought for more creative control and began writing their own songs as well. TV made them famous, but it didn't give them talent – that was all their own. Read more
1939: Felix Pappalardi, U.S. singer and bassist who was a founding member of the hard rock band Mountain, is born in the Bronx, New York.
1935: Jack Riley, U.S. comic actor known best for playing Elliot Carlin on "The Bob Newhart Show," is born in Cleveland, Ohio.
He appeared on dozens of TV shows over a career that spanned five decades, but he may have been known best to television audiences as the neurotic and self-absorbed patient Elliot Carlin on “The Bob Newhart Show.” He appeared in 49 episodes of the sitcom. The character proved so popular that he reprised the role on “St. Elsewhere” and “ALF.” Read more
1934: Del Shannon, U.S. singer-songwriter known best for his 1961 hit song "Runaway," is born in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
1934: John Bahcall, U.S. astrophysicist who helped develop the Hubble Space Telescope, is born in Shreveport, Louisiana.
1931: Skeeter Davis, U.S. country music singer who had a hit with "The End of the World" in 1962, is born in Dry Ridge, Kentucky.
1928: Bo Diddley, U.S. singer-songwriter and guitarist who was one of the fathers of rock 'n' roll and is known for classic songs including "Bo Diddley" and "Who Do You Love," is born in McComb, Mississippi.
His influence can be felt all across the modern music world – in rock and hip-hop, in cover versions and songs inspired by his songs, and, especially, in rhythms. Diddley's rhythms laid the groundwork for more than 50 years of popular music. One of Diddley's signature sounds was the "Bo Diddley beat," a syncopated rhythm common in his songs. Diddley didn't invent the pattern – its origins stretch back to Africa, before musical recording technology – but he brought it to a wide audience, making it mainstream. Read more
1920: Jack Lord, U.S. actor known best for his starring role as Steve McGarrett on "Hawaii Five-O," is born in Brooklyn, New York.
As an actor, he worked on Broadway, in movies and on TV – and a few years before "Hawaii Five-O," he was offered a chance to play Captain Kirk on the first "Star Trek" series. When Lord requested a bit too much compensation (50 percent ownership of the show), the role went to William Shatner instead. That might be just as well, because Shatner was an iconic Kirk, and it left Lord available to take his biggest and most recognizable role – "Hawaii Five-O" Detective Steve McGarrett. The leader of a team of officers who brought down criminals, secret agents, and crime rings, McGarrett also was the character who brought us the show's famous catchphrase – "Book 'em, Danno!" Read more
1914: Jo Van Fleet, U.S. actress who won an Academy Award for her performance in "East of Eden," is born in Oakland, California.
1914: Bert Parks, U.S. actor and singer known best for hosting the Miss America pageant from 1955 to 1979, is born in Atlanta, Georgia.
In the glory days of the Miss America pageant, master of ceremonies Parks was as much a part of the event as the 50-plus women who competed for the crown each year. Although Parks may not have been what Americans dreamed of as they awaited the next pageant, he was the constant in a sea of ever-changing contestants – the face of the pageant from 1955 to 1979. And the song he sang in tribute to the winner became legend. Read more
1865: Rudyard Kipling, English author whose best-known works include "The Jungle Book" and the poem "Gunga Din," is born in Mumbai, India.