Getty Images / Michael Ochs Archives / Photo by Larry Hulst

Born June 15

Waylon Jennings first made music in a recording studio in 1958 thanks to help from Buddy Holly, who hired Jennings to play bass for the "Winter Dance Party Tour" in 1959. The ill-fated tour ended with a plane crash that claimed the lives of Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, who had taken Jennings' seat on the doomed flight. Jennings went on to work as a radio disc jockey before forming his own band, the Waylors. He eventually found success in the 1970s as part of the outlaw country movement and as the balladeer for "The Dukes of Hazzard." We remember Jennings' life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including legendary jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald.

1989: Bryan Clauson, U.S. race car driver known for his achievements in dirt-track, open-wheel racing, is born in Sacramento, California.

1962: Brad Armstrong, U.S. professional wrestler who was a part of World Championship Wrestling in the 1990s, is born in Marietta, Georgia.

1949: Jim Varney, U.S. actor known best for starring as Ernest P. Worrell in movies including "Ernest Goes to Camp" as well as on a TV show and commercials, is born in Lexington, Kentucky.

1941: Harry Nilsson, U.S. singer-songwriter whose hit singles include "Everybody's Talkin'," "Without You," and "Coconut," is born in Brooklyn, New York.

Nilsson was much more than a novelty artist. His contemporaries certainly knew it – both John Lennon and Paul McCartney once declared him their favorite musician, and he received Grammy awards not for "Coconut" but for two other, more serious songs he recorded. One was Fred Neil's "Everybody's Talkin'" from the 1969 Oscar-winning film "Midnight Cowboy," starring Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman. Read more

 

 

 

1937: Waylon Jennings, U.S. country singer and guitarist who was part of the outlaw country movement and had hits including "Luckenbach, Texas," and provided the voice of the Balladeer on TV's "The Dukes of Hazzard," is born in Littlefield, Texas.

The Nashville establishment liked to use their own studio musicians – Jennings preferred his band, the Waylors. The Nashville Sound relied on lots of syrupy strings and crooning vocals – Jennings liked a rougher sound with more traditional country-music instrumentation. And the big label heads liked a certain sameness to the music they put out, playing to the masses – Jennings wanted artistic freedom to create the music that he liked. Jennings began to fight the architects of the Nashville Sound, egged on by his new friend Willie Nelson. Read more

 

 

 

1932: Mario Cuomo, U.S. politician who was a three-term governor of New York, serving from 1983 to 1994, is born in New York, New York.

Mario Cuomo (AP Photo)His reputation for eloquence was secured at the 1984 Democratic National Convention when he delivered his "Tale of Two Cities" keynote address, in which he told of the lessons he learned as the son of a grocer in New York City. "I watched a small man with thick calluses on both his hands work 15 and 16 hours a day," Cuomo told the crowd. "I saw him once literally bleed from the bottoms of his feet – a man who came here uneducated, alone, unable to speak the language – who taught me all I needed to know about faith and hard work by the simple eloquence of his example." Read more

 

 

1921: Erroll Garner, U.S. jazz pianist and composer who wrote the jazz standard "Misty," is born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

1917: Lash LaRue, U.S. actor who starred in many Westerns in the 1940s and '50s and taught Harrison Ford how to use a bullwhip for the "Indiana Jones" movies, is born in Gretna, Louisiana.

1914: Hilda Terry, U.S. cartoonist who created the syndicated newspaper comic strip "Teena," is born in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

1911: Wilbert Awdry, English children's author who created "Thomas the Tank Engine," is born in Ampfield, England.

1843: Edvard Grieg, Norwegian composer whose notable works include "In the Hall of the Mountain King" from Henrik Ibsen's play "Peer Gynt," is born in Bergen, Norway.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including legendary jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald.