Born May 31
By: Legacy Staff
20 days ago
John Bonham helped give Led Zeppelin their legendary sound as the band's drummer. Songs such as "When the Levee Breaks," "Immigrant Song," and "Kashmir" showcase his heavy-hitting technique, and "Moby Dick" features his legendary drum solo, sometimes lasting up to 30 minutes in concert. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest rock drummers of all time, if not the very best – as he was voted by Rolling Stone readers. Generations of rock drummers have idolized him and tried to capture his greatness, including Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters, and Joey Kramer of Aerosmith. We remember Bonham's life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1963: Wesley Willis, U.S. singer-songwriter and musician who was the frontman for the Chicago cult band the Wesley Willis Fiasco, is born in Chicago, Illinois.
1954: Vicki Sue Robinson, U.S. singer and actress who had a hit in 1976 with "Turn the Beat Around," is born in New York, New York.
1948: John Bonham, English drummer with Led Zeppelin, who is considered one of the greatest drummers of all time, is born in Redditch, England.
Led Zeppelin's excesses on tour were legendary. Bonham once drove a motorcycle – a gift for his 25th birthday – through the halls of the Continental Hyatt House Hotel in Los Angeles, where the band had rented out multiple floors for their entourage (both Keith Moon and Keith Richards reportedly dropped TVs out the windows of the same hotel, which acquired the nickname the Riot House). Read more
1938: Johnny Paycheck, U.S. country music singer known best for his hit song "Take This Job and Shove It," is born in Greenfield, Ohio.
From his rough look to his rebel attitude, Paycheck embodied the outlaw movement – he even helped define it for those of us who weren't sure: "To me, an outlaw is a man that did things his own way, whether you liked him or not. I did things my own way." Read more
1934: Jim Hutton, U.S. actor who starred as the title character on TV's "Ellery Queen," and who was the father of actor Timothy Hutton, is born in Binghamton, New York.
Probably his best-remembered role is that of the titular detective on "Ellery Queen." Hutton introduced physical comedy to his interpretation of the popular amateur detective, and won over fans by breaking the fourth wall – addressing viewers directly at the end of each episode and challenging them to solve the mystery before he made his big reveal. Read more
1923: Ellsworth Kelly, U.S. painter and sculptor known for his brightly colored abstract art, is born in Newburgh, New York.
1923: Rainier III, Monacan monarch who ruled Monaco for almost 56 years and was the husband of actress Grace Kelly, is born in Monaco.
1908: Don Ameche, U.S. actor and comedian whose notable movies included "The Story of Alexander Graham Bell" and "Trading Places," is born in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
His film career got off to a successful start with his role as Alexander Graham Bell in "The Story of Alexander Graham Bell" (1939) – a role so enduring that Americans often referred to telephones in the 1940s as "Ameches." Among the other real-life characters he played in biographical films was Stephen Foster in "Sewanee River." But it was playing against such stars as Alice Faye, Gene Tierney, Betty Grable, Rosalind Russell, Claudette Colbert, and Carmen Miranda that he won over audiences with his particular charm in "Moon Over Miami," "The Feminine Touch," "Girl Trouble," and "Heaven Can Wait." Read more
1898: Norman Vincent Peale, U.S. minister and author well-known for his book "The Power of Positive Thinking," is born in Bowersville, Ohio.
1894: Fred Allen, U.S. comedian who was a star of the golden age of radio, is born in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
1819: Walt Whitman, U.S. poet whose famous works include "Song of Myself" and "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd," is born in Huntington, New York.