Buddy Rich was born to play the drums. He began playing in vaudeville shows at 18 months, billed as “Baby Traps the Drum Wonder.” Rich played with many jazz greats including Tommy Dorsey and Les Brown and fronted his own band. He was known for his televised drum battles against other legends such as Gene Krupa and “Animal” on the Muppets. A powerful and fast player, he influenced many including John Bonham and Carl Palmer. We remember his life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1977: Nick Curran, U.S. singer-songwriter and guitarist who was a member of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, is born in Biddeford, Maine.
1947: Marc Bolan, English singer-songwriter and guitarist who led the glam-rock band T. Rex, is born in London, England.
Rock God or Has Been? We can’t say what trajectory Bolan’s career would have taken had he lived to a riper old age. As it is, Bolan is one of those gone-too-soon icons like Buddy Holly, or Jimi Hendrix, or Kurt Cobain, whose music and images are canonized upon their early deaths. There’s a lot of rocker cred in saying your music is influenced by T. Rex, as have greats from Blondie and Joan Jett to Smashing Pumpkins, the Smiths, and Oasis. Or by name-checking them in one of your songs. Read more
1942: Frankie Lymon, U.S. singer-songwriter who was the lead singer for the Teenagers, who had a hit with “Why Do Fools Fall in Love,” is born in Manhattan, New York.
Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers came by their name honestly, as one of the first great teen pop groups. Before New Edition and Tiffany and New Kids on the Block, before Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys and Hanson, before Justin Bieber and One Direction and Selena Gomez, Frankie Lymon and his bandmates put the “teen” in teenybopper. Read more
1940: Dewey Martin, Canadian drummer who was a member of Buffalo Springfield, is born in Chesterville, Ontario.
1926: Robin Roberts, U.S. professional baseball player whose No. 36 was retired by the Philadelphia Phillies, is born in Springfield, Illinois.
Phillies fans will remember Roberts as the leading pitcher on the 1950 squad that won the franchise’s first pennant in 35 years. Roberts put together a 20-11 season with a 3.02 ERA and five shutouts. The team, with several 25-and-younger stars such as Roberts, Richie Ashburn, and Del Ennis, was dubbed the Whiz Kids. It marked the end a three-decade span in which the Phillies were mostly awful. Read more
1928: Elie Wiesel, U.S. author, political activist, and Nobel Prize winner who told the story of his Holocaust nightmare in the novel “Night,” is born in Sighet, Romania
Wiesel didn’t spare readers from the sickening details of the Nazis’ treatment of Jews in the concentration camps and on the journeys between them. “Night” offered a stark portrayal of genocide. Read more
1924: Truman Capote, U.S. author known best for “In Cold Blood” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” is born in New Orleans, Louisiana.
1921: Deborah Kerr, Scottish actress whose well-known movies include “The King and I” and “From Here to Eternity,” is born in Helensburgh, Scotland.
1917: Buddy Rich, U.S. jazz drummer who is considered one of the greatest drummers of all time, is born in Brooklyn, New York.
Buddy Rich was a jazz drummer, one of the best ever: When he performed, he was billed as the World’s Greatest Drummer, and it was no joke. He began playing publicly when he was just 18 months old – an age when most of us are focused on figuring out how to walk straight. But he didn’t peak as a child star. Read more
1832: Ann Jarvis, U.S. social activist who was the inspiration for Mother’s Day, created by her daughter, is born in Culpeper, Virginia.