Bryan Ferry, 78.
Bryan Ferry is an English singer and songwriter. His voice has been described as an "elegant, seductive croon". He also established a distinctive image and sartorial style: according to The Independent, Ferry and his contemporary David Bowie influenced a generation with both their music and their appearances. Peter York described Ferry as "an art object" who "should hang in the Tate".
Born to a working-class family, Ferry studied fine art and taught at a secondary school before pursuing a career in music. In 1970 he began to assemble the rock band Roxy Music with a group of friends and acquaintances in London, and took the role of lead singer and main songwriter. The band achieved immediate international success with the release of their eponymous debut album in 1972, containing a rich multitude of sounds, which reflected Ferry's interest in exploring different genres of music. Their second album, For Your Pleasure (1973), further cultivated the band's unique sound and visual image that would establish Ferry as a leading cultural icon over the next decade.
Ferry began a parallel solo career in 1973 by releasing These Foolish Things, which popularized the concept of a contemporary musician releasing an album covering standard songs and was a drastic departure from his ongoing work with Roxy Music. His second album, Another Time, Another Place (1974), featured as its cover image Ferry posing by a pool in a white dinner jacket and represented one of his most impactful fashion statements. Over the next two years, Roxy Music released a trilogy of albums, Stranded (1973), Country Life (1974) and Siren (1975), which broadened the band's appeal internationally and saw Ferry take greater interest in the role of a live performer, reinventing himself in stage costumes ranging from gaucho to military uniforms. Ferry disbanded Roxy Music following the release of their best-selling album Avalon in 1982 to concentrate on his solo career, releasing further singles such as "Slave to Love" and "Don't Stop the Dance" and the UK no. 1 album Boys and Girls in 1985.
As well as being a prolific songwriter, Ferry has recorded many cover versions, including standards from the Great American Songbook, in albums such as These Foolish Things (1973), Another Time, Another Place (1974), Let's Stick Together (1976), Taxi (1993) and As Time Goes By (1999), as well as Dylanesque (2007), an album of Bob Dylan covers. Including his work with Roxy Music, Ferry has sold over 30 million albums worldwide. In 2019, Ferry was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Roxy Music.
Tracey Thorn, 61.
Tracey Thorn is a British singer and songwriter. She is best known as a member of the duo Everything but the Girl, active from 1982 to 1999, and again from 2022. She was in the band Marine Girls from 1980 to 1983. Since 2007 she has been active as a solo artist; and as a writer of books and essays.
Thorn met Ben Watt at the University of Hull where they were both students, and both signed as solo artists to Cherry Red Records. Their first album together was Eden, released in 1984. Everything but the Girl released a body of work that spanned two decades. Their biggest chart success came in 1995, when DJ Todd Terry remixed a song from their Amplified Heart album. "Missing" peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart; topped the charts in Canada, Denmark, Germany, and Italy; and made the top ten in many countries, including Australia, France, Ireland, Sweden, and the United States.
Everything but the Girl was inactive from 2000 to 2022. During that time, Watt played on some filmed performances of Thorn's solo work and on her 2011 recording of the xx's "Night Time".
In November 2022, Watt and Thorn announced on social media that they had recorded a new album as Everything but the Girl. The album, titled Fuse, was released in April 2023.
James Blake, 35.
James Blake Litherland is an English musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer. He first received recognition for a series of 2010 EPs including CMYK and Klavierwerke, and he released his self-titled debut album in 2011 to critical praise. His second album Overgrown was released in 2013, bringing him to international attention, and later was awarded the Mercury Prize. He released his third album The Colour in Anything in 2016, his fourth Assume Form in 2019, his fifth Friends That Break Your Heart in 2021, and his sixth Playing Robots Into Heaven in 2023.
Blake has collaborated with artists during his career such as Mount Kimbie, Bon Iver and Metro Boomin and has contributed production work to artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce, Vince Staples, Frank Ocean, Rosalia, JID, Dave, and Travis Scott. He has won a Mercury Prize from two nominations, a Grammy Award from six nominations, including for Best New Artist in 2014; a Latin Grammy Award and three Brit Award nomination.
On this day today:
1898 - Composer/pianist George Gershwin is born in Brooklyn, New York.
1908 - The first stereo advertisement, for an Edison Phonograph, appears in the Saturday Evening Post.
1948 - Olivia Newton-John is born in Cambridge, England. She is raised in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
1955 - Pop singer Eddie Fisher weds actress/singer Debbie Reynolds. The marriage will last just four tumultuous years before Fisher leaves America's Sweetheart for Elizabeth Taylor. Fisher and Reynolds had one child together, actress Carrie Fisher.
1956 - Elvis Presley returns to his hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi, to play the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show. One of the many smitten teenage girls in the audience is Wynette Pugh, who goes on to stardom as Tammy Wynette. Security issues soon make small-time appearances like this impossible for Elvis.
1957 - The musical West Side Story, a retelling of Romeo and Juliet with New York City gang members, debuts on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre. It runs for 732 performances.
1960 - Connie Francis' "My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own" hits #1 for the first of two weeks.
1964 - Roy Orbison's "(Oh) Pretty Woman" hits #1 in America for the first of three weeks.
1969 - The Beatles release Abbey Road in England.
1970 - Motown Records announces The Jackson 5 have sold 10 million records in nine months.
1970 - Returning to Abbey Road studios in London, ex-Beatle John Lennon begins work on his first proper solo album, John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band.
1975 - The Rocky Horror Picture Show opens in Westwood, California. Featuring a young Meat Loaf along with Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon, the movie tanks but later becomes a cult classic, with audience members shouting back at the screen and bringing toast, toilet paper, and other assorted items to enhance the viewing experience.
1984 - Paul Anka receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6840 Hollywood Blvd.
1986 - In Solna, Sweden, Metallica play their last show with bass player Cliff Burton, who dies when the band's tour bus crashes on the way to the next stop. The last song is "Blitzkrieg."
1987 - Whitney Houston scores the fifth of seven consecutive #1 hits when "Didn't We Almost Have It All" tops the Hot 100.
1992 - Gloria Estefan stages a star-studded concert to provide relief to victims of Hurricane Andrew.
1998 - Prince (who is using an unpronounceable symbol as his name) injures his ankle performing at a show in Atlantic City and is forced to postpone his remaining tour dates.
1998 - MTV Russia debuts at midnight with Prodigy Live in Moscow, a concert taped in spring 1997. The first Russian video on the network is Mummy Troll's "Vladivostock 2000."
2000 - Good Charlotte release their self-titled debut album.
2000 - Creed lead singer Scott Stapp launches his With Arms Wide Open Foundation with a fundraising re-release of the song "With Arms Wide Open."
2003 - 54-year-old Robert Palmer dies of a heart attack in Paris after a quiet dinner and a movie.
2003 - With their second album, Melt, climbing the charts, Rascal Flatts kick off their first headline tour in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
2008 - Clay Aiken announces he is gay in People magazine, saying: "It was the first decision I made as a father. I cannot raise a child to lie or to hide things. I wasn't raised that way, and I'm not going to raise a child to do that."
2012 - Pink, aka "P!nk," lands her first #1 album in America with The Truth About Love. Her sixth studio album, it features the hits "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" and "Just Give Me A Reason."
2014 - Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke releases his second solo album, Tomorrow's Modern Boxes, for just $6 on the peer-to-peer file-sharing platform BitTorrent. According to the album's producer, Nigel Godrich, "It could be an effective way of handing some control of Internet commerce back to people who are creating the work." In just over a week, the album averages 1.8 million downloads.
2015 - The day after releasing his debut album, Up Next, rapper Fetty Wap is injured in a motorcycle accident in Paterson, New Jersey, when he collides head-on with an oncoming vehicle. His injuries put him out of action, but thanks to the hit single "Trap Queen," the album climbs the charts and hits #1 while he's still in the hospital. When Fetty returns to the stage on October 22 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, he does his set from a specially designed throne with his injured leg elevated.