Saturday, July 13, 2013

July 13: Canadian actor and singer Cory Monteith - Finn Hudson on the TV show "Glee" - died on this date in 2013…

…. born on May 11,1982, he was 31-years-old when he passed away.

Cory Allan Michael Monteith was born on May 11, 1982 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He was raised by their mother in Victoria, British Columbia. He began delving into drugs and alcohol, which in turn affected his studies and school attendance.

After attending 16 different schools, including alternative programs for troubled teens, he eventually quit school at the age of 16. By that time, his drug and alcohol addiction had increased and Monteith turned to petty crimes. He was sent to rehab at 19. Monteith began his acting career in Vancouver, British Columbia.

He played minor roles in Final Destination 3, Whisper, and Deck the Halls. He had a recurring role in Kyle XY. He also made guest appearances in television serials as Smallville, Supernatural, Flash Gordon, Stargate Atlantis, and Stargate SG-1. In 2005, he appeared in Killer Bash.

The following year, he made a brief appearance in Urban Legend: a Bloody Mary. In 2007, he starred in the MTV series Kaya. In April 2010, Monteith was cast in the romantic comedy movie Monte Carlo

In 2009, Monteith was cast in the Fox series Glee as Finn Hudson. When Glee was being cast, Monteith's agent submitted a video of him drumming with some pencils and Tupperware containers. When it was pointed out that auditioning actors for Glee with no theatrical experience were required to prove they could sing Monteith submitted a second, musical tape, in which he sang "a cheesy '80s music video-style version" of REO Speedwagon's "Can't Fight This Feeling." He then attended a mass audition in Los Angeles.

"I was like a lot of kids, looking for something to be interested in. Something to be passionate about,” He once said after winning a part on the show. “All you need is permission; not only for Glee, but for anything in life."

On the show Finn is the star quarterback of his high school football team, and risks alienation from his friends by joining the school’s glee club. The character must deal with his attraction to both head cheerleader Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron) and glee club star singer Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), and his storylines increasingly focus on his relationship with them both.

Monteith was staying at the Fairmont Pacific Hotel and missed his check out time. Just after noon, he was found dead and alone in his room on the 21st floor. On March 31, 2013, it was announced that Monteith had voluntarily admitted himself into a treatment facility for substance addiction.

According to Acting Vancouver Police Chief Doug LaPard, there are no indications of foul play and they are not discussing what was found in the room. The cause of death was later revealed as a toxic mix of heroin and alcohol. Monteith checked in July 6 and according to police, he was not staying with his girlfriend, Glee co-star Lea Michele.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

July 6: "King of the Cowboys" Roy Rogers – “Happy Trails to You” - died on this date in 1998.

Roy Rogers, was born Leonard Franklin Slye on November 5, 1911 in Cincinnati, Ohio. An American icon, Rogers was one of the most heavily marketed and merchandised stars of his era, as well as being the namesake of the Roy Rogers Restaurants franchised chain.

He and his wife Dale Evans, his golden palomino, Trigger, and his German Shepherd dog, Bullet, were featured in more than 100 movies and The Roy Rogers Show. The show ran on radio for nine years before moving to television from 1951 through 1957. His productions usually featured a sidekick, often either Pat Brady (who drove a Jeep called "Nellybelle"), Andy Devine, or the crotchety George "Gabby" Hayes.

Rogers's nickname was "King of the Cowboys" and Evans's nickname was "Queen of the West.” The economic hardship of the Great Depression had the Slye family traveling from job to job picking fruit and living in worker campsites. Leonard, having seen the joy that his guitar and singing had brought to the destitute around the campfires, hesitantly told his father that he was going to pursue a living in music. With his father's blessing, he and cousin Stanley Slye went to Los Angeles and sought musical engagements as the Slye Brothers.

In 1932, a palomino colt was foaled in California named "Golden Cloud,” and later renamed "Trigger" in 1938 after he was acquired by Len. Len then went on tour with the "O-Bar-O Cowboys."

After his first wife Arline, died in childbirth, Rogers and Dale Evans married on New Year's Eve in 1947 at the Flying L Ranch in Davis, Oklahoma, where a few months earlier they had filmed Home in Oklahoma. Rogers and Evans remained married until Rogers's death in 1998. After four years of little success as a singer, he formed the Sons of the Pioneers with Bob Nolan and Tim Spencer, a Western cowboy music group, in 1934. The group hit it big with songs like "Cool Water" and "Tumbling Tumbleweeds.”

From his first film appearance in 1935, he worked steadily in western films, including a large supporting role as a singing cowboy while still billed as "Leonard Slye" in a Gene Autry movie. In 1938, when Autry temporarily walked out on his movie contract, Slye was immediately rechristened "Roy Rogers.” Slye's stage name was suggested by Republic Picture's staff after Will Rogers and the shortening of Leroy. and assigned the lead in Under Western Stars.

Rogers became a matinee idol and American legend. A competitor for Gene Autry as the nation's favorite singing cowboy was suddenly born. In addition to his own movies, Rogers played a supporting role in the John Wayne classic Dark Command in (1940. Rogers became a major box office attraction.

For more about Roy and Dale, visit this Website:

July 6: Jazz legend Louis Armstrong- AKA Satchmo- "Wonderful World," "Hello Dolly!" – died on this date in 1971…

… born on August 4th, 1901, he died from a heart attack at the age of 69 in Carona, Queens, New York.  

Louis Armstrong was born August 4, 1901 in New Orleans, Louisiana, the grandson of slaves. He spent his youth in poverty, in a rough neighborhood of Uptown New Orleans, known as “Back of the Town.” He attended the Fisk School for Boys, where he likely had early exposure to music.

He hung out in dance halls close to home, where he observed everything from licentious dancing to the quadrille. For extra money he also hauled coal to Storyville, the famed red-light district, and listened to the bands playing in the brothels and dance halls, especially Pete Lala's where Joe "King" Oliver performed and other famous musicians would drop in to jam.

After dropping out of the Fisk School at age eleven, Armstrong joined a quartet of boys who sang in the streets for money. But he also started to get into trouble. Armstrong developed his cornet playing seriously in the band of the New Orleans Home for Colored Waifs. Professor Peter Davis made Armstrong the band leader.

The Home band played around New Orleans and the thirteen-year-old Louis began to draw attention by his cornet playing, starting him on a musical career. Armstrong got his first dance hall job at Henry Ponce’s where Black Benny became his protector and guide. He hauled coal by day and played his cornet at night. He played in the city's frequent brass band parades and listened to older musicians every chance he got, learning from Bunk Johnson, Buddy Petit, Kid Ory, and above all, Joe "King" Oliver, who acted as a mentor and father figure to the young musician.

Later, he played in the brass bands and riverboats of New Orleans, and began traveling with the well-regarded band of Fate Marable, which toured on a steamboat up and down the Mississippi River.

Coming to prominence in the 1920s as an "inventive" trumpet and cornet player, Armstrong was a foundational influence in jazz. With his instantly-recognizable gravelly voice, Armstrong was also an influential singer, demonstrating great dexterity as an improviser, bending the lyrics and melody of a song for expressive purposes. He was also skilled at scat singing; vocalizing using sounds and syllables instead of actual lyrics.

Renowned for his charismatic stage presence and voice almost as much as for his trumpet-playing, Armstrong's influence extends well beyond jazz music, and by the end of his career in the 1960s, he was widely regarded as a profound influence on popular music in general.

In 1964, Armstrong knocked The Beatles off the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart with "Hello, Dolly!,” which gave the 63-year-old performer a U.S. record as the oldest artist to have a number one song. His 1964 song "Bout Time" was later featured in the film Bewitched.

Armstrong was inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an early influence. Armstrong was also posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1972 by the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

July 4: Original member of The Drifters, Bill Pinkney died on this date in 2007…

Pinkney who was born in Dalzell, South Carolina on August 15, 1925,was often said to be the last surviving original member of The DriftersHe was chiefly responsible for its early sounds.

Pinkney grew up singing his favorite music, gospel, in his church choir. Before his career with the Drifters, Pinkney was a pitcher for the Negro Baseball League's New York Blue Sox sandlot team. He also served in the United States Army in World War II.

He earned a Presidential Citation with five Bronze Stars (for battles including Normandy and Bastogne under General Patton). Returning from the war, Pinkney began to sing again in various gospel choirs. It was there that he would meet and join with the men who became the original members Drifters.

Bill Pinkney, brothers Andrew and Gerhart Thrasher, and bass singer Willie Ferbie were approached by Clyde McPhatter, who had just quit as the lead tenor of the popular R&B group, Billy Ward & the Dominoes. McPhatter proposed they create a new group to record for Atlantic Records.

1953- Bill Pinkney, Willie Ferbee, Clyde McPhatter,
Andrew Thrasher, Gerhardt Thrasher
On their first record, "Money Honey,” Pinkney, a natural bass-baritone with a multi-octave range, actually sang first tenor. After Ferbie left, Pinkney switched to the bass part, in which he was heard on "Honey Love," "White Christmas," "Adorable," "Ruby Baby," and many other early Drifters recordings.

In 1954 the Drifters recorded their version of "White Christmas" by Irving Berlin. That version was featured in the 1990 movie Home Alone. Pinkney can also be heard singing lead on the 1956 recording "I Should Have Done Right" and 1955's "Steamboat.” Pinkney was in and out of the group from 1956 through 1958. He did not participate in the recording of later hits like "Fools Fall in Love" and "Drip Drop," which featured bass Tommy Evans.

After Pinkney's permanent departure, The Drifters recorded hit classics such as "Under the Boardwalk,” "Save the Last Dance for Me,” "There Goes My Baby,” "Up on the Roof,” and "On Broadway,” with a completely new line-up.

In 1958 the manager fired all of the individual Drifters and hired all new singers, The Crowns (formally known as the Five Crowns), signing them under the Drifters' name. Pinkney quickly created a group called the Original Drifters, made up of key members of the first group.

Pinkney's Original Drifters was consistently popular throughout the southeastern U.S. and was a staple of the "beach music" scene. Pinkney received many musical awards, including the Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Award, and was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, United Group Harmony Association, and the Beach Music Hall of Fame.

Pinkney died from a heart attack in Daytona Beach.
For more about Bill, visit this Website:


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July 3: Multi-musician, bandleader, entertainer Rudy Vallée died on this date in 1986…


  born on July 28, 1901, he was 84-years-old when he passed away.
Rudy Vallée was born Hubert Prior Vallée in Island Pond, Vermont on July 28, 1901. Vallée grew up in Westbrook, Maine. After playing drums in his high school band, Vallée played clarinet and saxophone in various bands around New England as a teenager.

In 1917, he decided to enlist for World War I, but was discharged when the Navy authorities found out that he was only 15. From 1924 through 1925, he played with the Savoy Havana Band at the Savoy Hotel in London, where his fellow band-members discouraged his attempts to become a vocalist.

He then returned to the U.S. and earned a degree in philosophy from Yale and to form his own band, "Rudy Vallée and the Connecticut Yankees." With this band, which featured two violins, two saxophones, a piano, a banjo and drums, he started singing. He had a rather thin, wavering tenor voice and with his suave manner and boyish good looks, attracted great attention, especially from young women.

Vallée was given a recording contract and in 1928, he started performing on the radio. Vallée became the most prominent and, the first of a new style of popular singer, known as a “crooner”; well-suited for listening to on the radio. Some people credit him as the first “pop-star.”

Vallée's recording career began in 1928 recording for Columbia Records' labels Harmony, Velvet Tone, and Diva. He signed to Victor in February 1929 and remained with them through to late 1931, leaving after a heated dispute with company executives over title selections. He then recorded for the short-lived, but extremely popular "Hit of the Week" label.

Along with his group, The Connecticut Yankees, Vallée's best known popular recordings included: "The Stein Song" (aka University of Maine fighting song) in 1929 and "Vieni, Vieni" in the latter 1930s. Vallée's last hit song was the 1943 reissue of the melancholy ballad "As Time Goes By,” popularized in the feature film Casablanca in 1943.

Rudy Vallee with Alice Faye
Vallée acted in a number of Hollywood films starting with The Vagabond Lover in 1929. His earliest films showed him rather stiff and unemotional but by the 1940s he had become a successful comedic supporting player. He appeared opposite Claudette Colbert in the 1942 Preston Sturges comedy The Palm Beach Story.

Other films in which he appeared include I Remember Mama, Unfaithfully Yours and The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer. In 1955, Vallée was featured in Gentlemen Marry Brunettes.

He performed on Broadway as J.B. Biggley in the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and reprised the role in the film version of the show. He appeared in the campy 1960s Batman television show as the character "Lord Marmaduke Ffogg.”

He toured with a one-man theater show into the 1980s. He occasionally opened for The Village People. In 1967 Vallée recorded a new record album, titled Hi-Ho Everybody.

Vallée died of cancer at his home on July 3, 1986.