great entertainers (not in order)
Elvis Aaron Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in East Tupelo, Mississippi, to Gladys Presley
(née Gladys Love Smith) and Vernon Presley
(Vernon Elvis Presley). He had a twin brother who was stillborn. In September 1948, Elvis and his parents moved to Memphis, Tennessee where he attended Humes High School...
Frank Sinatra was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, to Italian immigrants Natalina Della (Garaventa), from Northern Italy, and Saverio Antonino Martino Sinatra, a Sicilian boxer, fireman, and bar owner. Growing up on the gritty streets of Hoboken made Sinatra determined to work hard to get ahead. Starting out as a saloon singer in musty little dives (he carried his own P.A...
If there had to be an image for cool, the man to fit it would be Dean Martin. Martin was born Dino Paul Crocetti in Steubenville, Ohio, to Angela (Barra) and Gaetano Alfonso Crocetti, a barber. His father was an Italian immigrant, and his mother was of Italian descent. He spoke only Italian until age five...
Sammy Davis Jr.
Sammy Davis Jr. was often billed as the "greatest living entertainer in the world". He was born in Harlem, Manhattan, the son of dancer Elvera Davis
(née Sanchez) and vaudeville star Sammy Davis Sr.
. His father was African-American and his mother was of Puerto Rican ancestry. Davis Jr. was known as someone who could do it all--sing...
The extraordinary, easy-listening crooning talents of Andy Williams were first unveiled when he was 8 years old and inducted into the Williams Brothers Quartet as its youngest member. Born in Wall Lake, Iowa on December 3, 1927, Andy started singing with his three older brothers (Bob Williams
, Dick Williams
and Don Williams
) in his hometown's Presbyterian church choir...
Anne Murray is a major recording star. She has won numerous Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, as well as a number of Juno Awards in her native Canada. Anne lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and two children. She has sold over 24 million records. She is known for such hits as "Snowbird", "Danny's Song", "You Won"t See Me", "You Needed Me", "What Would It Take" etc...
He was the fourth of seven children born to Clement and Mildred Mathis. His father performed briefly in vaudeville and exposed all of the Mathis siblings to music. Before he entered his teens, young John received vocal lessons from Connie Cox in exchange for performing chores around her home. When he...
Dolly Rebecca Parton was born on January 19, 1946, one of 12 children of Robert Lee Parton, a tobacco farmer, and Avie Lee Parton (née Owens). Dolly grew up on a run-down farm in Locust Ridge, Tennessee. At 12, she was appearing on Knoxville TV and, at 13, she was already recording on a small label and appearing at the Grand Ole Opry...
In a singing (and sometimes acting) career that spanned over six decades, the name Perry Como has come to mean that warm, smooth, easy-listening, general-audience, slow-flame romance that characterized popular music in the 1940s, '50s and '60s. It has also come to represent an overall good feeling. Telling of the success of the appeal of that good feeling early on in his career...
Shirley Bassey was born in Tiger Bay, Cardiff, Wales, and raised in the nearby working class neighborhood of Splott. Her mother was originally from Yorkshire, and her father was a Nigerian seaman who left the family when she was less than two. She later helped to support her family by working in an Enamelware factory...
John Winston (later Ono) Lennon was born on October 9, 1940, in Liverpool, England, to Julia (Stanley) and Alfred Lennon, a merchant seaman. He was of Irish, and some Welsh and English, ancestry. In the mid-1950s, he formed his first band, The Quarrymen (after Quarry Bank High School, which he attended) who, with the addition of Paul McCartney
and George Harrison
, later became The Beatles
Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Karen Carpenter moved with her family to Downey, California, in 1963. Karen's older brother, Richard Carpenter
, decided to put together an instrumental trio with him on the piano, Karen on the drums and their friend Wes Jacobs on the bass and tuba. In a battle of the bands at the Hollywood Bowl in 1966...
One of America's most prolific actresses was born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff on April 3, 1922, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Alma Sophia (Welz), a housewife, and William Joseph Kappelhoff, a music teacher and choir master. Her grandparents were all German immigrants. She had two brothers, Richard, who died before she was born and Paul, a few years older...
His birth occurred on Friday, December 31st, 1943, as the son of an Air Force officer, Denver was constantly moved from state to state and country to country. It was in Tucson, Arizona, that his grandmother gave him his first acoustic guitar, a gift that would prove an icebreaker when meeting other students at the many new schools in which he was placed...
Neil Leslie Diamond was born in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, New York City, on January 24, 1941. His father, Akeeba "Kieve" Diamond, was a dry-goods merchant. Both he and wife Rose were Jewish immigrants from Poland. The Diamond family temporarily relocated to Cheyenne, Wyoming, because of Kieve Diamond's military service during World War II...
Jimi Hendrix was born on November 27, 1942 in Seattle, Washington, to African-American parents Lucille (Jeter) and James Allen Hendrix. His mother named him John Allen Hendrix and raised him alone while his father, Al Hendrix, was off fighting in World War II. When his mother became sick from alcoholism...
Janis Lyn Joplin was born at St. Mary's Hospital in the oil-refining town of Port Arthur, Texas, near the border with Louisiana. Her father was a cannery worker and her mother was a registrar for a business college. As an overweight teenager, she was a folk-music devotee (especially Odetta
Johnny Cash was born February 26, 1932, in Kingsland, Arkansas, to Carrie Cash (Rivers) and Raymond Cash. He made his first single, "Hey Porter", for Sun Records in 1955. In 1958 he moved to Columbia Records. He had long periods of drug abuse during the 1960s, but later that decade he successfully fought his addiction with the help of singer June Carter Cash...
Bobby Darin was born Walden Robert Cassotto on May 14, 1936. Growing up in a rough section of the Bronx, New York, Bobby barely survived several serious bouts of rheumatic fever that left him with a damaged heart (which undoubtedly contributed to his early death). Bobby's ambition was to become a legend by the time he was 25...
Sam Cooke was born January 22, 1931 in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He was one of eight children of Charles Cook Sr., a Baptist minister. When Sam sang as a little boy in church, everyone made note that his voice had "something special". He sang in church and in local gospel choirs until a group called the Highway Q.C.'s asked him to sing with them at various venues...
Patsy Cline was born Virginia Patterson Hensley on September 8, 1932 in Winchester, Virginia. Her brush with show business came at age four when she won a prize in an amateur tap dancing contest. By the time she entered grade school, her family was fully aware of her musical talent. On her eighth birthday...
Bing Crosby was born Harry Lillis Crosby, Jr. in Tacoma, Washington, the fourth of seven children of Catherine Helen "Kate" (Harrigan) and Harry Lowe Crosby, a brewery bookkeeper. He was of English and Irish descent. Crosby studied law at Gonzaga University in Spokane but was more interested in playing the drums and singing with a local band...
Fred Astaire was born in Omaha, Nebraska, to Johanna (Geilus) and Fritz Austerlitz, a brewer. Fred entered show business at age 5. He was successful both in vaudeville and on Broadway in partnership with his sister, Adele Astaire
. After Adele retired to marry in 1932, Astaire headed to Hollywood. Signed to RKO...
Tony Bennett, one of the legends of jazz and popular music who served during the Second World War and then developed a career spanning over half a century, is now giving another concert tour across the United States and Europe. He was born Anthony (Antonio) Dominick Benedetto on August 3, 1926, in Astoria...
Nat 'King' Cole
Nat King Cole was born Nathaniel Adams Coles at Montgomery, Alabama. He received music lessons from his mother and his family moved to Chicago when he was only five, where his father Edward James Coles was a minister at the True Light Baptist Church and later Pastor of the First Baptist Church. At 12 he was playing the church organ and at 14 he formed a 14 piece band called the Royal Dukes...
Kris Kristofferson was born in Brownsville, Texas, to Mary Ann (Ashbrook) and Lars Henry Kristofferson. His paternal grandparents were Swedish, and his father was a United States Air Force general who pushed his son to a military career. Kris was a Golden Gloves boxer and went to Pomona College in California...
This versatile, eclectic, rather wanderlust country crossover star known for his classic ballads ("Always On My Mind"), autobiographical road songs ("On the Road Again") and catchy rhythms ("Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys") started out life as Willie Hugh Nelson on April 30, 1933...
Tammy once said: "I spent 15 minutes writing ["Stand by Your Man"], and a lifetime defending it". She was born Virginia Wynette Pugh on May 5, 1942, on her grandfather's cotton farm in Itawamba County, Mississippi. Tammy picked cotton as a child, and as a young woman worked as a waitress, a doctor's receptionist...
The remarkable, hyper-ambitious Material Girl who never stops reinventing herself, Madonna is a seven-time Grammy Award-winner who has sold over three hundred million records and CDs to adoring fans worldwide. Her film career, however, is another story. Her performances have consistently drawn scathing or laughable reviews from film critics...
Freddie Mercury was born on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar. His parents, Bomi and Jer Bulsara, sent him off to a private school in India, from 1955 til 1963. In 1964 Freddie and his family flew to England. Freddie was very delighted to come to England. In 1966 he started his education at the Ealing College of Art...
Kylie Ann Minogue was born on 28 May, 1968. The eldest of three children, Kylie's acting career began early, but it was her role as "Charlene" in the Australian soap, Neighbours
, which established Kylie as an international star. Her singing career began, purely by accident, when a record company executive heard Kylie's rendition of Little Eva
's 1962 hit...
Louis Armstrong grew up poor in a single-parent household. He was 13 when he celebrated the New Year by running out on the street and firing a pistol that belonged to the current man in his mother's life. At the Colored Waifs Home for Boys, he learned to play the bugle and the clarinet and joined the home's brass band...
The famed composer ("One O'Clock Jump", "Two O'Clock Jump", "Jumpin' at the Woodside"), pianist, songwriter and bandleader began as an accompanist to vaudeville acts. He joined the Bennie Moten orchestra in Kansas City, later organizing his own orchestra and performing on radio. In 1936 he came to New York...
Billie Holiday was a true artist of her day and rose as a social phenomenon in the 1950s. Her soulful, unique singing voice and her ability to boldly turn any material that she confronted into her own music made her a superstar of her time. Today, Holiday is remembered for her masterpieces, creativity and vivacity...
Matt Monro was born Terry Parsons in north London in 1930, to Alice and Frederick. He had three brothers, Arthur, Reg and Harry and a sister, Alice. It was a tough childhood, his father died when he was three and after his mother became ill, he was fostered out for two years. Leaving school at 14, he tried a succession of jobs without sticking at any of them for very long...
David Bowie is widely regarded as one of the most influential writers of pop music. Born David Jones, he changed his name to Bowie in the 1960s, to avoid confusion with the then well-known Davy Jones
(lead singer of The Monkees
). The 1960s were not a happy period for Bowie, who remained a struggling artist...
Jim Reeves was one of the best of the "Nashville Sound" style country and western singers. His fame was widespread, not only in the USA, but also in Britain, India, Scandanavia and South Africa. Born in 1923 in Panola County, Texas, Jim after college began to pursue a professional baseball career but was sidelined by an injury to his leg while a pitcher with the Houston Buffaloes...
The Beatles were an English rock band that became arguably the most successful act of the 20th century. They contributed to music, film, literature, art, and fashion, made a continuous impact on popular culture and the lifestyle of several generations. Their songs and images carrying powerful ideas of love...
Robin Gibb was born in 1949 on the Isle of Man, about half an hour before his twin brother Maurice. His parents, Barbara and Hugh, were both musical. Barbara sang and Hugh was a drummer and bandleader. Robin had four siblings - an older sister and brother, Lesley and Barry, twin Maurice and younger brother Andy...
Jerry Lee Lewis
Jerry Lee Lewis was born on September 29, 1935 into a very religious family . His family, though not very wealthy, sold their house when he was a child to get their son a piano. He loved to play piano. He was sent to a religious school, but was soon thrown out shortly thereafter -- he did a boogie version of a song about Jesus...
Canadian-born Paul Anka first achieved success in the 1950s as a teenage singing star (and, for the times, an unusual one in that he wrote many of his own songs). Although he appeared in several films, and was quite believable as a nervous, hyper young soldier in The Longest Day
(for which he also composed the theme music)...
Lynn Rene Anderson was a multi-award-winning American country music singer known for a string of hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s, most notably her country-pop, worldwide mega-hit "(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden". She had charted 11 No. 1, 18 Top-10, and more than 50 Top-40 hits. Anderson's...
The beat goes on ... and on ... and as strong as ever for this superstar entertainer who has well surpassed the four-decade mark while improbably transforming herself from an artificial, glossy "flashionplate" singer into a serious, Oscar-worthy, dramatic actress ... and back again! With more ups and downs than the 2008 Dow Jones Industrial Average...
One of the brightest, most tragic movie stars of Hollywood's Golden Era, Judy Garland
was a much-loved character whose warmth and spirit, along with her rich and exuberant voice, kept theatre-goers entertained with an array of delightful musicals. She was born Frances Ethel Gumm on 10 June 1922 in Minnesota...
Born in Glasgow in 1948. As a teenager, she toured the northern clubs with her band, "the Luvvers". After her initial success with a cover of "Shout" reaching #7 in 1964, Lulu went on to establish herself as one of the biggest-selling British female singers of the 1960s. She made her film début in To Sir, with Love
Dusty Springfield has been acknowledged around the world as the best female soul singer that Britain ever produced. With her oddly erotic, throaty voice, she racked up a string of hits from the 1960s onwards. Born in London to Irish parents, Dusty grew up in and around London. Her early work included an all-girl trio...
He was educated at the Toronto Conservatory, and studied with Louis Waizman and Frank Wellman. Beginning as a film-theatre pianist, he moved on to dance orchestras, and conducted his own orchestra on radio in 1931, then became staff arranger and conductor for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He came to the USA in 1940...