Big Joe Turner (born Joseph Vernon Turner Jr., May 18, 1911 – November 24, 1985) was an American blues shouter from Kansas City, Missouri. According to the songwriter Doc Pomus, “Rock and roll would have never happened without him.” Although he came to his greatest fame in the 1950s with his pioneering rock and roll recordings, particularly “Shake, Rattle and Roll“, Turner’s career as a performer stretched from the 1920s into the 1980s. Turner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
The late The New York Times music critic Robert Palmer, said: “…his voice, pushing like a Count Basie solo, rich and grainy as a section of saxophones, which dominated the room with the sheer sumptuousness of its sound.”
In announcing Turner’s death in their December 1985 edition, the British music magazine, NME, described Turner as “the grandfather of rock and roll.”
Songwriter Dave Alvin wrote a song about an evening that he spent with Turner titled “Boss Of The Blues”. It was on his 2009 release, Dave Alvin & The Guilty Women.
- George Strait is 60.
George Harvey Strait (born May 18, 1952) is an American country music singer, actor, and music producer. Strait is referred to as the “King of Country,” and critics call Strait a living legend. He is known for his unique style of western swing music, bar-room ballads, honky-tonk style, and fresh yet traditional Country music. George Strait holds the world record for more number-one hit singles than any other artist in the history of music on any chart or in any genre, having recorded 59 number-one hit singles as of 2012.
- Ian Kevin Curtis (15 July 1956 – 18 May 1980) was an English musician, best known as the lead singer and lyricist of the post-punk band Joy Division. Joy Division released their debut album, Unknown Pleasures, in 1979 and recorded their follow-up, Closer, in 1980. Curtis, who suffered from epilepsy and depression, committed suicide on 18 May 1980, on the eve of Joy Division’s first North American tour, resulting in the band’s dissolution and the subsequent formation of New Order.
- Elvin Ray Jones (September 9, 1927 – May 18, 2004) was a jazz drummer of the post-bop era. He showed interest in drums at a young age, watching the circus bands march by his family’s home in Pontiac, Michigan.From 1960 to 1966 he was a member of the John Coltrane quartet (along with Jimmy Garrison on bass and McCoy Tyner on Piano), a celebrated recording phase, appearing on such albums as A Love Supreme.
- Richard Christopher Wakeman (born 18 May 1949) is an English keyboard player, composer and songwriter best known for being the former keyboardist in the progressive rock band Yes. He is also known for his solo albums, contributing to the BBC comedy series Grumpy Old Men and for Rick’s Place, his former radio show on Planet Rock that aired until December 2010.