Today’s Music: Eddie Fisher, Jimmy Dean, Bobby Hatfield, Ronnie Spector, Ian Anderson, Leo Fender

Pop singer Eddie Fisher was born today in 1928 (d. 2010). Though he was a pre-Elvis heartthrob in the early-to-mid ’50s, he drifted into obscurity after the advent of rock and roll. He is also the father of actress Carrie Fisher.

Another big name in the ’50s was country-pop star Jimmy Dean, born today in 1928. Jimmy also died in 2010, best known for his sausage, so to speak, rather than his music. Random trivial factoid: Jimmy Dean’s early 60s TV show gave Muppeteer Jim Henson his first national audience.

Righteous Brother and one of the ‘kings of blue-eyed soul,’ Bobby Hatfield was born today in 1940 (d. 2003). With Righteous Bros. partner Bill Medley, he sang tunes that still survive in the public memory, although his own name is not easily recognizable.

Rock signer Ronnie Spector, lead vocalist of The Ronettes, was born today in 1943.

Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson was born in 1947. Best known for introducing the flute to rock music, he also plays other instruments.

Special mention to Leo Fender, born in 1909 (d. 1991), who introduced the first inexpensive mass-produced electric guitar, the Telecaster, in 1950 and set the standard for electric basses and amplifiers thereafter. It’s safe to say that, without Leo’s innovations, rock, country, soul and blues music would have taken entirely different courses. Random trivial factoid: Leo designed the Telecaster to be a lightweight and functional jazz guitar for musicians who couldn’t afford the more expensive Gibson and Guild instruments.

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