Classics Du Jour


CDJ Today: January 29 in Classic Rock

Jonny Lang
Johnny Lang. Credit: Piper Ferguson.

January 29, 1986 – Allen Collins, guitarist from Lynyrd Skynyrd, crashes his car, paralyzing him from the waist down and killing his girlfriend Debra Jean Watts. Collins, who was drunk at the time, addressed fans at every Skynyrd concert as part of his plea bargain.  He gave an explanation of why he could not perform, citing the dangers of drinking and driving, as well as drugs and alcohol. Collins had survived the fateful Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash in 1977, but died in 1990 due to complications from his paralysis.

January 29, 1979 – 16-year-old Brenda Spencer kills two people and wounds nine when she fires on San Diego’s Grover Cleveland Elementary School with a .22-caliber rifle from her family’s house across the street.  Spencer pleads guilty to first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon and is sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. When asked why she did it, she said, “I just don’t like Mondays.” The Boomtown Rats later use the phrase as a title for a song.

January 29, 1983 – Stevie Nicks marries record promoter Kim Anderson but the marriage only lasts three months. They did not have children, but Anderson has one child, Matthew, with the late Robin Snyder, who died of leukemia in 1982. Robin was Stevie’s best friend, and Stevie considers Matthew to be her stepson.

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Classic Rock Birthdays

January 29, 1961 – Eddie Jackson, bass, vocals (Queensrÿche)
January 29, 1949 – Tommy Ramone (born Tamás Erdélyi), drums (Ramones) (d. 2014)
January 29, 1954 – Dick Manitoba (born Richard Blum), vocals (The Dictators)
January 29, 1981 – Jonny Lang (born Jon Gordon Langseth, Jr.), guitar, vocals
January 29, 1947 – David Byron (born David Garrick), vocals (Uriah Heep) (d. 1985)
January 29, 1953 – Louie Pérez, drums, guitar (Los Lobos)

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Rock Remembrances

January 29, 2021 – Hilton Valentine, original guitarist in the Animals, dies at the age of 77.  No cause of death was given.  Valentine was with the Animals for four years, during which time his guitar riffs on the classic “House of the Rising Sun” were said to influence Bob Dylan to “go electric.” In 1994 Valentine was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Animals.

January 29, 1992 – Willie Dixon dies of heart failure in Burbank, CA. He was 76.  Dixon was a major influence on The Rolling Stones, Cream, The Yardbirds The Animals and Led Zeppelin. He wrote the classic songs “You Shook Me,” “I Can’t Quit You Baby,” “Hoochie Coochie Man,” and “I Just Want to Make Love to You.” He ended up suing Led Zeppelin in 1984 for plagiarism and winning.  Next to Muddy Waters, Dixon is recognized as the most influential person in shaping the sound of the Chicago blues.  Dixon was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

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