This week, we shift our focus from rock to one of America’s oldest musical pastimes: jazz. There are many iconic names in jazz who made significant impacts in their field. However, one of the most legendary names who changed jazz music forever was John Coltrane. Coltrane was a saxophonist in the 50’s and 60’s specializing at first in hard bop with fellow jazz icon Miles Davis. He had his own signature explosive sax sound and did things on the instrument that no one thought was possible. Coltrane began branching out and playing experimental jazz genres like free form and avant-garde. These avenues allowed him to express himself at the highest level and established him as the best jazz saxophonist of his era. To this day, his album A Love Supreme is still regarded as one of the most influential and important jazz albums in history. John Coltrane passed away on July 17, 1967 at only 40 years old. His legacy and music still influence young musicians today and he remains the pinnacle of the jazz sax.

Washboard Sam – July 15,1910 (blues singer/washboard player)

Linda Ronstadt –July 15, 1946 (country singer)

Peter Banks – July 15, 1947 (guitar, Yes)

Artimus Pyle – July 15, 1948 (drums, Lynyrd Skynyrd)

Jason Bonham – July 15, 1966 (drums, Black Country Communion)

Stewart Copeland – July 16, 1952 (drums, police)

“Peppermint” Harris – July 17, 1925 (jump blues guitarist)

Ron Asheton – July 17, 1948 (guitar, Iggy Pop and the Stooges)

Terence “Geezer” Butler – July 17, 1949 (bass, Black Sabbath)

Screamin Jay Hawkins – July 18, 1929 (Pioneer of shock rock)

Ian Stewart – July 18, 1938 (keyboards, The Rolling Stones)

Danny McCullock – July 18, 1945 (guitar, The Animals)

Buster Benton – July 19, 1932 (guitar, Willie Dixon)

Bernie Leadon – July 19, 1947 (guitar, The Eagles)

Brian May – July 19, 1947 (guitar, Queen)

Keith Godchaux – July 19, 1947 (keyboards, The Grateful Dead)

Allen Collins – July 19, 1952 (guitar, Lynyrd Skynyrd)

John Lodge (bass, Moody Blues)

Carlos Santana – July 20, 1947 (guitar, Santana)

Paul Cook – July 20, 1956 (drums, Sex Pistols)

Chris Cornell –July 20, 1964

Floyd Jones – July 21, 1917 (guitar, electric blues)

Cat Stevens – July 21, 1948


Johnny Winter – July 16, 2014

Billie Holiday – July 17, 1959

John Coltrane – July 17, 1967

Long John Baldry –July 21, 1941


Elton John’s Honky Chateau hits #1: July 15th, 1972

The Rolling Stones’ Some Girls hits #1: July 15th, 1978

The Who, “I’m Free” was released: July 16th, 1966

Jefferson Starship’s “Modern Time” awarded gold: July 16th, 1981

The Beatles, “All You Need Is Love” was released: July 17th, 1967

“Chicago 16” enters Hot 200: July 17, 1982

The Beatles, “Help!” was released: July 19th, 1965

Genesis’ “Invisible Touch” hits #1: July 19, 1986

Bob Dylan, “Like A Rolling Stone” was released: July 20th, 1965

Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction was released: July 21, 1987

– The Doors and Jefferson airplane play two shows each, an afternoon set and an evening set, at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California.: July 15, 1967

Sly and the Family Stone, The Kinks, Canned Heat, and the Edgar Winter Group perform at The Great Western Express Festival in London: July 15, 1973

– Bob Dylan plays what is supposedly his largest gig ever in England at the Blackbushe Aerodome, with special guest Eric Clapton. Over 200,000 people attended the gig. Bob Dylan played a 34 song set featuring classics like “Shelter from the Storm,” “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” “I Shall Be Released,” “Masters of War,” and “The Times They Are A-Changin’”: July 15, 1978

Columbia Records announce they are dropping Johnny Cash: July 15, 1986

Eric Clapton forms the band Cream with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker: July 16, 1966

– The Beatles work on recordings of two George Harrison penned tunes, “Something” and “Here Comes the Sun.” The two songs are generally considered two of George’s masterpieces, impressing all of The Beatles as well as producer George Martin. Harrison was inspired to write “Here Comes the Sun” while wandering around in Eric Clapton’s garden: July 16, 1969

– Pink Floyd record a show at the BBC Paris Cinema in London. The show was broadcast on the John Peel show on July 19, 1970. The relatively early Floyd show contains tunes like “Careful With That Axe, Eugene,” and “Atom Heart Mother”: July 16, 1970

– Jazz legend and occasional blues singer Billie Holidays passes away too young at age 43 from cirrhosis of the liver at a New York City hospital: July 17, 1959

– Another jazz icon, saxophonist John Coltrane, passes away from liver cancer on Long Island at age 40. Coltrane was one of the most innovative players of the jazz idiom, playing with other greats like Miles Davis and experimenting with forms including hard bop, modal jazz, and avant-garde jazz. Many consider his greatest work to be the song cycle album A Love Supreme. He would be an influence to plenty of rock guitarists in addition to those in the jazz tradition: July 17, 1967

Bob Marley and the Wailers play a historic concert at Lyceum Theater in London: July 17, 1975

Great blues player Gary Moore laves the band Thin Lizzy: July 17, 1979

– The Rolling Stones have their first hit on the American charts with their cover of Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away.”: July 18th, 1964

London’s Abbey Road Studios is open to public as a tourist attraction: July 18, 1983

The first ever Lollapalooza music festival is held in North America: July 18, 1991

– Billboard magazine publishes their first combined record sales chart, ranking the hits of all major labels. Sitting atop the ten entries is Tommy Dorsey’s “I’ll Never Smile Again,” lead vocals by Frank Sinatra: July 20th, 1940

– British paper Mersey Beat announces that the Beatles — or rather, the Beat Brothers, as they were then known — have just signed their first recording contract. Not with Capitol, but with famed German producer Bert Kaempfert: July 20th, 1961
Roger Waters performs the album The Wall at the Berlin Wall. Over 200,000 attended: July 21, 1990

That’s all for This Week in Rock History. Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed the article, please go over to the right column and like the Joe Bonamassa Official Blog on Facebook. We hope to see you there!


Patrick Ortiz