Bobby Vee -- The man who played the first gig in Minnesota after Buddy Holly's tour tragically ended due to the accident (ie. the day the music died) is often overlooked. I actually started to take him more seriously just recently as I read his story and acknowledged that his number one hit from 1961 -- "Take Good Care of My Baby," written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin -- delivered the goods. He eventually even recorded an album with Buddy Holly's band, The Crickets. And, how about this trivia: according to the Wiki, pre-fame Bob Dylan apparently toured with Bobby Vee and they remained friends over the years! So, in effect, one might infer that Bobby Vee helped get the career of Bob Dylan off the ground. Pretty cool!
Glen Frey -- Whether you like The Eagles or not, their popularity and influence are undeniable. I mean.... that Greatest Hits album sold ... more than 40 million copies! So, yah, they were pretty popular and for good reason. I admit to liking the hits a bunch. I still prefer their earlier material, such as the first hit single, which Glen co-wrote with Jackson Browne, "Take It Easy." And it is that track which I include in the playlist...
Kay Starr -- A legendary pop and jazz singer from the pre-rock 'n roll era, Kay passed on this year well into her 90th year. She was still performing into her 80s! I only know a bit of her music from recordings with one of my musical heroes, Les Paul, but she no doubt had a long and productive career and was highly respected by her peers. While there is a live recording up on YouTube of her with Les live in NY in 2005(!), the recording here on the playlist is from the 1940s with Jazz Violin pioneer Joe Venuti and Les Paul on guitar.
Rudy Van Gelder -- Mr. Van Gelder was a legendary jazz producer of everyone from Miles Davis to John Coltrane. He sculpted a sound in his studio which came to be revered and in many ways remains the quintessential sound of jazz. Thelonious Monk even wrote a song for Mr. Van Gelder and his studio called "Hackensack" (the town in NJ where the studio was located). "Hackensack" was apparently recorded on Monk's first day of recording in that studio, so it felt appropriate to include it in the playlist. Somewhat like the way that George Martin was a force in the world of pop and rock music, Mr. Van Gelder was a crucial link refining the sound of modern jazz for decades to come.