It's a Guitarist/Birthdays Special Edition today (including a longtime New England and Portland, Maine fave)...

Steely Dan In Concert At Beacon Theatre
Steely Dan's Walter Becker, May 2007. (Photo: Scott Gries/Getty Images)

2/20/1946 - Happy Birthday to rock-'n'-blues guitar wiz John Warren Geils Jr., a.k.a. the one and only J. Geils, 71 years old today. The band's not the same without him -- it's just that simple, kids.

2/20/1950 - Happy Birthday to Steely Dan guitarist-bassist-songwriter-producer-multi-talent extraordinaire Walter Becker, 67 years old today. Musical partner Donald Fagen maybe gets more notoriety as the lead vocalist (the two go as far back as 1969), but a quick perusal through the Steely Dan catalog reveals that Walter is clearly in a 50/50 split as co-composer of all the Dan's songs! -- Solo albums "11 Tracks Of Whack" (1994) and "Circus Money" (2008) are underrated gems, well worth checking out...

2/20/1951 - Born on this day, Spirit founding-member-and-main-man-lead-guitarist-singer-songwriter Randy California. Now here was a band that was way, way, way ahead of the curve, and it was Randy's stewardship that really put 'em on the map with neo-psychedelic albums "The Family That Plays Together" (1968, featuring one of the most-hard-rockin'-fantastically-arranged-and-performed singles of the decade, "I Got A Line On You", absolute perfection!) and the bona-fide classic masterpiece, 1970's "The 12 Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus" (the definition of a must-have-LP if ever there was one!). Sadly, on January 2, 1997, while on vacation in Hawaii, Randy drowned off the coast of Molokai after saving his 12-year-old son from the strong undertow; he was 45 years old; his body was never recovered.

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"You know my winter's almost over/My summer, she's comin' on strong...", xoxo!

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