This Day In Music 10.04.2016
Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Brian Robert Setzer was born on April 10, 1959 in New York City. He was raised in Massapequa, Long Island and studied the tuba-like instrument the euphonium as a kid. Brian played the baritone horn in grade school and often traveled to New York City to visit local jazz clubs in his teen years. Beginning in January 1979, he fronted the rockabilly band The Tomcats, with drummer Jimmy McDonnell (a.k.a. Slim Jim Phantom), and upright double bass player Lee Rocker. Some months later the band renamed for the STRAY CATS. After performing between New York and Philadelphia with no real success they dediced to go to London. After releasing several singles and two albums in England, the Stray Cats finally caught America's attention with the 1982 album “Built for Speed”, which included the two Top Ten hits, 'Rock This Town' (#9) and 'Stray Cat Strut' (#3).
The band broke up in 1984.
Brian was the lead guitarist in Robert Plant's touring band the Honeydrippers from 1985 to 1986. He portrayed 50s rock singer Eddie Cochran in the film "La Bamba." The Stray Cats reunited in 1986, but eventually split up again in the early 90s. In the mid 90s Setzer formed the 17-piece swing band ensemble the Brian Setzer Orchestra; this group has released a handful of albums and performs in concert on a regular basis. Moreover, Brian has recorded a sizable number of solo albums that include "The Knife Feels Like Justice," "Rockin' By Myself," "Nitro Burnin' Funny Daddy," "Rockabilly Riot Vol. 1: A Tribute to Sun Records," "13," and "Red Hot & Live."
Setzer continued to release solo-billed albums sporadically, including a solo live disc Rockin' By Myself in 1998. On October 13, 2009, the Brian Setzer Orchestra released a new album titled Songs From Lonely Avenue. For the first time in Setzer's career, he was the sole writer on every song.
In addition, Setzer has won three Grammy Awards for his music: his spirited rendition of "Jump Jive An' Wail" won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance Duo/Group and he received two Best Pop Instrumental Performance Awards for "Sleepwalk" and "Caravan." He won the Orville H. Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award at the Gibson Awards in 1999. In 2011, Setzer toured extensively throughout Europe with The Brian Setzer Rockabilly Riot! Europe Tour 2011. On November 29, 2015 Setzer was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.