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PHOTO BY: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images
Feb. 2: Graham Nash, 80
Singer-songwriter Graham Nash first came to prominence as a member of the British invasion band the Hollies. But he soon left them behind to team up with David Crosby and Stephen Stills — and occasionally Neil Young — to make some of the most beloved folk-tinged rock of the 1970s and beyond. He was later inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice, as a member of both bands, and Queen Elizabeth II appointed him an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2010. Nash has been an amateur photographer since the age of 10, taking cameras on tour and snapping pictures of his bandmates and friends in Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles, California, and last year he released the book A Life in Focus: The Photography of Graham Nash, which is filled with images from his personal archives.
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PHOTO BY: Gary Miller/Getty Images
Feb. 4: Clint Black, 60
With his trademark black cowboy hat and a traditional sound he honed in Texas honky-tonks, Clint Black burst onto the country scene in 1989 with his triple-platinum debut album, Killin’ Time. Over the years, he’s sold more than 20 million records and earned a Grammy and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2020, he and his wife of three decades, Lisa Hartman Black, appeared together on The Masked Singer as the reality show’s first duet in costume, the Snow Owls. The couple is currently back out on the road together on the “Mostly Hits & the Mrs.” tour, with a set list that includes his 2020 single “America (Still in Love with You).”
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PHOTO BY: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
Feb. 5: Jennifer Jason Leigh, 60
“I could never play the ingenue, the girl next door or the very successful young doctor,” Jennifer Jason Leigh once told the Los Angeles Times. “That would be a bore.” And it’s a rule she’s lived by for decades. Throughout her career, she’s starred as a prostitute in Miami Blues and Last Exit to Brooklyn, earned a Golden Globe nomination for channeling Dorothy Parker in Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, and nabbed her first Oscar nomination for The Hateful Eight, in which she stole scenes as the vicious, captured fugitive Daisy Domergue. Following her turns on Netflix's Atypical and last year’s Apple TV+ miniseries Lisey’s Story, she’s joining the cast of Amazon Prime's Hunters as a Nazi hunter.
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PHOTO BY: Mark Horton/Getty Images
Feb. 6: Axl Rose, 60
If you’ve listened to hard-rocking Guns N’ Roses tunes like “Paradise City” and “Welcome to the Jungle,” you know that Axl Rose is working with a vocal instrument that’s practically otherworldly. On its 2010 list of the greatest singers of all time, Rolling Stone ranked him number 64, quoting bandmate Slash, who described Rose’s voice as “the sound that a tape player makes when the cassette finally dies and the tape gets ripped out — but in tune.” His five-octave range is wider than Mariah Carey’s or Steven Tyler’s. He and the rest of GNR were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, their first year of eligibility. Last year, the band released two singles, “Absurd” and “Hard Skool,” their first new material since 2008, and they’re heading back out on tour this summer.
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PHOTO BY: Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images
Feb. 7: Garth Brooks, 60
One of the top-selling musical artists of all time, Garth Brooks ranks second only to the Beatles in album sales, and he’s achieved something no other singer has ever replicated: nine albums that have gone diamond, representing sales of more than 10 million. In 2020, the country legend became the youngest recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, and the seven-time CMA Entertainer of the Year then received a Kennedy Center Honor, shedding a few tears during the tribute concert. This year he’s going out on a stadium tour, which ends with five nights in Dublin, Ireland.
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PHOTO BY: Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Feb. 9: Carole King, 80
The Brill Building legend is the highest-ranking woman — number 7 — on Rolling Stone’s list of the greatest songwriters of all time, and her contributions to American popular music are truly staggering: She has written or cowritten (along with her first husband, Gerry Goffin) at least 118 songs that charted on the Billboard Hot 100, both for herself and for other bands and singers. Her 1971 album, Tapestry, remained on the charts for more than six years, and the four-time Grammy winner has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice, as both a performer and a writer. And she’s still going strong: This year she earned Golden Globe and Grammy nominations for the song “Here I Am (Singing My Way Home)” from the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect.
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PHOTO BY: John Lamparski/Getty Images
Feb. 11: Sheryl Crow, 60
The nine-time Grammy winner was a backup singer for Michael Jackson on his “Bad” tour in the late ’80s, then found fame with her remarkably assured 1993 debut, Tuesday Night Music Club, featuring the huge hits “All I Wanna Do” and “Strong Enough.” Over the years, her radio-friendly blend of pop, country and roots rock has landed her on the Billboard Hot 100 19 times, but she’s been candid about her challenges, including breast cancer, diagnosed in 2006 just six days after her breakup with cyclist Lance Armstrong. Last August she released her newest album Sheryl Crow: Live From the Ryman and More, a 27-track colossus that includes guest appearances by the likes of Stevie Nicks, Emmylou Harris and Brandi Carlile.
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PHOTO BY: Dominik Bindl/Getty Images
Feb. 17: Lou Diamond Phillips, 60
Best known for his roles as Chicano rock pioneer Ritchie Valens in La Bamba and as a gang member (who’s also secretly a calculus whiz) in Stand and Deliver, Phillips has acted steadily on stage and screen since the 1980s. Most recently, he played New York City police Lt. Gil Arroyo for two seasons in the Fox procedural Prodigal Son, and next up, he’s set to cameo as himself in the comedy Easter Sunday, about a Filipino American family gathering to celebrate the holiday, that’s scheduled to premiere in April.
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PHOTO BY: Daniel DeSlover/Sipa USA/Sipa via AP Images
Feb. 17: Billie Joe Armstrong, 50
It might be hard to imagine that the messy-haired, eyeliner-wearing Green Day front man is turning 50, but the Oakland, California, native shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, in the past two years he’s released three albums. In February 2020, Green Day dropped their 13th studio album, a garage rock–influenced collection of songs that comes in fast and dirty at under 27 minutes (and has an unprintable title!). That December, the trio’s super-secret side project, a six-piece new wave band called the Network, released Money Money 2020 Part II: We Told Ya So! — though Armstrong cheekily denied any involvement. And finally, in 2021, Armstrong and company dropped BBC Sessions, which comprises live recordings made for the BBC from 1994 to 2001.
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PHOTO BY: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images
Feb. 18: Juice Newton, 70
Best known for her hit 1981 singles “Angel of the Morning” and “Queen of Hearts,” Newton struck gold (and platinum), sliding seamlessly between country and pop, and she won a 1982 Grammy for best female country vocal performance for a cover of the Brenda Lee hit “Break It to Me Gently.” In 2010, Newton released her most recent album, Duets: Friends & Memories, which featured collaborations with Willie Nelson, Glen Campbell, Melissa Manchester, Frankie Valli and others. Over the years, “Angel of the Morning” has remained a pop cultural landmark: It was sampled in the reggae song “Angel” by Shaggy, it re-charted when it showed up in the opening credits of Deadpool, and it scored the climax of Promising Young Woman.
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PHOTO BY: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
Feb. 19: Amy Tan, 70
It’s impossible to read Amy Tan’s sumptuous 1989 novel The Joy Luck Club and not want to be a member of the title group, who share stories and delicious meals around the mah-jongg table. The 1993 film adaptation, for which Tan cowrote the screenplay, was only the second major Hollywood film to star a primarily Asian American cast and tell a contemporary story since 1961’s Flower Drum Song. Over the years, Tan has released a series of other well-reviewed novels, including 2001’s The Bonesetter’s Daughter, and she published Where the Past Begins: A Writer’s Memoir in 2017. Last year, PBS celebrated her groundbreaking career with the documentary Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir, which is available to stream on Netflix.
Nicholas DeRenzo is a contributing writer who covers entertainment and travel. Previously he was executive editor of United Airlines’ Hemispheres magazine and his work has appeared in the New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, Sunset and New York magazine.