Gary US Bonds will be celebrating a birthday June 6th, his 81st. Most gentlemen his age are quietly enjoying their well spent years. Not Gary. Gary’s a Rock n Roll icon who has enjoyed a couple of surges of stardom throughout his historic music career.

It was in the 60’s when his big hit New Orleans led to a number one hit with Quarter to Three. Touring with legends Sam Cooke and B.B. King he was taught by Sam Cooke to use his dynamic personality on stage instead of just standing there and performing. Sam Cooke’s advice paid off very well.

Gary is the only Jersey Guy who’s not from New Jersey. He serves as an honorary New Jerseyan after a chance meeting in 1980 with Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Van Zandt   led to not only a great friendship, but also a solid music collaboration with his album Dedication, and big hits with This Little Girl is Mine, Out of Work, Jolie Blon and more.

I met Gary years ago at Bobby Bandiera’s Hope Concert. Each year of the Hope Concert, a charity concert that ran for ten years and raised millions for New Jersey based charities, Gary, Southside Johnny and I shared Bobby Bandiera’s dressing room. I hosted the concert and we’d have a few beverages and the stories would start flowing.

Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce would pop in and the camaraderie was so strong and the stories were both historical and hysterical. We became fast friends because of his genuine kindness, sense of humor and of course love of music.

He was kind to donate his time to my Big Joe Holiday Extravaganza for Jersey Kids and we’d see each other many times throughout the summer at different music events. Gary called me up and asked me to host his 75th birthday party bash at B.B. Kings in New York. It was an honor to be among so many legends paying tribute to Gary.

In honor of his birthday I wanted to post the video and interview from my TV show with Gary on The Big Joe Henry Variety Show. He was awesome and such a pleasure to interview. Check out the interview above.

Ironically this past Sunday night Gary called me and told me about a song that he worked on with his band mates Joey Stann and Steve Rossi. It’s a song written about what we have been facing for the past few months. I have included that song below. Gary will work again because that’s who he is and I can’t wait to see him and the audience loving every minute of it. Thanks Gary and happy birthday!

This Week in Music History — May 29 - June 4

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