Brian Setzer

Happy Birthday

Brian Robert Setzer
April 10, 1959
Massapequa, New York

Iconic guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and 3-time Grammy-award-winner BRIAN SETZER is a “Musician’s Musician” credited with continually taking chances with innovative and daring musical styles, while single-handedly resurrecting two forgotten genres of music (rockabilly in the ‘80’s and swing in the ’90’s). Along the way, he has scored chart-topping hits, sold 13 million records and received the Orville H. Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award throughout his decorated career as founder/leader of the Stray Cats, his 19-piece Brian Setzer Orchestra, and as a solo artist. He is consistently cited as one of the world’s greatest living guitarists, and has a best-selling, extensive line of elite Gretsch signature model guitars.

Setzer was born April 1959 in Massapequa, New York. Massapequa of course is Native American for "near the mall".  Setzer had a love for Jazz, punk rock and rockabilly. 

Setzer formed the Stray Cats along with Bassist Lee Rocker and Drummer Slim Jim Phantom. The trio went to London to make it big and be part of the "Teddy Boy" revival scene there. After sleeping in parks and on couches, they became friends with Chriisie Hynde, Dave Edmunds and soon were the toast of the town. 

The Stray Cats went back home to the USA and released "Built For Speed" in 1982. 
Everything was now aligned for The Stray Cats. With their incredibly cool look that mixed 50's Rockabilly with Punk, they were perfect for MTV. "Built For Speed" was a huge hit and sold millions on the strength of the mega singles "Stray Cat Strut" and "Rock This Town". 

The Stray Cats were incredibly original and Brian Setzer's Guitar playing  was a breath of fresh air from the hair band nonsense of the time. Brian mixed Jazz, Blues, Rock n Roll and Rockabilly into his own incredible style. 

The Stray Cats opened for The Rolling Stones and played in front of 80,000 people in Rio. The band's next album "Rant n Rave" was also a hit on the strength of "Sexy+17". 

The Stray Cats broke up and reunited often, and currently have a new album and tour in the works for their 40th anniversary. 

Brian Setzer started a swing and big band revival in the 90's with his Brian Setzer Orchestra. A 17 piece big band that had a huge hit with the Louis Prima classic "Jump, Jive and Wail". Every year the Brian Setzer Orchestra performs Christmas concerts during November and December. A must see. 

Brian Setzer is pound for pound one of the greatest guitarists of all time. He is definitely one of the most diverse. The man can play anything with grace and feel as well as explosive speed. 

Happy Birthday and Thank You for the music Brian Setzer!

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