It happened this week…

This is the week that was in matters musical …

1941, jazz musician Sidney Bechet records two saxophone parts, clarinet, bass, piano, and drums on a recording of “The Sheik of Araby” … the multitrack performance is achieved in the days before audio tape was in use … Bechet records his first instrument on a wax disc, then plays his second instrumental part while the first disc is being replayed … both parts are recorded onto a second disc … each successive part requires recording onto a new disc … the result is a master disc with the original instrumental track six generations down and barely audible …

1956, Elvis Presley’s first gig in Las Vegas is a bust … the young rock ’n’ roller is sent packing after the first week of what was to have been a two-week engagement …

1958, the first Flying Vs are shipped to dealers from Gibson’s factory in Kalamazoo …

1959, the second of two recording sessions for Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue takes place at Columbia Records 30th Street Studio in New York City … the group, which includes Cannonball Adderley on alto sax, John Coltrane on tenor, and pianist Bill Evans, records “Flamenco Sketches” and “All Blues” … the album goes on to become a classic, the one jazz album bought by people who normally aren’t jazz fans …

1961, a raucous quartet of rockers makes its debut at Liverpool’s Cavern Club … it’ll be another three years before The Beatles become a household name … also on the bill are The Swinging Blue Jeans who will later score a hit with “Hippy Hippy Shake” …

1962, “Wipe Out” by The Surfaris is released as the surf subculture flowers and its influence is felt far from the waves … in the landlocked Midwest, high school boys prove their coolness by pounding out the drum solo with their bare hands on the nearest desk or cafeteria table …

1970, Johnny Cash drops in on Richard Nixon at the White House and performs “A Boy Named Sue” at the president’s special request …

1976, it’s been more than ten years since Roy Orbison has had a hit when he plays before a crowd of less than 100 at the Van-a-Rama auto show in Cincinnati, Ohio … adding to his misery, it’s his birthday … his glory days with the Traveling Wilburys lie far ahead …

1984, Jerry Lee Lewis gets hitched for the sixth time to a 22-year-old named Kerrie McCarver …

1991, proto-punk rocker Johnny Thunders dies of suspicious drug-related circumstances at St. Peter House in New Orleans, Louisiana … born John Anthony Genzale Jr., the flamboyant future guitarist of glam rock band The New York Dolls grew up in Jackson Heights, NY, first performing under the name Johnny Volume at his high school … Genzale renamed himself Johnny Thunders after a comic book of the same name when he formed The New York Dolls with Arthur Kane, Billy Murcia, David Johansen, and Syl Sylvain in 1971 … Thunders’ playing and attitude on the first two Dolls’ albums and in his post-Doll band The Heartbreakers will influence a legion of guitarists, among them Steve Jones, Joan Jett, Pat Smear, Izzy Stradlin, and Slash …

2000, annual record sales top out at $38.5 billion, the biggest total ever … illegal downloading and music piracy will result in significant reductions in that number over the coming years …

2001, Peter Buck runs amuck on a Seattle-to-London flight … after quaffing 14 glasses of wine, the R.E.M guitarist overturns a food cart, mistakes a stranger for his wife, smashes crockery, and tussles with crew members … in the ensuing British trial, Buck testifies that he has no memory of the events saying, “All I know is, I woke up and I am covered in cream” …

2005, hip-hop star Jay-Z introduces a line of watches, including a limited-edition model that will go for $70,000 a pop …

2006, jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk is awarded a posthumous Special Citation by The Pulitzer Prize Board for his contributions to American music …

2007, Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, and Harry Shearer announce that they are reforming their satiric heavy-metal act, the subject of the cult favorite mockumentary This is Spinal Tap … the band will play the upcoming Live Earth festival in London on July 7 as a part of a worldwide effort to combat global warming … the band says it will debut its new single “Warmer than Hell” at the festival …

And that was the week that was.

Arrivals:

April 17: rock promoter Don Kirshner (1934), British rockabilly artist Billy Fury (1941), Jan Hammer (1948), guitarist, songwriter, producer Michael Sembello (1954), The Buzzcocks’ Pete Shelley (1955), Stephen Singleton of ABC (1959), James Keenan of Tool (1964), Liz Phair (1967)

April 18: conductor-arranger of the NBC Orchestra Leopold Stokowski (1882), opera singer Sylvia Fisher (1910), bluesman Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown (1924), Doors producer Paul Rothschild (1935), Mike Vickers of Manfred Mann (1941), Moby Grape founder Skip Spence (1946), Les Pattinson of Echo & The Bunnymen (1958), Jim Ellison of Material Issue (1964), Everclear’s Greg Eklund (1970), Mark Tremonti (1974)

April 19: music school founder Augustus Juilliard (1836), Dickie “Flying Saucer” Goodman (1934), songwriter David Mook (1936), Alexis Korner of Blues Incorporated (1928), songwriter Bobby Russell (1940), Alan Price of the Animals (1942), Mark Volman of The Turtles (1944)

April 20: Johnny Tillotson (1939), Craig Frost of Grand Funk Railroad (1948), Luther Vandross (1951), Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater (1967), singer Stephen Marley, son of Bob (1972)

April 21: Eric Maresca, writer of Dion’s hit “The Wanderer” (1939), Iggy Pop born James Jewel Osterburg (1947), Robert Smith of The Cure (1959), Michael Timmins of Cowboy Junkies (1959), Johnny McElhone of Texas (1963)

April 22: violinist Yehudi Menuhin (1916), R’n’B singer Bull Moose Jackson (1919), jazz composer and bassist Charles Mingus (1922), Glen Campbell (1936), session drummer Howard Wyeth (1944), Frankie Garcia of Cannibal and the Headhunters (1946), Peter Frampton (1950), Paul Carrack of Squeeze (1951), Silverchair’s Daniel Johns (1979)

Departures:

April 17: Dixie Hummingbirds founder James B. Davis (2007), New Orleans R’n’B singer-guitarist-songwriter Earl King (2003), Linda McCartney (1998), lyricist Jack Yellen, famous for “Happy Days Are Here Again” (1991), Mountain bassist/Cream producer Felix Pappalardi (1983), Vinnie Taylor of Sha Na Na (1974), rock ’n’ roll pioneer Eddie Cochran (1960)

April 18: Bernard Edwards of Chic (1996), producer Mike Leander (1996), songwriter Bernie Wayne (1993), Western swing pioneer Milton Brown (1936)

April 19: jazz drummer Stan Levey (2005), jazz bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pederson (2005), metal band guitarist Bryan Ottoson (2005), Layne Staley of Alice in Chains (2002), “Texas Flood” songwriter Larry Davis (1994), saxophonist Steve Douglas (1993), sax man Clifford Scott (1993), R&B singer Willie Mabon (1985), pop/jazz/blues singer Savannah Churchill (1974)

April 20: Andrew Hill (2007), bebop saxist Teddy Edwards (2003), trumpeter Walter Fuller (2003), singer Alan Dale (2002), composer-conductor Giuseppi Sinopoli (2001), producer Jose Rodriguez (1996), bluesman Johnny Shines (1992), Steve Marriott of Humble Pie (1991)

April 21: father of Aussie rock Lobby Loyde (2007), singer-arranger-composer-pianist Nina Simone (2003), Neal Matthews, Jr. of the Jordanaires (2000), Sandy Denny (1978), ska trombonist Don Drummond (1971), slide guitarist Earl Hooker (1970)

April 22: songwriter Felice Bryant (2003), George Lanuid of The Crescendos (1996), pianist Earl “Fatha” Hines (1983), Walter Vinson of the legendary Mississippi Sheiks (1975), Jerry Lee’s 3-year-old boy Steven Allen Lewis (1962)

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2 Comments

  1. Nice break down! Enjoyed the drive down music history lane!!!

  2. Presented in a nice cut & paste format :grin:

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