It happened this week…

This is the week that was in matters musical …

1920, British session guitarist Burt Weedon is born … his guitar tutorial Play In A Day and hit instrumentals such as “Guitar Boogie Shuffle,” influenced many stars including Eric Clapton and Brian May …

1924, Todd Storz is born … in the early ’50s, he created the Top 40 radio format at Omaha station KOWH that led to a big increase in its ratings and ultimately reshaped pop broadcasting …

1940, country soul singer-songwriter Arthur Alexander is born in Florence, Alabama … although he hit the top 40 in the early 1960s, he is better known for cover versions of his songs … he is the only songwriter to have his tunes covered by The Big 3: The Beatles (“Anna,” “Soldier of Love”), The Rolling Stones (“You Better Move On”), and Bob Dylan (“Sally Sue Brown”) … you could make a case for Chuck Berry being covered by all three if you consider how closely Bob’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” follows the format of Chuck’s “Too Much Monkey Business” …

1952, blues harp ace Little Walter records his signature instrumental “Juke” at Chess Studios in Chicago, backed up by Muddy Waters and Jimmy Rogers on guitar with Elgin Evans on drums, no bass … originally called “Your Cat Will Play,” the tune was developed by Walter from many live performances … Leonard Chess, the label owner and producer renamed the record “Juke” without consulting Walter or the band … the aptly titled tune became a jukebox favorite at clubs and juke joints … so much so that Walter abruptly quit the Muddy Waters band in the middle of a tour to go solo … the opening to “Juke” is the harp equivalent of “Smoke on the Water” or “Sweet Child O’ Mine”—a six note ascending riff repeated for the entire opening 12 bars (key of E, played crossharp using an A-tuned diatonic harp), it’s a must-learn for beginning blowers of the “Mississippi sax” …

1961, the first synthesizer composition is performed at Columbia University in NYC … mathematician Milton Babbit’s axe is the half million dollar Mark II that takes up a whole room … no confirmation that the composition is now available as a cell phone ringtone …

1962, The Beach Boys record “Surfin’ Safari” … their first for Capitol Records in Los Angeles …

1963, in London, The Rolling Stones record their first single, Chuck Berry’s “Come On” … back in the States producers refuse to let Bob Dylan perform “Talking John Birch Society Paranoid Blues” on The Ed Sullivan Show so Dylan doesn’t perform at all …

1964, The Warlocks record some instrumental demos in Los Angeles … a couple of years later they will spot the words “Grateful Dead” in a book and choose that for their new band name …

1968, while trying to cross the border from the U.S. into Canada, Jimi Hendrix is busted for possession of hashish and heroin … in his defense Jimi claims the drugs were planted … he is later cleared of the charges … Neil Young plays lead guitar on The Monkees song “You And I” which shows up on their Instant Replay album …

1971, in Asbury Park, New Jersey, Bruce Springsteen’s new band Dr. Boom and the Sonic Zoom hits the stage at the Sunshine Inn …

1972, “Sylvia’s Mother” written by Shel Silverstein and recorded by Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show begins climbing the charts …

1973, Tom Waits’ first album Closing Time does not chart … 16 albums later the public catches up with him …

1974, multi-instrumentalist Graham Bond dies under the wheels of a train in London … authorities do not know if it’s an accident or suicide … Bond had struggled with substance abuse and depression for several years … in the mid-’60s, Bond formed The Graham Bond Organisation with Ginger Baker on drums and Jack Bruce on bass duking it out musically and physically … John McLaughlin was the guitarist early on, later replaced by saxman Dick Heckstall-Smith …

1976, Keith Relf, former lead singer and harmonica player for the blues-wailing Yardbirds, is found dead at his home due to an electric shock from his improperly grounded electric guitar … no truth to the legend that he was in a bathtub at the time … despite suffering from asthma, Relf was an influential harmonica player … countless garage and punk bands played their cover versions of “I’m A Man” trying to emulate the rave-up sound of Relf’s harmonica dueling with Jeff Beck’s Fender Esquire …

1979, The Cure release their debut album Three Imaginary Boys … it includes an unrecognizable version of Jimi Hendrix’ “Foxey Lady” …

1980, The Sex Pistols movie The Great Rock and Roll Swindle debuts in London …

1982, Vangelis tops the charts with the theme from Chariots of Fire

1983, The Smiths release their debut single “Hand In Glove” … it flops …

1986, Motley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee gets hitched to actress Heather Locklear … hold on, he’s just getting started … next engagement on the never-ending marital tour is Feb. 1995 with Pamela Anderson …

1988, Led Zeppelin reunites for a single appearance at Madison Square Garden in NYC with Jason Bonham subbing for his late father John …

1992, guitarist John Frusciate tells fellow Red Hot Chili Peppers he’ll be leaving the band after tonight’s gig in Tokyo … he returns to the fold in 1998 …

1994, Pearl Jam makes a claim to the U.S. Department of Justice that Ticketmaster is operating a monopoly …

1998, Journey’s singer Steve Perry quits for health reasons …

1999, songwriter/cartoonist/poet/author Shel Silverstein dies of a heart attack in Key West, Florida … the hit songs he wrote include the Grammy-award-winning “A Boy Named Sue” for Johnny Cash, “The Unicorn” by The Irish Rovers, and “The Cover of The Rolling Stone” for Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show … his recitation of “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout (Would Not Take The Garbage Out)” was a favorite on radio’s Dr. Demento Show

2000, a $5.4 million dollars judgment against Michael Bolton is upheld by a U.S. Federal Appeals Court … the ruling: Bolton plagiarized parts of the Isley Brothers “Love Is A Wonderful Thing” for his tune of the same name … even though Bolton said he and the song’s co-writer had never heard the song, the court said “It is entirely plausible that two Connecticut teenagers obsessed with rhythm and blues music could remember an Isley Brothers song that was played on the radio and television for a few weeks and subconsciously copy it 20 years later” … Note: this entry was subconsciously copied from a news story account we read a few years ago …

2003, Noel Redding, bassist with The Jimi Hendrix Experience is found dead at his home in Ireland … in 1966, Redding had gone to audition as a guitarist for The Animals but was persuaded to try out on bass with Jimi Hendrix … he quit the JHE in 1969 and wrote about the whole … um, experience … in his book Are You Experienced? in which he talks about not getting his share of Hendrix recording profits … Redding received a one-time payment of £100-thousand, but that was before numerous CD and DVD Hendrix titles were issued … Redding was still planning legal action against the Hendrix estate when he died …

2007, Grateful Dead memorabilia collected by the band’s longtime road manager Lawrence “Ram Rod” Shurtliff is auctioned for more than $1 million … items included band photos, original album artwork, and guitars including the 1975 cream-colored Travis Bean played by Jerry Garcia … Shurtliff doesn’t see any of the proceeds, he died the year before … indie label Kill Rock Stars issues a two-disc compilation of mostly unreleased material by the late singer-songwriter Elliott Smith … titled New Moon, it includes tracks recorded between 1994 and 1997 … Smith’s body was discovered at his L.A. home in October 2003 … although the cause of death was widely reported as suicide, the coroner never established the cause of death … Bob Dylan signs a new multiyear contract with XM Satellite Radio to continue hosting his Theme Time Radio Hour show which has been notable for its eclectic mix of music … Midas-touch producer Rick Rubin cuts a deal with Columbia Records in which he assumes co-chairmanship of the company while also bringing his imprint, American Recordings into the Columbia fold … a master at working both sides of the street, Rubin’s deal allows him to continue to produce records for artists on other major labels …

And that was the week that was.

Arrivals:

May 8: jazz pianist Mary Lou Willams (1910), blues legend Robert Johnson (1911), Top 40 radio format pioneer Todd Storz (1924), Ricky Nelson (1940), frat party scenemaker John Fred (1941), Paul Samwell-Smith of The Yardbirds (1943), Toni Tennille of the Captain and Tennille (1943), Chris Frantz of Talking Heads (1951), Phillip Bailey of Earth Wind & Fire (1951), Alex Van Halen (1955), Dave Rowntree of Blur (1964), Savage Garden’s Darren Hayes (1972), Enrique Iglesias (1975)

May 9: Hank Snow (1914), Nokie Edwards of The Ventures (1935), Dave Prater of Sam and Dave (1937), Sonny Curtis of The Crickets (1937), Pete Birrell of Freddie and The Dreamers (1941), Tommy Roe (1942), Ritchie Furay of Buffalo Springfield and Poco (1944), Blood, Sweat and Tears’ Steve Katz (1945), Billy Joel (1949), Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode (1962), Paul Heaton of The Housemartins (1962)

May 10: Fred Astaire (1899), Maybelle Carter (1909), session guitarist Bert Weedon (1920), Cliff Goldsmith (1925), Fats Domino (1929), Larry Williams (1935), Arthur Alexander (1940), “Groovy” Joe Poovey (1941), Danny Rapp of Danny & The Juniors (1941), Donovan born Donovan Phillip Leitch (1946), Graham Goldman of 10cc (1946), Dave Mason (1947), reggae drummer Sly Dunbar of Sly and Robbie (1952), Sid Vicious, born John Simon Ritchie (1957), Bono born Paul Hewson (1960), Krist Novoselic of Nirvana (1965), Young MC (1967), Jason Dalyrimple of Soul for Real (1980)

May 11: Irving Berlin (1888), British blues diva Beryl Bryden (1920), record exec Ewart Abner (1923), Who manager Kit Lambert (1935), jazz pianist-composer Carla Bley (1938), Eric Burdon (1941), Les Chadwick of Gerry and the Pacemakers (1943), Arnie Silver of The Dovells (1943), Art of Noise’s Jonathan Jeczalik (1955)

May 12: Burt Bacharach (1928), The Cardinals’ Leon Hardy (1932), Jayotis Washington of The Persuasions (1941), Ian Dury (1942), singer-songwriter Billy Swan (1942), Ian McLagan of Small Faces (1945), Steve Winwood (1948), Billy Squier (1950), Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn (1955), Billy Duffy of The Cult (1959) Black Sabbath singer Ray Gillen (1959), Jason Biggs (1978)

May 13: editor of the Schwann Catalog William Schwann (1913), Memphis DJ Dewey Phillips (1926), The Weavers’ Fred Hellerman (1927), Harold Winley of The Clovers (1933), Ritchie Valens (1941), Mary Wells (1943), Carolyn Franklin (1944), harp player “Magic” Dick Salwitz of The J.Geils Band (1945), bassist Danny Klein of The J.Geils Band (1946), Peter “Overend” Watts of Mott the Hoople (1947), Stevie Wonder born Steveland Morris (1950), Danny Kirwan of Fleetwood Mac (1950), Paul Thompson of Roxy Music (1951), Darius Carlos Rucker of Hootie & The Blowfish (1966)

May 14: Frederick Van Pallandt of Nina and Frederick (1934), Bobby Darin born Walden Robert Cassotto (1936), songwriter Ed Labunski (1937), Jack Bruce of Cream (1943), Derek Leckenby of Herman’s Hermits (1943), Gene Cornish of The Rascals (1945), David Byrne (1952), Ian Astbury of The Cult (1962), C.C. DeVille of Poison (1962), Mike Inez of Alice in Chains (1966), Fabrice “Fab” Morvan of Milli Vanilli (1966), Danny Wood of New Kids on the Block (1969), Freaky Tah of The Lost Boyz (1971), Natalie Appleton of All Saints (1973), R&B singer Shanice (1973)

Departures:

May 8: Abbey Road photographer Iain MacMillan (2006), jazz yodeler Leon Thomas (1999), Ronald Koal of Ronald Koal and the Trillionaires (1993), pianist Rudolf Serkin (1991), disco record exec Neil Bogart (1982), Graham Bond (1974)

May 9: Shel Silverstein (1999), blues harpist-vocalist Lester Butler (1998), cowboy-chic tailor Nudie Cohn (1984)

May 10: jazz pianist John Hicks (2006), confidante to the stars and Astral Studios mogul Burnetta “Bunny” Jones (1998)

May 11: singer-songwriter John Whitehead (2004), Noel Redding (2003), Chess Records singer-guitarist Danny Overbea (1994), Robert Nesta Marley (1981), banjo star Lester Flatt (1979)

May 12: R&B artist John Whitehead (2004), jazz clarinetist John LaPorta (2004), Perry Como (2001), sax man “Big” John Greer (1972)

May 13: session trumpeter Floyd Arceneaux (1992), Bob Wills (1975)

May 14: bluegrass singer-guitarist Jimmy Martin (2005), Frank Sinatra (1998), Rudy West of The Five Keys (1998), Keith Relf of the Yardbirds (1976), Fairport Convention’s Martin Lamble (1969)

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3 Comments

  1. Steve Perry quitting Journey. Was it really 10 years ago? To think “Don’t Stop Believin’” came out 27 years ago. Shudder.

    There’s a powerpop song of mine on iTunes called “How Journey Saved My Life.” One of only two songs I know of that mention Steve Perry. There should be more. And then we could hold an annual “Songs about Journey” convention. That would be so cool.

    Ta.

  2. annakat's gravatar annakat

    Fantastic information! I’ve bookmarked this so I can impress my sisters when they come over with my knowledge. How in the world did you find out all this information? I bet it took you awhile to gather it all together. Thanks for taking the time, I’ll sure put it to good use.

  3. Or it took the person who sent me it a while :wink:

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