It happened this week…

This is the week that was in matters musical …

1959, Seth Lover, working for Gibson guitars, is granted patent #2,896,491 by the U.S. Patent Office for his “magnetic pickup for stringed musical instrument” better known as the humbucker pickup … the patent was applied for on June 22, 1955 … Gibson added the new pickups to its electric solidbody and archtop guitars in 1957, including the Les Paul … during late 1957, a small black decal with gold lettering was added to the underside of the pickup that read, “Patent Applied For” … (today, PAF pickups are the most collectible and desirable pickups, fetching upwards of $1,000 each among vintage guitar collectors) … by mid to late 1962, Gibson changed the pickup decal to read, “Patent No. 2,737,842″ … interestingly enough, the patent number listed on the decal was not for Seth’s pickup design but was for Les Paul’s trapeze tailpiece … not one to raise a legal fuss, apparently Seth really is a Lover, not a fighter …

1965, the crowd at the Newport Folk Festival turns surly when Bob Dylan, backed by a pickup band composed of Paul Butterfield Blues Band personnel, delivers an abbreviated electrified set … the performance is met with a mixture of applause and booing … Dylan promptly leaves the stage only to be coaxed back to perform a couple of acoustic tunes with just his harp and guitar … the cause of audience’s hostility is the subject of dispute … some maintain that folk purists in the crowd were put off by Dylan’s conversion to rock while others maintain that a highly distorted PA was to blame … folk singer Pete Seeger recalls how he went to the sound booth and told the technicians, “Get that distortion out of his voice … it’s terrible. If I had an axe, I’d chop the microphone cable right now” … interesting turn of phrase for Pete, but “If I Had An Axe” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as his classic tool-related song, “If I Had A Hammer” … it does give one pause to wonder what other hardware-based songs Seeger may have written before he hit on the hammer idea … sing with us: “If I had an axe, I’d chop in the morning, I’d chop in the evening, chop the microphone cable right now” … nope, doesn’t quite work … “If I had a drill press” … no … hmm … “If I had a miter box, I’d miter in the morning” … no … “If I had a variable speed reciprocating electric saw” … okay, let’s stick with hammer, hammer works … The Beatles second feature film Help debuts in London with that pretty nice girl Queen Elizabeth in attendance …

1966, Bob Dylan suffers major injuries when the brakes on his Triumph motorcycle lock up near his home in Woodstock, New York, (karmic payback for going electric? You decide) … though the exact nature of his injuries are never disclosed, it is clear that he suffered a broken neck and used his lengthy convalescence to marshal his artistic resources … reflecting on the wreck later, Dylan says, “When I had that motorcycle accident, I woke up and caught my senses, I realized that I was just workin’ for all these leeches. And I really didn’t want to do that.” …

1968, after sustaining heavy losses and being forced by neighboring businesses to remove the psychedelic mural adorning its exterior walls, The Beatles shut down their Apple Boutique in London … a near-riot ensues when the shop’s stock is given away to the public …

1973, a rock show at Watkins Glen racetrack in upstate New York pulls in a record 600,000 fans to see The Band, The Allman Brothers, and The Grateful Dead …

1976, John Lennon receives his green card from U.S. immigration authorities more than three years after he was ordered to leave the country …

1980, Back In Black, the new album from AC/DC is released … it’s the band’s first album with new singer Brian Johnson … Johnson joined the band after the untimely, alcohol-driven death of singer Bon Scott, and the album is a tribute of sorts to the fallen rocker … released just five months after Scott’s death, the disc races up the charts … by 1997 it will have sold 16 million copies in the U.S. alone …

1990, a wrongful death trial involving Judas Priest opens in Reno, NV … parents charge in a lawsuit that the band’s Stained Class album contained subliminal messages that drove two teenagers to attempt suicide … the judge clears the group …

1992, after complaining that the food backstage isn’t suitable for Labelle’s labonza, Patti abruptly pulls the plug on her concert in Warwick, Rhode Island …

1995, Jimi Hendrix’ father James Al Hendrix wins back the rights to his son’s name, likeness, image, and music after a number of companies had profited from them over the years …

1996, Aerosmith cans their manager Tim Collins … they’re tired of his constant pressure to get involved in social causes he’s committed to and hope to return as quickly as possible to their own social agenda of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll … and sex … (rockers like sex) …

1998, Aerosmith cancels the first 13 dates of its U.S. tour after drummer Joey Kramer suffers second-degree burns in a freak gas-station fire … this is the second crimp in the band’s tour plans … in April dates had to be scrapped on account of Stephen Tyler’s knee injury and subsequent surgery … Toad The Wet Sprocket, after 12 years and six albums, finally croaks …

2000, the Aiken County, SC, sheriff’s office finally catches up with James Brown, who’s been overseas at a gig … utility worker Russell Eubanks has filed a complaint that Brown threatened him while brandishing a steak knife when Eubanks came to Brown’s home to respond to a power-outage report … apparently Eubanks must have forgotten to bring the A1 sauce to this barbecue …

2003, singer Chino Moreno of The Deftones nearly becomes a soprano (no, not a mob guy) when he deftly pulls a groin muscle during a particularly energetic set on the Summer Sanitarium tour … after consulting a doctor, the band announces they will miss the Sanitarium stop in Minnesota and two club dates in South Dakota and Montana … the hope is that a few days’ rest will allow the singer to perform at the next Sanitarium stop in Denver later that week … c’mon, man-up Chico and show some cajones …

2005, in a settlement over payola charges brought by crusading New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, Sony BMG Music Entertainment coughs up $10 million … Spitzer’s investigation reveals that the label had plied major stations with cash and gifts in return for airplay of its releases … Spitzer presented evidence in the form of dozens of emails in which the record company solicited airplay in return for payola … one particularly damning message from an Epic record plugger inquired of a Clear Channel programmer, “What do I have to do to get Audioslave on WKSS this week?!!?. Whatever you can dream up, I can make it happen!!!” … An unnamed bidder coughs up $1.1 million for a scrap of paper on which John Lennon had scrawled the lyrics for “All You Need is Love” in preparation for the Beatles’ 1966 BBC satellite broadcast … Lennon had tossed the sheet following the show and it was retrieved by a BBC employee … during the same auction a pair of Lennon’s specs go for $98,000 …

2006, Kazaa, the file-sharing website, settles with major record companies for $115 million … the site announces it plans to relaunch as a legal purveyor of downloads … U2′s Bono, along with five partners, buys a 40-percent stake in Forbes magazine for a reported $250-300 million … an unexpected move for the musician-political activist, but then again, most musicians aren’t that good at finances … perhaps he’s hoping Forbes will tell him how much money he has … Steely Dan’s Walter Becker and Donald Fagen fire off a letter to actor Luke Wilson charging that his brother Owen has misappropriated the name of a character from their song “Cousin Dupree” for the movie You, Me and Dupree in which Wilson’s Dupree character is a couch-hopping loser … the letter, posted on the Steely Dan website, warns Wilson that “There are some pretty heavy people who are upset about this whole thing and we can’t guarantee what kind of heat little Owen may be bringing down on himself” … the letter goes on to suggest that Wilson should make an appearance at a Dan concert and apologize to their fans … they also invite him to bring his bongos and sit in … the tongue-in-cheek feud continues when Wilson fires back, “I have never heard the song ‘Cousin Dupree’ and I don’t even know who this gentleman, Mr. Steely Dan, is. I hope this helps to clear things up and I can get back to concentrating on my new movie, HEY 19.” … the long-running Brit TV pop music show Top of the Pops poops out … the show had aired on the Beeb continuously since 1964 … Lance Bass of ‘NSync devastates countless fans of the boy-band singer when he announces that he is not only happy, but gay … says Bass, “I’m more liberated and happy than I’ve been my whole life.” … a court awards Jimi Hendrix’s stepsister control of the late, great guitarist’s estate, cutting out his brother Leon … this comes after years of legal wrangling between the family members …

2007, Brian May is completing his doctorate in astrophysics more than 30 years after he abandoned his studies to form the rock group Queen … the 60-year-old guitarist and songwriter says he plans to submit his thesis, “Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud,” to supervisors at Imperial College London within the next two weeks … May was an astrophysics student at Imperial College when Queen, which included Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor, was formed in 1970 … he dropped his pursuit of a doctorate as the glam rock band became successful … after Mercury’s death in 1991, May recorded several solo albums, including 1998′s Another World, but his interest in astronomy continued and he co-wrote the book, Bang! The Complete History of the Universe … sorry kids, nothing to do with groupies …

And that was the week that was.

[Compiled by the Musician’s Friend copywriting staff]

Arrivals:

July 24: Rudy Collins of The Dizzy Gillespie Quintet (1934), country singer Pam Tillis, daughter of Mel Tillis (1957), Paul Geary of Extreme (1961), Jennifer Lopez (1970), Mecca of Digable Planets (1973)

July 25: Rudy West, lead singer of The Five Keys (1932), Jim McCarty of The Yardbirds (1943), singer-songwriter Steve Goodman (1948), Verdine White of Earth, Wind & Fire (1951), Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth (1958)

July 26: jazz drummer Louie Bellson (1924), Darlene Love of The Blossoms (1938), Bobby Hebb, best known for his hit “Sunny” (1938), Mick Jagger (1943), Roger Taylor of Queen (1949), Gary Cherone of Extreme (1961), Headliner of Arrested Development (1967)

July 27: country yodeler Elton Britt (1927), Harvey Fuqua of The Moonglows (1928), Nick Reynolds of The Kingston Trio (1933), Elsbearry Hobbs of The Drifters (1936), country-pop crossover singer, Bobbie Gentry (1944), Al Ramsey of Gary Lewis and the Playboys (1946), singer Maureen McGovern (1949), drummer Simon Kirke of Bad Company (1949), Karl Mueller of Soul Asylum (1963), Rex Brown of Pantera (1964), guitarist-singer-songwriter Juliana Hatfield (1967), singer-songwriter-guitarist Pete Yorn (1974)

July 28: megaphone crooner of the ’30s, Rudy Vallee (1901), blind flamenco singer Dolores Alcantara (1908), Mississippi bluesman Junior Kimbrough (1930), George Cummings of Dr. Hook (1938), blues/rock guitarist Mike Bloomfield (1944), Rick Wright of Pink Floyd (1945), singer Jonathan Edwards (1946), Steve Peregrine-Took, of T.Rex, born Steve Porter (1949), guitarist Steve Morse (1954)

July 29: revolutionary jazz guitarist Charlie Christian (1916), guitar amp maker Jim Marshall (1929), Neal Doughty of REO Speedwagon (1946), Geddy Lee (1953), Patti Scialfa of the E Street Band (1956), John Sykes of Whitesnake (1959), country singer Martina McBride (1966), Chris Gorman of Belly (1967), Wanya Morris of Boyz II Men (1972)

July 30: blues guitarist Buddy Guy (1936), singer-songwriter Paul “Havin’ My Baby” Anka (1941), saxophonist David Sanborn (1945), Marc Bolan of T. Rex. (1947), The Sweet’s Andy Scott (1949), Stewart Copeland of The Police (1952), Rat Scabies of The Damned, born Chris Miller (1957), singer-songwriter-producer Kate Bush (1958), Brad Hargraves of Third Eye Blind (1972)

Departures:

July 24: British solo act and songwriter Jerry Lordan (1995), KC-based R&B singer Priscilla Bowman (1988), Bobby Ramirez, drummer with Edgar Winter (1972)

July 25: jazz guitarist Tal Farlow (1998), country music star Charlie Rich (1995), producer Alex Sadkin (1987), albino blues pianist Piano Red, born William Lee Perryman (1985), blues singer Big Mama Thornton (1984)

July 26: Chico Ryan, bassist for Sha-Na-Na (1998), composer Evelyn Levine (1996), ’60s soul singer Mary Wells (1992), Grateful Dead keyboard player Brent Mydland (1990)

July 27: Lynyrd Skynyrd bassist Leon Wilkeson (2001), saxophonist Harold Land (2001), Harry “Sweets” Edison, trumpeter-arranger-composer with Count Basie (1999), Bobby Day, aka Robert James Byrd Sr. who had a hit with “Rockin’ Robin” (1990), blues guitarist Lightnin’ Slim, born Otis Hicks (1974)

July 28: South African mbaqanga singer Simon “Mahlathini” Nkabinde (1999), Margie Ganser of The Shangi-Las (1996), Muscle Shoals session guitarist Eddie Hinton (1995), Johann Sebastian Bach (1750)

July 29: jazz bassist Art Davis (2007), Eugene Record of the Chi-Lites (2005), Al McKibbon, jazz bassist with Dizzy Gillespie (2005), Anita Carter of the Carter Sisters (1999), Rare Earth percussionist Eddie Guzman (1993), pedal steel guitarist Pete Drake (1988), Gordon Mills, manager and songwriter for Tom Jones (1986), singer Cass Elliot of The Mamas & The Papas (1979)

July 30: swing and bebop saxophonist Eli “Lucky” Thompson (2005), Sun Studios founder Sam Phillips (2003), Brit bassist Rob Jones (1993), saxophonist Donald Myrick (1993), Glenn Goins, guitarist and vocalist with George Clinton (1978)

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1 Comments

  1. Good to see your post about the would-have-been 60th birthday of Steve Goodman. He often doesn’t get his due. You might be interested in my 800-page biography, “Steve Goodman: Facing the Music.”

    *edited because it was getting just a bit too much like spam more info hit his website*

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