It happened this week…

This is the week that was in matters musical …

1842, formed by a group of local musicians, the New York Philharmonic gives its first concert …

1877, the world’s first record and playback machine is completed … designed by Thomas Alva Edison, the phonograph picks up sound through a mouthpiece connected to a diaphragm and a stylus that etches the vibrations onto a tin foil-covered cylinder that is hand-cranked … playback is achieved by placing the stylus at the beginning of the cylinder where it reproduces the etchings into vibrations via the diaphragm and out through the mouthpiece … Edison’s first recording is a recitation of “Mary Had A Little Lamb” … the inventor files for a patent on Christmas Eve … 12 years later the first commercial recordings go on sale …

1956, an impromptu jam results when Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins all descend on Sun Records Studios in Memphis … the studio had been originally booked for Perkins who planned to cut some tracks with his brothers … when the other luminaries drop by, a party atmosphere prevails and the event turns into a day-long jamboree, much of which is captured on tape as the participants have a rollicking good time with country, gospel, and rockabilly tunes … due to contractual issues, the tapes remain in the can until 1981 when Charly Records in England puts out an LP with session highlights, crediting it to The Million Dollar Quartet—a name coined by a Memphis newsman who covered the original get-together … there’s some debate over whether Cash is on the recording … one author says Cash left early to go Christmas shopping, but Cash in his autobiography says he is singing more off-mic and in a higher register than he normally sings to better blend in …

1964, John Coltrane records with his quartet what many consider a pinnacle of his career, A Love Supreme

1965, the infamous blue flame strikes Keith Richards down on a stage in Sacramento when he grabs an ungrounded mic … the indestructible Stone is on his feet and performing again inside of seven minutes … The Byrds find themselves ruling the pop chart with “Turn! Turn! Turn!” … the song, penned by Pete Seeger, incorporates verses from Ecclesiastes … it took the band 40 to 50 takes to get the rock band arrangement down on tape … Bill Graham promotes his first concert at the Fillmore Auditorium as a benefit for the San Francisco Mime Troupe … Graham rents the venue from leaseholder Charles Sullivan, an African-American man who, during the 1950s and 1960s, is the largest promoter of black music west of the Mississippi … Graham will later take over all shows at the venue and the Fillmore will become a mecca for psychedelic bands and their patchouli-scented fans …

1966, “I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night” by the Electric Prunes is released … the recording was produced by RCA studio engineer Dave Hassinger who had worked on Rolling Stones sessions in Los Angeles … the song is by the team of Annette Tucker and Nancie Mantz who brought the band to him …

1967, soul singer Otis Redding is killed when his tour plane crashes into Lake Monona near Madison, Wisconsin … the “Love Man” is 26 … killed with Redding are the pilot and four members of his backup group, the Bar-Kays … the scheduled warm-up band for Redding’s show that evening is a group called The Grim Reaper … the song that would become Redding’s biggest hit “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” was recorded three days earlier …

1968, unhappy with plans to record an all-Dylan album, Graham Nash quits the Hollies … three days later he announces the formation of Crosby, Stills and Nash …

1969, this week sees the infamous Altamont Speedway concert with the Rolling Stones; Jefferson Airplane; Santana; and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young on the playbill … violence erupts and four people are killed, at least two in deliberate bloody assaults … one of those killed is Meredith Hunter … he is stabbed and beaten to death by Hell’s Angels, who had unwisely been hired as security for the show … many consider Hunter’s death the end of the peace and good vibes for the so-called Woodstock Generation that began in the summer …

1970, a gold record goes to Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper, and Steve Stills for Supersession, a July 1968 rock-blues album they expressly recorded as studio jam sessions … the documentary film Gimme Shelter, chronicling the 1969 Stones tour and the Altamont debacle, is released on the occasion of the concert’s one-year anniversary … one scene shows a somber Mick Jagger watching the film of Meredith Hunter’s stabbing …

1972, Frank Zappa is pushed off the stage at the Rainbow Theatre in London by the jealous boyfriend of an ardent young fan … Frank suffers a broken leg, broken ankle, fractured skull, and crushed larynx, but it’s the damage to his spine that keeps him in a wheelchair for most of the year …

1974, John Lennon and Ronald Reagan are the celebrity guests on ABC’s Monday Night Football … off-camera the former California governor and future president schools the former Beatle on the finer points of the game …

1980, John Lennon is shot to death in New York City on the street outside his apartment …

1984, English pop artists including Bono, Sting, George Michael, and Phil Collins become part of Bob Geldof’s Band-Aid rock charity … they release the single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” with the proceeds going to aid famine relief in Ethiopia …

2004, Damageplan and ex-Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell is shot to death at a Columbus, Ohio, nightclub … Damageplan has just started their show when a crazed fan runs onstage and shoots Dimebag … the shooter then kills a band roadie and two fans … a hostage situation is ended when a local police officer enters the backstage area and kills him …

2005, in an unlikely coupling, Mary J. Blige’s new album Reminisce features the hip-hopper singing a duet with U2’s Bono … the pair had gone public with the U2 song “One” during a New York show by the band in October …

2006, Oklahoma City honors the Flaming Lips by naming an alley after the homegrown alt band … Flaming Lips Alley is in Bricktown, the city’s entertainment district … previous recipients of the honor include Vince Gill and Charlie Christian … America’s Oldest Teenager, Dick Clark, puts up a lifetime’s worth of memorabilia for auction … the huge collection includes the mouth harp Dylan blew in The Last Waltz, a beaded white glove worn by Michael Jackson, and the mic Clark used when his American Bandstand TV show launched in 1956 …

2007, Led Zep reunites for a one-off show at London’s O2 arena as a part of a tribute to Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun who died a year earlier … the two-hour set includes many of the band’s biggest hits and is Zep’s first full-length show since drummer John Bonham died in 1980 … filling in on drums is John’s son, Jason, who acquits himself well … rumors swirl about a reunion tour … in the wake of his departure from Interscope, Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor launches the website remix.nin.com where fans can mash up songs from the NIN catalog and post their creations online … an Australian strip club agrees to take down a picture from its window of a Kylie Minogue lookalike in a wet top … the pop singer’s lawyers claim the club owner downloaded the picture from the internet thinking it was the singer herself … the club owner denies this, asking, “What would a nice girl like Kylie be doing in a wet top like that?” …

… and that was the week that was in matters musical.

Arrivals:

December 4: film singer Deanna Durbin (1922), New Orleans R&B singer Lee Dorsey (1924), jazz drummer Denis Charles (1933), jazz bassist Art Davis (1934), blues guitarist Larry Davis (1936), Freddy Cannon aka Anthony Picariello (1940), Chris Hillman of The Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers (1942), Bob Mosley of Moby Grape (1942), Beach Boy Dennis Wilson (1944), John Lyon, better known as Southside Johnny (1948), Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd (1951), Bob Griffin of The BoDeans (1959), Vinnie Dombroskie of Sponge (1962), hip-hop artist and mogul Jay-Z, born Shawn Corey Carter (1969)

December 5: blues legend Sonny Boy Williamson II, born Aleck Ford Miller and aka Rice Miller (1899), New Orleans sax man Alvin “Red” Tyler (1925), gospel singer-arranger-composer Reverend James Cleveland (1931), Little Richard (1935), J.J. Cale born Jean Jacques Cale (1938), Canadian pop singer Andy Kim (1946), Jim Messina (1947), Canadian pop singer-songwriter Andy Kim, born Andrew Youakim (1952), Great White’s Jack Russell (1960), Johnny Rzeznik of Goo Goo Dolls (1965)

December 6: Broadway lyricist Ira Gershwin (1896), R&B/pop producer Hugo Peretti (1916), Dave Brubeck (1920), Len Barry of The Dovells (1942), Mike Smith of The Dave Clark Five (1943), Kim Simmonds of Savoy Brown (1947), Joe X. Dube of Looking Glass (1950), Jam’s Rick Buckler (1955), Peter Buck of R.E.M. (1956), Randy Rhoads (1956), Dave Lovering of The Pixies (1961), Ben Watt of Everything but the Girl (1962), Ace of Base’s Ulf Ekberg (1970)

December 7: Harry Chapin (1942), Tom Waits (1949), L.A. session drummer Carlos Vega (1957), Tim Butler of The Psychedelic Furs (1958), Barbara Weathers of Atlantic Starr (1963), All Saints’ Nicole Appleton (1974), Aaron Carter (1987)

December 8: Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865), Sammy Davis Jr. (1925), master of the B3 Jimmy Smith (1925), soul singer Jerry Butler (1939), flutist James Galway (1939), The Hollies’ Bobby Elliot (1942), Jim Morrison (1943), Gregg Allman (1947), Warren Cuccurullo of Duran Duran (1956), Phil Collen of Def Leppard (1957), Paul Rutherford of Frankie Goes to Hollywood (1959), Marty Friedman of Megadeth (1962), Sinead O’Connor (1966), Bushwick Bill of The Geto Boys (1966), Ryan Newell of Sister Hazel (1972)

December 9: blues singer-harpist Junior Wells (1934), Rick Danko of The Band (1943), Shirley Brickley of The Orlons (1944), Neil Innes of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band (1944), The Commodores’ Walter Orange (1946), Candy Givens of Zephyr (1946), Joan Armatrading (1950), Randy Murray of BTO (1955), Donny Osmond (1957), Crowded House’s Nick Seymour (1958), Wallflowers’ Jakob Dylan (1970), Geoff Barrow of Portishead (1971), Green Day’s Tre Cool (1972), rapper Canibus (1974)

December 10: jazz bandleader Jerry Blaine (1910), Guitar Slim, born Eddie Jones (1926), Ralph Tavares of Tavares (1948), J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr., born Joseph Donald Mascis (1965), Timothy Christian Riley of Tony! Toni! Tone! (1966), Scot Alexander of Dishwalla (1971), Meg White of The White Stripes (1974)

Departures:

December 4: Cuban percussionist Carlos “Patato” Valdez (2007), Texas rapper Pimp C, born Chad Butler (2007), Wall of Voodoo percussionist Joe Nanini (2000), MC5 fret man and husband of Patti Smith, Fred “Sonic” Smith (1994), Frank Zappa (1993), Deep Purple’s Tommy Bolin (1976)

December 5: avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen (2007), tenor saxist Bob Berg (2002), Douglas Hopkins of The Gin Blossoms (1993), New Orleans session sax man David Lastie (1987), multi-instrumentalist jazz behemoth Rahsaan Roland Kirk (1977)

December 6: Memphis bass man Busta Jones (1995), Roy Orbison (1988), folk-blues singer Lead Belly, born Huddie William Ledbetter (1949)

December 7: Cass County Boy Jerry Scoggins (2004), Kenny Baker (1999), composer John Addison (1998), songwriter Carol Joyner Gourley (1997), Dee Clark (1990), Manhattans singer Richard Taylor (1987), New Riders bassist Dave Torbert (1982), The Germs lead singer Darby Crash (1980)

December 8: Dimebag Darrell Abbott (2004), Antonio Carlos Jobim (1994), jazz trumpeter Buck Clayton (1991), Herbert “Toubo” Rhoad of The Persuasions (1988), Howlin’ Wolf drummer Willie Williams (1988), blues guitarist Hollywood Fats born Michael Mann (1986), Marty Robbins (1982), harp maestro Walter “Shakey” Horton (1981), John Lennon (1980), Gary Thain of Uriah Heep (1975)

December 9: drummer Freddie Marsden of Gerry and the Pacemakers (2006), pop singer Georgia Gibbs (2006), Mike Botts of Bread (2005), Mary Hansen of Stereolab (2002), Waitresses singer Patti Donahue (1996), Orioles vocalist Sonny Til (1981)

December 10: fingerpickin’ Delta blues legend Jerry Ricks (2007), Rick Danko of The Band (1999), lyricist Buddy Feyne (1998), Jake Carey, bass singer with The Flamingos (1997), country singer Faron Young (1996), rapper Darren Robinson of The Fat Boys (1995), Willie Harris of the Clovers (1988), Otis Redding (1967), Bar-Kays guitarist Jimmy King (1967), Bar-Kays sax player Phalin Jones (1967), Bar-Kays drummer Carl Cunningham (1967), Bar-Kays organ player Ronnie Caldwell (1967)

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1 Comments

  1. Hi–Rick Danko’s birthday is December 29, NOT December 9. The death date is correct. Thanks!

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