It happened this week…

This is the week that was in matters musical …

1906, the first extended radio broadcast of the human voice also features the first radio music program … carried out by Canadian engineer Reginald Fessenden who had worked for Thomas Edison … a woman sings, Fessenden himself plays “O, Holy Night” on the violin, then he plays a phonograph recording of Handel’s “Largo” …

1918, German composer Franz Gruber pens the music for “Silent Night”… the words have been written by Josef Mohr … it is performed for the first time the next day—Christmas day—at Oberndorff, Austria, in the Church of St. Nikolaus …

1942, Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” tops the Billboard pop chart … the song is re-released during ensuing holiday seasons and nails the top spot again in 1945 and 1947 and ultimately becomes one of the biggest singles ever …

1957, Elvis gets his draft notice …

1959, Chuck Berry is arrested for transporting a minor across state lines for an immoral purpose … he has invited a young Native American woman he met in El Paso to come work as a hat check girl in his Club Bandstand in Missouri … the young woman is fired two weeks later and hustles a few days at a local hotel before calling police for help getting back home … the call leads to Berry’s trial and a guilty verdict that is overturned because the judge made racist remarks …

1961, EMI passes on The Beatles … the British label has second thoughts later on and signs the lads from Liverpool …

1962, British band The Tornadoes score a #1 Billboard hit with their instrumental "Telstar," named for the first communications satellite … they’ll go down in pop history as the first Brits to have a #1 hit in the U.S. …

1964, on a flight to Houston, Beach Boy Brian Wilson suffers a major mental breakdown … he retires from touring to devote his time to writing hit tunes and producing Beach Boys albums …

1965, Rubber Soul goes gold after just two weeks on sale …

1967, the man who fueled countless acid trips—LSD chemist Augustus Owsley Stanley III—is busted in Orinda, California, where the LSD is put in tablet form … police seize several hundred thousand doses … Owsley, as he is known, is later found guilty of possessing the illegal substance and is sentenced to three years in prison …

1969, The Supremes log their final appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show … the trio sings “Someday We’ll Be Together” as their TV swan song … Elton John and Bernie Taupin join up to form one of the most successful songwriting teams of the 20th-century …

1970, Joni Mitchell strikes gold for the first time with her album Ladies of the Canyon

1973, just two weeks before his band’s release of What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits, Tom Johnson of the Doobie Brothers goes down for reefer possession …

1974, out to spread some holiday cheer, James Taylor, Carly Simon, Linda Ronstadt, and Joni Mitchell take to the streets of Los Angeles singing Christmas carols …

1978, The Who’s drummer slot, recently and tragically vacated by Keith Moon, is amply filled by Kenny Jones … Rod Stewart releases “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”… apparently someone does because the song will hit No. 1 …

1991, Greg Allman unveils his acting chops as a drug lord in the movie Rush

1996, 70-year-old crooner Tony Bennett has just arrived at the White House for a holiday dinner with the Clintons when he suffers an erupted hernia … he’s rushed to a hospital where he undergoes emergency surgery … Bennett cancels his sold-out show in Philadelphia the next night, but is back on the road after a few weeks of recovery …

1997, feminists including Gloria Steinem and Eleanor Smeal protest in front of the Time Warner building in New York over the Prodigy song “Smack My Bitch Up.” …

1999, Goo Goo Dolls nearly bite the big one when the military transport they’re flying in skids off a runway in Sicily damaging its landing gear and wing, obliging the Goo Goos to beat a hasty retreat via an emergency chute …

2000, the British music journal Melody Maker prints its final issue after continuous publication since 1926 …

2005, U2 wraps up a 118-date world tour with a show in Portland, Oregon … hailed by fans as among the band’s best tours, the shows brought in $260 million … Evanescence singer Amy Lee files suit against her ex-manager Dennis Rider charging that he sexually assaulted and swindled her … her suit also claims conflict of interest arising out of Rider’s representation of her former bandmate and paramour Ben Moody … Microsoft and MTV announce they are joining forces to launch Urge, a new online music store intended to compete with Apple’s iTunes … the service will not be compatible with iPods … MTV will bail on the partnership within two years …

2006, The Complete Motown Singles – Vol. 6: 1966 is released … included are two tracks cut by The Mynah Birds, an unsung R&B outfit with the unlikely combination of Rick James on vocals and future Buffalo Springfield members Neil Young and Bruce Palmer providing backing … the tunes were originally shelved following James’ bust for going AWOL from the navy … David Gilmour releases a three-song EP as a tribute to recently deceased former Pink Floyd bandmate Syd Barrett … two interpretations of Barrett’s "Arnold Layne" are included …

2007, the music press reports that in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, a re-release will be issued on February 12, 2008 … the two-disc-set will include demos, live footage, and videos as well as covers by Kanye West and Will.i.am … Willie Nelson appears in an anti-dogfighting TV spot … the ad runs just as Atlanta Falcons football star Michael Vick is about to be sentenced on dogfighting-related charges … Willie also appears this same month on the cover of High Times magazine fondling a hank of his favorite herb … this just eight months after Willie was busted for pot possession in Louisiana …

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

Arrivals:

December 18: bandleader Fletcher Henderson (1897), blues guitarist Pee Wee Crayton (1914), Jimi Hendrix manager Chas Chandler (1938), Keith Richards (1943), Elliot Easton of The Cars (1953), DMX (1970), DJ Lethal of Limp Bizkit (1972), Christina Aguilera (1980)

December 19: Edith Piaf (1915), alto sax man and singer Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson (1917), New Orleans piano pioneer Professor Longhair aka Henry Roeland (Roy) Byrd (1918), activist-folky Phil Ochs (1940), Earth, Wind & Fire’s Maurice White (1941), blues rock guitarist Alvin Lee (1944), The Lovin’ Spoonful’s Zal Yanofsky (1944), John McEuen of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (1945), Doug Johnson of Loverboy (1957), Australian bassist Tracy Pew (1957), Kajagoogoo’s Limahl (1958), Charles “Mercury” Nelson of Force M.D.s (1964), Kevin Shepard of Zoo Story (1968)

December 20: New Orleans pianist Cousin Joe (1907), blues guitarist Auburn “Pat” Hare (1930), Blood, Sweat and Tears’ Bobby Colomby (1944), Peter Criss of Kiss (1947), Easybeats singer Stevie Wright (1948), folk-punk singer-songwriter Billy Bragg (1957), Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes (1966), JoJo (1990)

December 21: seminal bluesman Peetie Wheatstraw born William Bunch (1902), Frank Zappa (1940), English guitarist Albert Lee (1943), Beach Boy Carl Wilson (1946), The Rumour’s Martin Belmont (1948), cleanup woman Betty Wright (1953), Gabriel Glaser of Luscious Jackson (1965), Brett Scallions of Fuel (1971)

December 22: Giacomo Puccini (1858), Austin bluesman T.D. Bell AKA Little T-Bone (1922), Alvin “Shine” Robinson (1937), Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew (1941), The Animals’ Barry Jenkins (1944), Maurice and Robin Gibb (1949), Cheap Trick’s Rick Neilsen (1954), jazz fusion bassist John Patitucci (1959)

December 23: hillbilly singer Harold Dorman (1926), Esther Phillips (1935), folksinger-songwriter Eugene Record of The Chi-Lites (1940), Jefferson Airplane’s Jorma Kaukonen (1940), Tim Hardin (1941), Harry Shearer AKA Derek Smalls of Spinal Tap (1943), Spooky Tooth’s Luther Grosvenor (1949), King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew (1949), Bruce Hornsby (1955), Iron Maiden’s Dave Murray (1958), Will Sin of The Shamen (1960), Slash (1965), Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam (1966)

December 24: New Orleans R&B titan Dave Bartholomew (1920), pop/R&B singer Lee Dorsey (1924), MGM Records president Mike Curb (1944), Lemmy AKA Ian Kilminster of Motörhead (1945), Jan Akkerman of Focus (1946), Human League’s Ian Burden (1955), Mary Ramsey of 10,000 Maniacs (1963), Ricky Martin (1971)

Departures:

December 18: English singer-songwriter Clifford T. Ward (2001), folk and pop singer Kirsty MacColl (2000), reggae singer and Bob Marley mentor Joe Higgs (1999), funk guitarist Jimmy “Chank” Nolen (1983), Les Kummel (1978), The Manhattans’ George “Smitty” Smith (1970), Blind Lemon Jefferson (1929), master luthier Antonio Stradivari (1737)

December 19: Roebuck “Pops” Staples (2000), jazz bassist and photographer Milt Hinton (2000), 10,000 Maniacs guitarist Robert Buck (2000), Sony founder Masaru Ibuka (1997), Muddy Waters sideman Jimmy Rogers (1997), The Byrds’ Michael Clarke (1993)

December 20: Denny Payton, sax and harmonica player with The Dave Clark Five (2006), bluesman Son Seals (2004), Spanish singer Carlos Cano (2000), country singer-songwriter Hank Snow (1999), drummer Nicky Hammerhead (1992), singer-actor and ’50s teen idol Bobby Darin (1973)

December 21: Scottish singer Karl Denver of The Happy Mondays (1998), trumpeter Johnny Coles (1997), bassist Charlie Tumahai of Be-Bop Deluxe (1995), bluesman Albert King (1992), Paul Jeffries of Cockney Rebel (1988), original No Doubt vocalist John Spence (1987), ’30s blues singer-pianist Peetie Wheatstraw (1921)

December 22: country singer Dave Dudley (2003), Lawrence Berk, founder of Berklee College of Music (1995), Dennis Boon of The Minutemen (1985), classic blues diva Ma Rainey born Gertrude Melissa Nix Pridgett (1939)

December 23: composer and classical guitarist John Duarte (2004), Jackie Landry of The Chantels (1997), singer Carl Hogan of the Valentines (1997), British jazz musician and club owner Ronnie Scott (1996), studio guitarist Dan Hamilton (1994), songwriter Jimmy Silva (1994), Eddie Hazel of Parliament-Funkadelic (1992)

December 24: Nick Massi of The Four Seasons (2000), Zeke Carey of The Flamingos (1999), Buddy Ace AKA The Root Doctor (1994), recording artist-songwriter Jimmy Silva (1994), Bobby LaKind of The Doobie Brothers (1992), ’50s R&B singer Johnny Ace (1954)

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2 Comments

  1. Richard Phillips's gravatar Richard Phillips

    Hi it’s minor but it’s Eddie Cleanhead Vinson not Vincent.
    Great website.

  2. Thanks, now corrected.

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