It happened this week…

This is the week that was in matters musical …

1954, Bill Haley & His Comets first recording session for Decca produces the track “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock” … the track, which melds hillbilly and R&B ingredients, will own the top spot on the Billboard chart for eight weeks and be considered by many to mark the beginning of rock ’n’ roll …

Bill Haley & His Comets – “Rock Around The Clock”

1956, the hardest-working man in show business, James Brown, charts for the first time with “Please, Please, Please” …

James Brown – “Please, Please, Please”

… just don’t put that cape on him man he hates that … while performing before an all-white audience at the Birmingham, Alabama, Municipal Auditorium, Nat “King” Cole is attacked by a group of racists who knock him off his piano bench and beat him … a shaken Cole returns to the stage a few minutes later to a five-minute standing ovation … however, he does not complete the set … later that night he performs for an all-black audience … C.L. Fender is granted patent #2,741,146 by the U.S. Patent Office for a “Tremolo Device For Stringed Instruments” … more popularly known as the Fender Stratocaster vibrato tailpiece or whammy bar. A classic piece of Fenderism as tremolo is a fluctuation in volume, while vibrato is fluctuation in pitch, so what Fender call the tremolo on the guitar should be a vibrato and what they call a vibrato on their amps should really be tremolo …

1961, opening for John Lee Hooker, Bob Dylan makes his professional singing debut in Greenwich Village at Gerde’s Folk City … he performs “House of the Rising Sun” and “Song to Woody” … Joan Baez joins him for the second number …

Bob Dylan – “House of the Rising Sun”

1963, The Drifters cut a topical Lieber-Stoller song titled “Only in America” that, due to lyrics which obliquely refer to race issues, is deemed a hot potato … the black group’s vocals are replaced with those of Jay & the Americans, a white group … thought to be lost, the Drifters’ version turns up as a bonus track on a Jay & the Americans CD in 1983 …

1966, Jan Berry, half of the duo Jan & Dean, whose frank love stories of a boy and his car spawned numerous hits, wipes out his Corvette … suffering major head injuries that lead to paralysis, Jan embarks on a long, hard road to recovery … standing by his partner, Dean Torrence maintains their presence in the industry … 10 years after the accident, the duo would perform together again …

1967, proving that capitalists will always be hot on the heels of revolutionaries, Gray Line Tours begins busing people through the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco on a guided tour of Hippieland … not to be outdone, high-profile media prankster Joey Skaggs will organize a bus tour for 60 hippies to visit residents of Queens, New York, and photograph them in their natural habitat … Greyhound Bus Lines will approach Joey to host similar events … he declines …

1968, Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention perform at the National Academy of Arts and Sciences Dinner in New York … Zappa makes some cutting remarks, terming the event, “a load of pompous hokum … All year long you people have manufactured this crap, now for one night you’re gonna have to listen to it!” … recalling the event later, Zappa says, “We played the ugliest sh*t we could … that’s what they expected us to play.” …

1970, Paul McCartney uses the release of his first solo album McCartney to announce that he’s leaving The Beatles.

1982, in keeping with his celebrated inclination toward vehicular mishaps, Billy Joel collides his motorcycle with a car … he is hospitalized and has surgery on a broken wrist …

1989, Roy Orbison’s posthumous single, “You Got It,” enters the top 10 … it’s the first Orbison hit in 24 years …

1994, In Utero, Nirvana’s third full-length studio album, is certified double-platinum …

1999, Yoko Ono and Capitol Records sue Frederic Seaman, a former Lennon assistant, claiming that he had stolen personal and sentimental items of Lennon with plans to exploit Lennon’s death with them … after a year in the grave, the body of Tammy Wynette is exhumed and autopsied as the result of a $50 million wrongful death civil suit brought against the country singer’s doctor by her daughters … the medical examiner says she died of natural causes and the case is settled out of court …

2000, Metallica, whose favorite song apparently is “Sue, Sue, Sue-dio,” files suit against Napster, USC, Yale, and Indiana University, alleging the institutions are guilty of copyright infringement, unlawful use of a digital audio interface device, and violations of RICO … the charges against the universities are dropped when the schools remove Napster from their file servers … rapper and producer Dr. Dre joins the legal action against the software company at a later date … after a year-long court battle, Napster settles for an undisclosed amount of money … speaking of illegal sound-snurching, George Lucas’ Lucasfilm Ltd. sues Dr. Dre … the company claims the artist used their trademarked “THX Deep Note” sound, owned by Lucasfilm, on his Dr. Dre 2001 album without permission … Star magazine reports that Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ dying wish was that his 57 children, the result of many liaisons, meet one another … apparently the Heinz ketchup slogan, “57 different varieties” had a seminal effect on the bluesman, who claimed that at the height of his career, he had engaged in sex on average 14 times a day …

2005, the musical Lennon, based on Beatle John Lennon’s life, debuts in San Francisco to mixed reviews and anemic ticket sales … a planned run in Boston is canceled so that the storyline can be revised … according to writer-director Don Scardino, “I was a little surprised to learn that a lot of people are not familiar with John’s life story.” … Mariah Carey stages a major comeback with the release of her new album, The Emancipation of Mimi … it debuts at number one, goes six times platinum in less than a year, and becomes the most successful album of 2005 …

2006, Eminem cohort Proof, born DeShaun Holton, is shot dead in a Detroit nightclub after he shot and seriously wounded another man … Michelle Blaine, former assistant to producer Phil Spector, sues her former boss for $5 million contending that he badgered her to marry him so that she could not be forced to testify at his pending trial for the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson … Spector will win a judgment in 2007 against Blaine for embezzlement of $900,000 from his pension fund … a 10-page notebook that 10-year-old John Lennon used to scribble poems, journal entries, and drawings is auctioned for $226,150 … among the art is an illustration of Lewis Carroll’s poem, “The Walrus and the Carpenter” that later serves as inspiration for the song “I Am the Walrus” …

2007, the Tennessee home of late country icon Johnny Cash burns down as renovations are under way for its new owner, Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees … Gibb said at the time of the purchase that he was honored to buy the house and was determined to preserve it to honor Cash’s memory … auditions are held in Miami for an upcoming reality TV show called The Road to Menudo … the show is an American Idol-like spinoff in which Latino teenagers will vie to become a part of a new version of the popular boy band of the ’80s and ’90s … former 13th Floor Elevators frontman Roky Erickson, who has been missing in action for decades due to mental illness, registers a well-received comeback at New York’s Bowery Ballroom …

2008, it took nearly a half century of recording and 33 LP releases before Van Morrison can savor landing in the Billboard album top ten chart with his newest disc, Keep it Simple, a brew of blues, R&B, and Celtic soul … Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello hits the road with friends including Slash, Perry Farrell, and Maynard James Keenan of Tool on a seven-date Justice Tour that raises money for local charities … commenting on the thrust of the shows, he says, “Politics are going to be discussed, but this is not a college lecture. They are freedom parties, where we’re not going to only fight the power but rock the f**k out.” … Bob Dylan is awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his “profound impact on popular music and American culture” …

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

Arrivals:

April 9: guitarist-songster Mance Lipscomb (1895), “Twist and Shout” songwriter Phil Medley (1916), Carl Perkins (1932), Rockin’ Sidney (1938), Grand Funk progenitor Terry Knight (1943), drummer Gene Parsons (1944), Chico Ryan of Sha-Na-Na (1948), producer Alex Sadkin (1949), Kevin Martin of Candlebox (1969)

April 10: novelty singer Sheb Wooley (1921), Nate Nelson of The Platters (1932), Glen Campbell (1936), Righteous Brother Bobby Hatfield (1940), Bunny “Wailer” Livingston of Bob Marley and the Wailers (1947), Ernest “Snuffy” Stewart, keyboardist with KC and The Sunshine Band (1950), Dave Peveret of Foghat (1950), funk guitarist Eddie Hazel (1950), Steve Gustafson of 10,000 Maniacs (1957), Brian Setzer (1959), Babyface (1959), Afrika Bambaataa (1960), R&B soul artist Kenny Lattimore (1970), Mike Mushok of Staind (1970), Mandy Moore (1984)

April 11: “Louie Louie” composer Richard Berry (1935), Mark Stein of Vanilla Fudge (1947), Chris Difford of Squeeze (1954), ska singer Neville Staples of The Specials (1956), Stuart Adamson of Big Country (1958), Douglas Hopkins of the Gin Blossoms (1961), Nigel Pulsford of Bush (1963), R&B singer Lisa Stansfield (1966), Dylan Keefe of Marcy Playground (1970), R&B singer-songwriter Joss Stone (1987)

April 12: slide guitarist Hound Dog Taylor (1915), singer, multi-instrumentalist, and orchestra leader Billy Vaughn (1919), Tiny Tim, born Herbert Khaury (1930), Herbie Hancock (1940), John Kay of Steppenwolf (1944), David Cassidy (1950), Alexander Briley of The Village People (1951), guitarist Pat Travers (1954), country singer Vince Gill (1957), Will Sergeant of Echo and the Bunnymen (1958), Art Alexakis of Everclear (1962), Amy Ray of Indigo Girls (1964), Marc Ford of The Black Crowes (1966), Nick Hexum of 311 (1970)

April 13: violinist Olga Rudge (1895), Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane (1944), Lowell George of Little Feat (1945), R&B artist Al Green (1946), Roy Loney of the Flamin’ Groovies (1946), Jim Pons of the Turtles and The Mothers of Invention (1946), R&B singer Peabo Bryson (1951), Max Weinberg of the E Street Band (1951), Jimmy Destri of Blondie (1954), Louis Johnson of The Brothers Johnson (1955), Wayne Lewis of Atlantic Starr (1957), Tony James of Generation X (1958), Hillel Slovak, The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ original guitarist (1962), Aaron Lewis of Staind (1972), Latin pop musician Lou Bega (1975)

April 14: Willie Harris, guitarist with The Clovers (1925), Buddy Knox of Buddy Knox and the Rhythm Orchids (1933), country singer Loretta Lynn (1935), Deep Purple’s Ritchie Blackmore (1944), Joey Pesce of ’Til Tuesday (1962), Carl Hunter of The Farm (1965)

April 15: the “Empress of the Blues” Bessie Smith (1894), Eden Ahbez, who wrote Nat “King” Cole’s big hit “Nature Boy” (1908), much-maligned biographer of Elvis and Lennon, Albert Goldman (1927), country musician Roy Clark (1932), Peter Grant, manager of Led Zeppelin (1935), pop singer Bobby Vinton (1935), songwriter-publisher David Mook (1936), ’50s rockabilly artist Bob Luman (1937), Clarence G. Satchell of the Ohio Players (1940), Allan Clarke of The Hollies (1942), singer-guitarist-producer Dave Edmunds (1944), Marc Conners of The Nylons (1949), dance-pop singer Samantha Fox (1966), Ed O’Brien of Radiohead (1968) …

Departures:

April 9: cellist Tom Cora (1998), Buzzcocks and Joy Division producer Martin Hannett (1991), Dave Prater of Sam & Dave (1988), singer-songwriter Brook Benton (1988), folksinger Phil Ochs (1976)

April 10: rapper Proof (born Deshaun Holton) of D12 (2006), singer Little Eva, born Eva Narcissus Boyd of the mega hit “The Loco-motion” (2003), Leon Peels, lead singer of The Blue Jays (1999), black radio pioneer Eddie O’Jay (1998), “Philadelphia sound” songwriter Linda Creed (1986), Stuart Sutcliffe, original bassist with The Beatles (1962), R&B performer-songwriter Chuck Willis (1958)

April 11: June Pointer of The Pointer Sisters (2006), steel guitarist Jerry Byrd (2005), guitarist-oudist Sandy Bull (2001), pop singer Lillian Briggs (1998), Samie “Sticks” Evans, session drummer with Ray Charles and James Brown (1994)

April 12: Texas R&B singer-guitarist Peppermint Harris (1999), country music artist Boxcar Willie a.k.a. Lecil Travis Martin (1999), Herbert Mills of the Mills Brothers (1989), singer-entertainer Josephine Baker (1975)

April 13: Johnnie Johnson, rock ’n’ roll and blues pianist with Chuck Berry (2005), writer-producer Ritchie Cordell (2004), Todd Storz, inventor of the Top 40 radio format (1964)

April 14: crooner and bandleader Don Ho (2007), actor and crooner Anthony Newley (1999), folk singer Burl Ives (1995), R&B singer Thurston Harris (1990), Pete Farndon of The Pretenders (1983)

April 15: Kelly Johnson, original lead guitarist and vocalist for Girlschool (2007), bubble gum pop singer John Fred (2005), Canadian rockabilly artist Ray Condo (2004), Joey Ramone (2001), Rose Maddox, flamboyant singer with The Maddox Brothers (1998), Bobby Del Din of The Earls (1992), R&B industry mogul, George Goldner (1970)

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2 Comments

  1. T. Moran's gravatar T. Moran

    Thaaat’s right – blame Billy Joel for that motorcycle accident in 1982. It was definitely his fault that the driver of that car ran a red light. Yep – leave it to Billy to “collide his motorcyle directly into the side of a car”…..and just because it merely sped into the middle of the intersection and got in the way of Bad Boy Billy’s bike. And, oh my gosh, what a show-off he was – sumersaulting over the entire car and after completing a perfect flip, landing flat on his back and bouncing his head off the pavement. Those crazy motorcyclists – always arrogantly thinking they actually have the same right to use the road as cars do. It’s always the fault of those evil motorcycle riders when there’s an accident with a car. If they want to live like daredevils, then they deserve to die like that, too. Right?

  2. Wow, just imagine how irate and uptight you would have got if the lighthearted look back at 1982 was more than a two line sentence :roll:

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