It happened this week…

This is the week that was in matters musical …

1933, knowing he will soon die of tuberculosis and wanting to provide for his family, Jimmy Rodgers, aka the Singing Brakeman and the Blue Yodeler, begins his final recording sessions with Peer records … Rodgers is accompanied by a nurse throughout the sessions and rests on a cot between songs … he dies two days after laying down his last tracks …

Jimmy Rodgers – “T For Texas”

1955, Ruth Brown’s signature song “Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean” is banned in Britain by the BBC on the grounds that it might encourage wife beaters …

Ruth Brown – “Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean”

1960, before launching his solo career, Ben E. King cuts his final two singles with The Drifters … “I Count the Tears” will top out at #17, while “Save The Last Dance For Me” will score big by going all the way to the top of the pop and R&B charts …

1961, Gladys Knight & The Pips enjoy the distinction of having two different versions of their hit “Every Beat of My Heart” on the charts simultaneously … the group had cut the song twice for different labels with the VeeJay version charting at #6 while the single on Fury registers at #45 …

1964, a new teen dance called “The Swim,” spawned in San Francisco’s Galaxy Club, begins to spread throughout California …

1965, The Beatles cut the single “Ticket to Ride” … it’s the band’s first song to feature Paul McCartney on lead guitar … FBI agents visit Wand Records investigating the allegedly obscene lyrics to the song “Louie Louie” by the Kingsmen … c’mon guys, nobody could get the words off the record … that didn’t stop any of us from singing it at parties … name another song that’s easier to fake the lyrics to …

1966, the Byrd’s single “Eight Miles High” is banned by some radio stations because of the lyrics’ alleged drug references … as it turns out, Gene Clark, who crafted the lyrics, claims they’re about the group’s airborne 1965 English tour … according to Clark, airliners fly at six or seven miles up, but eight miles high just sounds better …

1967, the BBC announces a ban on the Beatles song “A Day In The Life” … it’s concerned that the lyrics will promote drug use … upon hearing of the ban John responds, “The laugh is that Paul and I wrote this song from a newspaper headline. It’s about a crash and its victim. How anyone can read drugs into it is beyond me. Everyone seems to be falling overboard to see the word drug in the most innocent of phrases. The BBC has misinterpreted the song. It has nothing to do with drug-taking. It’s only about a dream.” …

The Beatles – “A Day In The Life”

… Jimi Hendrix signs with Reprise Records, his first recording deal with an American company … from the one-hit-wonders department, Australia’s Easybeats reach number 16 on the U.S. charts with “Friday On My Mind” … the band is led by founder/guitarist George Young, whose success must have amped his younger brothers, Malcolm and Angus of AC/DC fame … although the Easybeats had bigger hits Down Under, the success of “Friday” in the States seemed to signal their downfall due to management hassles, personnel changes, and yes, dope …

Easybeats – “Friday On My Mind”

1970, Randy Bachman leaves The Guess Who … without question …

1974, here’s Neil Young’s recipe for notorious “Honey Slides” as he described it at the Bottom Line Club in New York, on May 16, 1974, while introducing the song “Motion Picture” … “start with finely ground poor-grade marijuana, heat until it starts to brown, mix with a 1/2 cup of warmed honey … then eat a spoon or two” … the confection figured large in the sessions for On the Beach according to Young’s bio, Shakey

1977, Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke” tops the singles chart … the song is a tribute to Duke Ellington …

1978, Philips announces it will launch the compact disc with fully digital recording and replay systems … Japan receives the first CDs in 1982; they’re available a year later in Europe and the U.S. … CD players sell for $1,000 …

1979, Eric Clapton and Patti Boyd marry … Boyd’s marriage to Clapton’s friend George Harrison ended in 1977 … often portrayed as a muse to both musicians, Boyd inspired Clapton to write the song “Layla” about his unrequited love for Boyd, and later, “Wonderful Tonight” after they are together … three of The Beatles—Paul, Ringo, and George—are joined by Mick Jagger for a performance at the reception … it is the first time since their ’69 breakup that the three Beatles have played together …

1984, Nils Lofgren replaces “Miami” Steve Van Zandt in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band …

1985, the artist who will eventually be known as the artist formerly known as Prince releases the single “Raspberry Beret” … no big deal, really … we just wanted to do the “artist formerly known as” thing …

1986, Peter Gabriel releases the album, So … rumor has it that the unhurried artist will plan a follow-up album for early 22nd century release …

1990, music industry entrepreneur Morris Levy goes to that long, plastic money trench in the sky … having had his fingers in many pies, including jukeboxes, nightclubs, publishing, and record labels … he was convicted of extortion in 1988 but died before serving time … in the mid-1970s he sued John Lennon for $42 million, charging plagiarism of a Chuck Berry song … the case was thrown out …

1994, Sting and Nancy Wilson receive honorary doctorates from the Berklee College of Music in Boston …

1999, rock band No Doubt sues the clothing manufacturer No Fear for service mark infringement … the company is marketing a line of clothes bearing the “No Doubt” name …

2001, XM Satellite Radio completes its satellite system …

2005, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne put their 6-bedroom Beverly Hills home up for sale … the asking price is $11.9 million …

2006, Paul McCartney and Heather Mills announce that their four-year marriage is splitsville and they will separate … the couple states, “Having tried exceptionally hard to make our relationship work given the daily pressures surrounding us, it is with sadness that we have decided to go our separate ways.” … one can only wonder if it was worth the $48.6 million divorce settlement for the Scottish-descended Beatle “to go roamin’ through the heather on the hill” … the times they are a-changin’ as Rolling Stone reports that music downloads are up 83 percent for the year and that digital downloading has become a significant piece of the pie, accounting for 14 percent of music sales …

2007, a charge against former Creed frontman Scott Stapp stemming from an apparent confrontation with his wife is reduced to a misdemeanor … Stapp had been charged with aggravated assault with intent to commit a felony after he threw a bottle of Orangina at his wife and missed … Stapp will be subject to random drug and alcohol testing … apparently, with his alleged history of drug abuse, Stapp is expected to do quite well on the test, but according to authorities, he’ll have to make every answer count since there won’t be any extra-credit questions … Stapp’s former band, Creed, sold more than 25 million records in the United States … he has since launched a solo career … of course, now with his wife on edge and the random alcohol and drug testing, we wonder what Scott will use to prime his creative engines for takeoff when he … you know … flies solo … Evanescence drummer Rocky Gray and guitarist John LeCompt are summarily canned … LeCompt reports on his blog that he was fired on the phone by frontwoman Amy Lee who later posts a comment on the band website, “Evanescence is alive and well. [John and Rocky] were ready to move on.” … apparently, whether they knew it or not … there’s madness to the Method Man as the Wu-Tang Clan rapper is popped for possession when his SUV is pulled over for an expired inspection sticker … the cops find 28 grams of wacky tabbacky aboard …

2008, after experimenting with a free festival in 2007, it is announced this year’s Ozzfest will be a single-day event to be held in Dallas on August 9 … the Grateful Dead donate thousands of artifacts to the University of California at Santa Cruz for a planned Dead research center … at a press conference announcing the gift, Dead drummer Mickey Hart jokingly warns curators not to lick any envelopes or touch the stuff without gloves …

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

Arrivals:

May 14: 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)

May 15: country singer Eddy Arnold (1918), Joe Cuoghi, owner of Hi records (1922), singer-guitarist Trini Lopez (1937), country singer K.T. Oslin (1942), Graham Goble of the Little River Band (1947), Brian Eno (1948), Dennis Fredericksen of Toto (1951), Dwight Twilly Band guitarist-singer Phil Seymour (1952), Mike Oldfield of Tubular Bells fame (1953), Prince Be of PM Dawn (1970), Ahmet Zappa (1974)

May 16: flamboyant pianist Liberace (1919), jazz singer Betty Carter (1930), The Diamonds’ Ted Kowalski (1931), singer Kripp Johnson of The Del Vikings (1933), jazz drummer Billy Cobham (1944), guitarist Robert Fripp (1946), Darrell Sweet, drummer with Nazareth (1947), The Chiffons’ Barbara Lee (1947), Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic (1965), Janet Jackson (1966), New Edition’s Ralph Tresvant (1968)

May 17: composer Erik Alfred-Leslie Satie (1866), guitarist Malcolm Hale of Spanky And Our Gang (1941), R&B pianist-vocalist-author Sonny Knight (1934), roots musician Taj Mahal (1942), singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester (1944), drummer Bill Bruford (1949), George Johnson of The Brothers Johnson (1953), Iron Maiden’s Paul Di’anno (1958), singer-songwriter Enya, born Eithne N’ Bhraonáin (1961), Page McConnell of Phish (1963), Pearl Jam drummer Dave Abbruzzese (1964), Trent Reznor (1965), Jordan Knight of New Kids on the Block (1970), Kandi Burruss of R&B girl group Xscape (1976)

May 18: Kansas City blues shouter “Big” Joe Turner (1911), crooner Perry Como (1918), Glenn Hardin of The Crickets (1939), T Rex bass player Bobby Del Din (1942), Joe Bonsall of the Oak Ridge Boys (1948), Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman (1949), country singer George Strait (1952)

May 19: UK pop star Alma Cogan (1932), The Who’s Pete Townshend (1945), Phil Rudd of AC/DC (1946), Blood, Sweat and Tears saxophonist Gregory Herbert (1947), ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill (1949), Joey Ramone (1951), Grace Jones (1952), Heaven 17′s Martyn Ware (1956), Ian Harvie of Del Amitri (1962), Jenny Berggren of Ace of Base (1972)

May 20: Vic Ames of the Ames Brothers (1926), Ink Spots singer and solo pianist Shorty Long (1940), Jill Jackson aka Paula of Paul and Paula (1942), Joe Cocker (1944), Cher, born Cherilyn Sarkisian La Pier (1946), Jimmie Henderson of Black Oak Arkansas (1954), The Go-Go’s Jane Wiedlin (1958), Susan Cowsill of the Cowsills (1960), Haircut 100′s Nick Heyward (1961), Tom Garman of Belly (1966), Busta Rhymes (1972), Naturi Naughton of 3LW (1984)

Departures:

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)

May 15: Star Trek TV theme composer Alexander “Sandy” Courage (2008), Rob Gretton, manager of Joy Division and New Order (1999), Frederick Van Pallandt, half of the Danish duo Nina and Frederick (1994), Barbara Alston of The Crystals (1992), Paul Wilson, baritone singer with The Flamingoes (1988)

May 16: Clifford Antone, owner of Antone’s, the club where SRV got his start (2006), ’60s soul singer Marv Johnson (1993), song and dance man Sammy Davis Jr. (1990), pianist, arranger, and producer Ernie Freeman (1981), songwriter Arthur Gunter (1976)

May 17: Lawrence “Ramrod” Shurtliff, longtime Grateful Dead roadie (2006), Bon Jovi producer Bruce Fairbairn (1999), Johnny “Guitar” Watson (1996), bandleader Lawrence Welk (1992), Roy Montrell, guitarist with Fats Domino’s band (1979)

May 18: jazz drum titan Elvin Jones (2004), influential reggae producer Augusto Pablo (1999), Robert Carr of the duo Robert & Johnny (1993), John Fenton, singer with The Diamonds (1982), Joy Division vocalist Ian Curtis (1980), composer Gustav Mahler (1911)

May 19: Harold Kelling, guitarist with The Hampton Grease Band (2005), blues singer Arnold “Gatemouth” Moore (2004), singer-violinist Freyda Epstein of Trapezoid (2003), jazz singer Susannah McCorkle (2001), gospel and soul singer Odia Coates (1991), Ron Wilson, cousin of The Beach Boy Wilsons and member of The Surfaris (1989), Gene Mumford, lead singer of Billy Ward & The Dominos (1977), tenor sax master Coleman Hawkins (1969), composer Charles Ives (1954)

May 20: Italian orchestra leader Renato Carosone (2001), harp player Willie Foster (2001), music publisher David Platz (1994), Rudy Lewis, vocalist with The Drifters (1964), The O’Jays’ William Powell (1977)

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1 Comments

  1. Another great Addition of “It happened this week” :)

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