It happened this week…

This is the week that was in matters musical…

1944, Dinah Shore’s “I’ll Walk Alone” moves to the top spot on the American singles chart … it is the first-ever #1 U.S. hit for a female artist …

1954, singing “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” Elvis makes his debut at the Grand Ole Opry … he elicits an unenthusiastic response from the hard-core country audience …

1960, Tommy Roe & The Satins release “Sheila” on Judd Records … the single will prove a flop … a revised version will be released two years later by Tommy Roe alone on ABC-Paramount and will streak to the top of the chart, the first of over 20 hits for the artist … just a little reminder to stay in the game …

1962, The Beatles release their first single in the U.K., “Love Me Do,” backed by “P.S. I Love You” … according to rumor, in an act of faith manager Brian Epstein orders 10,000 copies for the record store chain he owns … all 10,000 are purchased, assuring The Beatles a spot in the British Top 20 …

1966, The Jimi Hendrix Experience is formed in London … his song “Fire” will become one of the most played songs in rock … despite the song’s sexual overtones, the actual inspiration came while spending a cold December night at the home of bassist Noel Redding’s mother … Jimi asked if he could stand next to her fireplace … though she agreed, apparently her Great Dane did not … hence the spoken line before the solo, “Aw, move over, Rover, and let Jimi take over” …

1967, Woody Guthrie dies in Creedmoor State Hospital in Queens, New York, at the age of 55 … the legendary singer-songwriter had been in and out of various New York area hospitals since 1954, receiving treatment for Huntington’s disease, a hereditary illness that Guthrie’s mother, Nora, also died of and son Arlo suffers from … in 1998 and 2000, urban folk troubadour Billy Bragg and Wilco will issue two CDs of songs based on lyrics Guthrie wrote before his death that were given to Bragg by his widow Nora … State narcs execute a raid on the Grateful Dead house in Haight-Ashbury … Ron “Pigpen” McKernan and Bob Weir are arrested along with managers Rock Scully and Danny Rifkin, equipment manager Bob Matthews, and six friends … the cops, though they had no warrant, knocked down the front door, then confiscated money and records belonging to the band as well as the Haight-Ashbury Legal Organization whose office is part of this den of iniquity … after everyone has been bailed out the next morning, the band hosts a press conference in their living room … when Rifkin is asked by a reporter how long it took for the manager to grow his hair long, Rifkin produces a large, frothy bowl of whipped cream that he says has been reserved for the first reporter to ask a stupid question … when the reporter cringes, Rifkin relents …

1968, after rising to the top with three million-seller albums, supergroup Cream begins its farewell tour … Fleetwood Mac are at CBS Studios in central London … the Sunday session begins with a recording of guitarist/leader Peter Green’s instrumental “Albatross” … the tune is reminiscent of Santo and Johnny’s “Sleepwalk” but features twin guitar harmonies by Green and Danny Kirwan over a gently loping bass by John McVie, with Mick Fleetwood playing tom-toms with mallets … the recording is a huge international hit and influences John Lennon in writing “Sun King” for The Beatles Abbey Road album … years later, Green still plays the tune in concert …

1970, Janis Joplin is found dead in her room at Hollywood’s Landmark Hotel, the victim of a heroin overdose … she had just finished recording her second solo album, entitled Pearl … at the time of her death, Joplin is only 27 years old … Jimi Hendrix is buried on October 1, 1970, at Greenwood Memorial Cemetery in Renton, Washington … the planned memorial service is canceled because of lack of time and concerns with crowd control …

1986, CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather is attacked while walking down Park Avenue in New York City about 11 PM … he is knocked to the ground and kicked repeatedly by a mentally unstable citizen who asks over and over, “Kenneth, what’s the frequency?” … his assailant is William Tager, a diagnosed psychotic who suspected the media of beaming hostile messages to him, and wanted Rather to tell him the frequency being used for the nefarious plot … nearly ten years later R.E.M. will write a song loosely based on the event titled “What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?” …

1990, record store owner Charles Freeman of Fort Lauderdale, FL, is convicted of obscenity charges for selling the 2 Live Crew rap album Nasty As They Wanna Be … he is fined $2,000 …

1992, Sinead O’Connor puts a serious crimp in her career when she appears on Saturday Night Live … after singing an acapella version of Bob Marley’s “War” in which she inserts a verse about sexual abuse in the Catholic church, the Irish singer tears up a photo of the Pope and says, “Fight the real enemy” … the following week, guest host Joe Pesci holds up the photo, taped back together … during Madonna’s next SNL appearance, she holds up a photo of Joey Buttafuoco saying, “Fight the real enemy” … nowadays, when Comedy Central airs the original episode, the incident is replaced with O’Connor holding up a picture of a black child taken from a rehearsal tape …

1997, there’s a madness to the Method Man, who is being sued after he leaps off the stage and lands on a Wu-Tang fan, knocking her unconscious … the suit is against band members Method Man, RZA, and Redman, as well as the student government that sponsored the show … the fan, Juanita L. Evans, says she was distracted by Redman and therefore didn’t see the flying Method Man … it’s like the old adage says, “When in doubt, sue everyone” …

2004, five Vote for Change concerts are mounted on the same night in Florida, considered a state up for grabs in the 2004 presidential election … Bruce Springsteen, R.E.M., Tracy Chapman, and John Fogerty perform in Orlando where Chapman sings a stirring rendition of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” … the lineup in Gainesville is Dave Matthews, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, and Jurassic 5 … in Kissimmee, Pearl Jam and Death Cab for Cutie do their bit to try and unseat the incumbent … Bonnie Raitt, Keb’ Mo’, and Sheryl Crow perform in Jacksonville, where the three sing a show-closing rendition of the Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” … meanwhile in Clearwater, the Dixie Chicks and James Taylor hit the stage … Taylor describes himself as a “big old yellow-dog Democrat” and reveals that his songs “Line ‘Em Up” and “Slap Leather” were composed to celebrate the end of the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan respectively … the following night, John Mellencamp and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds perform in Chicago in support of the John Kerry candidacy … Howard Stern tells his 12 million listeners that in 2006 he will move over to Sirius Satellite Radio … six stations fired the breast-fixated broadcaster from their rosters after Clear Channel Broadcasting was hit with $495,000 in FCC fines … though Clear Channel president John Hogan admitted that Stern hadn’t committed any recent sins, the company decided to drop him anyway … reportedly the decision was based on Stern’s lifetime fascination with biology … his “lectures” on applied female anatomy in particular … Stern fires back saying, “As soon as I came out against Bush, that’s when my rights to free speech were taken away. It had nothing to do with indecency.” …

2006, a victim of plummeting record sales, record retailer Tower Records is liquidated … 3,000 employees in 20 states lose their jobs … Elton John is joined by, among others, Elvis Costello, Moby, Liv Tyler, and Neil Young in a fundraiser for his AIDS charity … Young wows the crowd with an acoustic set that includes a duet with John on “Your Song” …

2007, in the first lawsuit filed by the Recording Industry Association of America against illegal downloaders to go to trial, the RIAA is awarded a $220,000 judgment against Jammie Thomas of Brainerd, MN, who was charged with downloading 24 copyright-protected songs … the RIAA had originally offered to settle with Thomas in 2005 for $4,750, which was refused by the defendant who argued that she hadn’t downloaded the tunes … more than 26,000 suits have been filed against alleged song pirates by the RIAA to date … it later became known that the RIAA withheld roughly $400 million from artists for years … the RIAA gained the money through lawsuits claiming to defend the rights of artists, although none of the artists whose music was “illegally” downloaded have received any of the settlement money … the RIAA has also lobbied for a decrease in artist royalty payments … an odd way to protect artist’s rights, to say the least … Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor announces that he is no longer under contract with Interscope Records, allowing him to be able to distribute any future Nine Inch Nails and solo work in whatever form he desires … he also expresses his belief that being free from contract will enable him to have more direct contact with his fanbase and get his material to them in a more efficient and cost-effective manner … this is bad news for the record industry coming on the heels of Radiohead going indie with its web-only distribution of In Rainbows and Madonna’s split with Warner to cut a deal with Live Nation that covers both concert and record business …

2008, E Street Band axeman Nils Lofgren undergoes double hip replacement surgery … one of the last artists to resist making his music downloadable throws in the towel when Rhapsody.com begins offering Kid Rock’s catalog online … at Rock’s stipulation, only entire albums—not singles—are offered … the Kid is still holding out where iTunes is concerned … he is quoted as saying, “It’s funny, I have a shitload of stock in Apple, but it’s just not very American to me when Apple tells you how they want to sell your product and they tell you what it’s worth” …

2009, the ninth annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival is held in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park … spread over seven stages, acts comprise a virtual who’s-who of roots and country music … an estimated 750,000 fans enjoy sets by Doc Watson, Emmylou Harris, Earl Scruggs, Del McCoury, Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives, Ralph Stanley, and a host of other living legends … monster Nashville producer and guitarist Buddy Miller wows the crowd with his gritty road show that includes a guest appearance by Robert Plant … Hardly Strictly is an entirely free event—a gift to the city from real estate developer and bluegrass fan Warren Hellman …

…and that was the week that was.

Arrivals:

September 30: jazz drummer Buddy Rich (1917), New Orleans soul man Chris Kenner (1929), soul and gospel singer Cissy Houston (1933), crooner Johnny Mathis (1935), soul singer Z.Z. Hill (1935), Frankie Lymon (1942), Dewey Martin of Buffalo Springfield (1942), producer Gus Dudgeon (1942), Marilyn McCoo of The 5th Dimension (1943), Sylvia Peterson of The Chiffons (1946), Mark Bolan of T. Rex (1947), Patrice Rushen (1954), Basia (1956), Trey Anastasio of Phish (1964), Robby Takac of The Goo Goo Dolls (1964)

October 1: piano maestro Vladimir Horowitz (1904), Texas bluesman Albert Collins (1932), Julie Andrews (1935), Capitols singer-drummer Samuel George (1942), saxist Jerry Martini of Sly & the Family Stone (1943), pop singer Scott McKenzie (1944), Herbert Rhoad of The Persuasions (1944), Barbara Paritt of The Toys (1944), R&B singer-songwriter Donnie Hathaway (1945), bassist-vocalist Martin Turner of Wishbone Ash (1947), Tubes singer Jane Dornacker (1947), Senegalese vocalist Youssou N’Dour (1959), Kevin Griffin of Better Than Ezra (1968), Xscape’s LaTocha Scott (1974)

October 2: Ron Griffiths of Badfinger (1942), singer-songwriter Don McLean (1945), Michael Rutherford of Genesis (1950), Sting, born Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner (1951), The Diamonds’ David Somerville (1953), Phillip Oakey of Human League (1955), soul singer Freddie Jackson (1956), singer-songwriter Robbie Nevil (1960), Siggi Baldursson of The Sugarcubes (1962), Claude McKnight of Take 6 (1962), Sean McDonald, singer and guitarist with Surgery (1965), Bud Graugh of Sublime (1967), teen pop singer Tiffany (1971)

October 3: R&B pianist and saxophonist Monk Higgins, born Milton Bland (1930), influential American rock-and-roller Eddie Cochran, who co-wrote “Summertime Blues” (1938), former Mountain bass player and Cream producer Felix Pappalardi (1938), Chubby Checker, born Ernest Evans, who popularized the dance The Twist (1941), Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac (1948), Stevie Ray Vaughan (1954), Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee (1961), Gwen Stefani (1969), Kevin Richardson of Backstreet Boys (1971), soul and R&B singer India.Arie (1975)

October 4: Leon Thomas, jazz vocalist who worked with Pharoah Sanders and Santana (1937), Marlena Easley of The Orlons (1944), bassist Jim Fielder of Blood, Sweat & Tears, The Mothers of Invention, and Buffalo Stringfield (1947), blues singer-guitarist-songwriter Keb’ Mo’, born Kevin Moore (1951), Barbara K. MacDonald of Timbuk 3 (1958), Chris Lowe of Pet Shop Boys (1959), singer-songwriter Jon Secada (1961), Lena Katina of tATu (1984), Ashlee Simpson (1984)

October 5: blues musician George “Little Hat” Jones (1899), Delta singer and guitarist Jessie Mae Hemphill (1934), guitarist-singer-dancer Abi Ofarim (1939), Richard Street of The Temptations (1942), Steve Miller (1943), Richard Kermode, keyboardist who worked with Janis Joplin and Santana (1946), Brian Johnson of AC/DC (1947), seminal country rocker B.W. Stevenson (1949), Bob Geldof (1954), Paul Thomas of Good Charlotte (1980)

October 6: Cliff White, session guitarist with Sam Cooke (1921), Walter Kimble, sax player with Fats Domino (1946), Millie Small of “My Boy Lollipop” fame (1948), Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon (1951), David Hidalgo of Los Lobos (1954), singer-songwriter Matthew Sweet (1964), Tommy Stinson of The Replacements (1966)

Departures:

September 30: Moonglows singer Prentiss Barnes (2006), Jacques Levy (2004), Texas rockabilly pioneer Ronnie Dawson (2003), disco-era songwriter Paul Jabara (1992), pop singer Mary Ford (1977)

October 1: Richard Avedon (2004), bassist Bruce Palmer of Buffalo Springfield (2004), Booker T. & The MGs drummer Al Jackson Jr. (1975)

October 2: “The Singing Cowboy” Gene Autry (1998), Evelyn Young, Memphis sax player who appeared on early B.B. King records (1990), New Orleans R&B and jazz pianist Pleasant “Cousin Joe” Joseph (1989)

October 3: Darryl DeLoach, original lead vocalist with Iron Butterfly (2002), Cars bassist Benjamin Orr (2000), blues singer Victoria Spivey (1976), blues master Skip James, whose blues classics were covered by rockers including Cream and Canned Heat (1969), American folk icon Woody Guthrie (1967)

October 4: bebop trumpeter Art Farmer (1998), country fiddler Jerry River (1996), guitarist Danny Gatton (1994), 1950s R&B singer Varetta Dillard (1993), J.Frank Wilson, lead vocalist of J.Frank Williams and the Cavaliers (1991), Ray Stephens, singer with The Village People (1990), Atlanta DJ Zenas “Daddy” Sears (1988), Jimmy Springs, drummer and singer for The Red Caps (1987), Janis Joplin (1970)

October 5: The Temptations’ Eddie Kendricks (1992)

October 6: Portuguese fado singer Amalia Rodriguez (1999), raspy-voiced Texas rockabilly singer “Groovey” Joe Poovey (1998), arranger-composer-orchestra leader Nelson Riddle (1985), Johnny O’Keefe, Australia’s first rock star (1978)

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