It happened this week…

This is the week that was in matters musical…

1949, RCA introduces the first 45-rpm record …

1952, Sun Records, future home of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins, releases its first record: an instrumental recording by saxman Johnny London … it flops …

1955, Bo Diddley cuts his first records for Chess including “I’m a Man,” a tune that will influence generations of rockers to follow …

1956, Bill Haley & His Comets receive an unprecedented $250,000 guarantee for 21 shows …

1957, Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers receive the princely sum of $7,500 to play a carnival in Panama … the fee is considered huge for a one-nighter … Chess records releases singles of Muddy Waters’ “I Got My Mojo Working” and Chuck Berry’s “School Days” …

1959, recording begins in New York City for the Miles Davis classic Kind of Blue—a record so popular that people who normally don’t buy jazz albums buy this one …

1963, it is an unlikely gathering for “The Limbo Party” at San Francisco’s Cow Palace … Chubby Checker is host … performers include Marvin Gaye, The Crystals, Lou Christie, The Four Seasons, Dick & Dee Dee, Paul & Paula, and Herb Albert & the Tijuana Brass …

1967, Paul McCartney reads a newspaper account of a missing teenage girl, triggering his song “She’s Leaving Home” …

1968, Johnny Cash and June Carter marry at the First United Methodist Church in Franklin, Kentucky … a motorcade of Cadillacs carry Johnny, June, and the families to the small, private ceremony … Johnny’s best man is Merle Kilgore, who shares co-writing credits with June on “Ring of Fire” the tune generally credited as a musical documentation of Johnny and June’s love affair …

1977, Keith Richards is arrested in Toronto after his hotel room is raided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who discover both heroin and cocaine … he is charged with possession of heroin with intent to sell plus possession of cocaine and is released on $25,000 bail … Stones fans everywhere wonder if the cops were on horseback when they broke into Keef’s room … Bob Dylan’s wife, Sara, files for divorce in Santa Monica, California …the couple has been married for 11 years and has five children … in the settlement she is given possession of their home and custody of the kids … Sara is said to be the inspiration behind classic tunes such as “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands,” “Lay Lady Lay,” and “Sara” …

1983, Michael Jackson’s Thriller album reaches #1 and stays there 37 weeks, selling over 40 million copies … it is the number one album in all Western nations … Gold Star Recording Studios in Los Angeles, where Phil Spector, Brian Wilson, Buffalo Springfield, Herb Alpert, The Monkees, The Ramones, Bob Dylan, and John Lennon laid down landmark tracks, is demolished to make way for a mini-mall that features a Del Taco stand …

1992, Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love wed in Waikiki, Hawaii …

1995, Lyle Lovett breaks his collarbone while motorcycling in Mexico … as a result, he is unable to attend the Grammys to accept the two awards he wins … Bill Berry of R.E.M. begins suffering from a massive migraine about 90 minutes into the band’s set in Lausanne, Switzerland … he collapses and is rushed off stage, but does not see a doctor until the next day when it is discovered he has an aneurysm on the right side of his brain … the aneurysm is clipped and Berry makes a full recovery …

1998, Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe is arrested and charged with domestic abuse for hitting his wife Pamela Anderson Lee … Virgin Records files suit against the Smashing Pumpkins for alleged breach of contract and non-delivery of albums … the suit claims the band notified Virgin that instead of delivering seven albums, per its contract, the band was delivering just three and walking … the band cites a California labor law which limits personal service contracts to seven years as its justification, a law originally used by movie stars to break free from the once-dominant studio system … the band eventually wins and gets more money with its royalty rate bumped up to 20 percent … some feel the band’s subsequent albums decrease in quality an equal percentage …

1999, Dusty Springfield dies … born Mary Elizabeth Catherine Bernadette O’Brien, the highly regarded British singer enjoyed a series of soul-inflected pop hits including the blockbuster “Silver Threads and Golden Needles” … she dies of breast cancer on the day she is scheduled to receive her OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) from Queen Elizabeth … she is 59 …

2000, it is announced that pop princess Britney Spears will be releasing her own brand of bubble gum creatively named, “Britney Spears CD Bubble Gum” … the product is a promotion for her upcoming tour … the manufacturer, Famous Fixins, will give part of the proceeds to The Giving Back Fund, a nonprofit that encourages celebrities to raise money for charities …

2005, legendary Muscle Shoals studio closes in Muscle Shoals, Alabama … artists such as The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Bob Seger recorded some of their biggest hits at the facility … the studio, owned since 1985 by indie blues label Malaco Records, is a victim of the computer recording boom …

… Queen’s Brian May, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, and Jeff Beck are all guests at a Buckingham Palace party to honor the British music industry … Queen Elizabeth II asks them: “And what do you do?” … “It’s great to meet her and it doesn’t matter at all that she did not know who we are or what we do,” Clapton said … “I wouldn’t expect her to” … Ozzy Osbourne astonishingly grabs his daughter Kelly’s left breast while being snapped in Australia … the wild rocker is in Sydney with his daughter and wife Sharon to promote the Australian MTV Awards when he bizarrely reaches out and cups Kelly’s left boob for the cameras, leaving onlookers stunned … musician Martin Denny, the father of the influential genre of pop called “exotica,” dies at his home in Hawai’i Kai … he is 93 … Denny created a hypnotic international sound that blended exotic elements—bird calls, croaking frogs, jazz rhythms, chimes, and gongs … he once described it as a fusion of Asian, South Pacific, American jazz, Latin American, and classical styles … his albums will become collectible for the covers that featured model Sandy Warner in a variety of tasteful, yet alluring settings …

2006, after being found asleep at the steering wheel of his car in London, George Michael is taken in by the bobbies on charges of possessing pot and painkillers …

2007, in its ongoing campaign against piracy, the Recording Industry Association of America sends 400 letters to universities across the U.S. warning them that their students may be sued for copyright infringement if they don’t settle up … the RIAA directs students to a website where they can settle their cases online by coughing up some bucks … Big Champagne, a web tracking service, estimates that one billion songs are swapped online every month on sites such as LimeWire … Bono is given the NAACP’s Chairmen’s Award as acknowledgment of his involvement in the AIDS prevention effort …

2008, Larry Norman dies in Salem, Oregon, from heart failure at age 60 … he was a member of one hit wonders, People, from San Jose, who went to #7 with a remake of The Zombies “I Love You” … Norman’s first solo record—the 1969 release “Upon This Rock”—is considered the first Christian rock album … he later started his own independent label, recording additional solo albums while discovering other Christian artists … leading to him being dubbed the “father of Christian rock” … John Mellencamp was apparently a fan of Norman’s at one time … in 1974, while studying broadcasting at Vincennes University in Vincennes, Indiana, Mellencamp closed his radio show by pre-empting the national anthem with a Larry Norman song …

2009, The East Room of the White House is temporarily converted into a nightclub as Stevie Wonder is presented the Library of Congress’ Gershwin Prize by President Obama … Wonder serenades the first couple, kicking things off with a version of “Sir Duke” and later Wonder classics like “Isn’t She Lovely” and “Superstition” … Tony Bennett, Paul Simon, Will.i.am and Martina McBride all present their own rendition of Wonder’s hits …

…and that was the week that was.

Arrivals:

February 24: Italian tenor and pioneer of recorded music, Enrico Caruso (1873), singer-songwriter Wandra Merrell (1925), singer Paul Jones of Manfred Mann (1942), The Beatles’ George Harrison (1944), keyboard session man Nicky Hopkins (1944), Butch McDade, drummer with The Amazing Rhythm Aces (1946), bassist Lonnie Turner of the Steve Miller Band (1947), Rupert Holmes, composer, singer-songwriter, musician, and musical playwright (1947), singer-songwriter Michelle Shocked (1962)

February 25: blueswoman Ida Cox (1896), record store founder Sam Goody, born Samuel Gutowitz (1904), country singer Faron Young (1932), Barry Kramer, founder of Creem magazine (1943), guitarist Frank “Poncho” Sampedro of Crazy Horse (1949), bassist and songwriter Stuart “Woody” Wood of the Bay City Rollers (1957), drummer Dennis Diken of The Smithereens (1957), singer Mike Peters of The Alarm (1959)

February 26: Fats Domino (1928), Norman P. Rich of Billy Stewart’s band (1930), Johnny Cash (1932), Paul Cotton of Poco (1943), Bob “The Bear” Hite of Canned Heat (1943), Mitch Ryder (1945), Jonathan Cain of Journey (1950), Michael Bolton (1953), Bronski Beat’s John Jon (1961), Erykah Badu (1971)

February 27: Eddie Gray of Tommy James & The Shondells (1948), Neil Schon of Journey (1954), Adrian Smith of Iron Maiden (1957), Chili of TLC (1971), Jeremy Dean of Nine Days (1972), singer-songwriter Josh Groban (1981)

February 28: guitarist John Fahey (1939), singer-songwriter Joe South (1940), Marty Sanders of Jay and the Americans (1941), R&B singer Barbara Acklin (1943), Brian Jones (1952), Ronald Rosman of Tommy James & The Shondells (1945), Cindy Wilson of The B-52’s (1957), Ian Stanley of Tears For Fears (1957), Phillip Gould of Level 42 (1957), Pat Monahan of Train (1969)

March 1: bandleader Glenn Miller (1904), barrelhouse pianist Walter Davis (1912), Harry Belafonte (1927), Roger Daltrey (1942), Jerry Fisher of Blood, Sweat & Tears (1943), Mike D’Abo of Manfred Mann (1944), synth pop singer-songwriter Nik Kershaw (1958)

March 2: Desi Arnaz (1917), Doc Watson (1923), Lawrence Payton of The Four Tops (1938), Lou Reed born Louis Firbank (1942), George Benson (1943), Eddie Money (1949), blues/rock guitarist Rory Gallagher (1949), Karen Carpenter (1950), Jay Osmond of The Osmonds (1955), Dale Bozzio of Missing Persons (1955), Mark Evans of AC/DC (1956), Jon Bon Jovi born John Bongiovi (1962), rapper and DJ Scott LaRock (1962), Coldplay’s Chris Martin (1977)

Departures:

February 24: Larry Norman, “father of Christian rock” (2008), ’50s pop crooner Johnnie Ray (1990), blues pianist Memphis Slim aka John Len “Peter” Chatman (1988), Detroit soul singer Ty Hunter (1981)

February 25: Pylon guitarist Randy Bewley (2009), ’60s folk singer Mark Spoelstra (2007), Thomas Koppel, co-founder of Danish prog-rock band Savage Rose (2006), blues saxophonist A.C. Reed (2004), co-founder of Stax Records, Estelle Axton (2004), William “Hoss” Allen, white DJ who promoted R&B in Nashville (1997), Toy Caldwell, guitarist and songwriter for the Marshall Tucker Band (1993)

February 26: ELO bassist Kelly Groucutt (2009), drummer-vocalist Buddy Miles (2008), fife player Othar Turner (2003), lyricist Ben Raleigh (1997), Frank O’Keefe of The Outlaws (1995), Cornell Gunter of The Coasters (1990), bluesman Bukka White (1977), Sherman Garnes of Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers (1977)

February 27: drummer Bobby Rosengarden (2007), Marlena Easley of The Orlons (1993)

February 28: Mike Smith, lead singer-organist for The Dave Clark Five (2008), saxophonist Walter Kimble (1988), DJ Eddie Madison (1987), David Byron of Uriah Heep (1985), Duprees lead vocalist Joey Vann (1984), Bobby Bloom (1974), Frankie Lymon (1968), Fats Domino’s guitarist Walter “Papoose” Nelson (1962)

March 1: Jackson 5 drummer Johnny Jackson (2006), Dennis Danell of Social Distortion (2000), Air Supply’s Frank Esler-Smith (1991)

March 2: country singer-songwriter Ernie Ashworth (2009), blues guitarist Jeff Healey (2008), pop composer Martin Denny (2005), Hank Ballard (2003), Dusty Springfield (1999), singer-songwriter David Ackles (1999), French pop singer Serge Gainsbourg (1991), rockabilly pianist Roy Hall (1984), Charlie Christian (1942)

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1 Comments

  1. Thanks for remembering Bob Hite of Canned Heat!

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