It happened this week…

This is the week that was in matters musical…

1824, one of the world’s best-loved pieces of music, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, is performed for the first time …

1891, romantic era rocker Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky (or Пётр Ильич Чайковский as he is known to his friends) conducts his Coronation March at the grand opening of Andrew Carnegie’s new Music Hall, which will become Carnegie Hall … the concert takes place just two days before Tchaikovsky’s 51st birthday … on his birthday, he conducts his Suite No. 3 at the Music Hall …

1911, Robert Johnson is born in Hazelhurst, Mississippi … probably the most influential bluesman to emerge in the 20th century; his songs and riffs have become a foundation for the genre …

1937, blues legend John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson cuts his first tracks at the Aurora Studios in Aurora, Illinois, including “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” …

1944, country singer Jimmie Davis becomes governor of Louisiana … his most famous composition, “You Are My Sunshine,” will become the state song …

1958, The Coasters’ single “Yakety Yak,” featuring a disaffected, back-talkin’ teen’s lament, is released … though six of the group’s novelty tunes will land in the Top Ten, this will be their only #1 hit …

1960, Neil Sedaka’s “Stairway to Heaven” peaks at #9 on the Billboard pop chart … the teen-romance ditty has nothing whatever to do with Led Zep’s later hit of the same name, which apparently has a lot to do with Randy California’s “Taurus” …

1963, The Rolling Stones cut their first 45, a cover of a Chuck Berry obscurity “Come On” … producer Quincy Jones learns that Phil Spector is planning to cover Lesley Gore’s teen-angst single “It’s My Party” with a version by the Crystals … he rushes the Gore 45 to stores just two days after cutting the track … and it will be Quincy’s party for decades to come … perhaps Spector should have covered “Jailhouse Rock” instead … it would certainly suit his current surroundings …

1965, while toying with a newly acquired fuzz box in a Florida hotel room, Keith Richards comes up with the riff that will later become the hook in “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” …

1968, proto-supergroup Buffalo Springfield (named after a tractor), the band that spawned the careers of Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Jim Messina, and Richie Furay, calls it quits … The Springfield ends due to creative clashes between its most fiery personalities, Stills and Young, while the band’s most easy-going member, Richie Furay, who simply wants to be a pop star, will never reach the level of fame of his former bandmates … Stills will find mega-fame in Crosby, Stills & Nash; Jim Messina will team up with Furay to form Poco, which doesn’t make as big a splash as Messina will when he ditches Poco and joins Kenny Loggins for a stellar run as Loggins & Messina; and Neil Young will go on to become … well, Neil Young … eventually Furay will find his peace as a pastor at the Calvary Chapel in Broomfield, Colorado, while maintaining a solo career …

1969, at the invitation of First Daughter Tricia Nixon, the Turtles perform at Tricky Dick’s White House … singer Mark Volman is so happy to be there he reportedly falls off the stage five times … legend has it that the band spent the night smoking spliffs in the Lincoln Bedroom …

1972, in an apparent effort to show that famous entertainers can be interested in something beside themselves, Warren Beatty brings together 30 artists, including Michelle Phillips, Mama Cass, Judy Collins, Goldie Hawn, and Jack Nicholson, for a series of 12 benefits underwriting George McGovern’s bid for the presidency … despite their best efforts, the nation re-elects Nixon, the man who admittedly targeted rock music, only to have him resign in shame facing impeachment halfway through his term … like Neil said, “Rock and roll will never die” … unfortunately, neither will corrupt politicians …

1973, Paul Simon starts his first solo tour following his divorce from Art Garfunkel …

1981, reggae star Bob Marley succumbs to cancer …

1990, Tom Waits is awarded 2.3 million bucks by a jury in a suit against Frito-Lay, who brazenly ripped off Waits’ vocal and songwriting style for a Doritos ad … the decision will be appealed and wind up at an appeals court in January 1993, where Frito-Lay will finally be forced to cough up the money …

1991, Ozzy Osbourne wins a court case in which a couple of Macon, Georgia, parents blamed their son’s suicide on Ozzy’s music … Bushwick Bill of the rap group The Geto Boys takes a bullet in the face from his girlfriend … the 4-1/2 foot-tall rapper winds up losing his eye after threatening the woman’s three-month-old son, then handing her a loaded .22, saying he wants to die …

1994, Tupac Shakur goes to jail for a couple weeks as a result of his 1993 attack on Allen Hughes, the director of the movie Menace II Society in which Shakur had a part … the rapper was cut from the production …

1995, B.B. King, Jimmie Vaughan, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, and Robert Cray reunite to play a tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan in the late guitar slinger’s hometown of Austin, Texas … all five had appeared with SRV at his last show on August 26, 1990, just before he took that fateful helicopter ride …

1998, in perhaps the most unlikely pairing since Hendrix opened for the Monkees, Jimmy Page duets on Saturday Night Live with rapper Sean “Puffy” Combs … the pair perform “Come With Me,” featuring a sampled guitar riff from Zep’s “Kashmir” …

2000, a federal appeals court gives Michael Bolton the thumbs down when he tries to weasel out of a $5.4 million jury award levied against him for ripping off the Isley Brothers’ “Love is a Wonderful Thing” in his song of the same name …

2006, after holding out for three years, Red Hot Chili Peppers agrees to post its catalog on the iTunes website … the deal includes the band’s latest 28-song double CD, Stadium Arcadium that can be downloaded for $19.90 … after spending 736 weeks on the Billboard Top 200 album chart, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon enjoys another 759 weeks on the Top Pop Catalog Albums chart … that adds up to a staggering 1,500 weeks total … the nearest competitor is Bob Marley’s Legend … but it’s years behind, having notched a mere 845 weeks … Keith Richards undergoes surgery in New Zealand for a head injury sustained while scaling a palm tree in Fiji trying to retrieve coconuts …

2007, indie label Kill Rock Stars issues a two-disc compilation of mostly unreleased material by the late singer-songwriter Elliott Smith … titled New Moon, the CD set includes tracks recorded between 1994 and 1997 … Smith’s body bearing two stab wounds was discovered at his L.A. home in October 2003 … although the cause of death was widely reported as suicide, the coroner never established that … it’s official: British band New Order, which arose from the ashes of post-punk band Joy Division in the early 1980s, is breaking up according to a web posting by the group’s bass player … Sammy Hagar reaps a cool $80 million when he sells off his majority interest in the Cabo Wabo tequila brand to Campari/Skyy Spirits … that should keep his margarita glass well salted …

2009, the album Playing for Change debuts at #10 on the Billboard album chart … the record is the work of L.A. engineer Mark Johnson, who spent four years circling the globe with a digital recording rig, capturing performances of classic tunes like Bob Marley’s “One Love” by street musicians … back in the studio, Johnson edited the performances together to create seamless songs that took YouTube by storm followed by a theatrically released documentary … TV producer Norman Lear, who saw the doc at the Tribeca Film Festival, is impressed enough to release the CD through his Concord Music Group … Bob Dylan is spotted on a public tour of John Lennon’s childhood home in Liverpool that’s now a museum to the late Beatle … a staff member recalls that Dylan “seemed to enjoy his visit, really poring over the books and photos; [he] found the kitchen fascinating, commenting that it reminded him of his own upbringing” … Jane’s Addiction singer Perry Farrell tears a calf muscle mid-set in Atlanta … recalling the injury Farrell says “It felt like a knot exploded and went in two directions, like a rubber band” … like a trooper, Farrell finishes the set before having his leg examined … “There was this hot male nurse, and my wife came along—it was pretty kinky. We should’ve shot a porn” … Farrell acknowledges he’s blown off his doctor’s orders by getting rid of the prescribed crutches, “But I am following his advice and taking all the great meds!” … and in other medically related news this week, Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan is successfully operated on for a malignant bladder tumor … the surgery interrupts the band’s months-long European stadium tour that is set to resume June 8 …

… and that was the week that was …

Arrivals:

May 5: bluesman Blind Willie McTell of “Statesboro Blues” fame (1901), R&B-soul-pop singer Johnnie Taylor (1938), country singing star Tammy Wynette (1942), Bill Ward of Black Sabbath (1948), British folk singer-guitarist-songwriter Martin Simpson (1953), Kevin Mooney of Adam and the Ants (1962), Kevin James LaBrie of Dream Theater (1963), R&B-pop singer Chris Brown (1989)

May 6: Chicago bluesman Eddie C. Campbell (1939), Herb Cox of the Cleftones (1939), Mungo Jerry keyboardist Colin Earl (1942), singer-songwriter-guitarist Bob Seger (1945), Robbie McIntosh of Average White Band (1950), Davey Johnstone of Elton John’s band (1951), John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants (1960), Mark Bryan of Hootie and the Blowfish (1967)

May 7: composer Johannes Brahms (1833), composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840), jazz/pop singer Teresa Brewer (1931), Beatles’ publicist Derek Taylor (1932), Motown singer Jimmy Ruffin (1939), Johnny Maestro of The Crests (1939), Jerry Nolan of The New York Dolls (1946), Bill Dannoff of Starland Vocal Band (1946), Whitesnake axeman Bernie Marsden (1951), film composer and Art Of Noise founder Anne Dudley, born Anne Jennifer Beckingham (1956), guitarist Marty Wilson-Piper of The Church (1958), Motörhead’s Phil Campbell (1961)

May 8: jazz pianist Mary Lou Willams (1910), blues legend Robert Johnson (1911), Top 40 radio format pioneer Todd Storz (1924), teen idol turned singer-songwriter Ricky Nelson (1940), Toni Tennille of the Captain and Tennille (1940), blue-eyed soul, Cajun swamp pop, and bubble-gum pop performer John Fred (1941), Paul Samwell-Smith of The Yardbirds (1943), Chris Frantz of Talking Heads (1951), Phillip Bailey of Earth Wind & Fire (1951), Billy Burnette of Fleetwood Mac (1953), drummer and brother of Eddie, Alex Van Halen (1953), Dave Rowntree of Blur (1964), Savage Garden’s Darren Hayes (1972), Latino pop star Enrique Iglesias (1975

May 9: country singer Hank Snow (1914), Nokie Edwards of The Ventures (1935), Dave Prater of Sam and Dave (1937), Sonny Curtis of The Crickets (1937), Pete Birrell of Freddie and The Dreamers (1941), pop singer Tommy Roe (1942), Richie Furay of Buffalo Springfield and Poco (1944), Blood, Sweat and Tears’ Steve Katz (1945), piano man Billy Joel (1949), Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode (1962), Paul Heaton of The Housemartins (1962)

May 10: dancer-singer Fred Astaire (1899), country pioneer “Mother” Maybelle Carter (1909), session guitarist Bert Weedon (1920), Cliff Goldsmith of The Olympics (1925), New Orleans singer Larry Williams (1935), soul singer Arthur Alexander (1940), Texas rockabilly figure “Groovy” Joe Poovey (1941), Danny Rapp of Danny & The Juniors (1941), Donovan born Donovan Phillips Leitch (1946), Graham Goldman of 10cc (1946), Traffic’s Dave Mason (1947), prolific reggae drummer Sly Dunbar (1952), Sid Vicious, born John Simon Ritchie (1957), Bono, born Paul Hewson (1960), Young MC, born Marvin Young (1967), Jason Dalyrimple of Soul for Real (1980)

May 11: songwriter Irving Berlin (1888), British blues diva Beryl Bryden (1920), record exec Ewart Abner, born Edward Gladstone Abner Jr. (1923), Kit Lambert, manager of The Who (1935), jazz pianist-composer Carla Bley (1938), Eric Burdon of The Animals and War (1941), Les Chadwick of Gerry and the Pacemakers (1943), Arnie Satin of The Dovells, born Arnold Harris Silver (1945), Art of Noise’s Jonathan Jeczalik (1955)

Departures:

May 5: Clement “Coxsone” Dodd, reggae producer and owner of Studio One record label (2004), zydeco pioneer Boozoo Chavis (2001), Chicago blues singer Andrew Tibbs (1991), Ralph Garone, singer with The Bob Knight Four (1986), Clarence Quick, singer with The Del-Vikings (1985), blues and gospel singer-guitarist Reverend Gary Davis (1972)

May 6: Lynyrd Skynyrd bassist Ean Evans (2009), Chicago harp player Carey Bell (2007), Grant McLennan of The Go-Betweens (2006), jazz pianist Hilton Ruiz (2006), jazz guitarist Barney Kessel (2004), Otis Blackwell, writer of “Don’t Be Cruel” and “All Shook Up” (2002), Clarence Paul of The “5” Royales (1995), Skatalites leader Don Drummond (1969)

May 7: country singer Eddie Rabbit (1998), Alphonso Howell of The Sensations (1998), Pacific Gas and Electric singer Charles Allen (1990)

May 8: country star Eddie Arnold (2008), Phil Spector’s chief engineer Larry Levine (2008), Abbey Road cover photographer Iain Macmillan (2006), jazz yodeler Leon Thomas (1999), Ronald Koal of Ronald Koal and the Trillionaires (1993), pianist Rudolf Serkin (1991), disco record exec Neil Bogart (1982), English R&B trailblazer Graham Bond (1974)

May 9: guitarist Stephen Bruton (2009), blues harpist Lester Butler (1998), cowboy-chic tailor Nudie Cohn (1984)

May 10: jazz pianist John Hicks (2006), Colombian singer Soraya (2006), songwriter Shel Silverstein (1999), confidante to the stars and Astral Studios mogul Burnetta “Bunny” Jones (1998)

May 11: original Rush drummer John Rutsey (2008), Philadelphia International artist and producer John Whitehead (2004), Hendrix Experience bassist Noel Redding (2003), Chess Records singer-guitarist Danny Overbea (1994), reggae legend Bob Marley (1981), banjo star Lester Flatt (1979)

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