It happened this week…

This is the week that was in matters musical…

1951, “Sixty Minute Man,” a risque song by the Dominoes becomes one of the first up-tempo R&B singles to cross over to the pop chart when it lands at #17 …

1954, Bill Haley and the Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock” is released but will not be successful until 1955 when it is featured on the soundtrack of the movie Blackboard Jungle … Robert Allen Zimmerman who will achieve fame as Bob Dylan celebrates his bar mitzvah …

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 … Chuck Berry records his first single, “Ida Red” … during the session Leonard Chess, who is producing, wants a name change … the new name is “Maybellene,” inspired by a Chess secretary’s makeup case …

1956, upon his return to England following a U.S. tour, bandleader Ted Heath observes: “Rock ‘n’ roll is mainly performed by colored people for colored people and is therefore unlikely to prove popular in Britain” …

1958, it’s a big week for R&B as The Clovers sign with Poplar Records after seven years with Atlantic, The Drifter’s classic “Drip Drop” is released, and Jerry Butler & the Impressions make their recording debut with “For Your Precious Love” … Jerry Lee Lewis is in England for a debut tour there, but it will be canceled after only three performances when the British press reports that Lewis has just married his 14-year-old cousin …

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

1964, a Shreveport, LA, radio station proclaims Elvis Presley Week … they feature a Presley song every hour and give away Presley albums and singles … all in a failed attempt to counter all the attention being given to The Beatles … Jamaican singer Millie Small’s “My Boy Lollipop” charts for the first time … playing harmonica on the recording is an unknown British singer named Rod Stewart … the tune registers strongly because of its infectious ska-like rhythm …

1965, blues harp great Sonny Boy Williamson dies in Helena, Arkansas … born Aleck Ford Miller aka Rice Miller … although an accomplished harp player, singer, and songwriter in his own right, Aleck appropriated the name of another harp player, John “Sonny Boy” Williamson of Chicago, who during the 1940s had more visibility due to a series of records issued on Bluebird … in time, Sonny Boy II (as some would designate him) established his own reputation both as the host of the long-running King Biscuit Time radio show out of Helena, Arkanasas, as well as through a series of well-received records on the Trumpet and Chess record labels … some of Aleck’s more notable songs had sly lyrics punctuated by his laconic vocals and powerful harp style. These included “Don’t Start Me Talkin’,” “Your Funeral and My Trial,” “One Way Out,” and the suggestively titled “Fattenin’ Frogs for Snakes” … along with Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, he exerted a huge influence on many blues rockers who followed in his footsteps …

… in Great Britain, “You Really Got Me” takes on new meaning for the Kinks … upon finishing the aforementioned song at Cardiff’s Capitol Theater, Dave Davies insults Mick Avory and kicks over his drum kit as revenge for a drunken fight the previous night in Taunton, apparently won by Mick … the normally mild-mannered Avory responds by giving Davies a thorough bashing about the head and ears with his hi-hat pedal … Davies is knocked unconscious, requiring 16 stitches to fix the kinks in his melon … Avory flees, hiding out for days to avoid arrest for Grievous Bodily Harm … to placate the police, the drummer later claims that it’s all part of a new act in which band members would bludgeon each other with their instruments …

1966, The Byrd’s single “Eight Miles High” is banned by some radio stations because of the lyrics’ alleged drug references …

1967, Jimi Hendrix signs with Reprise Records, his first recording deal with a major American company … from the One Hit Wonders Department, Australia’s Easybeats reach number 16 on the U.S. charts with their fidgety “Friday On My Mind” … the band is led by founder/guitarist George Young, who must have greatly influenced his younger brothers Malcolm and Angus … 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 …

1968, John Lennon and Yoko Ono make a home tape that is later released with the title Two Virgins … the album has the two of them sans clothing on the cover … adding to the air of scandal, John’s wife Cynthia returns home this same day to find the pair in bed, Yoko wearing her nightshirt … John and Yoko will flee to Montreal where they will begin their infamous 10-day “bed-in” two days later …

1970, The Grateful Dead play at the Hollywood Rock Festival in England … it is their first concert outside of the United States …

1979, Eric Clapton and Patti Boyd are married … 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 “Layla” about his unrequited love for Boyd, and later “Wonderful Tonight” once they were 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 have played together … Tom Petty files for bankruptcy protection … the move in part arises out of a dispute with his record label …

1981, George Harrison’s “All Those Years Ago,” a tribute to John Lennon who died a year before, charts for the first time … Ringo Starr and Paul and Linda McCartney are also on the recording …

1986, Funkmeister George Clinton is the musical guest on NBC’s Saturday Night Live … he jams on “Take It To The Stage” and “Do Fries Go With That Shake” … Clinton’s New Orleans revue-meets-Robert Heinlein stage show was influenced by Sun Ra, who, with his Arkestra, appeared on SNL in 1978 performing “Space is the Place” and “Space-Loneliness” …

1992, bidding a musical adieu to Johnny Carson, Bette Midler appears on the late-night host’s final Tonight Show telecast serenading him with “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)”…

2004, during a humanitarian African tour the Canadian band Sum 41 is overrun by the Congo’s ongoing civil war obliging the rockers to hide out in a hotel bathroom near the Rwandan border … after seven hours they make their escape in a tank … in a bizarre appearance at a New Hampshire casino, singer-songwriter Jewel frequently interrupts her set with long diatribes dissing the audience, her fat fans, and rambling on about the drugs Zoloft and Paxil … after the show, pissed-off former fans scream obscenities as the tour bus departs the venue …

2006, Madonna opens her Confessions world tour in Los Angeles … tickets are sold out in minutes in North America, Europe, and Asia, resulting in new dates being added … the tour will gross more than $260 million—the biggest take in history by a female artist …

2007, a reconstituted Smashing Pumpkins plays their first show in seven years—an epic three-hour affair in Paris that features many songs from the new album Zeitgeist … after switching to a talk-radio format in 2006, New York’s K-Rock reverts to playing modern rock … the first song played is Nirvana’s “All Apologies”…this move is mirrored across the country with major stations that had abandoned the rock format switching back … Linkin Park provides a shot in the arm to what has so far been a dismal year for record sales … the band moves 623,000 copies of its Minutes to Midnight album and moves to the head of the Top 40 chart … 79-year-old Fats Domino plays his first gig since Hurricane Katrina struck the Big Easy … his 30-minute set at Tipitina’s reprises all his big hits including “I’m Walkin’” and “Blueberry Hill” …

2008, Steven Tyler checks into a Pasadena clinic to deal with substance abuse … 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 …

2010, David Byrne is suing the governor of Florida, alleging that he used the Talking Heads’ 1985 single “Road to Nowhere” without permission or proper licenses … Byrne is seeking $1 million in damages from Gov. Charlie Crist, who’s also Florida’s former attorney general, and his senatorial campaign for use of the song earlier this year in a website and YouTube ad attacking his then-Republican primary opponent, Marco Rubio … Crist has since changed his campaign and is running as an independent candidate …

… and that was the week that was …

Arrivals:

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), T-Rex bass player Steve Currie (1947), ZZ Top’s Joseph Michael “Dusty” Hill (1949), Joey Ramone (1951), Grace Jones (1952), Heaven 17′s Martyn Ware (1956), Iain 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 Gorman of Belly (1966), Busta Rhymes (1972), Naturi Naughton of 3LW (1984)

May 21: pianist-composer Thomas “Fats” Waller (1904), Tejano pioneer Lydia Mendoza (1916), King Records producer-songwriter Henry Glover (1921), Ronald Isley of The Isley Brothers (1941), Vincent Crane of Atomic Rooster (1943), Hilton Valentine of The Animals (1943), Bill Champlin of Chicago (1947)

May 22: composer Richard Wagner (1813), Jimmy Keyes, first tenor with The Chords (1930), Jackie Landry of The Chantels (1941), lyricist and Elton John collaborator, Bernie Taupin (1950), (Steven Patrick) Morrissey of The Smiths (1959), Jesse Valenzuela of The Gin Blossoms (1962), singer-songwriter Johnny Gill of New Edition (1966), Dan Roberts of Crash Test Dummies (1967)

May 23: Vee-Jay Records founder-songwriter James Bracken (1908), singer-dancer Benjamin Sherman “Scatman” Crothers (1910), jazz clarinetist-composer-bandleader Artie Shaw (1910), avant-garde jazz keyboardist Sun Ra, born Herman Blount (1914), R&B songwriter Robert “Bumps” Blackwell (1918), flashy R&B singer Billy Wright (1918), bluesman Arthur Gunter (1926), singer-actress Rosemary Clooney (1928), synth pioneer Robert Moog (1934), Jim Mankey of Concrete Blond (1955), Phil Selway of Radiohead (1967), R&B artist Maxwell, born Gerald Maxwell Rivera (1972), singer-songwriter Jewel Kilcher (1974)

May 24: novelty tunesmith Nervous Norvus, born James Drake (1912), Bob Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman (1941), Derek Quinn of Freddie & the Dreamers (1942), R&B and soul singer Patti LaBelle (1942), Sarah Dash of Labelle (1942), Steve Upton of Wishbone Ash (1946), Albert Bouchard of Blue Oyster Cult (1947), singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash (1955), rapper Heavy D, born Dwight Myers (1967), Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes (1969), country wunderkind Billy Gilman (1988)

May 25: record store founder “Waxie Maxie” Silverman (1910), avant-garde composer-percussionist Moondog, born Louis Thomas Hardin (1916), Buddy Holly’s producer Norman Petty (1927), R&B singer Donnie Elbert (1936), Levon Helm of The Band (1942), Ray Innes of The Swinging Blue Jeans (1942), country music artist Jessi Colter, born Miriam Johnson Eddy (1943), John “Poli” Palmer of Family (1943), Garry Peterson of The Guess Who (1945), Mitch Margo of The Tokens (1947), Klaus Meine of The Scorpions (1948), Stevie Nicks (1948), Hank Williams Jr. (1949), Verden Allen of Mott the Hoople (1949), mod/punk singer-songwriter Paul Weller (1958), rocker Lenny Kravitz (1964), singer-rapper-songwriter Lauryn Hill (1975)

Departures:

May 19: blues singer Arnold “Gatemouth” Moore (2004), jazz singer Susannah McCorkle (2001), gospel and soul singer Odia Coates (1991), tenor sax master Coleman Hawkins (1969), composer Charles Ives (1954)

May 20: Italian orchestra leader Renato Carosone (2001), session guitarist Michael Ferrell (2000), harp player Willie Foster (2001), music publisher David Platz (1994), Rudy Lewis, vocalist with The Drifters (1964)

May 21: Nicholas Dante, co-author of A Chorus Line (1991), music industry entrepreneur Morris Levy (1990)

May 22: voice actor-singer Thurl Ravenscroft

May 23: folk singer Utah Phillips (2008), Jimmy Fernandez, bassist with God Machine (1994), jazz guitarist Joe Pass (1994), Craig Pike, bassist for Iggy Pop (1992), Will Sin of the Scottish synth band The Shamen, born William Sinnot (1991), jazz and blues pianist Lloyd Glenn (1985)

May 24: Wilco singer-songwriter Jay Bennett (2009), Gene Clark of The Byrds (1991), Duke Ellington (1974), slide guitar ace Elmore James (1967)

May 25: album photographer David Gahr (2008), Bradley Nowell, lead singer and guitarist of Sublime (1996), Franco-American bebopper Barney Wilen (1996), funk and jazz guitarist Eric Gale (1994), surf rock musician-songwriter-music producer Gary Usher (1990), New Orleans R&B star Roy Brown (1981), bluesman Sonny Boy Williamson, AKA Aleck Ford “Rice” Miller (1965)

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