It happened this week…

This is the week that was in matters musical …

1842, formed by a group of local musicians, the New York Philharmonic gives its first concert …

1877, the world’s first record-and-playback machine is completed … designed by Thomas Alva Edison, the phonograph picks up sound through a mouthpiece connected to a diaphragm and a stylus that etches the vibrations onto a tinfoil-covered cylinder that is hand-cranked … playback is achieved by placing the stylus at the beginning of the cylinder where it reproduces the etchings into vibrations via the diaphragm and out through the mouthpiece … Edison’s first recording is a recitation of “Mary Had A Little Lamb” … the inventor files for a patent on Christmas Eve … 12 years later the first commercial recordings go on sale …

1929, EMI Group purchases a nine-bedroom house in St. John’s Wood, London, for £16,500 to build new recording studios … the address for what will be officially called EMI Studios is 3 Abbey Road …

1965, the infamous blue flame strikes down Keith Richards in Sacramento when he grabs an ungrounded mic … the indestructible Stone is on his feet and performing again inside of seven minutes …

1968, Elvis’ “comeback” TV special, titled simply Elvis, airs on NBC … Colonel Tom Parker wanted Elvis to do the usual smaltzy cornball Christmas special, but Elvis, who could see his musical legacy slipping away, wanted to let fans know he was still raw and vital, and he delivers … leather-suited and sweaty on a small stage in front of adoring fans, Elvis shows everyone he’s still the … well, you know … unhappy with plans to record an all-Dylan album, Graham Nash quits the Hollies … three days later he announces the formation of Crosby, Stills and Nash …

1969, this week sees the infamous Altamont Speedway concert with The Rolling Stones; Jefferson Airplane; Santana; and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young on the playbill … violence erupts and four people are killed, at least two in deliberate, bloody assaults … one of those killed is Meredith Hunter … he is stabbed and beaten to death by Hell’s Angels, who had unwisely been hired as security for the show … many consider the concert the end of the Summer of Love …

1970, a gold record goes to Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper, and Steve Stills for Supersession, a July 1968 rock-blues album they expressly recorded as studio jam sessions … the documentary film Gimme Shelter, chronicling the 1969 Stones tour and the Altamont debacle, is released on the occasion of the concert’s one-year anniversary … one scene shows a somber Mick Jagger watching the film of Meredith Hunter’s stabbing … see video above …

1971, the Montreux Casino in Geneva, Switzerland, catches fire during a show by the Mothers of Invention, inspiring Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” … the proto-metal band watches the fire from their hotel across Lake Geneva, hence the song’s title … its crunching riff, harmonized in parallel fourths by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, becomes one of the most cherished figures in all of rock riffdom with garage rockers everywhere laying it down endlessly …

1976, during a Battersea Power Station photo shoot for the cover of Pink Floyd’s Animals, a 40-foot helium-filled pig breaks loose from its moorings and floats up to an estimated 18,000 feet before finally touching down in Kent … Bob Marley and the Wailers are rehearsing at Marley’s house in Kingston, Jamaica, when seven gunmen appear and shower the house with a hail of gunfire … Marley, wife Rita, and manager Don Taylor are all hit but miraculously nobody is seriously injured … the band plays a gig two nights later …

1979, 11 fans are trampled to death at a Who show in Cincinnati …

1986, Annie Lennox gets so carried away during a Eurythmics concert in Birmingham, England she rips off her bra, which is the only thing covering her breasts … this does not cause a national scandal … Jerry Lee Lewis checks into the Betty Ford Clinic to treat an addiction to painkillers …

1993, revered rock weirdo, musical wizard, and spokesman for lyrical freedom Frank Zappa meets his demise from pancreatic cancer at the age of 53 … Guns ‘N’ Roses announce they will keep the Charles Manson-penned song “Look At Your Game, Girl” on their album The Spaghetti Incident? … the band decides to leave the song on the album when they learn the royalties will go to the son of one of Manson’s victims …

1998, Cuban-born jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval becomes a naturalized citizen of the United States after a six-year struggle with the Immigration and Naturalization Service …

2005, in an unlikely coupling, Mary J. Blige’s new album Reminisce features the hip-hopper singing a duet with U2′s Bono … the pair had gone public with the U2 song “One” during a New York show by the band in October … Brian May is presented with the insignia of the Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II …

2006, the handwritten lyrics for The Beatles’ “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” fetch $192,000 at auction in New York … Christie’s also gets $168,000 for a former Hendrix Strat while a collection of memorabilia belonging to former Dylan girlfriend Suze Rotolo garners $116,640 … Oklahoma City honors the Flaming Lips by naming an alley after the homegrown alt band … Flaming Lips Alley is in Bricktown, the city’s entertainment district … previous recipients of the honor include Vince Gill and Charlie Christian … America’s Oldest Teenager, Dick Clark, puts up a lifetime’s worth of memorabilia for auction … the huge collection includes the mouth harp Dylan blew in The Last Waltz, a beaded white glove worn by Michael Jackson, and the mic Clark used when his American Bandstand TV show launched in 1956 …

2008, Rolling Stone magazine names Aretha Franklin the greatest singer of all time …

2010, the blue denim jumpsuit worn by Johnny Cash during rehearsal at San Quentin prison in 1969 fetches $50,000 at auction … the suit was immortalized when during the rehearsal, Cash grew annoyed with photographer Jim Marshall and flipped him the bird …

… and that was the week that was.

Arrivals

December 1: British crooner Matt Monro (1930), the legendary Lou Rawls (1933), soul singer Billy Paul of “Me and Mrs. Jones” fame (1934), Blue Öyster Cult’s Eric Bloom (1944), Doors drummer John Densmore (1944), the multi-talented Bette Midler (1945), the inimitable Jaco Pastorius (1951), jazz/fusion/metal guitarist Chris Poland (1957), Japan’s Steve Jansen (1959), Brad Delson of Linkin Park (1977)

December 2: Tom McGuinness of Manfred Mann (1941), Joe Henry (1960), Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle born Nicholas Dingley (1960), Belizean musician Andy Palacio (1960), Foo Fighters bassist Nate Mendel (1968), Nelly Furtado (1978), Britney Spears (1981)

December 3: DJ William “Hoss” Allen (1922), pop crooner Andy Williams (1927), Capitol Records producer Nik Venet (1936), Ralph McTell (1944), Commander Cody’s “Buffalo” Bruce Barlow (1948), the Prince of Darkness Ozzy Osbourne (1948), Mickey Thomas of Starship (1949), Molly Hatchet’s Duane Roland (1952), Montell Jordan (1968)

December 4: film singer Deanna Durbin (1921), jazz drummer Denis “Jazz” Charles (1933), KC blues guitarist Larry Davis (1936), Freddy Cannon aka Anthony Picariello (1939), Bob Mosley of Moby Grape (1942), Chris Hillman of The Byrds (1944), Beach Boy Dennis Wilson (1944), Southside Johnny (1948), Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd (1951), Bob Griffin of The BoDeans (1959), Vinnie Dombroski of Sponge (1962), Jay-Z born Shawn Corey Carter (1969)

December 5: Sonny Boy Williamson II (1899), sax man Alvin “Red” Tyler (1925), gospel singer Reverend James (1931), the Real King of Rock ‘n’ Roll Little Richard (1932), jazz bassist Art Davis (1934), J.J. Cale (1938), Jim Messina (1947), Kim Simmonds of Savoy Brown (1947), Canadian pop singer-songwriter Andy Kim (1952), Jack Russell of Great White (1960), Johnny Rzeznik of Goo Goo Dolls (1965)

December 6: Broadway lyricist Ira Gershwin (1896), Hugo Peretti (1916), Dave Brubeck (1920), Mike Smith of The Dave Clark Five (1943), Joe X. Dube of Looking Glass (1955), Jam’s Rick Butler (1955), Peter Buck of R.E.M. (1956), Randy Rhoads (1956), Dave Lovering of Pixies (1961), Everything But The Girl’s Ben Watt (1962), Ulf Ekberg of Ace of Base (1970)

December 7: Harry Chapin (1942), Tom Waits (1949), Carlos Vega (1956), Tim Butler of The Psychedelic Furs (1958), Barbara Weathers of Atlantic Starr (1963), Oasis guitarist Gem Arthur (1966), All Saints’ Nicole Appleton (1974), Aaron Carter (1987)

Departures

December 1: bluegrass guitarist Carter Stanley (1966), Magic Sam (1969), singer Ray Gillen (1993), jazz songwriter Irving Gordon (1996), jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli (1997)

December 2: folk singer David Blue (1982), Lee Dorsey (1986), Aaron Copland (1990), jazz pianist Mal Waldron (2002), singer-songwriter Kevin Coyne (2004), singer Mariska Veres (2006), American folk music legend Odetta (2008), songwriter-publisher Aaron Schroeder (2009)

December 3: songwriter Phil Medley (1997), Whiskey A Go Go founder Elmer Valentine (2008)

December 4: Deep Purple’s Tommy Bolin (1976), the one and only Frank Zappa (1993), Wall of Voodoo’s Joe Nanini (2000), rapper Pimp C. (2007), Cuban percussionist Carlos “Patato” Valdez (2007), Liam Clancy of the Clancy Brothers (2009)

December 5: multi-instrumentalist jazz behemoth Rahsaan Roland Kirk (1977), New Orleans sax man David Lastie (1987), Doug Hopkins of the Gin Blossoms (1993), jazz/rock tenor sax player Bob Berg (2002), German avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen (2007)

December 6: Lead Belly (1949), Roy Orbison (1988), Memphis bassist Busta Jones (1995)

December 7: Germs singer Darby Crash (1980), New Riders of the Purple Sage bassist Dave Torbert (1982), Manhattans singer Richard Taylor (1987), R&B singer Dee Clark (1990), songwriter Carol Joyner Gourley (1997), composer John Addison (1998), British jazz trumpeter Kenny Baker (1999), Jerry Scoggins (2004), Classics IV singer Dennis Yost (2008)

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