It happened this week

This is the week that was in matters musical …

1954, Elvis Presley “auditions” for Sam Phillips at Sun Records … he runs through the gamut of his repertoire without piquing Sam’s interest … Elvis then rips into blues singer Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup’s “That’s All Right Mama” … Phillips knows he has Elvis Presley’s first single … Phillips journeys to radio station WHBQ and plays an acetate of the song for Memphis deejay Dewey Phillips who is so excited by the recording, he promises to play it on his show the next night, even though the song is not pressed or released for distribution … with all the hoopla “That’s All Right” caused on deejay Phillips’ show, Presley is summoned back to the studio to cut a B-side … in a repeat of the first session, none of the ballads Presley loves to sing find favor with Sam, until Elvis runs down Bill Monroe’s hillbilly classic, “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” in an up-tempo fashion … Phillips now has the B-side he wants …

1955, “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley and the Comets becomes the first rock-and-roll record to hit #1 on the national pop charts …

1956, Johnny Cash appears for the first time on the Grand Ole Opry …

1957, setting off a chain of events that will change the face of modern music, John Lennon and Paul McCartney meet for the first time … the encounter takes place at the Woolton Parish Church Garden show at Liverpool’s St. Peter’s Church … recalling the meeting years later, McCartney says Lennon was drunk …

1964, the film A Hard Day’s Night premieres at the London Pavillion in Piccadilly Circus … attending the event are The Rolling Stones, Princess Margaret, Lord Snowdon, and, of course, The Beatles, as more than 12,000 fans look on …

1965, The Four Seasons are invited to perform at the White House by President Lyndon Johnson …

1966, Michelle Phillips is fired from The Mamas & the Papas by her husband John Phillips and replaced by Jill Gibson, girlfriend of Jan & Dean’s Jan Berry … Michelle returns to the band within a month …

1967, in one of the strangest rock and roll pairings ever, the Jimi Hendrix Experience joins The Monkees’ North American tour in Jacksonville, FL … the teenybopper crowds don’t know what to make of Hendrix’s wild performances, resulting in the Experience leaving the tour after only a few dates …

1968, following a concert in New York, the Yardbirds break up … shortly thereafter, to fulfil contractual obligations, Jimmy Page forms The New Yardbirds … after finishing up the final Yardbirds tour dates, the band changes its name to Led Zeppelin …

1969, in Australia to work on the film Ned Kelly with Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithful winds up, instead, in a hospital for a drug overdose and is subsequently written out of the script …

1976, pioneering punk outfit The Damned make their live debut at London’s 100 Club …

1979, Chuck Berry is sentenced to four months in prison and 1,000 hours of community service after pleading guilty to tax evasion … Berry will perform benefit concerts as part of his community service …

1980, Led Zeppelin plays the last show of its European tour at the Eissporthalle in West Berlin … the show turns out to be the band’s swan song when a couple of months later John Bonham will be found dead … the band had planned to tour North America next …

1982, after a lackluster debut due to Atlantic Records not knowing how to categorize her, former Leonard Cohen backup singer Laura Branigan hits the Hot 100 with “Gloria” … written by Italian singer-composer Umberto Tozzi and a major hit throughout the discos of Europe, the lyrics are rewritten to appeal to American audiences … Branigan’s lyrically updated synth-pop version takes American discos by storm as well …

1989, compact discs begin to outsell vinyl LPs … Gene Pitney, B.J. Thomas, and the Shirelles appear together in Nashville … it’s not an oldies revival tour, however, they are in federal court to sue Gusto Records over improper payment of royalties for reissued hits … they win ten months later … Pitney, for one, is awarded $187,000 …

1993, Mia Zapata, lead singer of Seattle punk band The Gits, is brutally raped and murdered … her case remains unsolved until Seattle Cold Case Squad detectives Richard Gagnon and Greg Mixsell find a DNA match 10 years later … Cuban-born fisherman Jesus Mazquia, a former Seattle resident living in the Florida Keys is convicted of the crime and sentenced to 37 years in prison …

1995, Jerry Garcia plays his final show with The Grateful Dead … the guitarist, vocalist, and founder of the band will die of a heart attack a month later while in a California rehab center …

1998, a Los Angeles judge issues a bench warrant for Scott Weiland when the Stone Temple Pilots singer fails to appear in court for a second time on drug possession charges … in what’s becoming a bad week for Weiland, he’s sentenced to three years probation and a stint in rehab in 2004 for a DUI arrest the previous October … two armed men break into the home of rapper Foxy Brown … though she and her mother both are in the apartment, neither suffer any injuries …

2000, halfway into the first song of the band’s encore for their Mannheim, Germany show, Iron Maiden guitarist Janick Gers loses his footing and plunges 10-feet off the front of the stage and into the photographers’ pit … Gers is rushed to the hospital where he receives six stitches to a gash in his forehead …

2001, New Orleans R&B singer Ernie K-Doe dies … he had scored a big hit in 1961 with the song “Mother-in-Law” … ironically, he’s laid to rest in a family plot right next to-you guessed it - his mother-in-law …

2002, the surviving members of The Doors announce that singer Ian Astbury of The Cult will join them for an upcoming concert at the California Motor Speedway …

2003, Jack White of the White Stripes breaks his finger in a car wreck in his hometown of Detroit … as a result of the injury, the band must cancel two European performances and reschedule their North American tour … White spends his recuperation time producing an album for country star Loretta Lynn, and posts a video clip of his finger surgery on the band’s website to prove the injury’s not a publicity stunt …

2004, excerpts from a forthcoming Record Collector magazine interview with Dave Mustaine reveal his anger over a scene in the Metallica docu-drama Some Kind of Monster … the scene is a confrontation between Mustaine and his former Metallica bandmate, drummer Lars Ulrich … Mustaine maintains that the band agreed to keep the scene out of the final cut of the film, and calls its inclusion a “final betrayal” by his former band … in an interview with mtv.com, Slipknot singer Corey Taylor explains his penchant for incorporating big words into his lyrics … “I’m sorry, but there aren’t a lot of smart people out there … I try to throw in as many polysyllabic words as possible … it’s very cool to be able to do that and pass down the knowledge” … Slipknot fans run to the nearest dictionary to look up “polysyllabic” …

2006, punk band Sleater-Kinney announce that after an 11-year run they will go on “indefinite hiatus” … singer-songwriter-guitarist Syd Barrett, co-founder of Pink Floyd, dies at age 60 from complications arising from diabetes … following a protracted dispute over rent with its landlord, punk club CBGB announces it will shut down its New York venue forever on September 30 … plans are afoot for the club to be reborn in Las Vegas … founder Hilly Kristal promises that, “We’re going to take the bars, the stage, the toilets, the urinals, even the original doors … we want to re-create the realism and the essence of CBGB.” … the world’s biggest concert operation, Live Nation, a former Clear Channel property that spun off in 2005, announces that it will buy out its largest competitor, House of Blues, for $350 million … the resulting merger will pretty much force major touring acts to deal with them … The Grateful Dead cut a long-term deal with Rhino Records to handle the band’s vast archive of live-show recordings as well as market Dead-related merch … Rhino executive vice president Gregg Goldman promises the label will be selective in the deals it makes with potential advertiser averring that, “We are sensitive to the legacy. We would never pitch to the Grateful Dead that they should do a deal with a fast food company or a soda company” …

And that was the week that was.

Arrivals:

July 5: R&B singer Smiley Lewis (1913), songwriter Ronnie Self who wrote “I’m Sorry,” “Sweet Nothings,” and “The Letter” (1938), Jaime “Robbie” Robertson of The Band (1944), Huey Lewis (1950)

July 6: Bill Haley (1925), Della Reese (1932), Gene Chandler of “Duke of Earl” fame (1937), country singer-songwriter Jeannie Seely (1940), soul singer Jan Bradley (1943), Rik Elswit of Dr. Hook (1945), Nanci Griffith (1953), Kenny “G” Gorelick (1956), 50 Cent (1976)

July 7: Gustav Mahler (1860), blues pianist Joe Willie “Pinetop” Perkins (1913), Tiny Grimes (1916), Doc Severinsen (1927), Mary Ford (1928), Joe Zawinul (1932), Ringo Starr (1940), David Hodo of the Village People (1947), Larry “Rhino” Reinhardt of Iron Butterfly (1948), Mark White of Spin Doctors (1962)

July 8: Louis Jordan (1908), Billy Eckstein (1914), pioneering rock ‘n roll pianist Johnnie Jones (1924), Earl Van Dyke (1930), Steve Lawrence (1935), Big Dee Irwin of The Pastels (1939), John Salvato of The Duprees (1940), Warren Entner of The Grass Roots (1944), Jai Johnny Johanson of the Allman Brothers Band (1944), Andy Fletcher of Depeche Mode (1961), Toby Keith (1961), Joan Osborne (1962), Beck (1970)

July 9: jump blues singer Joe Liggins (1916), producer Lee Hazelwood (1929), Phil Leavitt of The Diamonds (1935), Donald McPherson of the Main Ingredient (1941), Mitch Mitchell (1946), Bon Scott of AC/DC (1946), Debbie Sledge of Sister Sledge (1954), Soft Cell’s Marc Almond (1959), Jim Kerr of Simple Minds (1959), Courtney Love (1965)

July 10: Carl Orff (1895), Ronnie James Dio (1940), Jerry Miller of Moby Grape (1943), Arlo Guthrie (1947), Dave Smalley of The Raspberries (1949), Greg Kihn (1950), Neil Tennant of The Pet Shop Boys (1954), Bela Fleck (1958), Peter DiStefano of Porno for Pyros (1965), Jessica Simpson (1980)

July 11: Tab Hunter (1931), Thurston Harris (1931), Jeff Hanna of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (1947), Bonnie Pointer (1950), Benny DeFranco of the DeFranco Family (1954), Suzanne Vega (1959), Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi (1960), Li’l Kim (1975)

Departures

July 5: rock critic and Mercury Records executive Paul Nelson (2006), Motown singer and former wife of Stevie Wonder, Syreeta Wright (2004), Houston blues guitar slinger Johnny “Clyde” Copeland (1997), New Orleans R&B singer Ernie K-Doe (2001)

July 6: Byrds bassist Clyde “Skip” Batten (2003), Roy Rogers (1998), jazz bassist Scott LaFaro (1961), “The Hustle” composer Van McCoy (1979), Louis Armstrong (1971)

July 7: folk singer Fred Neil (2001), Mia Zapata of The Gits (1993), Syd Barrett, founder of Pink Floyd, born Roger Keith Barrett (2006)

July 8: drummer Chaino (1999), Shiva singer Louise Dean (1995), Nico of The Velvet Underground (1988)

July 10: John Hammond Sr. (1987), Arthur Fiedler (1979), “Jelly Roll” Morton born Ferdinand Joseph Lemott (1941)

July 11: James Hill of The Fairfield Four (2000), Helen Forrest (1999), Louis Gottlieb (1996), Afro-Cuban jazz maestro Mario Bauza (1993), Hubert Johnson of The Contours (1981), George Gershwin (1937)

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