It happened this week

This is the week that was in matters musical …

1814, Francis Scott Key pens the lyrics to “The Star Spangled Banner” … the song will be adopted as the U.S. national anthem over 100 years later on March 3, 1931, and continues to be among the most badly butchered vocal exercises to this day … and was played by a certain individual who died this week at some festival in 1969.

1955, Little Richard records “Tutti Frutti” in New Orleans at Cosmo Matassa’s J&M Studios … backing musicians include Huey Smith (“Rockin’ Pneumonia and Boogie Woogie Flu”) on piano, Lee Allen on tenor sax, and Earl Palmer drums, all part of Fats Domino’s band …

1960, the FCC bans payola, outlawing the pervasive practice of record companies making payments to radio DJs to spin their releases … the practice resurges four decades later and New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer collects hefty fines from all the major labels for engaging in the pay-to-play game …

1964, a pair of enterprising Beatles fans pack themselves into a carton marked “Beatles Fan Mail” and arrange to have it delivered to the Baltimore Civic Center where the Fab Four are appearing … their plot is foiled when the girls are discovered by guards checking deliveries …

1969, during Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s set at the Big Sur Festival, a yahoo in the crowd starts heckling the band for being rich rock stars … Stills, wearing a flamboyant fur coat, leaps off the stage, chases the heckler down, and administers a pounding while from the stage Crosby pleads for “Peace and love, peace and love” … Stills gets back onstage and reflects, “Y’know, we think about what that guy was saying, and we look at these coats and these pretty guitars and fancy cars and say, ‘Wow man, what am I doin’?'” …

1970, 27-year-old Jimi Hendrix dies in a basement bedroom at the Samarkand Hotel in Notting Hill Gate, London … the room is rented to Monika Danneman, who later claims that she and Jimi were to be married … he has taken about nine hits of quinalbarbitone and is already quite dead when the medics arrive, despite Danneman’s later claims to the contrary … the coroner’s report cites “inhalation of vomit due to barbiturate intoxication” as the cause of death … in 1993 the investigation into Hendrix’s death is reopened by Scotland Yard in order to clear up discrepancies as to how and when the ambulance was called … Danneman is vilified in books and other media and in 1996 commits suicide after losing a libel case brought by Kathy Etchingham, who originally reopened the Hendrix case …

1973, Gram Parsons of the Byrds dies after a fatal combination of alcohol and morphine in Joshua Tree, California … his coffin is stolen from the airport by his manager, Phil Kaufman, and a former Byrds roadie before it can be sent to New Orleans for a family burial … according to Kaufman, he and Parsons had made a pact months earlier that when one of them died, “the survivor would take the other guy’s body out to Joshua Tree, have a few drinks, and burn it” … the two make their way into the desert night after toasting their departed friend at a local bar, pour five gallons of gasoline onto the body, and light it … the fire is spotted quickly, before the cremation is complete … Kaufman will be charged with stealing a coffin days later and sentenced to pay $750 for the casket …

1977, Marc Bolan of T. Rex is killed outside London when his intoxicated wife crashes their Mini GT into a tree …

1980, Joe Walsh announces he is entering the race for President of the United States against political heavyweights Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan … his campaign slogan is “Free Gas For All” and he states his purpose for running is to raise awareness of the importance of the elections … Walsh will re-enter the political fray in 1992 to run for Vice President of the United States …

1991, Guns N’ Roses release Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II … the albums are at times a departure from the raw, riff-laden rock of the band’s debut, Appetite for Destruction, with songs like the epic ballads “November Rain” and “Don’t Cry” showing the band’s softer side … the albums will both go platinum within two months, and secure GNR’s place as the biggest rock band on the planet until Nirvana’s Nevermind arrives just weeks later …

1995, Paul McCartney’s handwritten lyrics to the Beatles’ classic “Getting Better” sell for a cool quarter-million dollars at a Sotheby’s auction …

2004, Johnny Ramone dies in his Los Angeles home after five years battling prostate cancer … Ramone exits surrounded by his wife Linda Cummings and friends Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, singer Rob Zombie and his wife Sherrie Zombie, Lisa Marie Presley, Pete Yorn, Vincent Gallo, and Talia Shire …

2005, two huge benefit concerts are staged at Madison Square Garden to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina … also this week, Britney Spears gives birth to a baby boy by Cesarean section at the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, CA, with backup dancer and baby’s daddy Kevin Federline by her side …

2006, the documentary Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing debuts at the Toronto International Film Festival … the movie chronicles the fallout that resulted from the group’s criticism of the Bush administration … also debuting at the festival is the documentary The U.S. vs. John Lennon that examines the U.S. government’s campaign to deport John Lennon due to his vociferous opposition to the Vietnam war … also this week, Willie Nelson, his sister, and several members of his band are issued misdemeanor citations for drug possession during an early-morning traffic stop in Saint Martin Parish, LA … troopers smell a strong odor of marijuana when the driver opens the bus door … during a search of the bus approximately 1-1/2 pounds of marijuana and approximately 1/5 of a pound of mushrooms are found …

Arrivals:

September 13: swing sax player Leon “Chu” Berry (1910), bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe (1911), suave bluesman Charles Brown (1922), Joseph “Mr. Google Eyes” August (1931), producer Gene Page (1938), Dave Quincy of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (1939), David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat & Tears (1941), Peter Cetera of Chicago (1944), Fred “Sonic” Smith (1949), Randy Jones of The Village People (1952), producer Don Was (1952), Dave Mustaine of Megadeth and Metallica (1961), Steve Perkins of Jane’s Addiction (1967), Fiona Apple (1977)

September 14: composer Johann Michael Haydn, brother of Frank Charles Haydn (1737), New Orleans pianist Archibald born Leon T. Gross (1912), “Heartbreak Hotel” co-writer and mother of Hoyt Axton, Mae Boren Axton (1914), Steve Gaines of Lynyrd Skynyrd (1949), Free’s Paul Kossoff (1950), Steve Berlin of Los Lobos (1955), Kay Gee of Naughty by Nature (1970), Everclear’s Craig Montoya (1970)

September 15: country legend Roy Acuff (1903), altosax wizard Julian “Cannonball” Adderley (1928), New York DJ Jack Specter AKA Vic Venus (1928), Les Braid of The Swinging Blue Jeans (1941), Lee Dorman of Iron Butterfly (1942), George Howard of Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes (1957), Mitch Dorge of Crash Test Dummies (1960)

September 16: Scepter Records founder Florence Greenberg (1913), B.B. King (1925), Bernard Calvert of The Hollies (1943), Betty Kelly of Martha and The Vandellas (1944), Kenny Jones of The Small Faces and The Who (1948), Wire’s Colin Newman (1954), Peter Zaremba of The Fleshtones (1956), popster Richard Marx (1963), Marc Anthony (1968)

September 17: composer Gustav Holst (1874), Hank Williams (1923), Elvis bassist Bill Black (1926), LaMonte McLemore of The 5th Dimension (1940), Steely Dan drummer Jimmy Hodder (1947), Dale Peters of the James Gang (1947), Fee Waybill of The Tubes (1950), Chrissie Hynde (1951), BeBe Winans (1962), Lord Jamar of Brand Nubian (1968), Vinnie Brown of Naughty By Nature (1970), Maile Misajon of Eden’s Crush (1976), Chuck Comeau of Simple Plan (1979)

September 18: jazz singer Teddi King (1929), pop singer Jimmie Rodgers (1933), Frankie Avalon (1939), Kerry Livgren of Kansas (1949), Dee Dee Ramone (1952), Joanne Catherall of Human League (1962), Ian Spice of Breathe (1966), Ricky Bell of Bell Biv Devoe (1967)

September 19: singer-songwriter Brook Benton (1931), Beatles manager Brian Epstein (1934), Nick Massi of The Four Seasons (1935), Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers (1940), songwriter Paul Williams (1940), Mama Cass Elliot (1941), soul singer Freda Payne (1945), David Bromberg (1945), Lol Creme of 10cc (1947), producer Daniel Lanois (1951), Nile Rodgers of Chic (1952), Trisha Yearwood (1964)

Departures:

September 13: rapper Tupac Shakur (1996), singer Helen Humes (1981), conductor-arranger Leopold Stokowski (1977)

September 14: crooner-actor Anthony Newley (1999), R&B vocalist Johnny Adams (1998), bluesman Walter “Furry” Lewis (1981)

September 15: jazz pianist Bill Evans (1980)

September 16: the legendary Johnny Ramone (2004), Izadora Rhodes of Weather Girls (2004), CBS producer Tom Wilson (1978), Marc Bolan of T-Rex (1977), opera diva Maria Callas (1977), Leroy Griffin of The Nutmegs (1966)

September 17: Rob Tyner of MC5 (1991), Dave Patillo of The Red Caps (1967)

September 18: singer-songwriter Charlie Fox (1998), blues singer Jimmy Witherspoon (1997), R’n’B singer Roy Milton (1983), Jimi Hendrix (1970)

September 19: singer-songwriter-producer Willie Hutch (2005), Skeeter Davis born Mary Frances Penick (2004), Australian folkie Slim Dusty (2003), Rich Mullins (1997), Motown arranger and keyboardist Earl Van Dyke (1992), Gram Parsons of The Byrds (1973)

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