It happened this week

This is the week that was in matters musical …

1956, the second Elvis Presley RCA album is released, simply titled Elvis … 13 tracks were recorded in September at Radio Recorders in Hollywood with guitarist Scotty Moore, bassist Bill Black, drummer DJ Fontana, backup singers the Jordanaires, and piano player Gordon Stoker … songs include three Little Richard blasts, the number 2 hit “Love Me” and, for many fans, the tune they remember most from the album, Elvis accompanying himself on piano on “Old Shep”-a tune he played at age ten at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair … the LP debuted at #7 on the charts and a month later began a five-week run at #1 …

1963, in yet another display of girl-group appeal, the Jaynettes hit #4 on the pop chart with “Sally Go ‘Round The Roses” … the Bronx lassies essay their way through the lyrically ambiguous nursery rhyme-styled ditty (“roses they can’t hurt you,” for example) that proved to be infectious to radio listeners and record buyers … is the song about betrayal, a religious experience, or mental breakdown? … it would be the Jaynette’s only hit, ensuring their enshrinement in the One Hit Wonders Hall of Fame … such is the mysterious allure of “Sally Go ‘Round The Roses” that it was later recorded by such disparate musical artists as Pentangle, Donna Summer, ? & The Mysterians, Tim Buckley, and Grace Slick as a member of Great Society …

1966, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers go into Decca studios in London to record with their new guitarist Peter Green still the greatest British guitarist, who replaced Eric Clapton in July … Clapton had left to form Cream with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce just before the release of the John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers Featuring Eric Clapton album … because Clapton’s fame had grown even more, Green is forced to endure shouts of “Where’s Eric?” from Clapton acolytes during his early Bluesbreakers performances … he eventually wins them over with his own vibrant blues guitar playing … newly arrived in London, American guitarist Jimi Hendrix begins a whirlwind series of jam sessions with England’s who’s who of pop/rock musicians culminating with his joining Cream onstage at a college gig in central London … Jimi proceeds to blow away Clapton with his frenetic rendition of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killing Floor”-an apt title …

1976, British bobbies take The Runaways-including guitarists Joan Jett and Lita Ford-into custody following the disappearance of a hair dryer from a hotel room …

1977, Mary Ford dies in Los Angeles from cancer after spending 54 days in a diabetic coma … in 1954, she was working as a country singer with her given name of Iris Colleen Summer when guitarist Les Paul asked her to perform with him … Les changed her name first to Mary Lou and then settled on Mary Ford … as Les Paul and Mary Ford they scored many pop hits starting with “Tennessee Waltz” in 1950 featuring Mary’s double-tracked vocal harmonies … the hits continued through the late ’50s, then came the ’60s-they stopped recording together, their network TV show was cancelled, Les threw himself into his work, and Mary threw in the marital towel, divorcing Les in 1964 … Mary wedded a high school friend and continued performing in Los Angeles …

1979, Nick Lowe has produced recordings by Elvis Costello, Dave Edmunds, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and John Hiatt, played in well-known bands, written and recorded lots of his own tunes … and now it’s his moment in the spotlight as he joins the One Hit Wonders with “Cruel To Be Kind,” which he co-wrote with Ian Gomm … his power pop creation reaches #19 on the hit parade …

2000, Cars bassist-vocalist Benjamin Orr dies from pancreatic cancer at the age of 53 … born Benjamin Orzechowski and raised in Cleveland, he had formed his first group with Ric Ocasek by 1970 … after changing group names and group members several times, they settled on the Cars name and lineup in 1976 … Ben was lead vocalist on the group’s hits “Just What I Needed,” “Let’s Go,” and “Drive” and provided the MTV-friendly good looks that contrasted with guitarist/vocalist Ric Ocasek’s quirky appeal … Ben also had a top 40 solo hit “Stay The Night” … after the Cars broke up in 1988, he continued solo work and leading bands … Ben was diagnosed with cancer in April of 2000, but continued playing live dates until a final concert appearance in Alaska, six days before passing away at his home in Atlanta …

2004, Buffalo Springfield bassist Bruce Palmer dies of a heart attack in Ontario … in 1966, he and fellow Canadian Neil Young were in Young’s hearse stuck in a Los Angeles traffic jam when they crossed paths with Steve Stills and Richie Furay, leading to the formation of Buffalo Springfield … the back liner notes to the first Springfield LP describe Bruce as “deep,” “zen,” and “inscrutable,” but his bandmates praised his bass playing and agreed he was the glue that held the group together … his bad luck, illegal immigration status, and drug busts forced him to leave the band … he returned and left again with the band ultimately breaking up in 1968 without the stardom they believed they deserved … Bruce joined Neil Young for several other projects over the years including the Trans Band in 1982 … in 1996, he and the other Springfields were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame …

2005, while touring, Paul McCartney sings his reportedly anti-Yoko song from 1971 “Too Many People” … a few days later, while accepting a posthumous tribute for John Lennon at the Q Awards in London, Ono recounts how her late husband asked why his songs were not covered as extensively as McCartney’s to which she had replied, “You’re a good songwriter-it’s not just ‘June’ and ‘spoon’ that you write” … later, she explains herself by saying “I certainly did not mean to hurt Paul, and if I did, I’m very sorry” …

2006, Lindsey Buckingham releases Under the Skin, his first solo album in 14 years, to critical acclaim … Elton John is joined by, among others, Elvis Costello, Moby, Liv Tyler, and Neil Young in a fundraiser for his AIDS charity … Neil wows the crowd with an acoustic set that includes a duet with Elton on “Your Song” … George Michael is arrested for marijuana possession after London cops find him zoned out in his car at an intersection … this is his third encounter with the bobbies this year … in February he was arrested under similar circumstances and found to be in possession of pot and sex toys … in April the former Wham! front man ploughed into three parked cars while driving down the street …

Arrivals:

September 27: bluesman “Mighty” Joe Young (1927), Don Nix (1941), Randy Bachman of BTO (1943), Meat Loaf aka Marvin Lee Aday (1947), Greg Ham of Men At Work (1953), reggae bassist Robbie Shakespeare (1953), teen throb Shaun Cassidy (1958), Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind (1966), Mark Calderon of Color Me Badd (1970), Avril Lavigne (1984)

September 28: Ed Sullivan (1902), bluesman Houston Stackhouse (1910), Tommy Collins (1930), Joseph Hutchinson (1931), Chicago blues Koko Taylor (1935), soul singer and former Drifter Ben E. King (1938), bassist Nick St. Nicholas of Steppenwolf (1943), jazz pianist Kenny Kirkland (1955), George Lynch of Dokken (1955), Alannah Currie of The Thompson Twins (1959), pop singer Jennifer Rush (1960), teen popster Hilary Duff (1987)

September 29: Gene Autry (1907), Jerry Lee Lewis (1935), Jean-Luc Ponty (1942), singer-songwriter Tommy Boyce (1944), Mark Farner of Grand Funk (1948), Mike Pinera of Iron Butterfly (1948), Suzzy Roche of The Roches (1956), Les Claypool of Primus (1963), Barry D of Jesus Jones (1965), Brad Smith of Blind Melon (1968)

September 30: jazz drummer Buddy Rich (1917), New Orleans soul man Chris Kenner (1929), soul and gospel singer Cissy Houston (1933), crooner Johnny Mathis (1935), soul singer Z.Z. Hill (1935), Frankie Lymon (1942), Dewey Martin of Buffalo Springfield (1942), producer Gus Dudgeon (1942), Marilyn McCoo of The 5th Dimension (1943), Sylvia Peterson of The Chiffons (1946), Mark Bolan of T. Rex (1947), Patrice Rushen (1954), Basia (1956), Trey Anastasio of Phish (1964), Robby Takac of The Goo Goo Dolls (1964)

October 1: piano maestro Vladimir Horowitz (1904), Texas bluesman Albert Collins (1932), Julie Andrews (1935), Samuel George (1942), saxist Jerry Martini of Sly & the Family Stone (1943), pop singer Scott McKenzie (1944), Herbert Rhoad of The Persuasions (1944), Barbara Paritt of The Toys (1944), R&B singer-songwriter Donnie Hathaway (1945), bassist-vocalist Martin Turner of Wishbone Ash (1947), Tubes singer Jane Dornacker (1947), Senegalese vocalist Youssou N’Dour (1959), Kevin Griffin of Better Than Ezra (1968), Xscape’s LaTocha Scott (1974)

October 2: singer-songwriter Don McLean (1945), Ron Griffiths of Badfinger (1946), Michael Rutherford of Genesis (1950), Sting (1951), Phillip Oakey of Human League (1955), soul singer Freddie Jackson (1958), Robbie Neville (1960), Siggi Baldursson of The Sugarcubes (1962), Sean McDonald (1965), Bud Graugh of Sublime (1967), teen pop singer Tiffany (1971)

October 3: R&B sax player Monk Higgins born Milton Bland (1930), producer/Mountain bassist Felix Pappalardi (1938), rockabilly pioneer Eddie Cochran (1938), twister Chubby Checker born Ernest Evans (1941), singer-songwriter Lindsey Buckingham (1948), rock-blues master Stevie Ray Vaughan (1954), Tommy Lee of Motley Crue (1961), Gwen Stefani (1969), Kevin Richardson of Backstreet Boys (1971), singer-songwriter India.Arie (1975)

Departures:

September 27: rockabilly guitarist Paul Burlison (2003), Wings guitarist Jimmy McCulloch (1979)

September 28: country star Bob Gibson (1996), Allen Johnson (1995), D.O.A. drummer Ken “Dimwit” Montgomery (1994), jazz titan Miles Davis (1991), Rory Storm born Alan Caldwell (1972), D.J. Dewey Phillips (1968), bandleader Lucky Millinder (1966)

September 29: D.J. Scott Muni (2004)

September 30: Moonglows singer Prentiss Barnes (2006), Jacques Levy (2004), Texas rockabilly pioneer Ronnie Dawson (2003), disco-era songwriter Paul Jabara (1992), pop singer Mary Ford (1977)

October 1: Richard Avedon (2004), bassist Bruce Palmer of Buffalo Springfield (2004), Booker T. & The MGs drummer Al Jackson Jr. (1975)

October 2: Gene Autry (1998), Evelyn Young (1990), New Orleans singer Cousin Joe (1989)

October 3: The Cars’ Benjamin Orr (2000), blues singer Victoria Spivey (1976), Piedmont blues singer Nehemiah “Skip” James (1969), singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie (1967)

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