It happened this week

This is the week that was in matters musical …

1824, one of the world’s best-loved pieces of music, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, is performed for the first time …

1891, New York City’s Music Hall, which will later become Carnegie Hall, throws its grand opening with a performance by Tchaikovsky … the concert takes place just two days before Tchaikovsky’s 51st birthday …

1953, Clyde McPhatter is signed by Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records after leaving Billy Ward and the Dominoes … in his new role as lead singer of the newly formed Drifters he will enjoy several big hits including a doo-wop version of “White Christmas” that prominently features his lilting tenor … after leaving the Drifters in the mid-’50s he has sporadic success as a solo act, but his career is undermined by alcoholism and he will die of a dissolute lifestyle at age 39 …

1958, The Coasters’ single “Yakety Yak,” featuring a disaffected, back-talkin’ teen’s lament, is released … though six of the group’s novelty tunes will land in the Top Ten, this will be their only #1 hit …

1960, in a strange recording-history footnote, Cathy Jean & the Roomates cut the single “Please Love Me Forever” which will rise to #12 on the pop chart … but the lead singer and her backup group will remain strangers … the Roomates arrive to do their vocal backing track after Cathy’s left the studio …

1961, Tony Orlando makes his TV debut on American Bandstand singing his hit “Halfway to Paradise” … he fails to notice that his fly is down …

1963, when producer Quincy Jones learns that Phil Spector is planning to cover Lesley Gore’s teen-angst single “It’s My Party” with a version by the Crystals, he rushes the Gore 45 to stores just two days after cutting the track …

1964, Keith Moon takes the bandstand for the first time with The Detours who will later rename themselves The Who … 15 years later to the day, Kenney Jones takes over the Who’s drum throne following Moon’s death … The Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me Love” enjoys its fifth and final week at the top of the pop chart … Louis Armstrong’s “Hello Dolly” will knock it out of that spot a week later …

1965, while toying with a newly acquired fuzz box in a Florida hotel room, Keith Richards comes up with the riff that will later become the hook in “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” …

1968, Buffalo Springfield calls it quits …

1969, the agent for Tommy James and the Shondells blows off a chance for the band to play Woodstock dismissing it as “a stupid gig on a pig farm in upstate New York” …

1972, Scottish guitarist Les Harvey is fatally electrocuted when he touches an ungrounded mic in front of 1,200 fans at a show in Wales …

1973, Paul Simon starts his first solo tour following his divorce from Art Garfunkel …

1980, despite suffering from a brain tumor, rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Bill Haley sets off on a South African tour …

1987, a victim of prodigious drinking and drugging, Chicago harp player Paul Butterfield dies … son of an affluent lawyer, Butterfield was a classically trained flutist who fell in love with the raucous sound of electrified Chicago blues and became a master of the blues harp … it was his Paul Butterfield Blues Band that provided the amplified backing when Dylan first whipped out his electrified rocker persona at the Newport Folk Festival much to the dismay of purists …

1988, Madonna begins her starring role on Broadway in Speed the Plow

1991, Ozzy Osbourne triumphs in court over a couple of Macon, Georgia, parents who sued the singer blaming their son’s suicide on Ozzy’s music …

1998, tens of thousands of young fans shut down central Tokyo in an outpouring of grief over the suicide of X-Japan guitarist Hide Matsumoto … one fan follows him in suicide and two others fail in the attempt …

2000, Lars Ulrich of Metallica goes to Napster headquarters in San Mateo, California, and presents a list of 300,000 Napster visitors he claims were using the site to illegally share the group’s music … by mid-2001, Napster, is closed down as a file-sharing business and will be reborn as a pay-to-play MP3 download site …

2005, 37 years after Cream played its farewell concert, the revived ’60s supergroup performs the first of four sold-out concerts … the two-hour set encompasses all of Cream’s biggest hits including: “Sunshine of Your Love,” “Spoonful,” and “White Room,” triggering countless acid flashbacks among veteran concertgoers … Bruce Springsteen’s new album Devils & Dust debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard Pop Chart … the top-of-the-chart debut is the seventh in the Boss’ portfolio … his first was 1980’s The River

2006, 1,572 guitarists simultaneously play Jimi Hendrix’ song “Hey Joe” in the town square of Wrocław, Poland, breaking a Guinness world record …

2007, a New Jersey company files suit against Guns N’ Roses alleging the band owes it $107,000 for handling gear during a 2006 tour … it’s a bad day for hip-hop performers when in separate incidents Busta Rhymes in New York and rapper Eve in Hollywood are both popped on DUI charges … Sammy Hagar reaps a cool $80 million when he sells off his majority interest in the Cabo Wabo tequila brand to Campari/Skyy Spirits … that should keep him in margaritas for a considerable while …

And that was the week that was.

Arrivals:

May 1: Delta blues singer Charlie Patton (1891), R&B singer Big Maybelle, born Mabel Louise Smith (1924), Harry Belafonte (1927), Sonny James (1929), blues harp master Little Walter, born Marion Walter Jacobs (1930), songwriter Titus Turner (1933), jazz singer and pianist Shirley Horn (1934), folksinger Judy Collins (1939), folksinger Mimi Fariña (1945), Ray Parker Jr. (1954), Johnny Colt of the Black Crowes (1966), country star Tim McGraw (1967), D’Arcy Wretsky-Brown of Smashing Pumpkins (1968), Nick Traina, member of punk bands Link 80 and Knowledge (1978)

May 2: Link Wray, born Frederick Lincoln Wray, progenitor of surf music and the power chord (1929), jazz-blues organist Richard “Groove” Holmes (1931), saxman Bunk Gardner of the Mothers of Invention (1933), crooner Engelbert Humperdinck, born Arnold George Dorsey (1936), Hilton Valentine of The Animals (1943), Goldy McJohn, born John Goadsby, of Steppenwolf (1945), pop singer Lesley Gore (1946), country singer Larry Gatlin (1948), Lou Gramm of Foreigner (1950), Prescott Niles of The Knack (1954), Joe Callis of Human League (1955)

May 3: crooner Bing Crosby (1903), folksinger-songwriter Pete Seeger (1919), Godfather of Soul James Brown (1933), Frankie Valli of The Four Seasons born Frank Castelluccio (1937), Mary Hopkin of “Those Were the Days” fame (1950), pop singer Christopher Cross (1951), Bruce Hall of REO Speedwagon (1953)

May 4: Ed Cassidy of Spirit (1923), jazz trumpeter and bandleader Maynard Ferguson (1928), surf guitar pioneer Dick Dale (1937), jazz bassist Ron Carter (1937), soul singer Tyrone Davis (1938), Nick Ashford (1942), Ronnie Bond of The Troggs (1942), Peggy Santiglia of The Angels (1944), George Wadenius of Blood Sweat & Tears (1945), Jackie Jackson of The Jackson Five (1951), country artist Randy Travis (1959), Mike Dirnt of Green Day (1972), Lance Bass of ‘N Sync (1979)

May 5: blues pioneer Blind Willie McTell (1901), soul singer Johnnie Taylor (1938), Tammy Wynette (1942), Bill Ward of Black Sabbath (1948), guitarist Martin Simpson (1953), Kevin Mooney of Adam and the Ants (1962), Kevin James LaBrie of Dream Theater (1963)

May 6: singer Peggy Lee (1920), Chicago bluesman Eddie C. Campbell (1939), Herb Cox of the Cleftones (1939), Mungo Jerry keyboardist Colin Earl (1942), Bob Seger (1945), Davey Johnstone of Elton John’s band (1951), Billy Burnette of Fleetwood Mac (1954), John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants (1960), Mark Ryan of Hootie and the Blowfish (1967)

May 7: Johannes Brahms (1833), Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840), jazz/pop singer Teresa Brewer (1931), Beatles’ publicist Derek Taylor (1932), Motown singer Jimmy Ruffin (1939), Johnny Maestro of The Crests (1939), Jerry Nolan of The New York Dolls (1945), Bill Dannoff of Starland Vocal Band (1946), folksinger and composer Janis Ian (1951), Marty Wilson-Piper of The Church (1959), Motorhead’s Phil Campbell (1961)

Departures:

May 1: Johnny Pocisk, sax player with Johnny and the Hurricanes (2006), Italian tenor Sergio Franchi (1990), novelty bandleader Spike Jones (1965)

May 2: jazz drummer Billy Higgins (2001), former X-Japan lead guitarist Hide, born Hideto Matsumoto (1998)

May 3: Dion bandmember Peter Falcaglia (1995), Triumvirat bassist-guitarist Helmut Köllen (1977), Stone the Crows guitarist Les Harvey (1972)

May 4: Dudu Zulu born Dudu Mntowaziwayo Ndlovu, percussionist for Johnny Clegg & Savuka (1992), blues harp player Paul Butterfield (1987)

May 5: reggae producer Clement “Sir Coxsone” Dodd (2004), zydeco pioneer Boozoo Chavis (2001), Chicago bluesman Andrew Tibbs (1991), singer Ralph Garone of the Bob Knight Four (1986), Clarence Quick of the Del Vikings (1983), blues pioneer Reverend Gary Davis (1972)

May 6: Chicago harp player Carey Bell (2007), Grant McLennan of The Go-Betweens (2006), jazz pianist Hilton Ruiz (2006), jazz guitarist Barney Kessel (2004), Otis Blackwell, writer of “Don’t Be Cruel” and “All Shook Up” (2002), Clarence Paul of The “5” Royales (1995), guitarist Billy Johnson of The Moonglows (1987), Skatalites leader Don Drummond (1969)

May 7: Eddie Rabbit (1998), Alphonso Howell of The Sensations (1998), Cult drummer Nigel Preston (1992), Pacific Gas and Electric singer Charles Allen (1990)

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