It happened this week

This is the week that was in matters musical …

1956, Buddy Holly records for the first time for Decca at a session in Nashville … Elvis Presley makes his national television debut on The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show singing “Heartbreak Hotel” …

1959, armed with naught but an acoustic guitar and a tape recorder, Buddy Holly holes up in his New York apartment to lay down the last tracks he will ever record … tunes include “Crying, Waiting, Hoping” and “Peggy Sue Got Married” … Coral Records mixes in backing instrumentation and releases the songs posthumously …

1960, Sam Cooke signs his record deal with RCA Records …

1966, Nancy Sinatra, the most famous fruit of Frank’s loins, enters the Hot 100 for the second time with the timeless cheek and brassy cool of “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” …

1967, Aretha Franklin lays down her first tracks for Atlantic at FAME studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama … she waxes the steaming ballad “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” … the Muscle Shoals sessions are the first to fully exploit Franklin’s soulful vocal skills … at her former label, Columbia, she had been given syrupy, string-laden ballads to sing …

1970, Dr. Robert Moog introduces the Mini Moog, thereby starting a trend toward synthesizers that will culminate in the “Great Synthesizer Scare” of the 1980s … guitar dealers, already experiencing slumping guitar sales, become concerned that musicians are going to forsake guitars and perform all their music on synths … John Lennon and Phil Spector write and record the single “Instant Karma” in a single day…the record will eventually rise to #3 on the pop chart …

1971, China, the daughter of Jefferson Airplane bandmates Grace Slick and Paul Kantner, is born at French Hospital in San Francisco … a joke Slick makes at a nurse’s expense spawns a decades-long urban myth that the baby was dubbed God … the little girl appears on the cover of the 1972 Slick/Kantner album Sunfighter, which includes a song about her, creatively titled “China” …

1974, Neil Young stops during a New York performance to read a mysterious message handed to him on stage … “Peace has come,” he announces, referencing the signing of the Paris Peace Accords, which signals the formal end of the Vietnam War … the crowd spontaneously celebrates with wild bouts of hugging and kissing as Young fires up a particularly rockin’ version of “Southern Man” …

1977, Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green is dispatched to the funny farm following an incident in which he attacked an accountant attempting to deliver a royalty check for $30,000 … turns out Green didn’t want the green …

1978, workers at the EMI record plant in Britain take offense at the title of a Buzzcocks’ single and refuse to press it … the offending title is “Oh S**t” … the record eventually does get pressed and the flip side, “What Do I Get?” becomes a #1 smash hit in the U.K. …

1979, The Cars are voted the Best New Band of the Year in Rolling Stone‘s annual reader’s poll …

1980, Saturday Night Live comedian John Belushi busts out his rawest Blues Brothers chops in a post-birthday jam with the Dead Boys at The Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood …

1984, Michael Jackson’s hair is ignited by pyrotechnics while filming a commercial for Pepsi … he suffers scalp and neck burns requiring hospitalization … Jackson will recover and the commercial will eventually be aired but sans footage of Michael in flames … the event is later parodied in Neil Young’s video “This Note’s for You” and in Eminem’s clip “Just Lose It” …

1986, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame holds its first induction ceremony in New York City … started just three years prior, it will be nine more years before the Hall has a proper building …

1988, Nirvana records a 10-song demo tape with producer Jack Endino and The Melvins’ Dale Crover on drums as a favor to the band … the six-hour session’s tracks are never released as a collective album but will be spread across the Nirvana albums Bleach, Incesticide, With the Lights Out, and numerous bootleg CDs …

1995, Courtney Love is tried on charges of abusing a flight attendant on a Qantas flight after she is asked to remove her feet from a cabin wall … Love is sentenced to a month’s good behavior … apparently Australian courts have no concept of cruel and unusual punishment … Alan Jackson’s single “Gone Country” settles in at the top of the Billboard country chart 23 weeks after it entered the countdown … it’s the longest stretch any hit has taken on its way to the top slot …

1996, White Zombie is banned from playing a concert in Johnson City, Tennessee … the trouble starts when a local minister leads his congregation in protesting the concert, charging that the band’s lyrics and music are satanic … the commission caves in to the demands of the protesters … the name of the venue? Freedom Hall … WZ simply relocates the show to Viking Hall in nearby Bristol, TN …

1998, singer Toni Braxton files for bankruptcy listing debts of more than $1 million … The Dixie Chicks release their breakthrough album Wide Open Spaces, eventually selling 12 million copies worldwide …

1999, a benefit concert is held in East Rutherford, New Jersey, for Mumia Abu-Jamal, a convicted cop killer … Jamal’s insistence on his innocence, as well as questions of fairness at his trial, have garnered the support of numerous actors and musicians since 1982 when he was convicted of killing police officer Daniel Faulkner and sentenced to death … Rage Against the Machine, the Beastie Boys, Chumbawamba, Public Enemy’s Chuck D, and Bad Religion perform … 16,000 attend …

2000, Virgin Records announces plans to fork out 28 million smackers to be free of Mariah Carey and her $80 million contract for several future albums … Carey has undergone a woeful personal and professional collapse with rambling suicidal missives on her website, a laughably bad movie, and a poor-selling soundtrack—her first record with Virgin … Freddy Fender receives a kidney transplant … Pat Boone announces the formation of his Gold Records label … he will only sign artists 45 and older …

2001, a 15-year-old girl dies of a heart attack at a Sydney, Australia, concert when Limp Bizkit takes the stage and the crowd surges forward …

2003, Phil Spector is arrested on suspicion of murdering his girlfriend Lana Clarkson …

2004, the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, is arrested on charges of domestic violence …

2005, New York hip-hop station Hot 97 fires producer Rick Delgado for creating and airing a parody of the 1985 single “We Are the World” named “The Tsunami Song” … peppered with racially charged lyrics and trivializing the Asian disaster, the song is aired by radio personality Todd Lynn who is also fired while host Miss Jones and two staff members are suspended for two weeks … the station’s corporate parent company announces that it will donate $1 million to tsunami relief …

2006, a letter written by Don Law, the producer of Robert Johnson’s 1936 and 1937 San Antonio recording sessions, is unearthed … the letter provides and confirms valuable details about the enigmatic blues pioneer’s sessions …

2007, proving that Americans have an unquenchable thirst for seeing people make idiots of themselves, Fox airs a series of American Idol audition shows drawing 32-million viewers each and trouncing other shows in their time slots … meanwhile in Chicago, Buddy Guy gets the blues when his Chicago club, Legends, loses its lease and the bluesman, who opened the nightspot in 1989, ruefully observes, “They don’t get any good until they turn 60. The club is just now getting a little successful, and now I gotta move it” … Jimi Hendrix fans react with indignation to the launch of a canned beverage dubbed Liquid Experience bearing the likeness of the guitar master … this isn’t the first time his image has been used to peddle non-music products … it’s turned up on baby clothes, an air freshener, lava lamp, and even a Christmas ornament … Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist Flea is especially contemptuous: “To see his image and the beautiful feelings it has created during my lifetime cheapened by base advertising … is very disappointing to me” …

… and that was the week that was in matters musical.

Arrivals:

January 22: Sam Cooke (1931), The Shirelles’ Addie Harris (1941), Nolan Strong of The Diablos (1934), punk impresario Malcolm McLaren (1946), Meat Loaf aka Marvin Lee Aday (1946), Steve Perry of Journey (1949), Michael Hutchence of INXS (1960), Steven Adler of Guns N’ Roses (1965), DJ Jazzy Jeff (1965), songwriter-producer Willa Ford (1981)

January 23: jukebox builder David Rockola (1897), gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt (1910), Eugene Church of The Clovers (1938), Jerry Lawson of The Persuasions (1944), Anita Pointer of The Pointer Sisters (1948), Patrick Simmons of the Doobie Brothers (1950), Danny Federici of the E Street Band (1950), Bill Cunningham of The Box Tops (1950), Robin Zander of Cheap Trick (1953), Anita Baker (1958), UB40’s Earl Falconer (1959)

January 24: Gene Mumford, lead singer of Billy Ward & The Dominos (1925), Doug Kershaw (1936), Ray Stevens (1939), Aaron Neville (1941), Neil Diamond (1941), Warren Zevon (1947), Jools Holland (1958)

January 25: blues guitarist Dan Sane (1904), Scottish folk revivalist Ewan McColl (1915), ABBA manager Stig Andersson (1931), Bill Justis Band guitarist Sidney Manker (1932), Chita Rivera (1933), Etta James (1938), Malcolm Green of Split Enz (1953), Richard Finch of KC & the Sunshine Band (1954), Terry Chimes of The Clash (1955), Andy Cox of Fine Young Cannibals and English Beat (1956), Roxy Music’s Gary Tibbs (1958), Iggy Pop bassist Craig Pike (1963), Alicia Keys (1981)

January 26: jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli (1908), record executive Nat Tarnopol (1931), Huey “Piano” Smith (1934), The Teddy Bears’ Marshall Lieb (1939), Derek Holt of the Climax Blues Band (1949), David Briggs of Little River Band (1951), Andy Hummell of Big Star (1951), Lucinda Williams (1953), Edward Van Halen (1957), Norman Hassan of UB40 (1958), Wham’s Andrew Ridgley (1963), Soul II Soul’s Jazzie B. (1963), gospel star Kirk Franklin (1970)

January 27: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756), composer Jerome Kern (1885), blues legend Elmore James (1918), Ross Bagdasarian, Sr., better known as David Seville, creator of The Chipmunks (1919), Nick Mason of Pink Floyd (1945), Seth Justman of The J. Geils Band (1951), Brian Downey of Thin Lizzy (1951), Cowboy Junkies’ Margo Timmins (1961), New Order’s Gillian Gilbert (1961), Faith No More’s Mike Patton (1968)

January 28: piano virtuoso Arthur Rubenstein (1887), songwriter Irving Gordon (1915), British jazzman and club owner Ronnie Scott (1927), Mr. Acker Bilk (1929), bluesman David “Junior” Kimbrough (1930), dub producer King Tubby (1941), Brian Keenan of the Chambers Brothers (1944), Dick Taylor of The Pretty Things (1944), Nedra Talley of The Ronettes (1946), Rick Allen of The Box Tops (1946), Mountain’s Corky Laing (1948), The Alarm’s Dave Sharp (1959), Sarah McLachlan (1968), rapper Rakim (1968), Cypress Hill’s Muggs (1968), Joey Fatone of *NSYNC (1977), Nick Carter of Backstreet Boys (1980)

Departures:

January 22: bandleader Billy May (2004), songwriter Irwin Levine of “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” fame (1997), Billy MacKenzie of The Associates (1997), Wally Whyton of The Vipers (1997), Riot’s Rhett Forrester (1994), Tommy Tucker of “High Heel Sneakers” fame (1982)

January 23: Johnny Funches of The Dells (1998), “Louie Louie” composer Richard Berry (1997), gospel songwriter Thomas A. Dorsey (1993), blues guitarist James “Thunderbird” Davis (1992), Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Allen Collins (1990), Carl Feaster of The Chords (1981), Terry Kath of Chicago (1978), Vic Ames of the Ames Brothers (1978), jazz trombonist Edward “Kid” Ory (1973), Big Maybelle Smith (1972)

January 24: James “Shep” Sheppard of Shep & the Limelites (1997), The Association founder Brian Cole (1995), producer and half of C&C Music Factory David Cole (1994), film composer Ken Darby (1992), Bill Horton of The Silhouettes (1955)

January 25: singer Ray Peterson (2005), choral conductor Robert Shaw (1999), New Orleans guitarist and singer Alvin “Shine” Robinson (1989), Lamar Williams of The Allman Brothers (1983), R&B singer Chris Kenner (1976)

January 26: blues drummer S. P. Leary (1998), jukebox mogul David Rockola (1993), disco warbler Karen Young (1991), New Orleans singer Donnie Elbert (1989)

January 27: Tin Pan Alley composer Gerald Marks (1997), vocalist Candy Givens of Zephyr (1984), gospel singer Mahalia Jackson (1972)

January 28: Traffic drummer Jim Capaldi (2005), recording pioneer John Mosley (1996), D.O.A. drummer Ken Jensen (1995), Uriah Heep’s David Byron (1985), “British Elvis” Billy Fury (1983)

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