It happened this week

This is the week that was in matters musical …

1878, seminal turntablist Thomas Edison receives a patent for the phonograph …

1956, Bill Haley & The Comets receive a $250,000 guarantee for 21 shows … an unprecedented amount in those days …

1958, the first Flying V is shipped from Gibson’s factory in Kalamazoo …

1967, The Doors, Buffalo Springfield, and The Byrds join forces in an L.A. all-star concert to protest cops roughing up hippies on the Sunset Strip … though the concert did little to stop the pugilistic proclivities of the petulant police of precincts perpendicular to the Pacific Palisades, it did spawn Still’s hit, “For What It’s Worth,” thus enabling the pontificating pop star to afford police protection …

1974, Billy Joel charts with “Piano Man” … it will be the first of 41 Top 100 entries for him … Cher officially separates from Sonny, thus paving the way for Greg Allman to top her charts …

1976, four sets of KISS footprints are placed in the sidewalk outside of Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood … who will maintain the KISS-style kabuki makeup for the footprints is unknown …

1978, exactly 100 years after Edison patents the phonograph, Sex Pistol bassist Sid Vicious and girlfriend Nancy Spungen are arrested at the Chelsea Hotel for drug possession … mere coincidence? … you decide …

1980, soon after reaching stardom, Bon Scott of AC/DC bites it in the back of a friend’s car after a long night of very heavy drinking … in a classic rock ‘n’ roll spin-crash-and-burn, the 33-year-old singer passes out and dies by choking on his own vomit …

1981, in a verdict that at once validates Sigmund Freud (theory of the subconscious) and George Orwell (double-speak), George Harrison is ruled liable for “subconscious plagiarism” in a civil case regarding his 1970 song “My Sweet Lord,” and the Chiffons’ 1963 hit “He’s So Fine” … the judge orders that $587,000 be paid to ABKCO Music, publisher of “He’s So Fine” … hey, he’s a Beatle, you gotta show some respect …

1987, after informing us at Woodstock that he wanted to take us higher, Sly Stone decides to lead by example … but his different strokes turn into three strikes when police, despite Sly’s noble altitude-related intentions, bring him right back down for drug possession … two outstanding warrants on drug charges land him in the pokey in L.A … by the end of the year he’ll be doing hard time on cocaine charges …

1989, hard rock/metal is a Grammy category for the first time … in a class that includes heavyweight nominees Metallica, Jane’s Addiction, and Iggy Pop, the winner is (drum roll, please): Jethro Tull … a chorus of “boos” rains down from the public balconies, and even some of the artists on the main floor join in … critics nearly unanimously lambast the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences voters who selected Tull, whose mix of classic English progressive rock and jazz flute is the farthest thing from hard rock or metal … however, we beg to differ … most flutes are made out of 70% copper, 30% zinc, and silver or nickel-plated, which are all classified as heavy metals on the periodic table of elements … Tull rules! …

1991, rap group Public Enemy joins Irish singer Sinead O’Connor in boycotting the Grammy Awards … but for less noble reasons … the group says it is upset the rap award will not be presented during the live TV ceremony … Quincy Jones wins six Grammys, including album of the year, for Back on the Block, … Jones holds the record (literally) for winning more Grammy Awards than any other individual in pop music …

1992, Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love wed in Waikiki …

1995, Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee puts his 1986 marriage with the lovely Heather Locklear behind him and marries Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson on a beach in Cancun … according to onlookers, Anderson, clad only in a formal white bikini, could barely contain her increasingly buoyant spirits … Diane Warren receives the Voice of Music Award, one of the American Society of Composers and Performers’ (ASCAP) highest honors … Warren has written songs for Whitney Houston, Elton John, Diana Ross, Ace of Bass, and Ziggy Marley, among others …

1996, Barry Manilow is involved in a five-car collision on the I-10 freeway in Los Angeles … Manilow, who never actually penned the hit “I Write the Songs” for which he won a Grammy 19 years earlier to the day, found more immediate use for his writing skills by signing autographs for police, accident victims, and fans … apparently Dianne Warren writes the songs while Barry’s out jamming (up the I-10) …

1997, a judge in New York throws out a $7 million lawsuit blaming Mötley Crüe for a fan’s hearing loss … the judge points out that the fan knew it was going to be loud before he went to the concert … “go Phish,” is ice cream maker Ben and Jerry’s response to those who wonder how they will maintain their “grass roots” movement of rock-related flavors aimed at the great unwashed … now hippies young and old can choose between Cherry Garcia and a new phlavor: Phish Food …

1998, pounding the skins comes naturally to Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee … this time, unfortunately, the skin belongs to his wife Pamela Anderson … Lee is arrested and charged with domestic abuse … country singer Lorrie Morgan issues a strongly worded statement over an article in the tabloid Star magazine that claims she had a “wild ride” in the back seat of a limousine with President Bill Clinton … Morgan retorts, “The only accurate information in regard to my relationship with President Clinton was that I joined him onstage for the Christmas tree lighting in Washington—I have never met him in a private situation” … hmm, she said “in” Washington … “in” … well, we guess it all depends on what the meaning of the word “in” is …

1999, honored at The Rhythm & Blues Foundation Pioneer Awards in L.A., Patricia Holt, Sarah Dash, Nona Hendryx, and Cindy Birdsong of Patti LaBelle & the Bluebells sing together for the first time in 31 years … in response to a multimillion dollar lawsuit filed by former Spin magazine editor Craig Marks charging that he was beaten by two of Marilyn Manson’s bodyguards, Marilyn Manson files a countersuit for defamation of character … apparently a legal menu choice since defining “character” might prove a tad difficult for the alleged devil-worshipping Goth rocker who takes his last name from mass-murderer Charles Manson … rumor has it that in an effort to promote a more benign image for judge and jury, Manson, whose first name honors Marilyn Monroe, is considering changing his last name to Mansfield thus evoking the image of both of Hollywood’s favorite blond bombshells of yesterday … after all, he’s got the lips for it, and the rest is just an implant or two away …

2004, shock jock and amateur gynecologist Howard Stern is suspended from Clear Channel broadcasts following listener’s complaints to the corporation and the FCC … complaints against Stern center around his frequently explicit language and sexual subject matter … these complaints culminate in Clear Channel prez John Hogan publicly demanding Stern drop the questionable content from his show … though unable to convince Hogan that his R-rated anatomy lectures are purely in the interest of furthering the biological sciences, Stern remains true to his principles … but instead of receiving admiration for his integrity and a slap on the carpals, Stern is indefinitely suspended … disappointed fans who count on Stern to help them pass their human anatomy tests must now learn to pay better attention in class …

2005, the legendary Muscle Shoals studio closes in Muscle Shoals, Alabama … artists such as The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Bob Seger recorded some of their biggest hits at the facility … the studio, owned since 1985 by indie blues label Malaco Records, is a victim of the do-it-yourself recording boom … Hunter S. Thompson, father of “Gonzo” journalism, author and freelance writer for Rolling Stone magazine, dies of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head … attributed to Thompson is the saying, “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.” … in truth, Thompson never said it … at least not in that form … the phrase has been attributed by several “authors” to a number of businesses … the actual quote by Hunter S. Thompson from his book, Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the ’80s is: “The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason.” … whatever the business it’s adapted to, we say, if the shoe fits …

2006, with fallout from Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines’ criticism of George W. Bush in 2003 still dogging them, the band drops 14 dates including Memphis, Houston, and Jacksonville, FL, from its Accidents and Accusations tour … so-called red-state hostility has resulted in poor ticket sales in the South and the Chicks continue to get the cold shoulder from country radio …

2007, pop star Britney Spears, apparently taking fashion cues from Connie Conehead and Tommy Lee, spends a wacky week getting her head shaved and a new tattoo applied … Esther Tognozzi (now affectionately known as “the hair nozzi”), owner of Esther’s Hair Salon in Tarzana, CA, says she tried to talk the agitated pop star out of it, but a determined Spears grabbed the clippers while Tognozzi was chatting with Brit’s bodyguards and chopped away … the haircutter speculated that perhaps Spears was on the “cutting edge” of a new trend … however, we think that she was hoping to bask in the glow of reflected Beatles glory, and possibly release an electro-pop version of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band … we can hear it now: “Briiit … neeeey … Shears” … “What would you do if I got a tattoo, would you stand up and walk out on me?” … “Lend me your shears and I’ll sing you a song, I will try not to lip-sync out of key … Oh, I get high … ” after the follicular festivities, Brit shows up in a cheesy blond wig before checking into an undisclosed rehab facility to deal with an undisclosed condition … we suspect “headlinus absentia,” or attention deficit, as it is commonly known—a malady resulting from prolonged exposure to limelight followed by a sudden withdrawal …

2008, marking the fifth anniversary of the tragic Great White performance, relatives of 100 people killed in the Station nightclub fire hold a memorial service at the former site of the West Warwick, Rhode Island, club … people huddled next to the makeshift memorial of crosses and photographs assembled on the grounds of The Station nightclub, with some crying softly as the name of each victim was slowly read aloud … Dee Snider of Twisted Sister and Troy Luccketa of Tesla put together a lineup of rock and country performers at the Providence, Rhode Island, Dunkin’ Donuts Center to raise money for the families of the 100 fans who died and 200 who were injured in the Station nightclub fire … the lineup that includes Winger, Stryper, and Gretchen Wilson among others, raises $175,000 … 50 Cent is ordered to pay up after losing a lawsuit filed against him by a photographer … after a near five-year drag out after the knock down, a judge ruled that Fiddy must cough up an undisclosed amount … Jim Alcorn, a New York Post deputy photo assignment editor, brought the suit against the rapper in 2003 after being knocked to the ground by Fiddy’s bodyguards when he tried to snap a few pictures … in a similar rapper vs. exuberant fan title bout, rap mogul P Diddy is claiming that the man who sued him over a fight outside of the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood was actually to blame … Diddy alleges that Gerald Rechnitzer “continued moving toward me and, without warning, lunged at me. Instinctively, I outstretched one of my hands, which hand was not closed-fisted, to shield myself … any contact between Mr. Rechnitzer and myself was caused by his forward motion against my stationary open hand.” … however, if Mr. Rechnitzer were more of a man, he would have snapped his chin down onto Diddy’s fist and then delivered a crushing nose to P’s knee … Eric Clapton and Stevie Winwood team up for a three-night engagement at Madison Square Garden … this is their first headlining get-together since Blind Faith broke up in 1969 …

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

Arrivals:

February 19: baritone William McClain of The Cleftones (1938), Smokey Robinson and Bobby Rogers, both of the Miracles (1940), guitarist Tommie Iommi of Black Sabbath (1948), bassist Francis Buckholz of the Scorpions (1950), Austrian techno-pop star Falco (1957), singer-songwriter Seal, aka Sealhenry Samuel (1963), Phish drummer John “Fish” Fishman (1965)

February 20: pianist Jimmy Yancey (1898), Afro-Cuban singer Ibrahim Ferrer (1927), jazz songstress Nancy Wilson (1937), singer-songwriter David Ackles (1937), Barbara Ellis of The Fleetwoods (1939), singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie (1941), trumpet player Lew Soloff of Blood, Sweat, and Tears (1944), singer and guitarist Alan Hull of Lindisfarne (1945), Jerome (J.) Geils of The J. Geils Band (1946), Walter Becker of Steely Dan (1950), guitarist Randy California of Spirit (1951), bassist Jon Brant of Cheap Trick (1954), Victor Ray Wilson, drummer with Body Count (1959), singer Ian Brown of The Stone Roses (1963), Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain (1967), Brian Littrell of Backstreet Boys (1975)

February 21: father of the modern classical guitar, Andres Segovia (1893), ’50s pop singer Guy Mitchell aka Al Cernik (1927), singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger Nina Simone (1933), swamp pop pioneer Bobby Charles (1938), record executive David Geffen (1943), Talking Head Jerry Harrison (1949), folk and country music artist Mary Chapin Carpenter (1958), Ranking Roger aka Roger Charlery of The English Beat (1961), Sublime’s Eric Wilson (1970), Welsh singer-songwriter Charlotte Church (1986)

February 22: Frederic Francois Chopin (1810), self-proclaimed “King of Western Swing,” bandleader, and wife-killer Spade Cooley, whose hit “Shame On You” became his epitaph (1910), R&B saxophonist “Big Al” Sears, born Albert Omega Sears (1910), New Orleans R&B singer Ernie K-Doe aka Ernest Kador Jr. (1936), Bobby Hendricks of The Drifters (1937), Bradley Nowell, lead singer and guitarist of Sublime (1968)

February 23: operatic composer George Frederic Handel (1685), blues guitarist-singer Johnny Winter (1944), Les Kummel, bassist with The New Colony Six (1945), innovative pedal steel guitar player Rusty Young of Poco (1946), guitarist Brad Whitford of Aerosmith (1952), synth player, singer, songwriter Howard Jones (1955), musician, singer, songwriter, and frontman of Japan (band), David Sylvian (1958), guitarist Michael Wilton of Queensryche (1962), Robert Collins, keyboardist with The Charlatans (1963), bassist Nicki Tedesco (1971), bassist Jeff Beres of Sister Hazel (1971), keyboardist Lasse Johansson of The Cardigans (1973)

February 24: Italian tenor and pioneer of recorded music, Enrico Caruso (1873), singer-songwriter Wandra Merrell (1923), singer Paul Jones of Manfred Mann (1942), The Beatles’ George Harrison (1944), keyboard session man Nicky Hopkins (1944), Butch McDade, drummer with The Amazing Rhythm Aces (1946), bassist Lonnie Turner of the Steve Miller Band (1947), Rupert Holmes, composer, singer-songwriter, musician, and musical playwright (1947), singer-songwriter Michelle Shocked (1962)

February 25: blueswoman Ida Cox (1896), record store founder Sam Goody, born Samuel Gutowitz (1904), country singer Faron Young (1932), Barry Kramer, founder of Creem magazine (1943), guitarist Frank “Poncho” Sampedro of Crazy Horse (1949), bassist and songwriter Stewart “Woody” Wood of The Bay City Rollers (1957), drummer Dennis Diken of The Smithereens (1957), singer Mike Peters of The Alarm (1959)

Departures:

February 19: guitarist Ty Longley of Great White (2003), Hee-Haw’s Grandpa Jones (1998), Bon Scott of AC/DC (1980)

February 20: Hunter S. Thompson, freelance writer for Rolling Stone magazine (2005), John Raitt, Broadway baritone and father of Bonnie (2005), Lighthouse vocalist Bob McBride (1998), composer Toru Takemitsu (1996), Hal Worthington, leader of the soul band The Unifics (1990), Cornelius “Tenoo” Coleman, drummer for Fats Domino (1973), Jimmy Bracken, the “Jay” in Vee-Jay Records (1972)

February 21: Al Viola, jazz guitarist with Frank Sinatra (2007), singer Les Gray of English glam rock band Mud (2004), rockabilly singer Malcolm Yelvington (2001), English vocalist Ronnie Hilton (2001), Musical Youth bassist Patrick Waite (1993), DJ Murray “The K” Kaufman, who helped launch the Beatles in the U.S. (1982), reggae singer Jacob Miller of Inner Circle (1980), Janet Vogel, singer with The Skyliners (1980), Nolan Strong of The Diablos (1977)

February 22: guitarist John Fahey (2001), electric violinist “Papa” John Creach (1994), Kermit Chandler, guitarist with The Sheppards (1981), Florence Ballard of The Supremes (1976)

February 23: singer Donnie Brooks (2007), Bob Mayo, guitarist and keyboardist with Peter Frampton (2004), Howie Epstein of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (2003), jazz critic Stanley Dance (1999), singer Melvin Franklin of The Temptations (1995)

February 24: Larry Norman, “father of Christian rock” (2008), co-founder of Stax Records Estelle Axton (2004), ’50s pop crooner Johnnie Ray (1990), blues pianist Memphis Slim aka John Len “Peter” Chatman (1988), Detroit soul singer Ty Hunter (1981)

February 25: ’60s folk singer Mark Spoelstra (2007), Thomas Koppel, co-founder of Danish prog-rock band Savage Rose (2006), blues saxophonist A.C. Reed (2004), William “Hoss” Allen, white DJ who promoted R&B in Nashville (1997), Toy Caldwell, guitarist and songwriter for the Marshall Tucker Band (1993)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.