It happened this week

Adriana Lima
Adriana Lima

This is the week that was in matters musical …

1952, Sun Records, the revered label that first will give Elvis a shot and cut dozens of great rockabilly and blues sides, issues its first single, “Selling My Whisky” by Jackie Boy and Little Walter …

1954, Fender debuts the Stratocaster …

1955, Georgia Gibbs’ “Dance With Me Henry” is released … it’s a cleaned-up version of the more licentiously titled “Roll With Me Henry” by Etta James, which in turn was retitled “The Wallflower” to keep censors at bay …

1967, Peter Bergman of Firesign Theatre coins the term Love-In and throws the first such event in Los Angeles’ Elysian Park, attracting 65,000 people and blocking freeways for miles … Columbia Records producer Gary Usher is so impressed, he offers Firesign Theatre their first record contract … The cover of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album is staged and photographed at Chelsea Manor Studios in London using collage and wax figures from Madame Tussaud’s famous wax museum … among the likenesses featured on the cover are Mae West, Shirley Temple, Fred Astaire, Bob Dylan, Tony Curtis, Marlon Brando, Oscar Wilde, Marlene Dietrich, and W.C. Fields … album artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth will be awarded a Grammy for Best Album Cover, Graphic Arts in 1968 …

1973, just 12 days after their single “Cover of the Rolling Stone” peaks at #6 on the pop chart, Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show appear on the cover of the magazine … wonder what Sylvia’s mother has to say about the Hook now …

1974, The Ramones play their first live show at the Performance Studio in New York … they will go on to play many more shows there and eat lots of pizza …

1991, New Kid Donnie Wahlberg narrowly escapes becoming a new kid on the cell block when he is arrested and charged with first degree arson … he apparently was trying to set the historic Seelbach Hotel in Louisville, KY, on fire with a Molotov cocktail … the charges are later reduced and then dropped in exchange for public service commercials …

1995, while in jail, Tupac’s Me Against the World hits number one … he becomes the first rapper to top the charts and get married while incarcerated for sexual assault against a female fan … an opera based on the life of tennis ace Martina Navratilova premieres at New York’s Carnegie Hall … apparently, it took a lot of balls to pull this one off …

1998, Chuck Negron files suit against his former Three Dog Night bandmates alleging that the breach of a 1990 settlement put a crimp in the crooner’s career … years later in an odd twist, Negron’s management licenses the rights to use the name of the 1960s horn band Blood, Sweat & Tears from BS&T drummer Bobby Colomby … Negron now appears as Blood, Sweat & Tears Featuring Chuck Negron …

2004, Bob Dylan hawks ladies’ underwear for Victoria’s Secret in a TV ad that features the song “Love Sick” and model Adriana Lima, who is barely clothed … Dylan, thankfully, is fully dressed … music critics, columnists, and Dylan fans barrage the internet with WTF? posts … well, the answer, my friend, is blowin’ in wind … or maybe not … oddly, in 1965, when asked what might tempt him to sell out, Dylan replied: “Ladies’ undergarments.” …

2005, the recording industry takes a hit as the legendary Hit Factory closes its doors forever … founded in 1968, the studio was the scene of hundreds of major sessions by luminaries such as Eric Clapton, John Lennon, Stevie Wonder, and Bruce Springsteen … the Decemberists opt to release their new music video, “Sixteen Military Wives,” via BitTorrent, an easy way to give the video exposure without fronting a lot of money for bandwidth … Dawn Barger, manager for the Decemberists, says: “For the most part, MTV and VH1 won’t touch video unless bands have sold a huge number of records. It’s impossible to get rotation” … the experimental release is a success, seeing almost 2,000 downloads its first weekend … The White Stripes finish recording their fifth album, Get Behind Me Satan in just under two weeks, averaging about a song a day … apparently Satan was right behind them and ready to take the hindmost …

2006, in the midst of a European tour Snoop Dogg and Sean “Diddy” Combs are obliged to cancel plans for the British leg when Snoop is denied a visa by English authorities … the refusal stems from an April 2006 scuffle between the rapper and five members of his entourage with British cops at Heathrow airport after the posse was refused entrance to a British Airways first-class lounge … seven bobbies were injured in the fracas … if we’re not mistaken, one Diddy equals ten bobbies … Apple releases a free software patch for download that permits iPod owners to set a maximum volume level … the action is seemingly in response to articles critical of the device’s potential for hearing damage and a pending class-action lawsuit … so much for self-determination … as Rene Descartes might have said, “iPod therefore I am” …

2007, SonyBMG announces that henceforth it will no longer accept CDs or tapes from bands hoping to land a contract with the company’s labels … instead, would-be recording acts are directed to post their demos on sites set up for the purpose by Sony’s subsidiaries as well as on blogs … it’s not really as cutting-edge an approach as it sounds … in the old days it was known as, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” …

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

Arrivals:

March 26: Rufus Thomas, best known for “Walkin’ The Dog” (1917), Diana Ross (1944), Steven Tyler of Aerosmith (1948), Teddy Pendergrass (1950), Bill Lyall, keyboardist for Pilot and Bay City Rollers (1953), Eddie Van Halen (1955)

March 27: Leroy Carr, influential blues pianist (1905), blues guitarist Robert Lockwood Jr., who learned from the legendary Robert Johnson (1915), jazz singer Sarah Vaughan (1924), Reprise Records’ mogul Mo Ostin, who signed Jimi Hendrix (1927), Johnny “Clyde” Copeland, Houston blues guitarist (1937), Brenda Knight of Gladys Knight and the Pips (1948), Tony Banks of Genesis (1951), Mariah Carey (1970)

March 28: Aaron “T-Bone” Walker, legendary electric blues guitarist (1910), Milan Williams of The Commodores (1948), Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup (1974)

March 29: Donny Conn of The Playmates (1930), Terry Jacks, singer-songwriter of “Seasons in the Sun” fame (1944)

March 30: Delta-style harmonica player Sonny Boy Williamson, born John Lee Williamson (1914), Willie Nelson (1933), Graeme Edge of the Moody Blues (1942), Eric Clapton (1945), Jim Dandy Mangrum of Black Oak Arkansas (1948), Procol Harum’s Dave Ball (1950), rapper Stanley “M.C. Hammer” Burell (1963), songstress Celine Dion (1968), singer-pianist Norah Jones, born Geethali Norah Jones Shankar (1979)

March 31: blues pianist “Big Maceo” Merriweather (1905), influential bluesman Lightning Hopkins (1912), R&B performer and songwriter Chuck Willis (1928), songwriter John D. Loudermilk (1934), trumpeter and the “A” of A&M records, Herb Alpert (1937), Al Nichol of The Turtles (1946), Jon-Jon Poulos, drummer for The Buckinghams (1948), Thijs Van Leer, vocalist/keyboardist/flutist for Dutch group Focus (1948), Angus Young of AC/DC (1959)

April 1: jazz singer Alberta Hunter (1895), ’50s crooner Frankie Laine (1913), boogie-woogie pianist Amos Milburn, who transformed jump blues into R&B (1927), singer-actress Debbie Reynolds (1932), Rudolph Isley of The Isley Brothers (1939), Alan Blakely, guitarist and keyboard player with The Tremeloes, one of the longest surviving British bands (1942), John Barbata of Jefferson Starship (1945), Small Faces bassist Ronnie Lane (1948), ska and reggae musician Jimmy Cliff, born James Chambers (1948), session drummer and TOTO cofounder Jeff Porcaro (1951), Dennis Boon, guitarist with The Minutemen (1958)

Departures:

March 26: Nikki Sudden of Swell Map (2006), Paul Hester, drummer for Crowded House (2005), Jan Berry, of Jan and Dean (2004), rapper Eazy-E aka Eric Wright (1996), blues singer-musician Duster Bennett (1976), songwriter-playwright Noel Coward (1973), Harold McNair, flautist and saxophonist with Donovan and Ginger Baker (1971)

March 27: Clifford Jordan, jazz saxophonist (1993), Paul Gayten, R&B singer, Chess Records talent scout (1991)

March 28: Don Alias, jazz percussionist (2006), actor-jazz pianist Dudley Moore (2002), Freaky Tah, born Raymond Rodgers, of The Lost Boyz (1999), Buddy Red Bow, Lakota country and western singer (1993), father of the blues, songwriter W.C. Handy (1958)

March 29: blues, jazz, big band singer Joe Williams, born Joseph Goreed (1999), Howard Wyeth, drummer for Dylan, Roger McGuinn, and Don McLean (1996), controversial music biographer Albert Goldman (1994)

March 30: Elektra Records producer Paul Rothchild (1995)

March 31: R&B singer Sean Levert (2008), jazz alto saxman Jackie McLean (2006), Denmark’s pop king, Tommy Seebach (2003), Gun Club vocalist Jeffrey Lee Pierce (1996), Tejano pop star Selena, born Selena Quintanilla-Perez (1995), Big Dee Irwin, lead singer of The Pastels (1986), Isley Brother Kelly Isley, born O’Kelly Isley Jr. (1986)

April 1: Denny Barcelona, drummer with Louis Armstrong (2007), Zombies guitarist Paul Atkinson (2004), pioneer Gibson guitar designer-inventor Ted McCarty (2001), songwriter, jazz musician, and A&R man, Jesse Stone (1999), goth rocker Rozz Willimas (1998), soul singer Jimmy Hughes (1997), Sister Luc-Gabrielle, born Jeanine Deckers, The Singing Nun (1985), ragtime pianist Scott Joplin (1917)

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