It happened this week

This is the week that was in matters musical …

1927, bluesman Crying Sam Collins records “Jail House Blues” for Paramount Records in Richmond, Indiana …

1934, Laurens Hammond patents the pipeless organ … he uses a piano keyboard to activate the electronic circuits of devices called tonewheels … by the 1950s, a descendant of Hammond’s invention, the famous B-3 organ, weighing about 400 pounds, ensures that Hammond’s name is cursed by musicians forced to lug the heavy piece of furniture up staircases to gigs … by then, Hammond, who was tone-deaf, hated the sound of Leslie speakers so much he refused to service to any B3 owner who had one …

1945, future Creedence Clearwater Revival rhythm section members are born one day apart in the San Francisco Bay Area … drummer Doug Clifford is born April 24 in Palo Alto … bassist Stu Cook is born April 25 across the bay in Oakland … since 1995 the duo has toured as Creedence Clearwater Revisited, a name disputed by former bandleader John Fogerty until courts ruled in Cook and Clifford’s favor …

1966, British proto-punks (and west country shit kicker yokels) The Troggs release “Wild Thing” … the song is later covered to spectacular effect by Jimi Hendrix … and to less-than-spectacular effect by comedian Sam Kinison …

1967, with San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury building up momentum to head into the Summer of Love, and psychedelic the word of the day, the number-one song on the pop chart is “Something Stupid” by Nancy and Frank Sinatra … Janis Ian’s single “Society’s Child” languishes because of its controversial lyrics about an interracial relationship … that changes when conductor Leonard Bernstein features the song on his CBS-TV special about pop music … the record then climbs to #14 on the pop chart … bluesman J.B. Lenoir dies from a heart attack related to injuries he suffered in an auto accident three weeks prior … J.B. worked with Sonny Boy Williamson and Elmore James and was known to blues-lovers for his high-pitched vocals, politically savvy lyrics, electric guitar playing, and zebra-patterned suits … his biggest commercial success was “Mama Talk To Your Daughter” that went to #11 on the Billboard chart in 1954 …

… British bluesman John Mayall is so moved by his death he records “The Death of J.B. Lenoir” the following July for the Bluesbreakers Crusade album …

1968, Hair, the first rock musical, opens on Broadway, the first of 1,729 performances … a revival opened on March 31, 2009, to rave reviews …

1970, Fleetwood Mac’s founder and leader Peter Green makes his last concert appearance as a member of the group in London … the singer-guitarist embarks on low-key solo endeavors including a freeform instrumental album End of the Game before being sidelined for a number of years by severe depression … before leaving Mac, Green had talked about recording a concept album about Jesus Christ and performing a number of free concerts … Mac bandmates objected to becoming, as one put it, “a charity band” …

… and Greenie is still the greatest guitarist to come from these shores …

1971, The Rolling Stones release Sticky Fingers with an Andy Warhol-designed album cover with a closeup of the crotch of a pair of men’s jeans complete with working zipper …

1975, leader and chief songwriter of Badfinger, Pete Ham, who had just quit the band a week earlier and is despondent over his career, hangs himself in the garage/recording studio of his London home three days before his 28th birthday …

1976, The Ramones release their first album … Paul Ramon, better known as Paul McCartney, is visiting John Lennon at his Manhattan apartment … they are watching Saturday Night Live as the show’s creator Lorne Michaels offers The Beatles $3,200 to perform a couple of songs on the show … the two almost hop in a cab to take him up on the offer but call it off because it’s too late and they’re too tired …

1981, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis play a show in West Germany that’s later released on the LP The Survivors

1989, Jon Bon Jovi marries his childhood sweetheart Dorthea Rose Hurly at the Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas …

1983, so what’s the deal with Dexy’s Midnight Runners? … apparently they keep changing group members and musical direction with every new album at the behest of leader Kevin Rowland … they’ve been stars in England for three years with four top ten hits …
and now in the States they nab the top spot on the pop charts with “Come On Eileen” … turns out this will be their only hit stateside …

1990, the “Star Spangled Banner” Strat that Jimi Hendrix played at Woodstock is auctioned for $295,000 …

1993, Prince announces that he will no longer make records … six weeks later he will change his name to an icon composed of the symbols for man and woman … because no one can pronounce the symbol, he becomes known as “the artist formerly known as Prince” or among his friends “The Artist” or among Monty Python fans as “the artist who ’til recently made records and was known as Prince, ni ni (shhh)” …

1995, Courtney Love spurns a reported $1 million offer from Playboy to pose in the nude …

1999, in a murder-suicide, Larry Troutman shoots his brother Roger to death in the alley behind their family-owned Dayton, Ohio, studio and then turns the gun on himself … the two musicians along with brothers Lester and Terry had founded a funk band in the mid-1970s that evolved into Zapp … the band scored a series of 1980s dance hits … with their salad days far behind them, the brothers had argued about the direction of the family’s struggling business affairs leading up to the shootings …

2000, Eric Clapton reunites with keyboard player Bobby Whitlock of Derek and the Dominos for a BBC appearance … it’s the first time the two have worked together in 29 years since co-writing songs and recording their Sam and Dave-inspired vocals for the Layla album …

2005, With “Speed of Sound” Coldplay becomes the first British band since the Beatles to land a single debut in the U.S. top 10 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart … The Beatles did it with “Hey Jude,” “Get Back,” “Let it Be,” and “Free as a Bird” … the Broadway musical Good Vibrations, featuring songs of The Beach Boys, folds following bad reviews and a run of less than three months … the production has lost most of the $7 million it cost and often played to half-filled houses …

2006, in a feverish two-week creative process, Neil Young creates the album Living with War then initially posts it as a free stream online … the album includes the bluntly-titled anti-Bush song “Let’s Impeach the President” … The Dave Matthews Band pledges a $1.5 million challenge grant to help build the New Orleans Habitat Musicians’ Village, a part of the Gulf Coast’s recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina … CNN.com publishes the results of a reader’s poll naming the worst songs of all time … They are: #5 “Seasons in the Sun” by Terry Jacks, #4 “I’ve Never Been to Me” by Charlene, #3 “You Light Up My Life” by Debby Boone, #2 “Muskrat Love” by The Captain and Tennille, and Worst Song of All Time, “You’re Having My Baby” by Paul Anka … four of the songs were from the ’70s … say no more …

2007, John Mellencamp plays a one-hour show at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington D.C. … the performer who has been a critic of the Iraq war in the past keeps his appearance nonpolitical saying, “I kept my opinions to myself tonight. This was for the people who were there.” … Joan Baez, who was also scheduled to perform, is reportedly banned—no surprise given her long-standing pacifist convictions and repeated refusal to pay that portion of her taxes that goes to the military … pop singer Avril Lavigne scores her first #1 single on the U.S. charts, a day after her latest album debuts in the top spot … as a sign of New Orleans’ recovery from Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival draws 375,000, nearly 50,000 more than in 2006 …

2008, Albert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist who synthesized LSD and thereby launched thousands of trips musical and otherwise, dies at age 102 … a reformed Rage Against the Machine is one of several big acts that connect with the sweltering crowd at the Coachella three-day festival in the Southern California desert … Roger Waters’ closing set at the festival is highlighted in a way he didn’t intend when the two-story inflatable pig sent aloft during the song “Pigs on the Wing” breaks free of its tethers and floats away … this happened once before in 1977 at London’s Battersea Power Station during a cover shoot for Waters and Pink Floyd Animals album when the floating pig broke free … Coachella organizers offer a $10,000 reward for the missing pig … two days later, pieces of the white spray-painted vinyl pig are found draped over two homes in a gated community in La Quinta … the two families spilt the reward equally and receive a set of lifetime tickets to Coachella …

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

Arrivals:

April 23: composer Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873), singer-songwriter Roy Orbison (1936), pop singer Ray Peterson (1939), King Crimson violinist David Cross (1949), fusion drummer Narada Michael Walden (1952), Ray Burns, better know as singer-guitarist Captain Sensible of The Damned (1955), Steve Clark of Def Leppard (1960), Stan Frazier of Sugar Ray (1969), rapper Lil Eazy-E (1984)

April 24: Ed Roberts of Ruby and the Romantics (1936), tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson (1937), Barbra Streisand (1942), Richard Sterban of the Oak Ridge Boys (1943), Doug Clifford (1945), Jethro Tull bassist Glen Cornick (1947), Preston Ritter of The Electric Prunes (1949), David J. Haskins of Love and Rockets (1957), Boris Williams of The Cure (1958), Billy Gould of Faith No More (1963), Hole’s Patty Schemel (1967), Aaron Comess of Spin Doctors (1968), first American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson (1982), Tyson Ritter, lead singer-bassist with All-American Rejects (1984)

April 25: radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi (1874), R&B sax honker Earl Bostic (1913), Ella Fitzgerald (1918), Chess records session drummer Earl Phillips (1920), electric blues guitar great Albert King (1923), fiddler Vassar Clements (1928), jazz saxophonist Willis “Gator” Jackson (1932), songwriter Jerry Leiber (1933), CCR’s Stu Cook (1945), Bjorn Ulveas of ABBA (1945), Gary “Dream Weaver” Wright (1945), drummer Steve Ferrone of Average White Band (1950), Roger Taylor of Duran Duran (1960), Chris Mars of The Replacements (1961), Erasure’s Andy Bell (1964), Eric Avery of Jane’s Addiction (1965), T-Boz of TLC (1970), Jose Pasillas of Incubus (1976), Jacob Underwood of O-Town (1980)

April 26: Ma Rainey, “The Mother of the Blues,” born Gertrude Melissa Nix Pridgett (1886), blues guitarist Johnny Shines who worked with Robert Johnson (1915), guitarist Duane Eddy (1938), Maurice Williams of the Zodiacs (1938), record producer Giorgio Moroder (1940), pop singer Bobby Rydell, born Robert Ridarelli (1942), Troggs bassist Tony Murray (1945), Eddie Jobson of Curved Air, Roxy Music, King Crimson, and Jethro Tull (1955), Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison (1975)

April 27: countdown DJ Casey Kasem (1932), Main Ingredient’s Cuba Gooding Sr. (1944), Badfinger’s Pete Ham (1947), soul songstress Ann Peebles (1947), Kate Pierson of The B-52’s (1947), Gordon Haskell of King Crimson (1947), Herb Murrell of The Stylistics (1949), Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley (1951), pop songstress Sheena Easton (1959), Marco Pirroni of Siouxsie and the Banshees (1959)

April 28: John Wolters of Dr. Hook (1945), Steve Gilpin, lead singer of techno band Mi-Sex (1950), Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth (1953), Roland Gift of Fine Young Cannibals (1961), rapper Too Short, born Todd Shaw (1966), Daisy Berkowitz of Marilyn Manson (1968)

April 29: bandleader Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (1899), Carl Gardner of The Coasters (1928), percussionist and bandleader Ray Barretto (1929), Lonnie Donegan, the “king of skiffle” (1931), bassist Klaus Voorman (1942), Duane Allen of the Oak Ridge Boys (1943), soul singer Tammi Terrell (1945), Soft Machine’s Hugh Hopper (1945), pop singer Tommy James, born Thomas Gregory Jackson (1947), John Cascella, keyboard and accordion player with John Mellencamp (1947), Francis Rossi of Status Quo (1949), Mark Kendall of Great White (1958), Carnie Wilson of Wilson Phillips (1968), Master P (1970), Mike Hogan of The Cranberries (1973)

Departures:

April 23: Capricorn Records co-founder Phil Walden (2006), jazz bassist Jimmy Woode (2005), New York Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders, born John Genzale, Jr. (1991), flamboyant R&B pianist Esquerita (1986), pianist Red Garland (1984), Pete Ham of Badfinger (1975), Motown drummer William “Benny” Benjamin (1969)

April 24: singer Al Hibbler (2001)

April 25: Bobby “Boris” Picket of “Monster Mash” fame (2007), rockabilly pioneer Hasil Adkins (2005), Roger Troutman and Larry Troutman (1999), R&B singer Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes (2002), Brian McLeod of Chilliwack (1992), saxophonist Dexter Gordon (1990), gospel singer Carolyn Franklin, sister of Aretha (1988), masterful blues pianist Otis Spann (1970)

April 26: avante-garde composer Henry Brant (2008), Daniel McKenna, former guitarist in Toby Beau (2006), Ernest “Snuffy” Stewart of KC and the Sunshine Band (1997)

April 27: master cellist Mstislav Rostropovich (2007), hitmaking trumpeter Al Hirt (1999), soul singer Z.Z. Hill, born Arzel Hill (1984), Phil King of Blue öyster Cult (1972)

April 28: Percy Heath, jazz bassist (2005), John Steele, bass singer with The (Five) Willows (1997), progressive country singer B.W. Stevenson, born Louis Charles Stevenson, (1988), T. Rex bass player Steve Currie (1981), Tommy Caldwell, bassist for the Marshall Tucker Band (1980), Charlie Patton, pioneering Delta blues singer (1934)

April 29: LSD chemist Albert Hofmann (2008), Fabulous Thunderbirds bassist Keith Ferguson (1997), Mick Ronson, guitarist who worked with David Bowie and Mott the Hoople (1993), Floyd Butler, co-leader of the pop outfit Friends of Distinction (1990), J.B. Lenoir (1967), blues pianist Leroy Carr (1935)

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