It happened this week

This is the week that was in matters musical…

1814, Francis Scott Key pens the lyrics to “The Star Spangled Banner” while watching the British attack Fort McHenry… the song will be adopted as the U.S. national anthem over 100 years later on March 3, 1931, and because of its rather extreme range from lowest note to highest note and idiosyncratic lyrics, the song continues to be among the most badly butchered vocal exercises to this day… repeated efforts to replace S-S-B with the more peaceful, vocal-friendly “America, The Beautiful” are thwarted…

1955, Little Richard records “Tutti Frutti” in New Orleans at Cosmo Matassa’s J&M Studios… backing musicians include Huey Smith (“Rockin’ Pneumonia and Boogie Woogie Flu”) on piano, Lee Allen on tenor sax, and Earl Palmer on drums, all part of Fats Domino’s band… original lyric: “tutti frutti, good booty”…

1956, Elvis begins a five-week run at #1 on the U.S. singles chart with “Don’t Be Cruel”…

1960, the FCC bans payola, outlawing the pervasive practice of record companies making payments to radio DJs to spin their releases … the practice resurges four decades later and New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer collects hefty fines from all the major labels for engaging in the pay-to-play game…

1964, a pair of enterprising Beatles fans pack themselves into a carton marked “Beatles Fan Mail” and arrange to have it delivered to the Baltimore Civic Center where the Fab Four are appearing… their plot is foiled when the girls are discovered by guards checking deliveries… Rod Stewart rasps his first single—the blues chestnut “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl”… a different kind of rasping characterizes Dave Davies guitar as he power chords The Kinks “You Really Got Me” to #1 in the UK this same week…

1965, 8-track players are introduced… notable for their low fidelity and propensity for eating their closed-loop tapes, they will give way to superior cassette-based players in the 1970s… The Toys, a New York-based girl group, scores a #2 pop hit with “Lover’s Concerto”… the song is based on a Bach minuet… after scoring hits in the guise of a crooner and rock ‘n’ roller, Bobby Darin reinvents himself as a folk singer with the release of “If I Were a Carpenter”… the Tim Hardin tune reinvigorates his flagging career… although Tim gets the royalties, Bobby totally cops Tim’s vocal style from the demo recording…

1966, zany situation comedy interspersed with A Hard Day’s Night-style music videos, hey hey it’s The Monkees, the half-hour show debuts on NBC-TV starring four young men—Mickey Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Peter Tork, and Davy Jones—who answered an audition ad in Variety… the group was formed, and a surefire hit single released to promote the show… the success of the Pre-Fab Four will force a David Jones in England to change his name to David Bowie…

1968, Roy Orbison’s home in Hendersonville, Tennessee, burns down while he’s touring England… his two eldest sons die in the fire…

1969, during Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s set at the Big Sur Festival, a yahoo in the crowd starts heckling the band for being rich rock stars… Stills, wearing a flamboyant fur coat, leaps off the stage, chases the heckler down, and administers a pounding while from the stage Crosby pleads for “Peace and love, peace and love”… Stills gets back onstage and reflects, “Y’know, we think about what that guy was saying, and we look at these coats and these pretty guitars and fancy cars and say, ‘Wow man, what am I doin’?'”…

1971, the Saturday morning cartoon series Jackson Five debuts on ABC-TV…

1974, the influential-after-their-time proto-glam rockers The New York Dolls break up after two albums… lead singer David Johansen will go onto fame as Buster Poindexter (“Hot Hot Hot”)…

1977, Marc Bolan of T. Rex is killed outside London when his intoxicated wife crashes their Mini GT into a tree…

1978, The Grateful Dead do a three-night stand at the Son Et Lumiere Theater in Giza, Egypt, with the Great Pyramids as a backdrop…

1979, the first rap single “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang is released… Patti Smith plays a concert before 85,000 fans at a stadium in Florence, Italy… after the show she retires from showbiz in Detroit with former MC5 guitarist Fred Smith…

1980, XTC’s new album is Black Sea containing “Majors and Generals” and “Respectable Street”… Joe Walsh announces he is entering the presidential race against political heavyweights Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan… his campaign slogan is “Free Gas For All” and he says he’s running to raise awareness about the importance of the elections… Walsh will re-enter the political fray in 1992 to run for vice president…

1981, Devo’s contribution to the Heavy Metal soundtrack, an update of Lee Dorsey’s “Working In A Coal Mine” is turned into a single… San Francisco’s The Residents’ release Mark of the Mole, the first album in “The Mole Trilogy”… from the Land Down Under, Men At Work release their debut single “Who Can It Be Now?”…

1984, the burgeoning MTV network holds its first Video Music Awards ceremony at New York’s Radio City Music Hall… the show is co-hosted by Bette Midler and Dan Aykroyd and honors the top music videos of the year… the event is conceived as a hip alternative to the Grammys… winners including Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper,The Police, and Herbie Hancock are awarded Moon Man trophies that depict an astronaut with an American flag, one of the network’s earliest icons…

1987, former Wailer Peter Tosh is shot to death in his Jamaican home during a robbery… an article in Rolling Stone suggests the killing was actually the result of a feud… Tosh’s previous home had been burned down by an arsonist a year earlier… brilliant but mentally troubled bassist Jaco Pastorius tries to get back into the Midnight Club in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and is severely beaten by a bouncer… Jaco dies two weeks later from his injuries… the soundtrack to La Bamba featuring Los Lobos begins a two-week stay at #1 on the U.S. album charts…

1988, Guns N’ Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine” tops the charts in the U.S.… the signature opening riff was improvised by guitarist Slash while warming up…

1990, Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks announce they’re leaving Fleetwood Mac when their current tour is over…

1991, in a publicity stunt, Alice Cooper sells copies of his new album Hey Stoopid in New York’s Times Square for 99 cents a pop… Nirvana’s anthemic “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is released… it’s part grunge, punk, and heavy metal… future American Idol judge Paula Adbul racks up her sixth #1 single on the U.S. charts with “The Promise Of A New Day”…

1995, Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” tops the U.S. charts… it would later go on to win a Grammy…

1996, Wal-Mart refuses to carry Sheryl Crow’s second album because the song “Love is a Good Thing” includes the lyrics, “Watch out sister/Watch out brother/Watch our children as they kill each other/With a gun they bought at the Wal-Mart discount stores.”… rapper/film actor Tupac Shakur dies in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas…

1998, British glam-rock star Gary Glitter makes a court appearance on charges of producing child porn and sexual assault… he is later convicted and imprisoned and yet they still play his track at US sporting events…

2000, the soundtrack for Almost Famous is released… it’s notable for including four vintage Led Zeppelin tracks—a first for any soundtrack… Robert Plant and Jimmy Page agree to the tunes’ inclusion after falling in love with Cameron Crowe’s filmed semi-autobiographical remembrance of a rock journalist-groupie in the ’70s… Page/Plant withhold permission for use of “Stairway to Heaven” so the scene that is built around it is cut from the final print… years later, the cut scene is included as a special-edition DVD extra… viewers can cue up their copy of “Stairway” and watch the actors reacting to the song—for example, air drumming—as it plays in the main character’s living room…

2004, the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, announces that she and her entourage will travel in a three-bus caravan to Las Vegas and L.A. for a handful of shows … it’s been over 20 years since she has performed on the West Coast due to her severe fear of flying… a source close to the singer is quoted as saying, “Her albums don’t sell like they used to—she’s got to tour”… Johnny Ramone dies in his Los Angeles home after five years battling prostate cancer… Johnny exits surrounded by his wife Linda Cummings and friends Eddie Vedder, singer Rob Zombie and his wife Sherrie Zombie, Lisa Marie Presley, Pete Yorn, Vincent Gallo, and Talia Shire…

2006, the documentary Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing debuts at the Toronto International Film Festival… the movie chronicles the fallout that resulted from the group’s criticism of the Bush administration… also debuting at the festival is the documentary The U.S. vs. John Lennon that examines the government’s campaign to deport John Lennon due to his vociferous opposition to the Vietnam war… Justin Timberlake’s concept album
FutureSex/LoveSounds is released…

2007, Chicago alt-rock station Q101 spins the hook-laden single “Great Divide” to positive response from listeners while failing to disclose it’s the work of the has-been brother act Hanson … Spike, the station’s music director notes, “There’s a stigma attached to them” … DJs credited the tune to “a mystery artist”… Mötley Crüe files a $20 million lawsuit against drummer Tommy Lee after his announcement that he’s leaving the band… also in a litigious mood this week, Prince is reported to be preparing lawsuits against websites such as BitTorrent, YouTube, and eBay charging wholesale piracy of his songs and videos… in his campaign to stamp out Prince-targeted piracy he has retained London-based Web Sheriff, a company that scours the web for illegal usage of copyrighted material…

2008, MTV announces its ending its popular video countdown show Total Request Live after a ten-year run… an Islamic militant leader warns that former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney could be the target of suicide bombers unless he cancels his first concert in Israel… Omar Bakri, an Islamic preacher, says McCartney’s decision to perform as part of Israel’s 60th anniversary celebrations makes him the enemy of Muslims worldwide… Paris becomes a major Parrothead destination this summer when Jimmy Buffett plays a pair of intimate shows at that city’s New Morning jazz club… Journey hits the tour circuit with a new singer they found on YouTube … but the vocalist, Arnel Pineda, a native of the Philippines, is having no fun… when the new lineup debuts in Chile before a crowd of 30,000 Pineda comes down with a serious case of stage fright and it is only after a gentle push from guitarist Neal Schon that he takes the stage… after patching up some personal differences, the original stoner act, Cheech and Chong, hits the road with a series of shows that include classic bits from the duo’s records and movies as well as new material… commenting on the reunion that took 27 years, Tommy Chong says, “We went from Nixon to Bush. That’s about all that’s changed.”… acknowledging that the pair are still “herbalists,” Chong notes they no longer need to carry a stash with them… “if you need weed you can get weed faster than a pizza almost anywhere”…

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

Arrivals:

September 10: Waldo Semon, invented vinyl, later used to make LPs (1898), R&B shouter Roy Brown (1925), vibist Roy Ayers (1940), Danny Hutton of Three Dog Night (1942), Jose Feliciano (1945), Barrymore Barlow of Jethro Tull (1949), Aerosmith’s Joe Perry (1950), Don Powell of Slade (1950), Johnny “Fingers” Moyett of Boomtown Rats (1956), Siobhan Fahey of Bananarama (1957), T’Pau vocalist Carol Decker (1957), Cracker’s Dave Lowrey (1960), Bush drummer Robin Goodridge (1966), Big Daddy Kane (1968)

September 11: blues musician Barbecue Bob (1902), tenor saxman Bobby Fields (1928), Bernard Dwyer of Freddie And The Dreamers (1940), fingerstyle guitar virtuoso Leo Kottke (1945), British guitarist-singer-songwriter John Martyn, born Iain David McGeachy (1948), Mickey Hart (1950), Tommy Shaw of STYX (1953), session guitarist Hiram Bullock (1955), Jon Moss of Culture Club (1957), Style Council keyboardist Mick Talbot (1958), bassist Victor Wooten (1964), Moby born Richard Melville Hall (1965), Harry Connick, Jr. (1967), guitarist-vocalist Richard Ashcroft of The Verve (1971), Ludacris (1977), Coldplay guitarist Jonny Buckland (1977)

September 12: bluesman Gus Cannon (1883), Maurice Chevalier (1888), blues singer Alger “Texas” Alexander (1900), Mel “The Velvet Fog” Torme (1925), country vocalist George Jones (1931), Redbone guitarist Tony Bellamy (1940), Warren Corbin of The Cleftones (1943), Maria Muldaur (1943), suave soulman Barry White (1944), Foundations vocalist Colin Young (1944), Iron Butterfly singer Darryl DeLoach (1947), Gerry Beckley of America (1952), Rush drummer Neil Peart (1952), Barry Andrews of XTC (1956), Larry LaLonde of Primus (1968)

September 13: swing sax player Leon “Chu” Berry (1910), bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe (1911), suave bluesman Charles Brown (1922), Peruvian soprano Yma Sumac (1922), Joseph “Mr. Google Eyes” August (1931), producer Gene Page (1938), Dave Quincy of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (1939), David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat & Tears (1941), Peter Cetera of Chicago (1944), Fred “Sonic” Smith (1949), Randy Jones of The Village People (1952), producer Don Was (1952), Dave Mustaine of Megadeth and Metallica (1961), Steve Perkins of Jane’s Addiction (1967), Fiona Apple (1977)

September 14: composer Johann Michael Haydn (1737), New Orleans pianist Archibald born Leon T. Gross (1912), “Heartbreak Hotel” co-writer and mother of Hoyt Axton, Mae Boren Axton (1914), Pete Agnew, bass player for Nazareth (1946), Steve Gaines of Lynyrd Skynyrd (1949), Free’s Paul Kossoff (1950), Barry Cowsill, drummer-bassist for The Cowsills (1954), Steve Berlin of Los Lobos (1955), A-Ha vocalist Morten Harket (1959), Kay Gee of Naughty by Nature (1970), Everclear’s Craig Montoya (1970)

September 15: country legend Roy Acuff (1903), alto sax wizard Julian “Cannonball” Adderley (1928), New York DJ Jack Specter AKA Vic Venus (1928), Les Braid of The Swinging Blue Jeans (1941), Lee Dorman of Iron Butterfly (1942), English soul singer Jaki Graham (1956), George Howard of Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes (1957), Mitch Dorge of Crash Test Dummies (1960)

September 16: Scepter Records founder Florence Greenberg (1913), Korla Pandit, “The Godfather of Exotica” (1921), B.B. King (1925), Bernard Calvert of The Hollies (1943), Betty Kelly of Martha and The Vandellas (1944), Kenny Jones of Small Faces and The Who (1948), David Bellamy of The Bellamy Brothers (1950), Wire’s Colin Newman (1954), Peter Zaremba of The Fleshtones (1956), popster Richard Marx (1963), Marc Anthony (1968)

Departures:

September 10: Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown (2005), zydeco accordionist Beau Jocque (1999)

September 11: New Orleans funk and soul keyboardist, songwriter, and singer Wilson “Willie Tee” Turbinton (2007), jazz pianist-composer Joe Zawinul (2007), Raybeez AKA Raymond Barbieri of Warzone (1997), Peter Tosh (1987)

September 12: R&B singer and James Brown bandleader Bobby Byrd (2007), Nashville session drummer Kenny Buttrey (2004), Johnny Cash (2003), Stanley Turrentine (2000), ABBA producer Stig “Stikkan” Anderson (1997), Jaco Pastorius (1987), country blues guitarist Frank Stokes (1955)

September 13: rapper Tupac Shakur (1996), singer Helen Humes (1981), conductor-arranger Leopold Stokowski (1977)

September 14: crooner-actor Anthony Newley (1999), R&B vocalist Johnny Adams (1998), Cuban bandleader and “King of the Mambo” Perez Prado (1989), bluesman Walter “Furry” Lewis (1981)

September 15: Richard “Rick” Wright (2008), jazz pianist Bill Evans (1980)

September 16: Motown songwriter Norman Whitfield (2008), the legendary Johnny Ramone (2004), Izadora Rhodes of Weather Girls (2004), CBS producer Tom Wilson (1978), Marc Bolan of T-Rex (1977), opera diva Maria Callas (1977), Leroy Griffin of The Nutmegs (1966)

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