It happened this week

This is the week that was in matters musical…

1883, New York sees the grand opening of its Metropolitan Opera House …

1956, R&B singer Clarence Henry’s "Ain’t Got No Home" is released on the Argo Records label … because he sings like a frog on the record, he is nicknamed "Frogman," and for the rest of his career is known as Clarence "Frogman" Henry …

… on a lesser note, an oddly gyrating singer with an equally unusual name makes his second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show … he’s called "Elvis" something or other …

1960, Ben E. King, former lead singer for The Drifters, records his first solo numbers, "Spanish Harlem" and "Stand by Me" …

1962, Steveland Morris Judkins makes his first recording … instant success eludes him with this first record, but the accolades are not far away for the artist eventually known as Stevie Wonder … James Brown records a live show in the face of objections from his record label … an in-concert soul album has never been done before … Live at the Apollo, financed by Brown himself, turns out to be among the Godfather of Soul’s most brilliant performances … the album goes on to sell millions …

1964, after an audition with EMI, a London band known as The High Numbers is rejected … who? … exactly … formerly known as The Who, the name change is imposed by manager Pete Meaden, who, adding further insult, dresses the boys in mod suits … not to worry, the kids turn out alright … they resume their name and climb to fame …

… Buddy Holly sound-alike David Box who worked briefly with The Crickets following Holly’s death, ironically dies in a plane crash coming back from a gig …

1966, The Beach Boys’ "Good Vibrations" charts for the first time on its way to #1 … the single is the result of six months work and 17 sessions in four different studios at an unprecedented cost of $16,000 …

1972, Philly soul singer Billy Paul gets on the soul charts with "Me and Mrs. Jones" … the song holds the top position for three weeks and later becomes a soul classic …

1973, John Lennon files suit against the U.S. government alleging that the FBI tapped his phone in an effort to deport the former Beatle …

1975, justifying his title The Boss, Bruce Springsteen makes both the cover of Time and Newsweek

1978, Sid Vicious attempts to off himself at Rikers Island, where he’s awaiting trial for the murder of Nancy Spungen … the misfiring Pistol will get out and O.D. before he can be prosecuted for the crime …

1980, Jefferson Starship bassist Paul Kantner’s brain starts bleeding during a recording session … he recovers fully after a few weeks in the hospital …

1988, after more than a decade of rancorous relations with John Fogerty, the aptly named Fantasy Records launches a suit claiming he plagiarized his own song, “Run Through the Jungle” with his solo effort “The Old Man Down the Road” … despite the fact that John Fogerty apparently sounds alike, this is one Fantasy that will not be fulfiled … the court rules in Fogerty’s favor six years later …

1995, business manager Yolanda Saldivar is sentenced to life for the murder of Tejano singing star Selena … she murdered the singer upon being confronted about embezzled funds … and let that be a lesson to all those contemplating a life of crime as hedge fund managers … never try to cover up embezzlement with murder … it doesn’t play well in court …

1999, an animated debut of Korn’s new single "Falling Away From Me" debuts on the season premiere of South Park … Tina Turner announces plans for her final stadium concert tour …

2001, in the midst of flagging computer sales, Apple announces its new MP3 player, the iPod … the immensely popular portable player signifies a new beginning for Apple and new company mantra, "iPod, therefore I am" (financially solvent, that is) …

2004, Ashlee Simpson is busted lip-synching on Saturday Night Live when the backing tracks with vocals from the song Simpson had performed earlier in the evening begin to play just as she is about to perform her second number … always a woman of integrity, Simpson takes the heat explaining, “My band started playing the wrong song.” … earlier in her career, in an interview with Lucky Magazine, Simpson talked about lip-synching: "I’m totally against it and offended by it. I’m going out to let my real talent show, not to just stand there and dance around. Personally, I’d never lip-synch. It’s just not me” … crusading New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announces that he has launched an investigation of payola practices in the music business … EMI, Warner Music Group, Sony-BMG, and Universal receive subpoenas demanding that they produce communications with independent record promoters—the middlemen paid by record companies to get airplay … during a call-in talk show on San Francisco radio station KGO shockjock Howard Stern tears into FCC Commission Chairman Michael Powell, whose agency had previously issued big fines against Stern for indecent on-air remarks … Stern accuses Powell of getting his government gig by virtue of his father Colin Powell’s heft as U.S. Secretary of State …

2005, U2 guitarist The Edge, producer Bob Ezrin, Gibson Guitar, and Guitar Center join forces under The Edge’s Music Rising banner to supply instruments to Gulf Coast musicians devastated by Hurricane Katrina … the two corporate partners pledge a minimum of $1 million … after taking heat for a copy-protection system that buried software deep in computers making them susceptible to viruses, Sony BMG announces it will stop embedding the anti-piracy software on its CDs … aarrgh, mateys … no friggin’ with the riggin’ … aargh, aargh, aargh …

2006, in an odd case of life imitating art, Paul McPike, a 32-year-old grocery store employee from Medford, OR, files a lawsuit charging that Green Day’s American Idiot album is entirely made up of songs that he wrote 12 years earlier when he was in high school … McPike says that he used to regale his high school pals with the original versions of "Jesus of Suburbia" and other classics back in 1992 … he believes that someone must have surreptitiously recorded one of his performances and leaked them to Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong … McPike, who has not recorded or performed since high school, offered Green Day’s album itself as evidence, claiming that Billie Joe didn’t sing the lyrics exactly as written on the album’s insert … we’d make the obvious Paul McPike/American Idiot joke, but it’s far too easy, and American Psycho is already taken … damn you Christian Bale, you stole our idea before we were able to think of it … we smell a lawsuit …

2007, Wu-Tang rapper RZA comes out on top in the Hip-Hop Chess Federation tournament in San Francisco … commenting on his strategy, RZA intones, "When my queen comes out, she’s comin’ out to shake her ass" …

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

Arrivals

October 22: Bobby Fuller of "I Fought The Law" fame (1943), punk rocker Stiv Bator, born Stivin Bator (1949)

October 23: rockabilly artist Johnny Carroll (1937), Freddie Marsden of Gerry & The Pacemakers (1940), Brill Building songwriter Ellie Greenwich (1940), rock parodist Weird Al Yankovic (1959)

October 24: harmonica player Sonny Terry (1911), 1950s R&B singer and pianist Willie Mabon (1925), Santo Farina of Santo and Johnny (1937), record producer Ted Templeman (1944), Steppenwolf drummer Jerry Edmonton (1946), R&B singer-songwriter Monica, born Monica Denise Arnold (1980)

October 25: Jon Anderson of Yes (1944), Arrested Development rapper Speech, born Todd Thomas (1968)

October 26: country singer Keith Urban (1967)

October 27: Nashville pianist Floyd Cramer (1933), session guitarist Kermit Chandler (1945)

October 28: country fiddler Charlie Daniels (1936), gravel-voiced singer Ted Hawkins (1936), British blues-rock legend Graham Bond (1937), Hank Marvin of The Shadows (1941), Wayne Fontana, of Wayne Fontana and the Mind Benders (1945), Rickie Reynolds of Black Oak Arkansas (1948), Thelma Hopkins of Tony Orlando & Dawn (1948), Stephen Morris of New Order (1957), singer-songwriter-guitarist Ben Harper (1969), singer Justin Guarini (1978)

Departures

October 22: Rolling Stones producer Jimmy Miller (1994), folk singer-songwriter Ewan MacColl (1989), Jane Dornacker, singer and dancer with The Tubes (1986), ’50s pop crooner Tommy Edwards (1969), barrelhouse pianist Walter Davis (1963)

October 23: R&B singer Ted Taylor (1988), Leonard Lee of the pop duo Shirley and Lee (1976), Buddy Holly sound-alike David Box (1964), Al Jolson (1950)

October 24: keyboardist Merle Saunders (2008), Sandy West, drummer and cofounder of The Runaways (2006), album cover illustrator Phil Hays (2005), gospel-trained crooner Joe Henderson (1964)

October 25: BBC DJ John Peel (2004), R&B keyboard player and singer Jon Thomas (1995), singer George Lee of Ruby and the Romantics (1994), Howard Blauvelt, bassist with Billy Joel (1993), country crossover singer Roger "King of the Road" Miller (1992), legendary rock promoter Bill Graham, born Wolfgang Grajonca (1991), singer Margo Sylvia of The Tune Weavers (1991), Johnnie Richardson, female half of the R&B duo Johnnie & Joe (1988), R&B/jazz saxophonist Willis "Gator" Jackson (1987), Gary Holton, lead singer of The Heavy Metal Kids (1985)

October 26: U.K. pop star Alma Cogan (1966), singer Wilbert Harrison (1994)

October 27: legendary producer Tom Dowd (2002), rockabilly artist Donnie Owens (1994), founding T-Rex member Steve Peregrine-Took, born Steven Ross Porter (1980)

October 28: Dolly’s partner, country singer Porter Wagoner (2007), R&B singer Billy Wright (1991), jazz arranger Oliver Nelson (1975), R&B reedman Earl Bostic (1965)

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