It happened this week

Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland
Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland original cover

This is the week that was in matters musical …

1877, Ernst Siemens patents the first loudspeaker … little could he know …

1933, R&B vocalist Clyde McPhatter is born … his melodic tenor will become a signature part of The Dominos’ and The Drifters’ hits of the 1950s … the latter group’s reading of “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” with McPhatter’s lilting lead vocal has become a holiday favorite … tragically, McPhatter will die at age 39, ravaged by years of drug and alcohol abuse …

1955, Elvis Presley is named Most Promising Country & Western Artist in Billboard ‘s annual poll of disc jockeys …

1957, Harry Belafonte enjoys a #1 British pop chart hit with his “Mary’s Boy Child” … it’s the first English single to move over a million records …

1959, Johnny & The Moondogs compete in the final elimination round held in Manchester for British television’s TV Star Search … because the band hasn’t the money to cover a hotel room for the night, they catch the last train back to Liverpool before the audience registers its votes … it’s the next day before the lads who will later morph into The Beatles learn that they didn’t make the cut, having failed to move the needle on the “clapometer” far enough …

1960, The Shirelles release “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” with songwriter Carole King on drums …

…”Stay” by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs holds down the #1 slot on the Billboard Pop Chart … the song is notable for being the shortest hit single in the rock era, running a mere one minute and 37 seconds … a number of covers later reach the chart, including Jackson Browne’s 1978 rendition …

1966, proving that audiences are not necessarily any smarter than critics, a made-for-TV make-believe pop band hits #1 with their debut album, The Monkees … to be fair, the band includes a couple of actual musicians-Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork-and some serious talent is employed to write their tunes including Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Neil Diamond, Bobby Hart, and Tommy Boyce … Nesmith will get a few of his tunes on Monkees records and has a hard time swallowing the vocals-only rule imposed by Monkees producers … by their third album, the Monkees will start playing their own instruments and Leon Russell will begin producing some of their biggest hits …

1968, U.K. book and record chain WH Smith refuses to display the Hendrix Electric Ladyland album because its sleeve bears a photo of a bevy of nude women … later editions sold in the U.S. and the rest of the world feature a head shot of Hendrix instead …

1969, Janis Joplin is arrested in her dressing room at a concert in Tampa on profanity charges … earlier, in the auditorium, when a cop screamed at fans through a bullhorn demanding they sit down, she told him “Don’t @#&* with these people. Hey mister, what are you so uptight about? Did you buy a five-dollar ticket?” … she similarly disses police backstage when they insist that SHE tell the audience to sit down … Joplin gets out on a $50 bond and the charges are eventually dropped …

1972, Danny Whitten, guitarist in Crazy Horse, Neil Young’s backup band, dies of a heroin overdose … the talented axeman and songwriter provided a sympathetic foil for Young, trading licks with him on the extended guitar jams on the long-form rockers “Down by the River” and “Cowgirl in the Sand” … Whitten’s OD will loom large on Young’s dark album Tonight’s The Night and the somber “Needle and the Damage Done” …

1973, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jr., son of “The Killer,” meets his demise in a car wreck on a rural highway near Hernando, Mississippi. … at 19 he’s taken over the drum throne in his dad’s band and just played on TV’s Midnight Special … it’s the second time Lewis has lost a son; 11 years earlier his son Steve drowned in the family swimming pool …

1974, while Deep Purple’s Richie Blackmore plays a concert in San Francisco, someone impersonating the smokin’ guitar man smashes up a borrowed Porsche in Iowa City … John Lennon’s “Whatever Gets You Through the Night” lodges in the #1 pop chart slot … Elton John contributes piano, organ, and backing vocals to the single …

1978, Queen plays Madison Square Garden … during their hit number “Fat Bottomed Girls,” they are accompanied by semi-nude women riding bicycles …

… Get on your bikes and ride…

1981, the U.S. pop chart experiences an invasion from Oz this week when Olivia Newton-John, Little River Band, Air Supply, and Rick Springfield all register hit singles …

1984, Madonna’s album Like a Virgin comes out, leaving listeners to wonder in what way she is …

1987, Sly Stone turns up an hour late for an L.A. comeback concert and is promptly arrested for failing to pay child support … adopting the guise of a country-rock band called The Dalton Brothers, U2 opens for themselves at the L.A. Coliseum … the band developed the collective alter ego during the third leg of the Joshua Tree tour … the Daltons consist of Betty Dalton (Adam Clayton), Luke Dalton (The Edge), Alton Dalton (Bono), and Duke Dalton (Larry Mullen, Jr.) … the band wears wigs, sunglasses, and C&W clothing, plays just a few songs, and goes unrecognized by the majority of fans … former Clash drummer Topper Headon receives a 15-month prison sentence for supplying heroin to a man who later OD’d …

1988, Whitney Houston’s debut album goes multiplatinum with nine million copies sold … only Boston has ever matched this performance with a debut LP … Steve Love, former Beach Boys manager and brother of lead singer Mike Love, gets five years probation for embezzling nearly a million bucks from the group …

1990, German producer Frank Farian reveals that Robert Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan, collectively known as Milli Vanilli, never sang on their debut single, “Girl You Know It’s True” … the producer acknowledges the duo lip-synced during personal appearances … eventually Milli Vanilli will give back their Grammys and lapse into obscurity … Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood suffers two broken legs when he is hit by a passing car … Wood’s vehicle has broken down on the busy M4 motorway near Marlborough and he is trying to wave traffic past … singer Rod Stewart is sued by a soccer fan who charges that a ball he booted into the stands damaged a tendon in her middle finger, making sex with her husband difficult … one can only speculate about the mating habits of British football fans …

1992, two members of the former doo-wop act, Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, are awarded a judgment for nearly $4 million in payment of overdue royalties on their 1956 hit “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” …

1993, Nirvana nails an MTV Unplugged session in one continuous take … the show is aired, warts and all, one month later …

1997, “Fifth Beatle” keyboardist Billy Preston is sentenced to three years in prison on cocaine-related charges …

1998, Kmart launches its MusicFavorites.com website offering 100,000 songs for download … despite its early entry into the electronic commerce arena, the site soon is eclipsed by competitors … Mötley Crüe fans have cause for celebration when the S’Crue, a store stuffed with Crüe-related merch, opens on L.A.’s trendy Melrose Boulevard …

1999, Texas musician Doug Sahm dies … a child prodigy, he played dozens of instruments and gained national attention in the 1960s leading The Sir Douglas Quintet … in 1990 he helped form the Tex-Mex supergroup, Texas Tornados, that included Flaco Jimenez, Freddy Fender, and Sahm’s long-time keyboard man Augie Meyers on the wheezy Farfisa …

2000, Michael Abram, the man who a year earlier broke into George Harrison’s home and stabbed him before being subdued by the ex-Beatle and his wife, is found guilty by reason of insanity and ordered confined to a mental hospital for an indefinite stay … record retailer HMV says it will not stock The Offspring’s new single because the band is offering it as a free download at its website …

2002, Texas billionaire David Bonderman hires the Rolling Stones to play his 60th birthday bash … the fee? a mere $7.5 million …

2004, Wu-Tang Clan founding member Russell Jones, better known as Ol’ Dirty Bastard, dies in a Manhattan recording studio after complaining of chest pains … constantly in trouble with the law, ODB was one of the most colorful performers on the hip-hop scene … the cause of death is later pinned to a lethal mixture of cocaine and the prescription drug Tramadol, a synthetic opiate … The New York Post reports that former Van Halen vocalist David Lee Roth is training to become an emergency medical technician … the story recounts how Roth, while riding with an ambulance crew, saved the life of a Bronx heart-attack victim using a defibrillator … according to his tutor Linda Reissman, “You would never know you were dealing with a rock ‘n’ roll guy. His commitment is really touching. He wants to help people” …

2006, Microsoft launches its Zune MP3 player to lackluster reviews … the company, desperate to forge an alliance with record labels, cuts a deal with Universal Music Group that not only pays Universal a piece of the action on each download but also gives UMG an extra dollar per Zune sold … a heavy marketing effort with lots of hype on blogs that target indie music fans fails to ignite a significant response … former Procol Harum organist Matthew Fisher sues former bandmate Gary Brooker claiming that his distinctive organ work played an important role in the success of the smash hit “A Whiter Shade of Pale” and that he is overdue a payday (there is no word as to whether J.S. Bach whose melody was appropriated for the song will also be in line for payment) … Fisher is later awarded a 40% share in the copyright and is entitled to royalties going back to 2005 when he filed suit …

2007, in a Rolling Stone interview, much-arrested Babyshambles frontman Pete Doherty talks about his new-found sobriety … “I can honestly say that the reason I do drugs is not because of my childhood, or because I have self-esteem issues or resentments. It’s purely because I enjoy it.” … press reports say Michael Jackson is struggling to avoid foreclosure on his Neverland Ranch … the trustee of the 2,800-acre California estate has given Jacko 90 days to catch up his house note or get evicted … to compound Jackson’s problems, he is also the target of a $7 million suit by Prince Abdullah of Bahrain who says the singer flaked out on a deal to create a joint record label … meanwhile, MTV Arabia begins broadcasting across the Middle East with a mix of regional and Western artists as well as cleaned-up versions of shows such as Punk’d and Pimp My Ride …

And that was the week in music.

Arrivals:

November 12: Ruby Nash Curtis of Ruby & The Romantics (1939), Arthur Tavares (1946), Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser of Blue Oyster Cult (1947), Errol Brown of Hot Chocolate (1948), Leslie McKeown of The Bay City Rollers (1955), David Ellefson of Megadeth (1964), R&B singer Tevin Campbell (1976), The Strokes bassist Nikolai Fraiture (1979)

November 13: John Novarese, owner of Hi Records (1923), R&B singer Justine “Baby” Washington (1940), Annette Kleinbard of The Teddy Bears (1941), R&B singer and producer Timmy Thomas (1944), Bill Gibson of Huey Lewis and the News (1951), Pogues drummer Andrew Ranken (1953), Walter Kibby of Fishbone (1964)

November 14: composer Aaron Copland (1900), Sir Joseph Lockwood of EMI Records (1904), Gene Krupa Band vocalist Johnny Desmond (1921), composer Joonas Kokkonen (1921), Chicago harp man Carey Bell (1936), Cornell Gunter of The Coasters (1938), Freddie Garrity of Freddie and the Dreamers (1940), Memphis producer and musician Jim Dickinson (1941), accordionist-zydeco performer Buckwheat Zydeco (1947), James Young of Styx (1948), singer and guitarist Stephen Bishop (1951), Frankie Banali of Quiet Riot (1953), Alec John Such of Bon Jovi (1956), rapper Joe “Run” Simmons of Run-D.M.C. (1964), Brian Yale of matchbox twenty (1968), Travis Barker of blink-182 (1975), R&B singer Adina Howard (1975)

November 15: elevator-music maestro Mantovani (1905), Ike Turner’s pianist Clayton Love (1927), R&B singer Clyde McPhatter (1932), pop singer Petula Clark (1932), vocalist Little Willie John born William J. Woods (1937), Frida of ABBA (1945), bassist Steve Fossen of Heart (1949), Michael Cooper of Con Funk Shun (1952), R&B singer Alexander O’Neal (1953), Tony Thompson of Chic (1954), Tonight Show bandleader Kevin Eubanks (1957), Joe Leeway of Thompson Twins (1957), Ol’ Dirty Bastard AKA Russell Jones of Wu-Tang Clan (1968)

November 16: “Father of the Blues” W.C. Handy (1873), Atlantic Records artist-producer-arranger Jesse Stone (1901), Atlantic Records cofounder and producer Herb Abramson (1916), Toni Brown of Joy of Cooking (1928), folksinger Bob Gibson (1931), long-time Howlin’ Wolf guitarist Hubert Sumlin (1931), Nashville producer Felton Jarvis (1934), R&B singer Garnett Mimms (1937), James Brown band guitarist Troy Seals (1938), John Ryanes of The Monotones (1940), Winfred “Blue” Lovett of The Manhattans (1943), acoustic guitarist-composer Will Ackerman (1949), Patti Santos of It’s a Beautiful Day (1949), Mani of The Stone Roses (1962), jazz singer Diana Krall (1964), Bryan Abrams of Color Me Badd (1969), Trevor Penick of O-Town (1979)

November 17: folksinger Gordon Lightfoot (1938), novelty songster Jimmy Cross (1939), Bob Gaudio of The Four Seasons (1942), Gene Clark of The Byrds (1944), Martin Barre of Jethro Tull (1946), Jim Babjak of The Smithereens (1957), Harry Rushakoff of Concrete Blonde (1959), drag performer-singer RuPaul (1960), singer-songwriter-guitarist Jeff Buckley (1966), Ben Wilson of Blues Traveler (1967), Ronnie DeVoe of Bell Biv DeVoe (1967), Isaac Hanson of Hanson (1980)

November 18: Sir William Gilbert of the Gilbert and Sullivan songwriting team (1836), conductor Eugene Ormandy (1899), Cuban singer Compay Segundo (1907), comedian-singer Imogene Coca (1908), R&B singer-bandleader Hank Ballard (1927), Bob Sanderson of The Royaltones (1935), Herman Rarebell of The Scorpions (1949), rock singer-songwriter-guitarist Graham Parker (1950), Whitesnake bassist Rudy Sarzo (1950), John McFee of The Doobie Brothers (1953), singer and two-hit wonder John Parr (1954), Michael Ramos of The BoDeans (1958), British pop singer Kim Wilde (1960), Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett (1962), singer-songwriter Duncan Sheik (1969), rapper Fabolous (1979)

Departures:

November 12: former Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell (2008), drummer Tony Thompson of Chic (2003), jazz pianist Kenny Kirkland (1998), slide guitar and dobro player Rainer Ptacek (1997) Cause and Effect keyboard player and vocalist Sean Rowley (1992)

November 13: Ol’ Dirty Bastard AKA Russell Jones of Wu-Tang Clan (2004), Donald Mills of The Mills Brothers (1999), R.J. Vealey of the Atlanta Rhythm Section (1999), R&B pianist Bill Doggett (1996), Ronnie Bond of The Troggs (1992), drummer Jerry Lee Lewis Jr. (1973)

November 14: John Mellencamp keyboardist John Cascella (1992), singer Dallas Taylor of The Danderliers and The Dells (1986), dub pioneer Keith Hudson (1984), country bluesman Rube Lacey (1969)

November 15: composer-arranger Saul Chaplin (1997), disco producer Jacques Morali (1991)

November 16: British pop pianist Russ Conway (2000), Kid Rock sideman Joe C. AKA Joseph Calleja (2000), Gospel Music Hall of Fame member J.D. Sumner (1998), Dino Valenti of Quicksilver Messenger Service (1994), Francis Donia of Tavares (1984), raw-voiced soulman O.V. Wright (1980), music journalist Mike Leadbitter (1974)

November 17: Levi Stubbs of The Four Tops (2008), R&B belter Ruth Brown (2006), Stax soul singer Arthur Conley (2003), singer-songwriter Terry Stafford (1996), blues scholar, producer, and label owner Pete Welding (1995), cofounder of RPM Records Jules Bihari (1984), bassist John Glascock of Jethro Tull (1979)

November 18: singer-songwriter Jim Ford (2007), jazz pianist Cy Coleman (2004), composer-arranger Michael Kamen (2003), Tex-Mex and rock bandleader Doug Sahm (1999), Alan Hull of Lindisfarne (1995), swing bandleader and dancer Cab Calloway (1994), prolific session drummer Freddie Waites (1989), Tom Evans of Badfinger (1983), Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs drummer Doug Roberts (1981), jazz singer Teddi King (1977), Danny Whitten of Crazy Horse (1972), Memphis bluesman “Little” Junior Parker (1971)

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