It happened this week

This is the week that was in matters musical…

1936, Billboard magazine, which began publishing news about circuses in 1894, publishes the first record sales chart … Joe Venuti’s jazz number “Stop! Look! Listen!” is the first record to occupy the #1 slot …

1950, Sam Phillips opens the recording facility in Memphis that will later be named Sun Studio … considered by many to be the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, the studio will be the site of sessions by Elvis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Howlin’ Wolf, and dozens of other rock and blues luminaries …

1957, Elvis Presley makes his first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show … his swiveling hips almost get him banned from further appearances until it’s agreed he would only be shown from the waist up while performing … Fats Domino records “I’m Walkin” in New Orleans … the song will chart on both the pop and R&B charts, at #4 and #1 respectively …

1958, Gibson obtains a patent for its Flying V guitar … with a futuristic design ahead of its time, the instrument doesn’t sell well at first and is discontinued … revived in later years, it becomes associated with many great blues and rock players including Albert King …

1959, Coral Records issues Buddy Holly’s single, “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” … it’s the last release by the bespectacled rocker before his death, and unlike most of his self-penned hits, it’s written by Paul Anka … “C’mon Everybody” by Eddie Cochran enters the singles chart at #35 … it becomes a bigger hit in Britain, where it reaches #6 …

1960, Johnny Cash plays the first of many free shows he will perform at San Quentin Prison … in the audience is a convict by the name of Merle Haggard … Merle credits the concert with helping him turn his life around … upon his release from prison, Haggard dedicates his life to music instead of crime …

1961, what’s in a name? … at a New Year’s Eve memorial concert for Ritchie Valens in Long Beach, California, a band previously known as Kenny and the Cadets, The Pendletons, and Carl and the Passions, settles on the name The Beach Boys … apparently the name sticks …

1964, British singer Cleo Sylvestre covers the 1958 Teddy Bears’ hit “To Know Him is to Love Him” penned by Phil Spector … though the record sinks without a trace at the time, it has come to be highly collectible in recent years … the backing band is an unruly outfit called The Rolling Stones … the same Rolling Stones who embark on their first British tour as headliners … the opening act is the American girl group, The Ronettes …

1965, Leo Fender announces he is selling Fender Guitars to CBS for $13 million … he will continue as a consultant to CBS for several years before going on to form Music Man and G&L …

1966, While goofing around in the studio the Beach Boys cut a raucous, practically acapella version of “Barbara Ann,” a minor hit for the Regents in 1961 … oddly enough, the lead is sung by Dean Torrance of Jan and Dean … The Beatles enter the studio to re-record “I Feel Fine” and “Help!” for the documentary The Beatles Live at Shea Stadium … the original live recordings are practically inaudible due to shrieking fans …

1967, The Doors self-titled debut album nails the #2 spot on the album chart, while its most notable song, “Light My Fire,” sits atop the singles chart … in a mere eight months the band will issue its follow-up smash LP, Strange Days … The Doors will remain the most popular band among high school students for generations to come, as evidenced by a nationwide poll held in 1992 …

1969, A shipment of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s album Two Virgins is seized by authorities in New Jersey because the jacket sports a picture of the pair in the buff, proving that regardless of talent and fame, some people just shouldn’t be allowed to go naked …

1971, The Beatles officially announce their breakup … Paul McCartney files in the London High Court for dissolution of The Beatles Co. partnership …

1973, Pink Floyd finishes recording Dark Side of the Moon at Abbey Road Studios in London … the influential album began as a musical piece “Eclipse: A Piece for Assorted Lunatics” with its first live performance nearly a year earlier in Brighton, U.K. …

1974, Jim Croce’s “Time in a Bottle” goes gold … it’s Croce’s second gold record since his death in a plane crash months earlier … more posthumous hits will follow, including “Operator,” “I Got a Name,” “I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song,” and “Workin’ At The Car Wash Blues” …

1975, 1,000 ticket-seeking Led Zeppelin fans who have camped out overnight in the lobby of the Boston Garden go on a rampage causing $30,000 in damage … Boston mayor Kevin White promptly pulls the plug on the show …

1977, the Roxy opens on this first day of the year in London’s Covent Garden with The Clash as headliners, going against a general club ban on punk music … it will soon be the place for punk …

1978, Bruce Springsteen plays Cleveland on New Year’s Eve and gets his cheek torn open when someone, obviously not a big fan, throws a firecracker at the stage …

1982, Steve Van Zandt marries Maureen Santora in Asbury Park, NJ … Bruce Springsteen is the best man and Percy Sledge and Little Richard sing a duet of “When a Man Loves a Woman” at the reception …

1984, Rick Allen takes a knocking and keeps on rocking … in an auto accident in England, the indomitable drummer for Def Leppard loses his left arm … his admirable and loyal bandmates refuse to replace their injured comrade … upon recovery, in an inspiring display of determination and will, Allen adapts his kit and later rejoins the band …

1985, rock music suffers another loss at the hands of aviation, when a plane crash takes the lives of former teen idol Rick Nelson and the members of his Stone Canyon Band … Andy Chapin, bassist from a later incarnation of Steppenwolf is also lost in the crash …

1992, Elton John’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” enters the charts, marking the 23rd consecutive year in which he enjoys a Top 40 hit … a milestone only equaled by Elvis …

1993, bassist Bill Wyman announces his split with The Rolling Stones …

1994, Rod Stewart performs for three million fans at Rio’s Copacabana Beach … it’s a world record …

1997, while vacationing at his mother’s home at Molokai, Hawaii, rock guitarist Randy Wolfe, better known as Randy California, is lost in the ocean after heroically rescuing his son … according to witnesses, California was swimming with his 12-year-old son, Quinn, when they were caught in a riptide … California shoved his son into a wave that propelled the boy safely to shore before being dragged in himself … moving to New York at age 15 from California, the talented guitarist found himself a gig in a band called Jimmy James and the Blue Flames … the Jimmy James in question was none other than Jimi Hendrix, who gave California his stage name as means of differentiating him from another Randy in the band (dubbed Randy Texas by Hendrix) … his parents, unwilling to let him travel to England with Hendrix and Chas Chandler, caused Randy to miss out on being part of the Jimi Hendrix Experience … together with his stepfather, jazz drummer Ed “Cass” Cassidy, he founded the influential band Spirit in 1967 and wrote their two biggest hits, “I Got a Line on You” and “Nature’s Way” …

2000, George Harrison is released from the hospital where he was recovering from stab wounds inflicted by a crazed intruder at his home two days earlier … country music legend Kitty Wells, along with her husband Johnny Wright, perform a farewell show before a capacity crowd at the Nashville Night Life Club … Wells is 81, Wright 86 … in the house are such Nashville notables as Ricky Skaggs, Connie Smith, and Marty Stuart …

2004, Britney Spears marries childhood friend Jason Alexander in Las Vegas’ Little White Wedding Chapel after a weekend of courtship … 55 hours later the marriage is annulled … Quantegy, the last U.S. company to make magnetic recording tape, shuts down operations … in the wake of the announcement, eBay lists a sudden spate of tape offerings … panicky producers start hoarding the stuff …

2005, reissue labels have a field day when European copyrights expire on a number of classic pop and rock-and-roll songs recorded in 1954 and earlier … titles include Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” and “Only You” by The Platters … Beatles guitarist George Harrison is added to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Britain’s definitive record of the great and the good … and by great and good, they mean the very rich … while driving in the Detroit area, rapper Obie Trice is shot in the head … his injury isn’t serious and he is treated and released from hospital … Ray Davies of The Kinks is shot in the thigh after he gives chase to a pair of muggers who snatched his female companion’s purse while they strolled on a quiet New Orleans street (well, up until recently quiet) … some media report on the story with the headline “You Really Shot Me” …

2006, Kid Rock gets to play DJ at Jet in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve … commenting on the gig, he chortles, “It was $200,000 to act crazy and go out of my f***ing mind.” …

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

Arrivals:

December 31: composer Jule Styne (1905), folk singer Odetta Holmes (1930), Andy Summers of The Police (1942), John Denver (1943), Pete Quaife of The Kinks (1943), Patti Smith (1946), Burton Cummings of The Guess Who (1947), disco queen Donna Summer, born LaDonna Gaines (1948), Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith (1951), George Thorogood (1952), innovative guitarist Michael Hedges (1953), Scott Ian of Anthrax (1963), Joe McIntyre of New Kids on the Block (1972)

January 1: country blues guitarist Frank Stokes (1888), bandleader Xavier Cugat (1900), Al McKibbon, bassist with Dizzy Gillespie, George Shearing, Monk, and Miles (1919), Country Joe McDonald of Country Joe and the Fish (1942), Grandmaster Flash (1956), R&B singer Shareefa, born Sharieefah Faradah Cooper (1984)

January 2: baritone jazz and R&B crooner Arthur Prysock (1929), country singer Roger Miller, whose “King of the Road” was a big crossover hit (1936), Chick Churchill of Ten Years After (1949), Glenn Goins, guitarist and vocalist with George Clinton (1954), Douglas Robb of Hoobastank (1975), Little Drummer Boy of Immature (1981)

January 3: Beatles producer George Martin (1926), Chess Records singer and guitarist Danny Overbea (1926), Carl McVoy, pianist with The Bill Black Combo (1931), composer-producer-singer-actor Van Dyke Parks (1941), Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills & Nash (1945), Led Zep bassist John Paul Jones (1946), Rob Arnold, lead guitarist for metal band Chimaira (1980)

January 4: Don Arden, born Harry Levy, manager of Small Faces, ELO, Black Sabbath, and father of Sharon Osbourne (1926), Nino Tempo, member of session giants, The Wrecking Crew, and half of the duo Nino Tempo and April Stevens (1935), fusion guitarist John McLaughlin (1942), songwriter Brandon Chase (1943), Stax soul singer Arthur Conley (1946), Bernard Sumner of New Order (1956), country music singer Patty Loveless (1956), Michael Stipe of R.E.M. (1960), Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins (1962), David Glasper of Breathe (1965), Beth Gibbons of Portishead (1965), country music artist Deana Carter (1966), The Used bassist Jeff Howard (1979)

January 5: opera singer Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones AKA “Black Patti” (1869), smooth-voiced New Orleans R&B singer Johnny Adams (1932), Marilyn Manson born Brian Hugh Warner (1969)

January 6: banjo master Earl Scruggs (1924), singer-pianist-guitarist-harmonica player Wilbert Harrison (1929), Paul Wilson of The Flamingos (1935), session player Van McCoy of “The Hustle” fame (1944), Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd, born Roger Keith Barrett (1946), vocalist Sandy Denny of Fairport Convention (1947), Kim Wilson of The Fabulous Thunderbirds (1951), AD/DC guitarist Malcolm Young (1953), Kathie Sledge of Sister Sledge (1959), Jazzie B of Soul II Soul (1963), Mark O’Toole of Frankie Goes To Hollywood (1964)

Departures:

December 31: manager of Crosby, Stills & Nash, Gerry Tolman (2005), guitarist Eddie Shaver (2000), Nashville pianist Floyd Cramer (1997), teen pop star Rick Nelson (1985), Patrick Woodward, Rick Intveld, and Bobby Neal of Rick Nelson’s Stone Canyon Band (1985), bassist Andy Chapin (1985), bluesman Robert Pete Williams (1980), R&B writer-producer Bert Berns (1967)

January 1: House of Freaks singer-guitarist Bryan Harvey (2006), singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt (1997), singer-songwriter Ted Hawkins (1995), Buck Ram, R&B manager, composer, and producer who worked with The Platters (1991), Brit blues pioneer Alexis Korner (1984), honky-tonk piano player Moon Mullican (1967), country music legend Hank Williams (1953)

January 2: Juan Garcia Esquivel, creator of space-age bachelor-pad music (2002), jazz trumpeter Nat Adderly, who worked in the shadow of his older brother alto saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley (2000), Capitol Records producer Nik Venet (1998), guitarist Randy California of Spirit (1997), songwriter Mort Shuman (1991) David Lynch of The Platters (1981), ’50s R&B singer Larry Williams (1980), singing cowboy Tex Ritter (1974)

January 3: Al Duncan, house drummer for Chess Records (1995), pianist Carl McVoy of The Bill Black Combo – died on his birthday – (1992), Felton Jarvis, producer of Elvis Presley (1981), pianist Amos Milburn, West Coast bluesman who was largely responsible for transforming jump blues into R&B (1980), Beatles roadie Mal Evans (1976)

January 4: balladeer John Gary (1998), Phil Lynott, bassist and lead vocalist with Thin Lizzy (1984)

January 5: blues musician Sam “Bluzman” Taylor (2009), Sonny Bono of Sonny & Cher (1998), “Finian’s Rainbow” composer Burton Lane (1997), jazz composer-bassist Charles Mingus (1979)

January 6: gospel music singer Claude Jeter (2009), Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton (2009), country producer and talent scout Ken Nelson (2008), “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow, pedal steel guitarist with the Flying Burrito Brothers (2007), Laura Webb Childers of The Bobettes, first all-girl rock group to score a Top Ten hit (2001), French jazz pianist Michel Petrucciani (1999), renowned country fiddler Robert Russell “Chubby” Wise (1996), Hal Lucas, lead vocalist of The Clovers (1994), Dizzy Gillespie, jazz trumpeter-bandleader-singer-composer (1993), King Tubby, born Osbourne Ruddock, developer of dub-style reggae and DJ mixing boards (1989), tenor saxman Bobby Fields (1981), Georgeanna Tillman of the Marvelettes (1980), Johnny Moore, leader of the pioneering R&B band The Blazers [not to be confused with Johnny Moore of The Drifters] (1969)

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