It happened this week

This is the week that was in matters musical…

1951, produced by the legendary Sam Phillips at Sun Records in Memphis, Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm record “Rocket 88” is released … considered groundbreaking for its use of the distorted electric guitar of Willie Kizart, it’s credited by many rock historians for being the first rock ‘n’ roll record … unfortunately for Turner, the bandleader and piano player, he is not the star on the record label—it is credited to saxophonist Jackie Brenston who handles lead vocals …

1954, Elvis Presley auditions for The Songfellows, a country vocal group … they pass on the future king saying he can’t sing harmony …

1955, Elvis Presley appears for the first time on television on a regional show called Louisiana Hayride

1965, The Beatles’ “Eight Days a Week” rides the top of the Billboard Pop Chart … oddly the song is never released as a single in England …

1966, a pre-Cream, pre-Blind Faith, all-star, one-time-only group called Eric Clapton & The Powerhouse is created to record a few tunes for an Elektra Records compilation … in addition to featuring Clapton on guitar, Steve Winwood (under the alias Steve Anglo) sings, Jack Bruce plays bass, Paul Jones on harmonica (under the alias Jacob Matthews), Pete York on drums … the ad hoc group records three tunes, one of which, “Crossroads,” will become a legendary live recording by Cream …

… John Lennon stirs up controversy when during a newspaper interview he remarks that the Beatles “are probably bigger than Jesus right now” … in the southern U.S.—the “Bible Belt”—Beatles’ records are ripped apart, stomped upon, and burned in protest; threats are made against the Beatles; and concerts are cancelled … Lennon is forced to explain his claim to the press by saying “I’m not saying that we’re better or greater, or comparing us with Jesus Christ as a person or God as a thing or whatever it is. I just said what I said and it was wrong. Or it was taken wrong. And now it’s all this” …

1966, Phil Spector produces the monumental Ike & Tina Turner track “River Deep, Mountain High” … it’s rumored that he spent more than $22,000 creating the orchestral backing track—an unprecedented sum in its day—word has it that Spector also paid Ike Turner, Tina’s spouse and Svengali, 20 grand to stay the hell out of the studio … the single goes to #3 in England but flops in the USA …

1967, Steve and Muff Winwood announce plans to quit the Spencer Davis Group … the brothers have been with the band four years … Steve goes on to form Traffic …

1969, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour TV show is canceled by CBS … during its run the show had featured many rock acts including The Beatles, The Doors, and The Who … the cancellation is seen as the result of the brothers refusing to censor comments made by guest Joan Baez about her husband David Harris who was facing prison as a war resister …

1970, Janis Joplin is fined $200 for onstage swearing in Tampa, Florida …

1971, Radio Hanoi broadcasts Jimi Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner” … the tape was sent to the North Vietnamese station by anti-war activist Abbie Hoffman …

1973, Paul McCartney pleads guilty and pays a fine of $240 after marijuana plants were found growing at his farm in Scotland … in his defense McCartney claimed that a fan gave him some seeds, which he planted, not knowing what would grow from them … this same week in 1975, Linda and Paul are pulled over for running a red light in Los Angeles … police sniff pot and find six to eight ounces in Linda’s purse and charge her with possession … since it isn’t his purse, Paul skates free …

1976, a wax version of Elton John goes on display at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum …

1979, Soul Brother (and Good Old Boy) Number One, James Brown, gets funky at the Grand Ole Opry …

1980, the number-one song on the pop chart this week is “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen …

1998, Alan Reed, an American dancer, sues Japanese pop star Seiko Matsuda for 48 million yen, charging that she pressured Reed, a member of her stage show, into having sex with her … his case is a loser …

2000, in the middle of a show in Fargo, North Dakota, Korn drummer David Silveria suddenly loses use of one of his wrists … Mike Bordin of Faith No More subs for the rest of the tour while Silveria heals … Chrissie Hynde is busted in New York for slashing leather goods at a Gap store … she’s part of a PETA action …

2004, Jack White of the White Stripes pleads guilty to misdemeanor assault and battery on singer Jason Stollsteimer of The Von Bondies … the charges stem from a bar fight between the two Detroit musicians that occurred the previous December at the CD release party for Blanche, another Detroit area band …White is fined $750 …

2005, XL Recordings’ Dizzee Rascal is arrested in East London after he is found carrying pepper spray (considered a firearm)… his companion is charged with possession of drugs (marijuana) and an offensive weapon (a baton and more pepper spray) …

2008, MTV pulls Gnarls Barkley’s video Run for having the potential to induce seizures … before the song reaches its conclusion the retro dancers are surrounded by strobing, criss-crossing and interweaving black and white patterns … enough to cause the video to fail the Harding Test—software designed to protect sufferers of photosensitive epilepsy from having seizures … Van Halen postpones 17 more concert dates so that guitarist Eddie Van Halen “can continue medical tests to define a course of treatment,” … that band’s website notes that Eddie remains “under doctors’ care” …

2009, in another indication of foundering CD sales, BMG Music Service, the last of the record clubs to offer those 10-CDs-for-a-penny promotions, announces that it is shutting down … former competitor Columbia House had closed a couple of years earlier … the Allman Brothers kick off their 40th anniversary year with a three-week residency at New York’s Beacon Theatre—an annual tradition for the Southern rockers … the shows feature a star-studded lineup of friends sitting in with the band that inludes Eric Clapton, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Sheryl Crow, Billy Gibbons, Taj Mahal, Levon Helm, Buddy Guy, Boz Scaggs, and Stanley Clarke …

…and that was the week that was.

Arrivals:

March 4: Miriam Makeba (1932), Bobby Womack (1944), singer-songwriter Shakin’ Stevens (1948), Billy Gibbons (1948), Chris Squire of Yes (1948), Emilio Estefan of Miami Sound Machine (1950), Jason Newsted of Metallica (1963), Patrick Hannan of The Sundays (1966), Fergal Lawler of The Cranberries (1971)

March 5: blues great J.B. Lenoir (1929), R&B star Tommy “High Heel Sneakers” Tucker (1939), Electric Prune James Lowe (1945), “Electric Avenue” Eddy Grant (1948), Alan Clark of Dire Straits (1952), singer-songwriter-producer Teena Marie (1956), Bobby DeBarge (1956), Mark Smith of The Fall (1957), Andy Gibb (1958), Craig Reid and Charlie Reid of The Proclaimers (1962), John Frusciante of The Red Hot Chili Peppers (1971)

March 6: bluesman Furry Lewis (1893), western swing pioneer Bob Wills (1905), Bernie Wayne, pop composer who wrote “Blue Velvet” (1919), Wes Montgomery (1923), Sylvia Robinson of Mickey and Sylvia (1936), bluegrass banjo legend Doug Dillard of The Dillards (1937), Mary Wilson of the Supremes (1944), Hugh Grundy of The Zombies (1945), Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour (1947), singer Kiki Dee (1947), Megadeth guitarist Chris Broderick (1970)

March 7: Maurice Ravel, composer of “Bolero” (1875), Zola Taylor, the only female member of The Platters (1938), producer and ex-Zombie Chris White (1943), singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt (1944), J. Geils Band vocalist Peter Wolf (1946), Procol Harum organist Matthew Fisher (1946), Taylor Dayne, born Leslie Wonderman (1962)

March 8: Micky Dolenz of The Monkees (1945), Eagles bassist Randy Meisner (1946), Three Dog Night’s Michael Allsup (1947), Mel Galley of Whitesnake (1948), Little Peggy March of “I Will Follow Him” fame (1948), singer and synth pop pioneer Gary Numan (1958), Peter “Pedro” Gill of Frankie Goes to Hollywood (1960), Julian Lennon (1963), Cheryl James of Salt-N-Pepa (1964), singer-songwriter Shawn Mullins (1968), Kameelah Williams of 702 (1978)

March 9: composer Samuel Barber (1910), Motown songwriter Clarence Paul (1928), R&B stalwart Lloyd Price (1933), Red Steele, bass singer with The (Five) Willows (1934), country singer Mickey Gilley (1936), Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere & the Raiders (1942), John Cale of The Velvet Underground (1942), guitarist Robin Trower (1945), Ron Wilson of The Surfaris (1945), Jimmie Fadden of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (1948), R&B singer Jeffrey Osborne (1948), The Move’s Trevor Burton (1949), Robert Sledge of Ben Folds Five (1968), rapper Lil’ Bow Wow (1987)

March 10: legendary trumpeter Leon “Bix” Beiderbecke (1903), Tex-Mex legend, producer Huey “The Crazy Cajun” Meaux (1929), Dexter Tisby of The Penguins (1935), swamp rocker Johnny Allen (1938), Dean Torrence of Jan & Dean (1940), Eddie Guzman, percussionist for Rare Earth (1944), Tom Scholz of Boston (1947), Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam (1963), Neneh Cherry (1964), Edie Brickell (1966), Sims Ellison, bassist with Pariah (1967)

Departures:

March 4: Piedmont blues guitarist John Cephas (2009), Beatles’ engineer and Pink Floyd producer Norman Smith (2008), songwriter-pianist Marvin Jenkins (2005), guitarist John McGeoch (2004), country artist Eddie Dean of “I Dreamed Of a Hillbilly Heaven” fame (1999), Minnie Pearl (1996), songwriter Eden Ahbez (1995), jazz guitarist Mary Osborne (1992), founder of the doo-wop Herald and Ember labels Al Silver (1992), bebop guitarist Tiny Grimes (1989), Richard Manuel of The Band (1986), R&B bandleader Red Saunders (1981), Brit rocker Mike Patto (1979), Raymond Edwards of The Silhouettes (1977)

March 5:: Bob Timmins, an addiction specialist who worked with Kurt Cobain and Slash (2008), Vivian Stanshall of The Bonzo Dog Band (1995), blues brother John Belushi (1982), Patsy Cline (1963), Cowboy Copas (1963), Hawkshaw Hawkins (1963)

March 6: David Williams, rhythm guitar soloist on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” (2009), producer Mickey Most (2003), Sir Joseph Lockwood, head of Britain’s EMI records (1991)

March 7: Jimmy “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” Boyd (2009), Portland-based blues harp player and singer Paul deLay (2007), Malian blues singer and guitarist Ali Farka Toure (2006), Jesse Taylor, former guitarist with the Joe Ely Band (2006), country bandleader-songwriter Pee Wee King (2000), producer Dave Jordan (1995), Texas blues singer-guitarist George “Little Hat” Jones (1981), country singer Jack Anglin (1963)

March 8: Grand Ole Opry star Hank Locklin (2009), Adam Faith, British pop singer and actor (2003), session drummer Bobby Chouinard (1997), novelty songwriter-performer and DJ, Vic Venus (1994), jazz singer and bandleader Billy Eckstine (1993), Ron “Pigpen” McKernan of the Grateful Dead (1973)

March 9: country singer Chris LeDoux (2005), George Scott, founding member of the gospel group The Blind Boys of Alabama (2005), Rust Epique, guitarist for pre)Thing (2004), rapper Notorious B.I.G. (1997), Mercury Wilson, lead rapper-singer for The Force M.D.’s (1995), R&B songwriter and producer Robert “Bumps” Blackwell (1985), Harry Womack, bassist, member of the Valentinos, and brother of Bobby Womack (1974)

March 10: Danny Joe Brown, lead singer of Molly Hatchet (2005), Dave Blood, bassist for the Dead Milkmen (2004), jazz and R&B singer LaVern Baker (1997), Doc Green, baritone singer with The Drifters (1989), Andy Gibb (1988), bluesman Blind Joe Reynolds (1968)

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