It happened this week

This is the week that was in matters musical…

1925, future drummer Lyman Henderson is born this week in Nitro, West Virginia … the boy has no hands due to a congenital defect … two decades later Henderson will cause a stir when he makes his debut on the blasé New York bebop scene with his radical drumming technique that employs both his head and stumps … billed as No-Hands Henderson, the drummer occasionally knocks himself senseless during especially spirited solos … in 1983 he will publish his tell-all autobiography, Rimshots into Headshots

1957, at a Big Apple recording session, a string of pearls worn by avant-garde vibraphonist Lucille “Moms” Malreux becomes unstrung, clattering across the bars of the vibes producing an effect later described by jazz critic Stanley Dance as “polytonal chord clusters” …

1967, Elvis frees the slaves of Graceland …

1977, RCA releases The King Requests, which consists of taped phone calls Elvis made to a Memphis deli over the years ordering sandwiches, pizza, and other snacks for delivery to Graceland … the calls were recorded over a span of 12 years on 37 cassettes by the enterprising deli owner who sold them to RCA for $385,000 … and yes, every call ends with Elvis saying “thang-you-very-much” … the remastered CD version from 1983 contains hilarious outtakes including the time Elvis called and couldn’t remember what he wanted as well as the day he called three times in five minutes with the exact same order …

1979, The Economist reports that the cost of funkmeister Rick James’ cocaine intake for 1978 exceeds the GNP of Zimbabwe by a ratio of 5 to 4 …

1983, Nashville picker extraordinaire Chet Atkins introduces his new Atkins Diet … losing weight is now simple—you just pick at your food …

1984, William Shatner releases an album of all-original songs inspired by his experiences playing a police officer on the popular TV program T.J. Hooker … song titles include “Book ‘Em Hooker,” “The Sergeant and the Lady,” “Flashing Lights,” and “Hot Pursuit” …

1987, sultry country songstress Crystal Gayle marries maker of premium guitar strings, Ernie Ball … music industry observers refuse to prognosticate on the singer’s future were she to tour under her married name, Crystal Ball …

1988, during a show in Throckmorton, Vermont, guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen suffers second- and third-degree burns to his fingers in the midst of an extended solo when his fretboard bursts into flames …

1989, Miles Davis gets his name into the Guinness Book of Records when it’s determined his autobiography sets the all-time record for the number of times the word “motherf***er” is repeated in a single written work …

1990, Keith Richards checks into Geneva’s Gesundtheit Clinic for his semi-annual blood exchange and decides to splurge on a glistening liver, freshly dug out of a young, teetotaling highway accident victim …

2001, singer-turned-actor Huey Lewis attempts a musical comeback with a newly formed supergroup … Lewis teams up with former Buffalo Springfield drummer Dewey Martin and ex-Velvet Lou Reed … Reed, reconsidering the band’s name and eponymous album, Huey, Dewey, and Louie and fearing it will trash his New York boho cred, files for an injunction preventing distribution of the record … the album is never released …

2002, velvet-throated crooner Tony Bennett collaborates on a duets album with shock-rocker Marilyn Manson titled “I Left My Heart in a Seething Pus-Filled Pit” …

2004, ex-Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighter Dave Grohl sets a new record by playing on every single album released in the past year …

2005, Alvin and the Chipmunks hit the tour trail again after a 30-year hiatus … their tour rider specifies no brown acorns …

2006, ever the trend-setter, Madonna causes an uproar in both the religious and scientific communities by skirting cloning laws and taking her passion for Ashtanga Yoga to new heights … the singer has her DNA combined with cryogenically-stored DNA samples from India’s late spiritual leader Mahatma Ghandi … according to attending physicians, little Mahatmadonna is doing fine …

2007, American Idol contestant Geena Osterman sets a new record for vocal gymnastics when she lets loose with 28 runs of 9 octaves or more during her rendition of “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” … her voice seizes up on the last chorus, prompting judge Randy Jackson to leap to the rescue disentangling her larynx and vocal cords with a pair of pliers …

2008, drummer Vinnie Paul signs an endorsement deal with the Louisville Slugger Company … Paul now uses a pair of the company’s GAMEP72 Derek Jeter Signature Ash baseball bats in place of regular drumsticks … “I needed to take my drumming to a level of intensity that my old sticks just couldn’t handle, beefy though they were. With these bats, I’ll hit it out of the park on every tune!” … Paul goes on to disclose he’s had trouble securing a drumhead endorsement deal …

2009, in his first interview since the dismal 2008 reception to the long-awaited Chinese Democracy album, Axl Rose reveals the reason for the album’s commercial failure to David Fricke of Rolling Stone: “I didn’t have enough time to get it right” …

2011, pop music sustains a stunning setback when Antares, maker of the pitch-correcting wunderware AutoTune, announces they are closing their doors … panicking pop performers flood therapists’ offices suffering from what is coined “Milli Vanilli Syndrome” …

2012, after Scream—his 2009 collaboration with hip-hop producer Timbaland—tanks commercially and critically, former Soundgarden/Audioslave singer Chris Cornell decides on yet another genre change … he steps into the studio to record a lively collection of polka favorites … prompted by the success of Chickenfoot—a supergroup consisting of ex-Van Halen members Michael Anthony and Sammy Hagar along with Joe Satriani and Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers—dejected rockers Flea, David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen, and John Frusciante form a supergroup of their own, the mighty Chickenbutt … Ted Nugent shows up at a Michigan reelection rally for President Barack Obama to show his support …

2014, 311 continues their bi-annual “311 Day” concerts with an epic 85-song set at The Fillmore in San Francisco … fans aren’t sure if it’s 80 different songs or one really long one …

2017, former pop diva Britney Spears makes her Home Shopping Network debut flogging her new line of anti-cellulite creams …

2021, history is made when U2 performs the first concert on the moon … while fans are flown to the venue on a state-of-the-art space shuttle, the band hitches a ride on Bono’s ever-inflating ego …

2023, The Rolling Stones scrap the West African leg of their Still Bloody Well Doing It World Tour after a reliable source for Depends can’t be found …

…and that was the April Fool’s week that was. 😉

Arrivals:

April 1: jazz singer Alberta Hunter (1895), ’50s crooner Frankie Laine (1913), boogie-woogie pianist Amos Milburn, who transformed jump blues into R&B (1927), singer-actress Debbie Reynolds (1932), Rudolph Isley of The Isley Brothers (1939), Alan Blakely of The Tremeloes (1942), John Barbata of Jefferson Starship (1945), Small Faces bassist Ronnie Lane (1948), reggae singer Jimmy Cliff, born James Chambers (1948), session drummer and Toto cofounder Jeff Porcaro (1951), guitarist Dennis Boon of The Minutemen (1958)

April 2: blues sax man J.T. Brown (1910), French pop star Serge Gainsbourg (1928), Marvin Gaye (1939), Leon Russell (1941), Kurt Winter of The Guess Who? (1946), Emmylou Harris (1947)

April 3: pop singer and actress Doris Day (1924), country musician-songwriter Don Gibson (1928), country singer Johnny Horton (1929), R&B/funk guitarist Jimmy “Chank” Nolen (1934), jazz organist Jimmy McGriff (1936), bassist Scot LaFaro (1936), Phillipe Wynne of The Spinners (1938), songwriter Jeff Barry, born Joel Adelberg (1939), Jan Berry of Jan & Dean (1941), The Duprees’ Joe Canzano (1941), singer Billy Joe Royal (1942), Joey Vann of The Duprees (1943), Tony Orlando (1944), The Band’s Richard Manuel (1945), Elton John bassist Dee Murray (1946), singer-guitarist Richard Thompson (1949), Grand Funk’s Mel Schacher (1951), Mike Ness of Social Distortion (1962), Criss Oliva of Savatage (1963)

April 4: Cecil Gant (1913), Muddy Waters, born McKinley Morganfield (1915), writer-actor-dancer-singer-poet laureate Maya Angelou (1928), Tiny Tim, born Herbert Khaury (1930), Margo Sylvia of The Tune Weavers (1936), trumpeter Hugh Masekela (1939), soulman Major Lance (1941), Tangerine Dream’s Christophe Franke (1942), Allman Brothers’ bassist Berry Oakley (1948), Dire Straits’ Pick Withers (1948), Peter Haycock of Climax Blues Band (1952), Humble Pie’s Jerry Shirley (1952), guitarist Gary Moore (1952), Mick Mars of Mötley Crüe (1956)

April 5: pop singer Gale Storm (1922), jazz drummer Stan Levy (1926), The Platters’ Tony Williams (1928), Leroy Griffin of The Nutmegs (1934), sax man Stanley Turrentine (1934), fiddler Dave Swarbrick of Fairport Convention (1941), fiddler David LaFlamme of It’s a Beautiful Day (1941), British bluesman and rocker Eric Burdon (1941), Allan Clarke of the Hollies (1942), Agnetha Faltskog of ABBA (1948), Everett Morton of The English Beat (1951), Dream Theater’s James LaBrie (1963), Mike McCready of Pearl Jam (1964)

April 6: blues harpist Walter “Shakey” Horton (1917), Burnetta “Bunny” Jones (1917), Merle Haggard (1937), Michelle Phillips of The Mamas & The Papas (1944)

April 7: Billie Holiday (1915), bandleader-composer Percy Faith (1918), Ravi Shankar (1920), country singer Bobby Bare (1935), Charlie Thomas of The Drifters (1937), Don Julian of The Meadowlarks (1937), Spencer Dryden of The Jefferson Airplane (1938), trumpeter Freddie Hubbard (1938), Mick Abrahams of Jethro Tull (1943), Bill Kreutzmann of The Grateful Dead (1946), Pat Bennett of The Chiffons (1947), blue-eyed soul singer John Oates (1949), folkie Janis Ian (1951), tenor saxophonist Bob Berg (1951), Bruce Gary of The Knack (1952), Victoria Addams of Spice Girls (1976)

April 8: jazz chanteuse Carmen McRae (1922), Jimmy Witherspoon (1923), Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel (1929), Steve Howe (1947), Izzy Stradlin of Guns N’ Roses (1962), Julian Lennon (1963), Biz Markie born Marcel Hall (1964)

Departures:

April 1: Denny Barcelona, drummer with Louis Armstrong (2007), Zombies guitarist Paul Atkinson (2004), Gibson guitar designer-inventor Ted McCarty (2001), jazz musician and A&R man Jesse Stone (1999), death-rock vocalist Rozz Williams of Christian Death (1998), soul singer Jimmy Hughes (1997), Sister Luc-Gabrielle AKA The Singing Nun, born Jeanine Deckers (1985), ragtime pianist Scott Joplin (1917)

April 2: West Coast alto sax player Bud Shank (2009), session guitarist Cliff White (1998), organist Joe Madison (1995), Buddy Rich (1987)

April 3: Lester “Big Daddy” Kinsey of The Kinsey Report (2001), session sax man Alvin “Red” Tyler (1998), Rob Pilatus of the disgraced Milli Vanilli (1998), Roosevelt “Booba” Barnes (1996), jazz songstress Sarah Vaughan (1990)

April 4: songwriter Kurt Weil (1950)

April 5: former Kiss guitarist Mark St. John (2007), pop singer Gene Pitney (2006), Layne Staley of Alice in Chains (2002), drummer Colin “Cozy” Powell (1998), Kurt Cobain (1994), Nesuhi Ertegun, cofounder of Atlanta Records (1989), Danny Rapp of Danny & The Juniors (1983), soul singer Joe Hinton (1981), Memphis session guitarist Rick Harvey (1981), Bob Hite of Canned Heat (1981)

April 6: Niki Sullivan of The Crickets (2004), vibes maestro Red Norvo (1999), Tammy Wynette (1998), Wendy O. Williams (1998), session guitarist Edward Freche (1995), Elvis soundalike Ral Donner (1984)

April 7: L.A. session drummer Carlos Vega (1998), Harold “Sonny” Wright of The Diamonds (1996), Lee Brilleaux aka Dr. Feelgood (1994), King Records producer Henry Glover (1991), Who manager Kit Lambert (1981), rockabilly legend Charlie Shivers (1961)

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