It happened this week

This is the week that was in matters musical…

1933, knowing he will soon die of tuberculosis and wanting to provide for his family, Jimmy Rodgers, aka the Singing Brakeman and the Blue Yodeler, begins his final recording sessions with Peer records … Rodgers is accompanied by a nurse throughout the sessions and rests on a cot between songs … he dies two days after laying down his last tracks …

1945, the first album chart debuts in the U.S. … albums consist of collections of 78rpm discs that usually come in a box or sleeved binder …

1955, on the second night of a back-to-back engagement at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida, Elvis Presley sparks the first riot of his burgeoning career with the phrase, “Girls, I’ll see you backstage” … the female portion of the 14,000-strong audience goes into such a frenzy that the once-and-future King’s clothes and shoes are torn from his body as he tries to escape … after witnessing the event Colonel Tom Parker is convinced of Elvis’ marketability …

1956, Buddy Holly gets fitted for his first pair of contact lenses … as fate would have it, the creator of the Elvis Costello look can’t stand the eye irritation and sticks with his trademark spectacles …

1958, Jerry Lee Lewis is granted a divorce from his second wife … six months after marrying his third wife, and second cousin, Myra Gale Brown … it’s a big week for R&B as The Clovers sign with Poplar Records after seven years with Atlantic … The Drifter’s classic “Drip Drop” is released, and Jerry Butler & the Impressions make their recording debut with “For Your Precious Love” …

1960, instead of touring as the backup band for Billy Fury, the job they had been offered, The Silver Beatles wind up on tour in Scotland this week with Johnny Gentle, a Liverpool pop singer … feeling it beneath their dignity, the members use fake names for the tour … Paul becomes Paul Ramone (a surname later appropriated by four Forest Hills, Queens, punks in the mid-70s), George becomes Carl Harrison (a nod to Carl Perkins), and Stu Sutcliffe temporarily becomes Stu deStael …

1964, a Shreveport, LA radio station proclaims Elvis Presley Week … they feature a Presley song every hour and give away Presley albums and singles … it is all in a failed attempt to counter the attention being given to The Beatles …

1965, FBI agents drop in on Wand Records … they are investigating the song “Louie Louie” as recorded by The Kingsmen to determine just what the lyrics really are … the FBI’s report concludes that no obscene lyrics can be distinguished and that much of the song is unintelligible gibberish …

1967, Brian Wilson shelves his opus magnum album Smile that he’s previously referred to as his “teenage symphony to God” … its non-release spurs decades of speculation over what tracks would have been released, in what order, and how great the album may or may not have been … a newly recorded version will appear in 2004 …

1968, disavowing the Beatles’ discipleship at the feet of Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, John Lennon says, “We made a mistake. He’s human like the rest of us.” …

1969, a fire breaks out in a grocery store next to the Fillmore East while The Who are playing there … one of New York’s finest in plain clothes mounts the stage with the intent of grabbing the mike to warn the crowd of the fire … Pete Townshend mistakes the cop for an over-enthusiastic fan and aggressively ejects him from the stage … when the word finally gets out over the PA, the crowd thinks it’s a hoax until the cops forcibly remove Townshend from the stage … he spends the night in the Big Apple pokey for his mistake …

1978, Philips announces it will launch the Compact Disc with digital recording and playback systems … in 1982 Japan receives the first CDs … a year later in Europe and the U.S., CD players are selling for $1,000 … Iggy Pop’s new LP is T.V. Eye, recorded live the previous year with David Bowie playing keyboards on several tunes …

1979, Patti Smith tells the New York Daily News that she’s relocating her base of musical operations from NYC to Detroit where she’ll live with her new beau (and future husband) Fred Smith, former guitarist with MC5 … her frank appraisal of what she’s leaving behind: “I really have no patience at all for so much of the crap in the punk rock scene … all this shit sticking safety pins in cheeks and all the fucking violence, I feel, is just a style and fad.” …

1980, a Memphis court indicts Dr. George C. Nichopoulos on 14 counts of over-prescribing drugs to Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis, plus nine other patients … in 1977, Dr. Nick prescribed 10,000 hits of amphetamines, barbiturates, narcotics, tranquillizers, sleeping pills, laxatives, and hormones for Presley … the indictment results in 22 years of legal wrangling and, ultimately, the end of Dr. Nick’s medical career … INXS debuts in their native Australia with the single “Simple Simon” … Devo’s third LP Freedom of Choice features what will become their most well-known song, “Whip It” …

1981, Toni Basil’s new single is “Mickey” … its high-school cheerleader video goes into heavy rotation on MTV … all together now: “Oh Mickey you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind, hey Mickey.” … formerly, Toni was an assistant choreographer and dancer on Shindig and The T.A.M.I Show, and later choreographs videos and shows for The Talking Heads, David Bowie, Bette Midler, and Tina Turner, and is a guest judge on seasons four and five of So You Think You Can Dance … as an actress she appears in Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces

1986, Elvis Costello and Pogues singer-bassist Cait O’Riordan take the matrimonial plunge … their marriage comes on the heels of Rum, Sodomy & the Lash, the Pogues’ latest release …

1990, Elton John plays at the Taj Mahal … that is, the Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City … the occasion is the Donald Trump-owned casino’s grand opening …

1993, Barry White, Bette Midler, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers all appear as guest voices for their respective cartoon counterparts on the season finale of The Simpsons

2000, The Artist announces that he will reclaim the name Prince, ending a seven-year period during which his legal name was an unpronounceable symbol … he originally changed his name June 7, 1993 … the symbol, which is an amalgam of the male, female, and soapstone alchemy symbols, is retained as a logo …

2004, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco completes a stint in rehab to kick an addiction to painkillers he developed while battling migraines … Tweedy’s stay had forced the band to cancel a handful of tour dates, including a stop at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California … two weeks after he checks out of the Chicago-area treatment centre the band will hit the road to tour behind the group’s fifth album A Ghost Is Born

2006, Rolling Stone reports that music downloads are up 83 percent for the year and digital downloading has become a significant piece of the pie, accounting for 14 percent of music sales … Paul McCartney and Heather Mills announce that their four-year marriage is splitsville and they will separate … in an announcement, the couple states, “Having tried exceptionally hard to make our relationship work given the daily pressures surrounding us, it is with sadness that we have decided to go our separate ways” …

2007, 79-year-old Fats Domino plays his first gig since Hurricane Katrina struck the Big Easy … his 30-minute set at Tipitina’s reprises all his big hits including “I’m Walkin'” and “Blueberry Hill” …

… while rounding up film footage of The Who for a planned documentary about the seminal band, filmmaker Murray Lerner turns up film shot at their legendary Live at Leeds show … a former Leeds University student found it literally at the bottom of a barrel … the movie, Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who is released in the fall …

… Evanescence drummer Rocky Gray and guitarist John LeCompt are summarily canned … LeCompt reports on his blog that he was fired on the phone by frontwoman Amy Lee who later posts a comment on the band website, “Evanescence is alive and well. [John and Rocky] were ready to move on.” … Midas-touch producer Rick Rubin cuts a deal with Columbia Records in which he assumes co-chairmanship of the company while also bringing his imprint, American Recordings, into the Columbia fold … a master at working both sides of the street, Rubin’s deal allows him to continue to produce records for artists on other major labels …

2008, after issuing his recent work on Rhino and Nonesuch, former Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson returns to Capitol Records for the release of his new album, That Lucky Old Sun, his first studio album since 2004’s Gettin’ In Over My Head

2009, after a three-decade performance hiatus in the U.S., Cat Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam, plays a show at the El Rey Theatre in L.A … White Stripes drummer Meg White is engaged to marry Jackson Smith, son of Patti Smith and the late Fred “Sonic” Smith of MC5 … Bob Dylan’s 33rd studio album, Together Through Life, debuts in the top slot on the Billboard album chart … in doing so, Dylan unseats Neil Diamond as the oldest artist to accomplish this feat …

…and that was the week that was.

Arrivals:

May 13: editor of the Schwann Catalog William Schwann (1913), Memphis DJ Dewey Phillips (1926), The Weavers’ Fred Hellerman (1927), Harold Winley of The Clovers (1933), Ritchie Valens born Richard Valenzuela (1941), Mary Wells (1943), Carolyn Franklin (1944), harp player “Magic” Dick Salwitz of The J. Geils Band (1945), bassist Danny Klein of The J.Geils Band (1946), Peter “Overend” Watts of Mott the Hoople (1947), Stevie Wonder born Steveland Morris (1950), Danny Kirwan of Fleetwood Mac (1950), Paul Thompson of Roxy Music (1951), Darius Carlos Rucker of Hootie & The Blowfish (1966)

May 14: Bobby Darin born Walden Robert Cassotto (1936), songwriter Ed Labunski (1937), Jack Bruce of Cream (1943), Derek Leckenby of Herman’s Hermits (1943), Gene Cornish of The Rascals (1945), David Byrne (1952), Ian Astbury of The Cult (1962), C.C. DeVille of Poison (1962), Mike Inez of Alice in Chains (1966), Fabrice “Fab” Morvan of Milli Vanilli (1966), Danny Wood of New Kids on the Block (1969), Freaky Tah of The Lost Boyz (1971), Natalie Appleton of All Saints (1973), R&B singer Shanice (1973)

May 15: country singer Eddy Arnold (1918), Joe Cuoghi, owner of Hi Records (1922), folk singer Utah Phillips (1935), singer-guitarist Trini Lopez (1937), country singer K.T. Oslin (1942), Graham Goble of the Little River Band (1947), Brian Eno (1948), Dennis Fredericksen of Toto (1951), Dwight Twilly Band drummer-singer Phil Seymour (1952), Mike Oldfield of Tubular Bells fame (1953), Prince Be of PM Dawn (1970), Ahmet Zappa (1974)

May 16: flamboyant pianist Liberace (1919), jazz singer Betty Carter (1930), The Diamonds’ Ted Kowalski (1931), singer Kripp Johnson of The Del-Vikings (1933), jazz drummer Billy Cobham (1944), guitarist Robert Fripp (1946), Darrell Sweet, drummer with Nazareth (1947), The Chiffons’ Barbara Lee (1947), Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic (1965), Janet Jackson (1966), New Edition’s Ralph Tresvant (1968)

May 17: composer Erik Satie (1866), guitarist Malcolm Hale of Spanky And Our Gang (1941), R&B pianist-vocalist-author Sonny Knight (1934), roots musician Taj Mahal (1942), singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester (1944), drummer Bill Bruford (1949), George Johnson of The Brothers Johnson (1953), Iron Maiden’s Paul Di’anno (1958), singer-songwriter Enya, born Eithne N’ Bhraonáin (1961), Page McConnell of Phish (1963), Pearl Jam drummer Dave Abbruzzese (1964), Trent Reznor (1965), Jordan Knight of New Kids on the Block (1970), Kandi Burruss of R&B girl group Xscape (1976)

May 18: Kansas City blues shouter “Big” Joe Turner (1911), crooner Perry Como (1918), Glenn Hardin of The Crickets (1939), T Rex bass player Bobby Del Din (1942), Joe Bonsall of the Oak Ridge Boys (1948), Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman (1949), country singer George Strait (1952)

May 19: U.K. pop star Alma Cogan (1932), Pete Townshend (1945), Phil Rudd of AC/DC (1946), Blood, Sweat and Tears saxophonist Gregory Herbert (1947), ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill (1949), Joey Ramone (1951), Grace Jones (1952), Heaven 17’s Martyn Ware (1956), Ian Harvie of Del Amitri (1962), Jenny Berggren of Ace of Base (1972)

Departures:

May 13: session trumpeter Floyd Arceneaux (1992), Bob Wills (1975)

May 14: jazz musician Charles "Buddy" Montgomery, brother of Monk and Wes Montgomery (2009), bluegrass singer-guitarist Jimmy Martin (2005), Frank Sinatra (1998), Rudy West of The Five Keys (1998), Keith Relf of the Yardbirds (1976)

May 15: Star Trek TV theme composer Alexander “Sandy” Courage (2008), Rob Gretton, manager of Joy Division and New Order (1999), Frederick Van Pallandt, half of the Danish duo Nina and Frederick (1994), Barbara Alston of The Crystals (1992), Paul Wilson, baritone singer with The Flamingoes (1988)

May 16: Clifford Antone, owner of Antone’s, the Austin club where SRV got his start (2006), ’60s soul singer Marv Johnson (1993), song and dance man Sammy Davis Jr. (1990), pianist, arranger, and producer Ernie Freeman (1981), songwriter Arthur Gunter (1976)

May 17: Lawrence “Ramrod” Shurtliff, longtime Grateful Dead roadie (2006), Bon Jovi producer Bruce Fairbairn (1999), Johnny “Guitar” Watson (1996), bandleader Lawrence Welk (1992), Roy Montrell, guitarist with Fats Domino’s band (1979)

May 18: jazz drum titan Elvin Jones (2004), influential reggae producer Augusto Pablo (1999), Robert Carr of the duo Robert & Johnny (1993), John Fenton, singer with The Diamonds (1982), Joy Division vocalist Ian Curtis (1980), composer Gustav Mahler (1911)

May 19: Freddie Garrity of Freddie and the Dreamers (2006), Harold Kelling, guitarist with The Hampton Grease Band (2005), blues singer Arnold “Gatemouth” Moore (2004), singer-violinist Freyda Epstein of Trapezoid (2003), jazz singer Susannah McCorkle (2001), gospel and soul singer Odia Coates (1991), Ron Wilson, cousin of The Beach Boy Wilsons and member of The Surfaris (1989), Gene Mumford, lead singer of Billy Ward & The Dominos (1977), tenor sax master Coleman Hawkins (1969), composer Charles Ives (1954)

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