It happened this week

This is the week that was in matters musical…

1954, Bill Haley and the Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock” is released … however, it will not be successful until 1955, when it is featured on the soundtrack of the movie Blackboard Jungle

… Robert Allen Zimmerman celebrates his bar mitzvah … Robert will go on to achieve fame as Bob Dylan …

1955, Ruth Brown’s signature song, “Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean,” is banned in Britain by the BBC on the grounds that it might encourage wife beaters …

…Chuck Berry records his first single, “Ida Red” … during the session, producer Leonard Chess wants a name change … the new name is “Maybellene,” inspired by a Chess secretary’s makeup case …

1956, upon his return to England following a U.S. tour, band-leader – not future Prime Minister – Ted Heath observes: “Rock ‘n’ roll is mainly performed by coloured people for coloured people and is therefore unlikely to prove popular in Britain.” …

1958, Jerry Lee Lewis makes his English debut … his tour is cancelled when the British press reports that Lewis has just married his 14-year-old cousin …

1964, Millie Small’s “My Boy Lollipop” charts for the first time … playing harmonica on the recording is an unknown British singer named Rod Stewart …

1965, “You Really Got Me” takes on new meaning for the Kinks … upon finishing the aforementioned song at Cardiff’s Capitol Theatre, Dave Davies insults Mick Avory and kicks over his drum kit as revenge for a drunken fight the previous night in Taunton, apparently won by Mick … the normally mild-mannered Avory responds by giving Davies a thorough pranging about the head and ears with his hi-hat pedal … Davies is knocked unconscious, requiring 16 stitches to fix the kinks in his melon … Avery flees, hiding out for days to avoid arrest for Grievous Bodily Harm … to placate the police, Avory later claims that it’s all part of a new act in which band members would bludgeon each other with their instruments …

1966, Bob Dylan, accompanied by members of what will later become The Band, rocks Royal Albert Hall … the show turns up on white-jacketed bootleg LPs, becoming a hot item among Dylan fans … the Byrd’s single “Eight Miles High” is banned by some radio stations because of the lyrics’ alleged drug references … as it turns out, Gene Clark, who wrote the song, claimed it was inspired by an airplane flight … according to Clark, airliners fly at six or seven miles up, but eight miles high just sounded better …

1967, Jimi Hendrix signs with Reprise Records, his first recording deal with a major American company … Australia’s Easybeats reach number 16 on the U.S. charts with “Friday On My Mind” … the band is led by founder-guitarist George Young, who must have greatly influenced his younger brothers Malcolm and Angus … although the Easybeats had bigger hits Down Under, their downfall, due to management hassles, personnel changes, and yes, dope, places them squarely in the one-hit-wonder department in the U.S …

1970, The Grateful Dead play at the Hollywood Rock Festival in England … it’s their first concert outside of the U.S …

1973, Deep Purple releases “Smoke on the Water” … its signature seven-note guitar riff played in parallel fourths becomes an essential repertoire item for garage-band pickers worldwide …

1974, more than a thousand people receive medical care and a 14-year-old girl dies when fans run amok at a London concert starring teen idol David Cassidy …

1981, “All Those Years Ago,” George Harrison’s tribute to John Lennon, charts for the first time … Ringo Starr and Paul and Linda McCartney are also on the recording …

1989, for failing to produce songs under a 1985 contract, Roy Orbison’s estate is sued by the late rocker’s music publisher …

1992, Boyz II Men tour manager Khalil Rountree is shot and killed in a Chicago hotel …

1994, Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley are secretly married in the Dominican Republic … she sues for divorce 20 months later citing irreconcilable differences …

1998, Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee draws a six-month jail sentence for kicking his soon-to-be ex-wife Pamela Anderson Lee … Lee is ordered to perform 200 hours of community service and donate $5,000 to a shelter for battered women …

1999, when they learn that Queen Elizabeth II will be on hand, British punk band Manic Street Preachers turn down an opportunity to play a concert commemorating the opening of Wales’ parliament … the band has sworn to never play for the monarchy …

2000, Tom Petty files for bankruptcy protection … dragged into a legal dispute when ABC Records was sold to MCA Records, Petty refused to simply be transferred to another record label without his consent … he held fast to his principles for nine long months, which eventually led to him filing for bankruptcy …

2001, country diva Loretta Lynn opens her Coal Miner’s Daughter Museum in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee … it’s packed with 18,000 square feet of memorabilia gathered by the singer during her four-decade career …

2004, officials in South Carolina pardon “The Godfather of Soul,” James Brown for a laundry list of crimes, including drugs and weapons offences dating back to the 1980s … after copping a plea to being under the influence of a controlled substance, Courtney Love is ordered to enter a drug-rehab program … during a humanitarian tour in Africa, the Canadian band Sum 41 is overrun by the Congo’s ongoing civil war … the rockers hide out in a hotel bathroom near the Rwandan border … after seven hours they make their escape in a tank …

2005, Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor backs out of performing at the MTV Movie Awards after the network says he can’t use an untouched image of President George W. Bush as a backdrop … says Reznor, “We were set to perform “The Hand That Feeds” with an unmolested, straightforward image of George W Bush as the backdrop. Apparently the image of our president is as offensive to MTV as it is to me.” … sporting a giant afro, producer Phil Spector appears in L.A. Superior Court for a pre-trial hearing in the murder of actress Lana Clarkson … the judge rules that four earlier incidents in which the producer is alleged to have pointed guns at women could be admitted into evidence …

2006, Madonna opens her Confessions world tour in Los Angeles … tickets are sold out in minutes in North America, Europe, and Asia, resulting in new dates being added … the tour will gross more than $260 million—the biggest take in history by a female artist …

2007, a charge against former Creed frontman Scott Stapp stemming from an apparent confrontation with his wife is reduced to a misdemeanour … Stapp had been charged with aggravated assault with intent to commit a felony after he threw a bottle of Orangina at his wife and missed … Stapp will be subject to random drug and alcohol testing … apparently, with his alleged history of drug abuse, Stapp is expected to do quite well on the test, but according to authorities, he’ll have to make every answer count since there won’t be any extra credit … Stapp’s former band, Creed, sold more than 25 million records in the United States … he has since launched a solo career … of course, now with his wife on edge and the random alcohol and drug testing, we wonder what Scott will use to prime his creative engines for takeoff when he … you know … flies solo …

2008, The Grateful Dead donate thousands of artefacts to the University of California at Santa Cruz for a planned Dead research centre … at a press conference announcing the gift, Dead drummer Mickey Hart jokingly warns curators not to lick any envelopes or touch the stuff without gloves …

2009, Ozzy Osbourne sues Tony Iommi over rights to Black Sabbath’s name … Iommi, who registered the Black Sabbath trademark in the U.S. in 2000, claims in a counter-suit that co-founders Osbourne, bassist Geezer Butler, and drummer Bill Ward legally relinquished rights to the band’s name in the 1980s … Osbourne believes all four original members should share Black Sabbath’s name equally … “I hope,” he says, “that by me taking this first step that it will ultimately end up that way.” …

…and that was the week that was.

Arrivals:

May 20: Vic Ames of the Ames Brothers (1926), singer-pianist Shorty Long of The Inkspots (1940), Jill Jackson aka Paula of Paul and Paula (1942), Joe Cocker (1944), Cher, born Cherilyn Sarkisian La Pier (1946), Jimmie Henderson of Black Oak Arkansas (1954), The Go-Go’s Jane Wiedlin (1958), Susan Cowsill of The Cowsills (1960), Haircut 100’s Nick Heyward (1961), Tom Garman of Belly (1966), Busta Rhymes (1972), Naturi Naughton of 3LW (1984)

May 21: pianist-composer Thomas “Fats” Waller (1904), Tejano pioneer Lydia Mendoza (1916), King Records producer-songwriter Henry Glover (1921), Ronald Isley of The Isley Brothers (1941), Vincent Crane of Atomic Rooster (1943), Hilton Valentine of The Animals (1943), T-Rex bass player Steve Currie (1947), Bill Champlin of Chicago (1947)

May 22: composer Richard Wagner (1813), Jimmy Keyes, first tenor with The Chords (1930), Jackie Landry of The Chantels (1941), lyricist and Elton John collaborator, Bernie Taupin (1950), Morrissey of The Smiths (1959), Jesse Valenzuela of The Gin Blossoms (1962), singer-songwriter Johnny Gill of New Edition (1966), Dan Roberts of Crash Test Dummies (1967)

May 23: Vee-Jay Records founder Jimmy Bracken (1908), singer-dancer Benjamin Sherman “Scatman” Crothers (1910), jazz clarinetist-composer-bandleader Artie Shaw (1910), avant-garde jazz keyboardist Sun Ra, born Herman Blount (1914), R&B songwriter Robert “Bumps” Blackwell (1918), flashy R&B singer Billy Wright (1918), bluesman Arthur Gunter (1926), singer-actress Rosemary Clooney (1928), synth pioneer Robert Moog (1934), Jim Mankey of Concrete Blond (1955), Phil Selway of Radiohead (1967), R&B artist Maxwell, born Gerald Maxwell Rivera (1972), singer-songwriter Jewel Kilcher (1974)

May 24: novelty tunesmith Nervous Norvus, born James Drake (1912), Bob Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman (1941), Derek Quinn of Freddie & the Dreamers (1942), R&B and soul singer Patti LaBelle (1942), Sarah Dash of Labelle (1942), Steve Upton of Wishbone Ash (1946), Albert Bouchard of Blue Oyster Cult (1947), singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash (1955), rapper Heavy D, born Dwight Myers (1967), Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes (1969), country wunderkind Billy Gilman (1988)

May 25: record store founder “Waxie Maxie” Silverman (1910), avant-garde composer-percussionist Moondog, born Louis Thomas Hardin (1916), Buddy Holly’s producer Norman Petty (1927), R&B singer Donnie Elbert (1936), Levon Helm of The Band (1942), Ray Innes of The Swinging Blue Jeans (1942), country music artist Jessi Colter, born Miriam Johnson Eddy (1943), John “Poli” Palmer of Family (1943), Garry Peterson of The Guess Who (1945), Mitch Margo of The Tokens (1947), Klaus Meine of The Scorpions (1948), Stevie Nicks (1948), Hank Williams Jr. (1949), Verden Allen of Mott the Hoople (1949), mod/punk singer-songwriter Paul Weller (1958), rocker Lenny Kravitz (1964), singer-rapper-songwriter Lauryn Hill (1975)

May 26: blues singer Mamie Smith (1883), Al Jolson (1886), Miles Davis (1926), guitarist Mick Ronson (1946), Hole bassist Kristen Pfaff (1967)

Departures:

May 20: Italian pianist Renato Carosone (2001), blues harp player Willie Foster (2001), David Platz, head of Essex Music (1994), vocalist Rudy Lewis of The Drifters (1964)

May 21: Nicholas Dante co-author of “A Chorus Line” (1991), music industry entrepreneur Morris Levy (1990)

May 22: Everybody lives!

May 23: folk singer Utah Phillips (2008), session guitarist Mike Farrell (2000), Jimmy Fernandez, bassist with God Machine (1994), jazz guitarist Joe Pass (1994), Craig Pike, bassist for Iggy Pop (1993), Will Sin of the Scottish synth band The Shamen, born William Sinnot (1991)

May 24: Wilco singer-songwriter Jay Bennett (2009), smooth jazz bassist and NBA basketball star Wayman Tisdale (2009), Franco-American bebopper Barney Wilen (1996), Gene Clark of The Byrds (1991), Duke Ellington (1974), slide guitar ace Elmore James (1967)

May 25: album photographer David Gahr (2008), Bradley Nowell, lead singer and guitarist of Sublime (1996), funk and jazz guitarist Eric Gale (1994), surf music producer Gary Usher (1990), jazz and blues pianist Lloyd Glenn (1985), New Orleans R&B star Roy Brown (1981), bluesman Sonny Boy Williamson, born Aleck Ford Miller (1965)

May 26: television theme composer Earle Harry Hagen (2008), ska pioneer Desmond Dekker (2006), African guitarist Matima Kinuani Mpiosso (1996), William Powell, singer with The Ojays (1994), jazz and rock guitarist Sonny Sharrock (1994), bluesman “Reverend” Robert Wilkins (1987), R&B star Little Willie John, born William Edgar John (1968)

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