It happened this week

This is the week that was in matters musical…

1883, New York sees the grand opening of its Metropolitan Opera House …

1908, Columbia runs an ad in The Saturday Evening Post touting its new two-sided records …

1931, Blind Willie McTell and Mary Willis record “Talkin’ To You Wimmen’ About The Blues” and “Merciful Blues” for Paramount Records in Atlanta …

1954, 50,000-watt Memphis radio station WDIA bans airplay on a list of singles deemed to have suggestive lyrics … included are the Drifters’ “Honey Love” together with Hank Ballard and the Midnighters’ “Work With Me Annie,” not to mention its follow-up platter, “Annie Had a Baby” …

1956, R&B singer Clarence Henry’s “Ain’t Got No Home” is released on the Argo label … because he sings like a frog on the record, for the rest of his career he will be known as Clarence “Frogman” Henry …

1960, Ben E. King, former lead singer for The Drifters, records his first solo numbers, “Spanish Harlem” and “Stand by Me” … the songs will climb to number 10 and number 4 respectively on the pop chart, and “Stand by Me” will prove to have long legs … Brenda Lee’s “I Want to be Wanted” reaches #1 on the pop chart, making this her third million-seller hit in a row …

1961, 20-year-old Bob Dylan records his eponymous debut album accompanied only by his guitar and harmonica … studio cost is a whopping $400 … filling out the studio’s tax reporting form, he lists his name as “Blind Boy Grunt” … the young folkie goes on to become one of the most important musical figures of the 20th century …

1962, Steveland Morris Judkins makes his first recording … instant success eludes him with this first record, but the accolades are not far away for the artist eventually known as Stevie Wonder … James Brown records a live show in the face of objections from his record label … an in-concert soul album has never been done before … Live at the Apollo, financed by Brown himself, turns out to be among the Godfather of Soul’s most brilliant performances … the album goes on to sell millions …

1964, after an audition with EMI, a London band known as The High Numbers is rejected … who? … exactly … formerly known as The Who, the name change is imposed by manager Pete Meaden, who, adding further insult, dresses the boys in mod suits … not to worry, the kids turn out alright … they resume their name and climb to fame …

1966, The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” charts for the first time on its way to #1 … the single is the result of six months’ work and 17 sessions in four different studios at an unprecedented cost of $16,000 …

1973, John Lennon files suit against the U.S. government alleging that the FBI tapped his phone in an effort to deport the former Beatle …

1975, justifying his title of The Boss, Bruce Springsteen makes both the cover of Time and Newsweek

1978, Sid Vicious attempts to off himself at Rikers Island, where he’s awaiting trial for the murder of Nancy Spungen … the misfiring Pistol will get out and O.D. before he can be prosecuted for the crime … Keith Richards receives a suspended one-year sentence after pleading guilty to heroin possession in Toronto … he’s also ordered to play a charity concert for the blind …

1980, Jefferson Starship bassist Paul Kantner’s brain starts bleeding during a recording session … he recovers fully after a few weeks in the hospital …

1988, after more than a decade of rancorous relations with John Fogerty, the aptly named Fantasy Records launches a suit claiming he plagiarized his own song, “Run Through the Jungle” with his solo effort “The Old Man Down the Road” … despite the fact that John Fogerty apparently sounds just like himself, this is one Fantasy that will not be fulfiled … the court rules in Fogerty’s favor six years later …

1992, long before her career as a writer of children’s books, Madonna releases Sex—a steel-bound book of erotic photos of herself and other beautiful people that sells out the first run of a half million copies in no time … she also releases her album Erotica this week … it will sell over two million copies … “Bill Oddie, Bill Oddie, put your hands all over my body...”

1995, business manager Yolanda Saldivar is sentenced to life for the murder of Tejano singing star Selena … she murdered the singer upon being confronted about embezzled funds … Generation X loses another of its greatest voices when Blind Melon singer Shannon Hoon is found dead of a cocaine overdose on the band’s tour bus in New Orleans … Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde makes a return trip to her hometown of Cleveland to sing the national anthem at game three of the World Series …

1998, the publisher of Alice Cooper’s “Eighteen” files suit against Cooper’s primary makeup rock emulators KISS, claiming they ripped off his song “Eighteen” for their song, “Dreamin'” … Cooper has nothing to do with it and hasn’t even heard the KISS tune … asked about the outcome years later, Cooper says, “I think we all forgot to show up at court. Paul Stanley bought me a cheeseburger to make up for the whole thing.” … meanwhile in Toledo, Ohio, singer Eddie Nichols of the swing band Royal Crown Revue is arrested for taking a swing at a sheriff in a diner …

1999, an animated version of Korn’s new single “Falling Away From Me” debuts on the season premiere of South Park … Tina Turner announces plans for her final stadium concert tour …

2001, in the midst of flagging computer sales, Apple announces its new MP3 player, the iPod … the immensely popular portable player signifies a new beginning for Apple and new company mantra, “iPod, therefore I am” (financially solvent, that is) …

2004, Ashlee Simpson is busted lip-synching on Saturday Night Live when the backing tracks with vocals from the song Simpson had performed earlier in the evening begin to play just as she is about to perform her second number … always a woman of integrity, Simpson takes the heat explaining, “My band started playing the wrong song.” … earlier in her career, in an interview with Lucky Magazine, Simpson talked about lip-synching: “I’m totally against it and offended by it. I’m going out to let my real talent show, not to just stand there and dance around. Personally, I’d never lip-synch. It’s just not me.” … crusading New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announces that he has launched an investigation of payola practices in the music business … EMI, Warner Music Group, Sony-BMG, and Universal receive subpoenas demanding that they produce communications with independent record promoters—the middlemen paid by record companies to get airplay … during a call-in talk show on San Francisco radio station KGO shock jock Howard Stern tears into FCC Commission Chairman Michael Powell, whose agency had previously issued big fines against Stern for indecent on-air remarks … Stern accuses Powell of getting his government gig by virtue of his father Colin Powell’s heft as U.S. Secretary of State …

2005, U2 guitarist The Edge, producer Bob Erin, Gibson Guitar, and Guitar Center join forces under The Edge’s Music Rising banner to supply instruments to Gulf Coast musicians devastated by Hurricane Katrina … the two corporate partners pledge a minimum of $1 million … after taking heat for a copy-protection system that buried software deep in computers making them susceptible to viruses, Sony BMG announces it will stop embedding the anti-piracy software on its CDs …

2006, Neil Young’s 20th Bridge School acoustic concerts host an array of unusual performances including Trent Reznor playing unplugged in front of a string quartet … other headliners include Dave Matthews Band, Death Cab for Cutie, and Brian Wilson … Young sits in with, and energizes, many of the sets … in an odd case of life imitating art, Paul McPike, a 32-year-old grocery store employee from Medford, OR, files a lawsuit charging that Green Day’s American Idiot album is entirely made up of songs that he wrote 12 years earlier when he was in high school … McPike says that he used to regale his high school pals with the original versions of “Jesus of Suburbia” and other classics back in 1992 … he believes that someone must have surreptitiously recorded one of his performances and leaked them to Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong … McPike, who has not recorded or performed since high school, offered Green Day’s album itself as evidence, claiming that Billie Joe didn’t sing the lyrics exactly as written on the album’s insert …

2007, Wu-Tang rapper RZA comes out on top in the Hip-Hop Chess Federation tournament in San Francisco … commenting on his strategy, RZA intones, “When my queen comes out, she’s comin’ out to shake her ass” … Graham Nash, Jackson Browne, and David Crosby sing a rousing rendition of CSN’s “Teach Your Children” and other peace-oriented songs at the Pray for Peace concert held in Washington, D.C.’s National Cathedral …

2008, A year after the release of its In Rainbows LP, which was offered online at any price the consumer cared to name, Radiohead announces that it sold three million copies—some of which resulted from retail store sales … the band also sold 100,000 copies of the deluxe version of the release that carried a hefty $81 price tag …

2009, hip-hop star Lil Wayne draws an eight-month jail sentence on gun charges … they stem from an incident in 2007 when cops detected the scent of weed drifting from Wayne’s tour bus … a search of the bus turned up a loaded .40 caliber pistol … the police report also reveals that a member of the rapper’s entourage flushed seven ounces of icky sticky down the toilet as the boys in blue boarded the bus … associates worry how the hyperactive star will deal with no access to recording gear during his jail stint … Rosanne Cash releases her new album The List, revealing that the collection of cover songs is based on a list of 100 classic American songs created by her father, Johnny Cash, aboard his tour bus in 1972 … Rosanne recalls the moment her father handed her the list saying, “This is your education.” …

…and that was the week that was.

Arrivals:

October 21: bop trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie (1917), salsa queen Celia Cruz (1924), manager Jo Lustig (1925), Manfred Mann AKA Michael Lubowitz (1940), Memphis guitarist and producer Steve Cropper (1941), blues guitarist Elvin Bishop (1942), Kathy Young of Kathy Young & The Innnocents (1945), Lee Loughnane of Chicago (1946), Brent Mydland of the Grateful Dead (1952), Go-Go’s guitarist Charlotte Caffey (1953), Eric Faulkner of Bay City Rollers (1955), Julian Cope of Teardrop Explodes (1957), six-string slinger Steve Lukather (1957), early rapper Harold “Whiz Kid” McGuire (1961)

October 22: Bobby Fuller of “I Fought The Law” fame (1943), punk rocker Stiv Bators, born Stivin Bator (1949)

October 23: rockabilly artist Johnny Carroll (1937), Freddie Marsden of Gerry & The Pacemakers (1940), Brill Building songwriter Ellie Greenwich (1940), rock parodist Weird Al Yankovic (1959)

October 24: harmonica player Sonny Terry (1911), 1950s R&B singer and pianist Willie Mabon (1925), Santo Farina of Santo and Johnny (1937), record producer Ted Templeman (1944), Steppenwolf drummer Jerry Edmonton (1946), R&B singer-songwriter Monica, born Monica Denise Arnold (1980)

October 25: Jon Anderson of Yes (1944), Arrested Development rapper Speech, born Todd Thomas (1968)

October 26: country singer Keith Urban (1967)

October 27: Nashville pianist Floyd Cramer (1933), session guitarist Kermit Chandler (1945)

Departures:

October 21: jazz trumpeter David Ayler, younger brother of saxophonist Albert Ayler (2001), J Church frontman Lance (2007), Sandy West, drummer and cofounder of The Runaways (2006), singer-songwriter Elliot Smith (2003), Blind Melon singer Shannon Hoon (1995), Elvis’ bassman Bill Black (1965), Jay Perkins, brother of Carl and Luther (1958)

October 22: Rolling Stones producer Jimmy Miller (1994), folk singer-songwriter Ewan MacColl (1989), Jane Dornacker, singer and dancer with The Tubes (1986), ’50s pop crooner Tommy Edwards (1969), barrelhouse pianist Walter Davis (1963)

October 23: R&B singer Ted Taylor (1988), Leonard Lee of the pop duo Shirley and Lee (1976), Buddy Holly sound-alike David Box (1964), Al Jolson (1950)

October 24: keyboardist Merle Saunders (2008), album cover illustrator Phil Hays (2005), gospel-trained crooner Joe Henderson (1964)

October 25: BBC DJ John Peel (2004), R&B keyboard player and singer Jon Thomas (1995), singer George Lee of Ruby and the Romantics (1994), Howard Blauvelt, bassist with Billy Joel (1993), country crossover singer Roger “King of the Road” Miller (1992), legendary rock promoter Bill Graham, born Wolfgang Grajonca (1991), singer Margo Sylvia of The Tune Weavers (1991), Johnnie Richardson, female half of the R&B duo Johnnie & Joe (1988), R&B/jazz saxophonist Willis “Gator” Jackson (1987), Gary Holton, lead singer of The Heavy Metal Kids (1985)

October 26: U.K. pop star Alma Cogan (1966), singer Wilbert Harrison (1994)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.