It happened last week

This is the week that was in matters musical…

1877, Ernst Siemens patents the first loudspeaker … who knew … ?

1955, Elvis Presley is named Most Promising Country & Western Artist in Billboard’s annual poll of disc jockeys … sadly, the relatively unknown country artist never quite lives up to their expectations …

1960, The Shirelles release “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” with songwriter Carole King on drums …

1966, a made-for-TV make-believe pop band hits #1 with their debut album, The Monkees … despite the fact that Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith were talented musicians, the band never could shake the critics who complained that they were a Beatles knockoff, dubbing them the “Pre-Fab Four,” a stigma that will haunt Nesmith throughout his musical career … in retrospect, not being tapped for the Monkees was probably the best career move, albeit inadvertently, that Steven Stills ever made …

1969, Jim Morrison gets blotto on a plane trip from L.A. to Phoenix to see The Stones … he’s such a royal pain that he’s arrested on arrival and charged with interfering with the flight and public drunkenness, having harassed a stewardess who apparently didn’t appreciate a drunk Morrison jumping in her game … the charges are eventually dropped … Janis Joplin is arrested in her dressing room at a concert in Tampa for cussing at the man … earlier, in the auditorium, a cop is screaming through a bullhorn at her fans to sit down and she tells him “Don’t fuck with these people. Hey mister what are you so uptight about? Did you buy a five-dollar ticket?” … she is similarly disrespectful addressing police backstage when they insist that SHE tell the audience to sit down when she replied “I’m not telling them shit.”… she gets out on a $50 bond and the charges of “vulgar and indecent language” are eventually dropped …

1970, Jim Morrison closes the door on his bandmates, playing his last concert with The Doors in New Orleans …

1972, featuring fiery guitarist Jan Akkerman, the albumMoving Wavesby Dutch prog-rock band Focus arrives on the LP chart in the U.K… . thanks to popular song “Hocus Pocus,” Focus achieves notoriety in the U.S., but in a short while it’s hocus pocus and Focus disappears …

…riding his motorcycle in Macon, Georgia, Allman Brothers bass man Berry Oakley crashes into the side of a city bus only three block from where Duane met his demise in a motorcycle accident the previous year … Oakley refuses treatment at the site and goes home only to die of a brain hemorrhage later that night in the hospital …

1978, Queen plays Madison Square Garden … during their hit number “Fat Bottomed Girls,” they are accompanied by semi-nude women riding bicycles …

1981, The Police top the charts in the U.K. with “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” …

… the U.S. pop chart experiences an Aussie invasion when Olivia Newton-John, Little River Band, Air Supply, and Rick Springfield all register hit singles …

1984, Madonna’s album Like a Virgin is released, leaving listeners wondering in what way she is … popular theories include the possibility that Madonna is encouraging people to like virgins … sort of like a “take a virgin to lunch” campaign … a bit redundant, but good-hearted nonetheless … however, some detractors claim that the material girl, who launched herself to stardom by wearing her underwear on the outside, is like a virgin in much the same way that balloons are like safety pins …

1987, “a day late and a dollar short” seems to typify the career of Sly Stone, who turns up an hour late for an L.A. comeback concert and is promptly arrested for failing to pay child support … what can you say; Bo Diddley’s got the “Bo Diddley beat,” Sly’s got the deadbeat … lateness aside, in his self-shortened heyday, Stone quickly fell out of favor with promoters for consistently not showing up for concerts at all …

1988, Whitney Houston’s debut album goes multiplatinum with nine million copies sold … only Boston has ever matched this performance with a debut LP … Steve Love, former Beach Boys manager and brother of lead singer Mike Love, gets five years’ probation for embezzling nearly a million bucks from the group …

1990, German producer Frank Farian reveals that Robert Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan, collectively known as Milli Vanilli, never sang on their debut record, “Girl You Know It’s True” … the producer goes on to say the duo lip-synced during personal appearances … eventually Milli Vanilli will give back their Grammy and lapse into obscurity, followed by the accidental suicide of Pilatus … some secrets are best kept secret …

2000, Michael Abram, the man who a year earlier broke into George Harrison’s home and stabbed Harrison before being subdued by the ex-Beatle and his wife, is found guilty by reason of insanity and ordered confined to a mental hospital for an indefinite stay …

2003, Kid Rock announces plans for a continuing creative collaboration with Sheryl Crow … the collaboration has thus far resulted in the hit duet “Picture,” and they plan more writing and recording together in the future … looks like The Kid is growing up … perhaps a name-change to Man Rock is in order …

2004, going postal takes on new meaning when the group Postal Service settles with The United States Postal Service following more than a year of legal maneuvering over the band’s name … in the creative compromise, the duo comprised of Death Cab for Cutie singer Ben Gibbard and electronic musician Jimmy Tamborello agree to let the Postal Service use their music to promote the use of snail mail and to refer to the USPS deal in Postal Service CDs … the musicians also agree to perform at the postmaster general’s National Executive Conference in Washington … Apple introduces a special black U2 version of the iPod with the band members’ names laser-etched on the case … the unit is launched with an ad that has the band performing its new single “Vertigo” … finally jumping on the bandwagon of mega-rockers who’ve cashed in on cross-promotion, it’s the first time in the band’s 25-year career that it’s licensed music for commercial purposes … other than selling records, of course … The New York Post reports that former Van Halen vocalist David Lee Roth, 50, is training to become an emergency medical technician … the girls may not be swooning like they once did, but it never hurts to know a little CPR … according to his tutor, Linda Reissman, “His commitment is really touching. He wants to help people.” … funny, we always knew that Diamond Dave’s commitment was touching … only we thought it was California girls … Jamaican reggae star Sizzla is denied a British visa based on complaints by gay-rights groups that the lyrics in his songs “incite racist and homophobic violence” … something about Sizzla and flank steaks come to mind … perhaps he doth protest too much …

2005, Elton John and partner David Furnish set a date to wed … keyboard legend Bill Preston is hospitalized in Arizona for an inflammation of the heart … no, the two are not related …

2006, former Procol Harum organist Matthew Fisher appears in a British court to pursue a claim against former bandmate Gary Brooker, claiming that his distinctive organ work played an important role in the success of the smash hit “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” and that he is due a payday … some critics claim that perhaps Fisher should pay royalties to J.S. Bach, whose melody he allegedly appropriated, but according to an in-depth musical analysis, while influenced by Bach, Fisher’s creation is original … the judge awards Fisher a 40% share in the copyright and says he’s entitled to royalties going back to 2005 when he filed suit …

2007, Donovan announces plans to open a Transcendental Meditation college in Scotland … it will be called the Invincible Donovan University … apparently a great deal of thought went into the name … rumors say that the order of the name, “Invincible Donovan University” was originally The Invincible University of Donovan, until deep meditation revealed to the former ’60s flower child that its college sweatshirts would bear the initials, IUD … so much for free love …

2009, The Faces gear up for a reunion tour with or without original frontman Rod Stewart … keyboardist Ian McLagan intimates that the band has grown weary of waiting for Stewart to commit to a reunion … says McLagan, “If we don’t do it very soon, one of us is gonna check out. I’m 64, for chrissakes!” … unfortunately, our Faces are red as Stewart opts out and is replaced by Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall – that lst name is a travesty, Faces aren’t the Faces without Rod and Ronnie Lane …

…and that was the week that was.

Arrivals:

November 11: jazz singer Ernestine Allen (1920), jazz pianist-singer Mose Allison (1927), R&B singer LaVern Baker (1929), David Lastle, New Orleans session sax man (1934), pop singer Brian Hyland of “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” fame (1943), The Youngbloods’ Jesse Colin Young, born Perry Miller (1944), godfather of grunge Neil Young (1945), Chris Dreja of The Yardbirds (1945), Vince Martell of Vanilla Fudge (1945), Andy Partridge of XTC (1953), singer-songwriter-guitarist Marshall Crenshaw (1953), Ian Craig Marsh of Heaven 17 (1956)

November 12: Ruby Nash Curtis of Ruby & The Romantics (1939), Arthur Tavares of disco singing group Tavares (1946), Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser of Blue Oyster Cult (1947), Errol Brown of Hot Chocolate (1948), Leslie McKeown of The Bay City Rollers (1955), David Ellefson of Megadeth (1964), R&B singer Tevin Campbell (1976)

November 13: R&B singer Justine “Baby” Washington (1940), Annette Kleinbard of The Teddy Bears (1940), R&B singer and producer Timmy Thomas (1944), Bill Gibson of Huey Lewis and the News (1951), Pogues drummer Andrew Ranken (1953), Walter Kibby of Fishbone (1964), The Strokes bassist Nikolai Fraiture (1978)

November 14: composer Aaron Copland (1900), Sir Joseph Lockwood of EMI Records (1904), Gene Krupa Band vocalist Johnny Desmond (1921), Chicago harp man Carey Bell (1936), Cornell Gunter of The Coasters (1938), Freddie Garrity of Freddie and the Dreamers (1940), Memphis producer and musician Jim Dickinson (1941), accordionist-zydeco performer Buckwheat Zydeco (1947), James Young of Styx (1948), singer and guitarist Stephen Bishop (1951), Frankie Banali of Quiet Riot (1951), Alec John Such of Bon Jovi (1956), rapper Joe “Run” Simmons of Run-D.M.C. (1964), Brian Yale of matchbox twenty (1968), Travis Barker of blink-182 (1975), R&B singer Adina Howard (1974)

November 15: elevator-music maestro Mantovani (1905), Ike Turner’s pianist Clayton Love (1927), R&B singer Clyde McPhatter (1932), pop singer Petula Clark (1932), vocalist Little Willie John born William J. Woods (1937), Frida of ABBA (1945), bassist Steve Fossen of Heart (1949), Michael Cooper of Con Funk Shun (1952), R&B singer Alexander O’Neal (1953), Tony Thompson of Chic (1954), Tonight Show bandleader Kevin Eubanks (1957), Joe Leeway of Thompson Twins (1957), Ol’ Dirty Bastard AKA Russell Jones of Wu-Tang Clan (1968)

November 16: “Father of the Blues” W.C. Handy (1873), Atlantic Records artist-producer-arranger Jesse Stone (1901), Atlantic Records cofounder and producer Herb Abramson (1916), Toni Brown of Joy of Cooking (1928), folksinger Bob Gibson (1931), long-time Howlin’ Wolf guitarist Hubert Sumlin (1931), R&B singer Garnett Mimms (1933), Nashville producer Felton Jarvis (1934), James Brown band guitarist Troy Seals (1938), John Ryanes of The Monotones (1940), Winfred “Blue” Lovett of The Manhattans (1943), acoustic guitarist-composer Will Ackerman (1949), Patti Santos of It’s a Beautiful Day (1949), Harry Rushakoff of Concrete Blonde (1958), Mani of The Stone Roses (1962), jazz singer Diana Krall (1964), Bryan Abrams of Color Me Badd (1969), Trevor Penick of O-Town (1979)

November 17: folksinger Gordon Lightfoot (1938), novelty songster Jimmy Cross (1939), Bob Gaudio of The Four Seasons (1942), Gene Clark of The Byrds (1944), Martin Barre of Jethro Tull (1946), Jim Babjak of The Smithereens (1957), drag performer-singer RuPaul (1960), singer-songwriter-guitarist Jeff Buckley (1966), Ben Wilson of Blues Traveler (1967), Ronnie DeVoe of Bell Biv DeVoe (1967), Isaac Hanson of Hanson (1980)

Departures:

November 11: Beau Brummels drummer John Peterson (2007), Allman Brothers bassist Berry Oakley (1972)

November 12: former Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell (2008), drummer Tony Thompson of Chic (2003), jazz pianist Kenny Kirkland (1998), slide guitar and dobro player Rainer Ptacek (1997) Cause and Effect keyboard player and vocalist Sean Rowley (1992)

November 13: Ol’ Dirty Bastard AKA Russell Jones of Wu-Tang Clan (2004), Donald Mills of The Mills Brothers (1999), R.J. Vealey of the Atlanta Rhythm Section (1999), R&B pianist Bill Doggett (1996), Ronnie Bond of The Troggs (1992), drummer Jerry Lee Lewis Jr. (1973)

November 14: John Mellencamp keyboardist John Cascella (1992), singer Dallas Taylor of The Danderliers and The Dells (1986), dub pioneer Keith Hudson (1984), country bluesman Rube Lacy (1969)

November 15: composer-arranger Saul Chaplin (1997), disco producer Jacques Morali (1991)

November 16: British pop pianist Russ Conway (2000), Kid Rock sideman Joe C. AKA Joseph Calleja (2000), Gospel Music Hall of Fame member J.D. Sumner (1998), Dino Valenti of Quicksilver Messenger Service (1994), Francis Donia of Tavares (1984), raw-voiced soulman O.V. Wright (1980), music journalist Mike Leadbitter (1974)

November 17: R&B belter Ruth Brown (2006), Stax soul singer Arthur Conley (2003), blues scholar, producer, and label owner Pete Welding (1995), cofounder of RPM Records Jules Bihari (1984), bassist John Glascock of Jethro Tull (1979)

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.