It happened this week

This is the week that was in matters musical…

1933, at New York City’s Academy of Music, Bell engineers demonstrate the realism of stereo before an audience of 300 guests who had come to listen to the Philadelphia Orchestra … facing a darkened stage, the audience listens to Wagner’s Gotterdammerung … when the lights come up, the stage is empty and an engineer explains the orchestra was performing in the soundproof basement with the performance piped to loudspeakers onstage …

1940, the number one hit this week is “In The Mood” by the Glenn Miller Orchestra …

1954, Bill Haley & His Comets hold their first recording session for Decca at the Pythian Temple studio in New York City, which results in the track “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock” … the track, melding hillbilly and R&B ingredients, will own the top spot on the Billboard chart for eight weeks and be considered by many to mark the beginning of rock ‘n’ roll …

1955, the first regularly scheduled rock-and-roll radio show Alan Freed’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Dance Party premieres …

1956, C.L. Fender is granted patent #2,741,146 by the U.S. Patent Office for a “Tremolo Device For Stringed Instruments” more popularly known as the Fender Stratocaster vibrato tailpiece or whammy bar … later to become known as Soul Brother Number One, Mr. Dynamite himself, and the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, James Brown charts for the first time with “Please, Please, Please” …

1960, freshly discharged from honorably serving Uncle Sam, Elvis Presley records “Elvis Is Back” … a typical genre-spanning affair that includes rock, blues, and ballads … the best song is El’s take on Lowell Fulsom’s “Reconsider Baby” with a smoking sax solo from Boots Randolph … RCA begins issuing pop records in both stereo and mono formats beginning with Elvis Presley’s “Stuck On You” … promotional 45s are issued to radio stations with one side in mono and the flip side in stereo …

1963, The Drifters cut a topical Lieber-Stoller song titled “Only in America” with lyrics obliquely referring to race issues that make it a hot potato … the black group’s vocals are edited off the track and replaced with those of Jay & the Americans, a white group … thought to be lost, The Drifters’ version turns up as a bonus track on a Jay & The Americans CD in 1983 …

1964, The Beatles occupy a record-breaking 14 spots on the U.S. charts ranging from #1 down to #81 … “Can’t Buy Me Love” (1), “Twist and Shout” (2), “She Loves You” (4), “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (7), “Please Please Me” (9), “Do You Want to Know a Secret” (14), “I Saw Her Standing There” (38), “You Can’t Do That” (48), “All My Loving” (50), “From Me to You” (52), “Thank You Girl” (61), “There’s a Place” (74), “Roll Over Beethoven” (78), and “Love Me Do” (81) … a struggling young act called The Detours auditions for England’s Fontana Records … they go on to release some tracks with the label under the moniker The High Numbers, but it isn’t until they become known as The Who that they will make a serious impression on the rock world …

1965, Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto’s “Girl from Ipanema” wins the Grammy for Record of the Year while the Stan Getz/Joao Gilberto album named—what else?—Getz/Gilberto wins the Grammy for Album of the Year …

1966, TV’s music show Hullabaloo airs its final show with guests Lesley Gore and Paul Anka … Jan Berry, half of the duo Jan & Dean who are notable for their many car-related hit songs, wipes out his Corvette and suffers major head injuries that lead to paralysis and a long hard road to recovery … the Mamas & the Papas garner their only #1 U.S. hit with “Monday, Monday” … The Velvet Underground perform for the first time with Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable in a New York City multimedia event … the Velvets sing about hookers, drug dealers, heroin addiction, sadomasochism, accompanied by dancers with whips and screenings of Warhol’s films …

1967, Frank and Nancy Sinatra climb to the top of the pop charts with “Something Stupid” … the only father-daughter duo to do so …

1969, a crowd estimated at 650,000 attend a free Rolling Stones concert in London’s Hyde Park … it’s the Stones first concert after the death of recently departed founding member Brian Jones … it is also the first appearance of new Stone guitarist Mick Taylor and the live debut of progressive rockers King Crimson …

…meanwhile back in the States, Texas psychedelic hard-rockers with the improbable bubblegum-sounding name of Bubble Puppy go all Top-40 on your ears with their #14 hit “Hot Smoke and Sassafras” … and thus become honored members of the One-Hit-Wonders club … at least one MF staffer suggests you check this one out on YouTube … BTW, the snicker-inducing name Bubble Puppy came from a group brainstorming session after reading a passage in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World referring to a children’s ride/game called a “Centrifugal Bumble-Buppy” … well, at least they’re well-read, if not well-heard …

1970, Paul McCartney uses the release of his first solo album McCartney as the occasion to announce that he’s leaving The Beatles … also leaving a band he started, Peter Green announces he’s leaving Fleetwood Mac, although he agrees to finish the current tour of Germany …

1973, Queen makes its debut at the Marquee Theater in London …

1975, Ritchie Blackmore quits Deep Purple to form Rainbow … Tommy Bolin (who replaced Joe Walsh in James Gang) steps in to attempt to fill the guitar void …

1976, Patti Smith whips out her poetic license for a first single, a version of garage rock classic “Gloria”… she transforms the song into more of a loft/art gallery interpretation that starts off slowly like a poetry reading set to music and eventually builds to a satisfying, rocking climax … Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive album goes to #1, becoming the biggest-selling live album in rock history …

1977, Abba hits their first #1 on the U.S. charts with “Dancing Queen” … this comes after six Top 40 hits … The Clash release their first album in the U.K… . Columbia, their U.S. label, doesn’t release the record, saying it is crudely produced and won’t sell … after 100,000 import copies are sold, Columbia relents …

1978, The Police release their single “Roxanne” … their first record with new guitarist Andy Summers, formerly of Eric Burdon and The Animals and The Soft Machine … the single would be rereleased in 1979 to greater success …

1988, a rehearsal for Alice Cooper’s fake hanging goes awry when a safety rope breaks … Coop is left dangling for a few scary seconds before a roadie comes to the rescue … IRS Records is left hanging by R.E.M. who jump ship for the greener pastures of Warner Brothers Records …

1993, actress Lisa Bonet files for divorce from rocker Lenny Kravitz … Massachusetts celebrates “Aerosmith Day” in honor of their native sons being such long-lasting rockers, or something like that … Nirvana, L7, The Breeders, and Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy play a concert at San Francisco’s Cow Palace to raise awareness and assistance for rape survivors in Bosnia-Herzegovina …

1994, In Utero, Nirvana’s third full-length studio album, is certified double-platinum … in Seattle, more than 5,000 fans attend the public memorial for Kurt Cobain …

1998, Stones guitarist Ron Wood and 10 other passengers are rescued off the coast of Rio de Janeiro when the engine on their boat explodes … pop star George Michael is arrested on the charge of engaging in misdemeanor lewd conduct at Will Rogers (“I Never Met A Man I Didn’t Like”) Park in Beverly Hills, CA … an undercover officer alleges he observed Michael performing a lewd act in a public restroom … history’s greatest thumbpicking guitarists have their day when Grandpa Jones, Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, Ike Everly, Kennedy Jones, Arnold Schultz, Lightnin’ Chance, Mose Rager, and Laverda Rager are named charter inductees in the National Thumbpickers Hall of Fame … we hope some of the unfamiliar names will get your thumbs to Googlin’ …

2000, Star magazine reports that Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ dying wish was that his 57 children, the result of many liaisons, meet one another … the bluesman had claimed before his death that at the height of his career he had engaged in sex an average of 14 times a day …

2006, The Rolling Stones play China for the first time, performing for 8,000 ecstatic fans in Shanghai … with ticket prices topping out around $400, many attendees are foreign nationals—the tariff is too steep for most Chinese for whom that would represent several month’s income … conspicuously absent from the Stones’ set list are “Rough Justice,” “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” “Brown Sugar,” “Honky Tonk Woman,” and “Beast of Burden”—all deemed too indecent for Chinese ears by government authorities … about those forbidden songs, Mick Jagger says, “I am pleased that the Ministry of Culture is protecting the morals of expatriate bankers and their girlfriends” …

2008, Bob Dylan is awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his “profound impact on popular music and American culture” … it took nearly a half century of recording and 33 album releases before Van Morrison can savor landing in the Billboard album top ten chart with his newest disc, Keep it Simple, a brew of blues, R&B, and Celtic soul …

2010, The Vatican officially forgives The Beatles for their sins, four decades after John Lennon said, “We’re more popular than Jesus now” … Hank Williams is awarded the lifetime achievement Pulitzer Prize in music … considered one of the greatest country music singers of all time, he had several number one hits during his time, and many of his songs have been re-recorded since … Tonight Show bandleader Kevin Eubanks announces he’s leaving after being late-night host Jay Leno’s sideman for 18 years … Eubanks is replaced by American Idol music director Rickey Minor …

… and that was the week that was …

Arrivals:

April 7: Billie Holiday (1915), bandleader/composer Percy Faith (1918), Ravi Shankar (1920), 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), Florian Schneider of Kraftwerk (1947), John Oates (1949), Janis Ian (1951), tenor saxophonist Bob Berg (1951), Bruce Gary of The Knack (1952)

April 8: 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), bassist Paul Gray with Slipknot aka “#2” and “The Pig” Children of Bodom (1972), guitarist Alex “Wildchild” Laiho (1979)

April 9: guitarist-songster Mance Lipscomb (1895), “Twist and Shout” songwriter Phil Medley (1916), Carl Perkins (1932), Rockin’ Sidney (1938), Grand Funk progenitor Terry Knight (1943), drummer Gene Parsons (1944), Chico Ryan of Sha-Na-Na (1948), producer Alex Sadkin (1949), Kevin Martin of Candlebox (1969)

April 10: novelty singer Sheb Wooley (1921), Nate Nelson of The Platters (1932), Glen Campbell (1936), Righteous Brother Bobby Hatfield (1940), Bunny “Wailer” Livingston of Bob Marley and the Wailers (1947), Ernest “Snuffy” Stewart, keyboardist with KC and The Sunshine Band (1950), Dave Peveret of Foghat (1950), funk guitarist Eddie Hazel (1950), Steve Gustafson of 10,000 Maniacs (1957), Brian Setzer (1959), Babyface (1959), Afrika Bambaataa (1960), R&B soul artist Kenny Lattimore (1970), Mike Mushok of Staind (1970), Mandy Moore (1984)

April 11: “Louie Louie” composer Richard Berry (1935), Mark Stein of Vanilla Fudge (1947), Chris Difford of Squeeze (1954), ska singer Neville Staples of The Specials (1956), Stuart Adamson of Big Country (1958), Douglas Hopkins of the Gin Blossoms (1961), Nigel Pulsford of Bush (1963), R&B singer Lisa Stansfield (1966), Dylan Keefe of Marcy Playground (1970), R&B singer-songwriter Joss Stone (1987)

April 12: slide guitarist Hound Dog Taylor (1915), singer, multi-instrumentalist, and orchestra leader Billy Vaughn (1919), Tiny Tim, born Herbert Khaury (1930), Herbie Hancock (1940), John Kay of Steppenwolf (1944), David Cassidy (1950), Alexander Briley of The Village People (1951), guitarist Pat Travers (1954), country singer Vince Gill (1957), Will Sergeant of Echo & the Bunnymen (1958), Art Alexakis of Everclear (1962), Amy Ray of Indigo Girls (1964), Marc Ford of The Black Crowes (1966), Nick Hexum of 311 (1970)

April 13: Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane (1944), Lowell George of Little Feat (1945), R&B artist Al Green (1946), Roy Loney of the Flamin’ Groovies (1946), Jim Pons of the Turtles and The Mothers of Invention (1946), R&B singer Peabo Bryson (1951), Max Weinberg of the E Street Band (1951), Jimmy Destri of Blondie (1954), Louis Johnson of The Brothers Johnson (1955), Wayne Lewis of Atlantic Starr (1957), Tony James of Generation X (1958), Hillel Slovak, The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ original guitarist (1962), Aaron Lewis of Staind (1972), Latin pop musician Lou Bega (1975)

Departures:

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)

April 8: Laura Nyro (1997), drummer Billy Gayles (1993)

April 9: cellist Tom Cora (1998), DJ and “Heartbreak Hotel” writer Mae Axton (1997), Buzzcocks and Joy Division producer Martin Hannett (1991), Dave Prater of Sam & Dave (1988), singer-songwriter Brook Benton (1988), folksinger Phil Ochs (1976)

April 10: rapper Proof (born Deshaun Holton) of D12 (2006), singer Little Eva, born Eva Narcissus Boyd of the mega hit “The Loco-motion” (2003), Leon Peels, lead singer of The Blue Jays (1999), black radio pioneer Eddie O’Jay (1998), “Philadelphia sound” songwriter Linda Creed (1986), Stuart Sutcliffe, original bassist with The Beatles (1962), R&B performer-songwriter Chuck Willis (1958)

April 11: June Pointer of The Pointer Sisters (2006), steel guitarist Jerry Byrd (2005), guitarist-oudist Sandy Bull (2001), pop singer Lillian Briggs (1998), Samie “Sticks” Evans, session drummer with Ray Charles and James Brown (1994)

April 12: Texas R&B singer-guitarist Peppermint Harris (1999), country music artist Boxcar Willie a.k.a. Lecil Travis Martin (1999), Herbert Mills of the Mills Brothers (1989), singer-entertainer Josephine Baker (1975)

April 13: Johnnie Johnson, rock ‘n’ roll and blues pianist with Chuck Berry (2005), writer-producer Ritchie Cordell (2004), Todd Storz, inventor of the Top 40 radio format (1964)

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.