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26 - Mar 3

March
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April
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May
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The Week in Rock 'n' Roll
July 1 - 7
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 E v e n t s Birthdays     Farewells 

 1950s Elvis Presley made his first major recording in 1954. That’s All Right was adlibbed after sessions with Sam Phillips at his Sun Studios were going nowhere. The next couple of days saw the recording of the hit’s B-side, Blue Moon of Kentucky. And the rest, as they say, is history.
 1950s A Memphis DJ by the name of Dewey Phillips spun That’s All Right (Mama) in 1954. It was the very first Elvis Presley record that was transmitted over the radio waves, and was released by Sun Records. Popular music would never be the same.
 1950s Brenda Lee signed a recording contract in 1956 at the age of 11, after five years of singing professionally. Little Miss Dynamite, as she was called, racked up a total of 29, top 40 singles in the 1960s, including the number 1 hits, I’m Sorry and I Want to Be Wanted.
 1950s Elvis Presley sang Hound Dog to a basset hound on the Steve Allen Show in 1956. The King was wearing a tuxedo for the performance, which came after he had been backed on I Want You I Need You I Love by The Jordanaires. Allen, Andy Griffith and Imogene Coca later joined Elvis in the Range Round-up skit, earning the singer $5000 for the night. Hound Dog wasn’t recorded for official release until the next day.
 1950s Paul McCartney and John Lennon met in 1957 at a church fête. Lennon’s band, The Quarry Men, were playing and McCartney met up with them after the gig.
 1960s Gary U.S. Bonds saw his only number 1 hit, Quarter to Three, spend its second of two weeks at number 1 in 1961. He added lyrics to The Church Street Five’s instrumental, A Night With Daddy G., while he was in the studio with the group.
 1960s A Hard Day’s Night premiered at the London Pavilion in 1964. The classic black and white film captured The Beatles at their zaniest. One of the most memorable scenes in the movie had them running around in a field to the tune of Can’t Buy Me Love. John Lennon commented, “We loathed the script because it was somebody trying to write like we were in real life. In retrospect Alun Owen didn’t do a bad job, but at the time we were self-conscious about the dialogue. It felt unreal.”
 1960s Frank Sinatra returned to the top spot of the singles chart in 1966 with Strangers in the Night. He would have his biggest hit a year later (in a duet with daughter Nancy), with Something Stupid. His first number 1 hit was in 1940 as vocalist with The Tommy Dorsey Band. Strangers in the Night can be found on the 1997 collection, Very Best of Frank Sinatra, from Reprise Records.
 1960s Aretha Franklin finally cracked the U.K. singles chart when Respect made an appearance in 1967. The song would eventually make it to number 10, but went all the way to the top in the U.S. The Queen of Soul’s biggest hit in Britain would come 10 years later in the form of I Knew You Were Waiting (for Me),a duet with George Michael. It was also her only other U.S. number 1 pop hit.
 1960s Windy by The Association hit number 1 in the U.S. at the beginning of the Summer of Love in 1967. It stayed there for 4 weeks, making it their biggest hit. The song was written by a friend of the band, while still in her teens, and was included as one of the 22 songs on a demo tape she submitted to producer Bones Howe. Ruthann Friedman also got to contribute some vocals to the successful track in an all night recording session.
 1960s The Yardbirds finished a U.S. tour in 1968 and then called it quits. Jimmy Page was running the band and soon transformed it into Led Zeppelin. The group still had live commitments and so Page worked on forming The New Yardbirds, which became Led Zeppelin.
 1960s Former Rolling Stone member, Brian Jones died in his swimming pool in 1969. Some feel that it wasn’t an accident. Jones had left the band only weeks before.
 1970s The legendary Louis Armstrong died in 1971 at the age of 70. Satchmo (short for satchel mouth), was one of the most talented musicians of the 20th century. It only seems right that his recording of Hello, Dolly! was the song that replaced The Beatles at number 1 at the beginning of the British Invasion. I Want to Hold Your Hand, She Loves You and then Can’t Buy Me Love combined for 14 consecutive weeks at number 1 until Armstrong jumped in for a week at the age of 62.
 1970s The Doors lost lead singer Jim Morrison in 1971. He apparently died of heart failure in a Paris bathtub. His contribution to the music of The Doors has been highly overrated. The rest of the band deserves more credit than they received.
 1970s Billy Preston had the number 1 song in 1973 with, Will It Go Round in Circles. Preston also had success with Outa-Space, Space Race, Nothing from Nothing and With You I’m Born Again (with Stevie Wonder’s ex-wife, Syreeta). He also had the privilege of playing on several Beatles recordings, earning him the title of The Fifth Beatle for a short period in 1969. Get Back was credited to The Beatles with Billy Preston, as was its flip-side, Don’t Let Me Down. Preston joined the Apple roster later in 1969.
 1970s Brian Peter George St. John Le Baptiste De La Salle Eno left Roxy Music in 1973. He and leader, Bryan Ferry, hadn’t been getting along. Eno appeared on the band’s first two albums, Roxy Music and For Your Pleasure.
 1970s David Bowie began work on the film, The Man Who Fell to Earth, in 1975. He was joined by Buck Henry, Rip Torn and James Lovell, Commander of Apollo 13.
 1970s Gonna Fly Now, the theme from the first Rocky movie, was number 1 this week back in 1977. Bill Conti wrote and produced the mostly instrumental track for the film starring Sylvester Stallone.
 1970s Roger Waters got so angry during a Montreal, Canada, Pink Floyd concert in 1977 that he spat on a fan. While Pigs On the Wing (Part 2), an acoustic number from their recent Animals album, was being performed, a fan let off some fireworks and kept screaming near the stage. If this wasn’t annoying enough, he then began climbing the mesh separating the crowd from the band. When he got near Waters, the bass player let the saliva fly. The incident caused Waters to later reflect on the need to be isolated from the audience while playing, laying the first brick that would soon become The Wall.
 1970s In 1978, Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street failed at displacing Shadow Dancing from the top spot. The Andy Gibb song was at its third week at number 1, but Baker Street wasn’t able to do anything about it. Rafferty’s biggest hit would spend another four weeks at number 2, after which it followed Shadow Dancing down the charts.
 1970s Pressings of Some Girls by The Rolling Stones were halted in 1978, when celebrities featured on the album cover (including Lucille Ball), complained.
 1970s Van McCoy died of a heart attack in 1979, at the age of 35. He had worked for several record labels throughout the 1960s, including one of his own. Before he had his own number 1 hit in 1975 with The Hustle, McCoy produced The Shirelles, Gladys Knight and The Pips and The Stylistics.
 1980s Led Zeppelin played its last live concert in 1980 in West Berlin. They ended with Whole Lotta Love at the Eissporthalle, finishing their European tour. Their final original studio album, In Through the Out Door, had been released the previous summer.
 1980s A 1984 independence day concert by The Beach Boys in Miami saw Ringo Starr sit in with the band, just months after the drowning of Dennis Wilson. The group would have three more top 40 hits before the end of the decade.
 1980s The Doobie Brothers were on the comeback trail in 1987 when original leader, Tom Johnston, took the group to the Soviet Union for The July Fourth Disarmament Festival. The group, without replacement Michael McDonald, joined the likes of Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, Santana and several Russian groups at the festival. The Doobies would sign a new contract with Capitol Records the following year and record a new studio album. They had disbanded in 1983 after their Farewell Tour and LP.
 1980s CDs began outselling vinyl records in 1989. The dominance of CDs virtually wiped out the singles phenomenon as nothing ended up replacing the 45 rpm single. The 3½” CD single died out after record companies refused to offer it at a reasonable price. The larger, full-size CD singles are still overpriced.
 1990s ZZ Top finished their European Recycler tour in 1991. The album being promoted had peaked in the U.S. at number 6, with the help of the Doubleback single, a song that had already been heard on the Back to the Future III soundtrack. Recycler was their last original album for Warner Brothers Records, and was a solid effort. The group would sign a five record deal with RCA Records exactly a year later, worth $30 million.
 1990s A new Eagles collection, The Very Best of The Eagles, hit number 4 on the U.K. albums chart in 1994. The compilation was allowed by band members because it was originally created for a European country where no collections on CD were available. Earlier in the year, the group blocked a double CD package that their record company put together for a summer release. Don Henley, Glenn Frey and the rest of the band felt that Elektra Records was just trying to shaft fans into buying another arrangement of the same old hits.
 1990s The debut album by Hootie and The Blowfish was released in 1994 this week. Cracked Rear View was a smash, but took many months before it gained attention. It eventually produced three top 10 singles and has sold over 16 million copies in the U.S. alone. The album’s title was taken from a song by John Hiatt. Only Boston has had a better selling debut album.
 1990s The Doobie Brothers began a U.S. tour in 1994, starting off in Texas. They travelled throughout the country, sharing the bills with Foreigner. Three years before, The Doobies had released their Brotherhood album, and a double live effort was still two years away.
 2000s Ray Charles played the 21st Montreal International Jazz Festival in 2000. His orchestra began the show with three instrumentals, after which The Genius came out and played a short set of 12 abbreviated songs. The Molson Centre crowd was treated to songs like Georgia On My Mind, What’d I Say, I Can’t Stop Loving You and Hold On I’m Comin’, but Charles was done and gone long before the audience was satisfied. The 69 year old legend didn’t allow any opportunity for an encore as the lights came up immediately after he left the stage.
 
 B i r t h d a y s Events     Farewells 

July 1:
A Never Ending Song of Love continued as Willie Dixon (1915), Bobby Day (1930), Delaney Bramlett (Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, 1939), Debbie Harry (Blondie, 1945) and Dan Aykroyd (The Blues Brothers, 1952) came into the world.
July 2:
Family and friends of Paul Williams (The Temptations, 1939) and Leapy Lee (1942) were on Cloud Nine when they were born.
July 3:
Isn’t It Time that Fontella Bass (1940), Mike Corby (The Babys, 1955) and Laura Branigan (1957) celebrate their birthdays?
July 4:
It was on a Lovely Day that Mitch Miller (1911), Bill Withers (1938), Jeremy Spencer (Fleetwood Mac, 1948) and John Waite (1955) were born.
July 5:
The Heart of Rock and Roll began beating with the arrival of Smiley Lewis (1913), Robbie Robertson (1944) and Huey Lewis (1950).
July 6:
The Birth of the Boogie occurred on this day, as Bill Haley (1925), Della Reese (1931) and Gene Chandler (1937) dropped in.
July 7:
Oh My My, Mary Ford (1928), Ringo Starr (1940) and Ron Hiller (Copperpenny, 1953) were all brought into the world.
   
 F a r e w e l l s Events     Birthdays 

July 1:
Guy Mitchell died in 1999 following surgery. Herbie Mann died after a lengthy battle with prostate cancer in 2003. Obie Benson (The Four Tops) died in 2005 at the age of 69.
July 3:
Former Rolling Stone member, Brian Jones, drowned in his swimming pool in 1969. Jim Morrison died of heart failure in 1971.
July 4:
Barry White died in 2003 at the age of 58.
July 5:
Big band trumpeter, Harry James, died in 1983 at the age of 67. Ernie K-Doe was 65 when he died of various internal illnesses in 2001. Johnny Russell passed away at the age of 61 in 2001.
July 6:
The legendary Louis Armstrong passed away in 1971 at the age of 70. Van McCoy died of a heart attack in 1979, at the age of 35. Michael Hartman died in 2000 of cystic fibrosis at the age of 24. James Hill of The Fairfield Four died at the age of 83 in 2000.
July 7:
Freddie Neil died of cancer in 2001 at the age of 64.

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