This Week in Music History
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Wonder Struck & Signed…Crosby Caged…Pearl Jam Silenced

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The Events That Rocked Music—The Week of August 4

1937: The legendary Golden Gate Quartet cuts a mind-blowing 14 gospel tracks in two hours during a Charlotte, North Carolina recording session...are you listening, Axl Rose?…this same week Bunny Berigan and his orchestra record the jazz standard, “I Can’t Get Started”...the chord changes from this oft-covered tune become a staple for be-bop musicians a decade later…also this week, George Beauchamp is granted a patent for an “Electrical Stringed Musical Instrument”—the original “frying pan” electric guitar...Beauchamp is a Hawaiian musician living in Los Angeles…

1949: Louis Jordan and His Tympani Five record “Saturday Night Fish Fry” one of the earliest R&B songs cited as a forerunner to rock ‘n’ roll…

1957: ABC TV’s American Bandstand with its forever-young DJ, Dick Clark, makes its national TV debut…getting songs played on the show will have a huge impact on top 40 sales in coming decades…this same week John Lennon and his band The Quarrymen play their debut date at Liverpool’s Cavern Club, a venue devoted to jazz and skiffle...after the band performs “Come Go With Me,” Hound Dog,” and “Blue Suede Shoes,” irate club owner Alan Sytner sends a note up to the stage reading, “Cut out the bloody rock!”…

1958: Billboard publishes its first Hot 100 chart...Ricky Nelson’s “Poor Little Fool” nails the top spot…

1960: 25,000 copies of the death-rock single “Tell Laura I Love Her” by Ray Peterson are destroyed by England’s Decca Records after a critic deems the song “too tasteless and vulgar for English sensibility”...it’s interesting to speculate what that critic may have made of Ozzy Osbourne or The Sex Pistols a little later on…

1964: The Rolling Stones know they have arrived when they get the chance to hang with two of their idols, Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon while recording at Chicago's Chess studios...the band's name was taken from a tune by Muddy…

1965: Mike Smith of The Dave Clark Five suffers two fractured ribs when he’s pulled off the stage by an enthusiastic fan…

1967: A fan stows away on The Monkees’ tour plane … the girl’s father vows to have charges brought against the band for transporting a minor across state lines … this same week Beatle George Harrison hangs out at a love-in at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park...he’s less than enchanted, recalling “It was full of hideous, spotty little teenagers. It turned me off to the whole thing.”...

1968: Performing at the Sunbury Jazz and Blues Festival in England, Jerry Lee Lewis whips the crowd into a frenzy that turns ugly … three injured rockers leave the stage, an assistant loses four teeth, and a six-inch scaffold coupling pin is thrown through the bass drum of British rockers The Herd causing them to go unheard…

1969: Photographer Iain Macmillan catches four lads from Liverpool in mid-stride as they traverse a London crosswalk...the photo will become the cover for Abbey Road

1970: Janis Joplin springs for a headstone to mark Bessie Smith’s grave...the blues singer was one of her idols…

1972: Paul and Linda McCartney are busted for pot possession following a Wings show in Gothenburg, Sweden...the couple is fined and released…

1973: Stevie Wonder is seriously injured in North Carolina when the auto in which he’s riding is struck by logs rolling off a truck...he emerges from a coma after four days minus his sense of smell…

1975: Stevie Wonder inks a $13 million, seven-year contract, a record-setter for its time…this same week Hank Williams Jr. tumbles 500 feet down a Montana mountain...after two year’s worth of surgeries he’ll resumes his career…

1979: A benefit is held for the widow and children of late Little Feat singer-guitarist Lowell George... members of Little Feat, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, Nicolette Larson, Emmylou Harris, and Bonnie Raitt are among the performers…

1983: David Crosby gets a wakeup call when he is sentenced to five years in prison on cocaine and firearms charges…he had dozed through much of the trial…he’ll be released this same week in 1986…

1984: Prince’s album, Purple Rain, begins a 24-week run at the top of the album charts selling l ten million copies…this same week “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr. is the Billboard #1 pop hit...Parker is later sued by Huey Lewis who claims the tune is a ripoff of his “I Want a New Drug”...the case is settled out of court with the proviso neither party talks about the deal...in 2001, during an episode of VH1’s Behind the Music, Lewis reveals that Parker paid up to settle the case...Parker then sues Lewis for violating the settlement terms…

1985: Introduced to the benefits of owning publishing rights by friend Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson purchases the ATV music catalog that includes 251 Lennon/McCartney songs at auction for $47.5 million...McCartney and Yoko Ono had attempted to purchase the songs only to be outbid by Jackson...McCartney and Jackson's friendship comes to an abrupt end…

1990: During a New Kids on the Block concert in Montreal, armed robbers make off with souvenir stand proceeds totaling $260,000…that’s a lot of tee shirts!…

1992: Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro dies from cardiac arrest triggered by an allergic reaction to an insecticide he is spraying in his garden…this same week, citing a sore throat, Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses cuts short the band’s set in Montreal...many of the 55,000 fans in attendance riot...this is a fitting end to a concert in which Metallica had also cut short their set after singer James Hetfield suffered third-degree burns from a pyro effect…

1996: former Motley Crue singer Vince Neil runs into trouble at an Indiana club date...after starting the show four hours late, Neal pulls the plug after just three songs saying he is feeling ill and suggesting that the audience of “rednecks” doesn’t appreciate his talent...a riot by 500 surly ticket holders is narrowly averted by the prompt arrival of the cops…

1999: After running into legal roadblocks, the leading record labels drop their suit against Diamond Multimedia, makers of the Rio MP3 music player...they had charged that the device would encourage online piracy…

2000: The Jimi Hendrix estate successfully evicts the holder of the web domain jimihendrix.com…

2004: The Dave Matthews Band is sued for dumping waste from its tour bus into the Chicago River and onto a sightseeing boat that happened to be passing below…the bus driver is ultimately convicted of the heinous deed…

2005: FCC chairman Kevin Martin announces that his agency is investigating payola by record labels in the wake of Sony BMG Music Entertainment’s settlement of $10 million with New York over charges that the company plied key radio stations with lavish gifts and money to get its releases played...the list of artists who benefitted from Sony’s generosity include Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson, Avril Lavigne, Maroon 5, Franz Ferdinand, Good Charlotte, Gretchen Wilson, Audioslave, and Celine Dion...this same week Leonard Cohen files a suit against his former business manager charging that Kelley Lynch ripped him off for $5 million from 1994 through 1999 while Cohen was chilling in a Buddhist center…

2007: During Pearl Jam’s set at Lollapalooza, Eddie Vedder sings, “George Bush, leave this world alone” to rousing cheers from the crowd...however the audience viewing at home on AT&T’s Blue Room website are treated to 16 seconds of silence when the company providing AT&T’s feed pulls the plug on the audio stream...later AT&T is apologetic...commenting on the censorship, guitarist Mike McCready writes, “When one person or company decides what others can hear, that is totalitarian thinking”...

2008: The Police cap their 150-show world tour with a two-hour tour de force at Madison Square Garden...the first Police tour in 20 years, it starts shakily then gains momentum as it goes along...reflecting on the early shows, drummer Stewart Copeland says, “At the beginning, we were crap. Each one of us had our own opinion of what was wrong, which could be summed up as ‘the other two guys’”…this same week Jackson Browne sues Senator John McCain for unauthorized use of his song “Running on Empty” during the 2008 presidential campaign…the following July, McCain settles with Browne for an undisclosed sum plus an apology…the singer relishes the moment remarking, “Getting a politician to admit they made a mistake is one the hardest things in the world” …

This Week’s Births

August 4: jazz titan Louis Armstrong (1901), Elsbeary Hobbs of The Drifters (1936), Louisiana swamp rocker Frankie Ford (1939), David Carr of The Fortunes (1940), pop singer Timi Yuro (1940), session keyboard and bass player Larry Knechtel (1940), Klaus Schulze of Tangerine Dream (1947), Paul Layton of The New Seekers (1947), Maire Ni Bhraonain of Clannad (1952), Ratt guitarist Robbin Crosby (1959), Paul Reynolds of A Flock of Seagulls (1962), Marques Houston of Immature (1981)

August 5: jazz singer Jeri Southern (1926), country singer Vern Gosdin (1934), jazz and R&B singer Damita Jo (1940), jazz percussionist Airto Moreira (1940), jazz guitarist Lenny Breau (1941), Rick Huxley of The Dave Clark Five (1942), country singer Sammi Smith (1943), guitarist Rick Derringer (1947), Eddie Ojeda of Twisted Sister (1955), Pat Smear of X and Foo Fighters (1959), Pete Burns of Dead or Alive (1959), violin prodigy Mark O’Connor (1961), Adam Yauch of The Beastie Boys (1964)

August 6: Delta bluesman Willie Brown (1900), Jimmy Ricks of The Ravens (1924), soul man Isaac Hayes (1938), Judy Craig of The Chiffons (1943), fusion guitarist Allan Holdsworth (1946), Pat McDonald of Timbuk 3 (1951), soul singer and bassist Randy DeBarge (1958), singer-songwriter Elliott Smith (1969), Geri Halliwell aka Ginger Spice of The Spice Girls (1972)

August 7: swing bandleader Freddie Slack (1908), jazz and blues pianist Mose Vinson (1917), songwriter Felice Bryant (1925), Herb Reed of The Platters (1931), titanic jazz multi-instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk (1937), blues singer and guitarist Magic Slim born Morris Holt (1937), singer Ron Holden (1939), pop singer B.J. Thomas (1942), Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden (1958), Kristin Hersh of Throwing Muses (1964), Ian Dench of EMF (1966)

August 8: jazz bandleader Lucky Millinder (1900), jazz multi-instrumentalist, composer, and bandleader Benny Carter (1907), country music pioneer Webb Pierce (1921), jazz and blues singer Jimmy Witherspoon (1923), Sonny Til of The Orioles (1925), country star Mel Tillis (1932), soul singer Joe Tex (1933), pop singer and actress Connie Stevens (1938), Philip Balsley of The Statler Brothers (1939), John “Jay” David of Dr. Hook (1942), Airrion Love of The Stylistics (1949), Ali Score of A Flock of Seagulls (1956), Dennis Drew of of 10,000 Maniacs (1957), Chris Foreman of Madness (1958), Rikki Rockett of Poison (1959), U2’s The Edge aka David Evans (1961), rapper Kool Moe Dee (1962), JC Chasez of *NSYNC (1976), Drew Lachey of 98 Degrees (1976), singer-songwriter Marsha Ambrosius (1977)

August 9: barrelhouse pianist Robert Shaw (1908), country blues guitarist Odell Thompson (1911), Bill Henderson of The Spinners (1939), jazz drummer Jack DeJohnette (1942), Rinus Gerritsen of Golden Earring (1946), singer Barbara Mason (1947), Cars bassist Benjamin Orr (1955), rap pioneer Kurtis Blow (1959), singer Whitney Houston (1963), Arion Salazar of Third Eye Blind (1970), film composer David Raksin (2004)

August 10: guitar designer Leo Fender (1909), bluegrass ace Jimmy Martin (1927), country crooner/sausage mogul Jimmy Dean (1928), country-pop singer Larry Finnegan (1938), Righteous Brother Bobby Hatfield (1940), singer Ronnie Spector (1943), Bread co-founder Jimmy Griffin (1943), Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull (1947), jazz and pop singer Patti Austin (1950), INXS drummer Jon Farriss (1961), singer-songwriter Neneh Cherry (1964), Todd Nichols of Toad The Wet Sprocket (1967), Michael Bivins of New Edition and Bel, Biv, Devoe (1968), Aaron Kamin of The Calling (1977)

This Week’s Deaths

August 4: jazz reed player Johnny Dodds (1980), jazz singer Jeri Southern (1991), gifted R&B/blues singer and guitarist “Little” Milton Campbell (2005), classical and rock violinist Monroe Clark (2006), singer/songwriter/producer Lee Hazlewood (2007), bluesman Johnny Bassett (2012)

August 5: blues guitarist and harp player Joe Hill Louis (1957), Johnny Cash guitarist Luther Perkins (1968), bassist George Scott (1980), influential New Orleans pianist Tuts Washington (1984), Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro (1992), McCoys and Johnny Winter bass player Randy Hobbs (1993), singer-songwriter Robert Hazard (2008)

August 6: legendary trumpeter Leon "Bix" Beiderbecke (1931), blues singer and guitarist Memphis Minnie (1973), singer Klaus Nomi (1983), trumpeter Nat Gonella (1998), singer Rick James (2004), guitarist Tony Mottola (2004), journeyman jazz bassist and session player Keter Betts (2005), legendary Cuban vocalist Ibrahim Ferrer (2005), opera legend Luciano Pavarotti (2007), singer Willy DeVille (2009), funk musician Phelps ‘Catfish’ Collins (2010), composer Marvin Hamlisch (2012)

August 7: Henry “Homer” Haynes of country duo Homer and Jethro (1971), R&B singer Esther Phillips (1984), music store mogul Sam Goody (1991), country guitarist William “Billy” Bird (2001), harmonica virtuoso Larry Adler (2001), singer-songwriter Marc Cohn (2005), folk musician/folklorist Mike Seeger (2009), Johnny Cash bassist Marshall Grant (2011), Marshall Tucker Band guitarist Stuart Swanlund (2012), reggae toaster Ranking Trevor (2012)

August 8: masterful alto sax player and bandleader Julian “Cannonball” Adderley (1975), jazz pianist Duke Jordan (2006)

August 9: Joe Gilbert of vocal duo Joe and Eddie (1966), trumpeter Bill Case (1974), Wreckx-N-Effects rapper Brandon Mitchell (1990), New Orleans session sax man Clarence Ford (1994), Grateful Dead guitarist and singer Jerry Garcia (1995), producer Bob Herbert (1999), conguero Miguel “Anga” Diaz (2006), R&B producer Carl Davis (2012)

August 10: blues diva Lucille Bogan of "Shave 'em Dry" infamy (1948), bandleader Freddie Slack (1965), rock critic Lillian Roxon (1973), jazz singer Ernestine Allen (1992), Ruby and The Romantics singer Ed Roberts (1993), Bill Baker of The Five Satins (1994), Widespread Panic guitarist Mikey Houser (2002), soul singer Isaac Hayes (2008), country artist Billy Grammer (2011)

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