May 17


Today In Music History

1933 : Jimmie Rodgers, already terminally ill with tuberculosis, begins recording his last two dozen songs for RCA Victor in Nashville.

1948 : No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit: Nat King Cole’s “Nature Boy”

1952 : Georgia Gibbs’ “Kiss Of Fire” hits #1

1958 : It’s “Jerry Lee Lewis Day” in the singer’s hometown of Ferriday, Louisiana.

1963 : The first Monterey Folk Festival took place over three days in Monterey, California. The festival featured Joan Baez, Bob Dylan and Peter Paul and Mary. The 1967 Monterey Rock festival is remembered for the first major American appearances by Jimi Hendrix and The Who, as well as the first major public performances of Janis Joplin. It was also the first major performance by Otis Redding in front of a predominantly white audience.

1964 : Bob Dylan made his first major concert UK appearance when he played at the Royal Festival Hall in London with an afternoon show listed as a ‘Folksong Concert’. Dylan’s 18-song set included the live debut of Mr. Tambourine Man and took place on a Sunday afternoon. In the interval, Dylan received a telegram from John Lennon seeking a meeting which never materialized.

1966 : Bob Dylan, who had recently “gone electric” and added rock and roll instruments to his folk music, appears at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, England; just before he begins a version of his latest hit, “Like A Rolling Stone”, a member of the audience, a folk purist angry at the move to rock, shouts out, “Judas!” Dylan responds with “I don’t believe you,” adding, “You’re a liar!” Then proceeds to tell the band to play the song “f**king loud.” The entire concert was eventually officially released in The Bootleg Series by Sony Music in 1999.

1967 : Bob Dylan’s legendary documentary “Don’t Look Back” debuts at the Presidio Theatre in San Francisco.

1967 : The Tremeloes were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with their version of a Four Seasons song, (the B-side to Rag Doll), ‘Silence Is Golden’, the group’s only UK No.1.

1967 : Working at Abbey Road studios The Beatles began recording a new John Lennon song ‘You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)’. The song was not finished until November 1969, and was not released until March 1970 (as the B-side of the ‘Let it Be’ single).

1969 : It was reported that for the first time ever album sales had overtaken single sales in the UK. 49,184,000 albums were produced during 1968 compared with 49,161,000 singles.

1969 : Joni Mitchell was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, on sale for 35 Cents

1971 : Dawn were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Knock Three Times’, the group’s first of two UK No.1’s. Singer Tony Orlando had retired from singing when he was persuaded to front Dawn for studio recordings.

1973 : The Yes Album and Yessongs are certified gold.

1974 : No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit: Ray Stevens’ “The Streak”

1974 : The Elton John TV special Say Goodbye To Norma Jean And Other Things airs on ABC.

1974 : NBC-TV’s The Midnight Special offers another salute to Fifties and Sixties rock and roll, with Frankie Avalon as host and performances by Sam & Dave, Lou Christie, Frankie Ford, The Fleetwoods, Shirley and Lee, and Fabian.

1975 : Elton John was awarded a Platinum Record for sales of a million copies of the LP ‘Captain Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy’, the first album ever to be certified Platinum on the day of its release.

1975 : Led Zeppelin played the first of five sold-out nights to 17,000 fans at Earls Court Arena, London England. The set list included: Rock And Roll, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song, Kashmir, No Quarter, Going To California, Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, and Black Dog. Tickets cost $1.70 – $4.25

1975 : Earth Wind and Fire’s LP “That’s The Way Of The World” hits #1

1978 : The disco film Thank God It’s Friday, starring Donna Summer and Village People, premieres in Los Angeles.

1980 : Just weeks after his harrowing incarceration in Tokyo, Paul McCartney appears (with wife Linda) as the musical guests on NBC-TV’s Saturday Night Live.

1983 : David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” hits #1 on the US chart

1986 : Whitney Houston started a three week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Greatest Love Of All’, the singers third US No.1, a No.8 hit in the UK.

1987 : A fire destroyed Tom Petty’s house in Los Angeles, the cost was estimated at $800,000.

1989 : Former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman’s first Sticky Fingers restaurant opened in London.

1989 : The first night of a 12-date UK tour for R.E.M. starting at Leicester De Montfort Hall. (Promoting the new single, ‘Orange Crush’).

1990 : Nirvana played the last date of a North American tour at the Zoo in Boise, Idaho. This was Chad Channing’s final gig with the band, drummer Dave Grohl replaced him in Sept of this year after his band Scream had split-up.

1995 : Chuck Berry, Fats Domino and Little Richard share the stage for the first time ever at a concert in Sheffield, England.

1996 : US blues guitarist Johnny Guitar Watson died of a heart attack while on tour in Yokohama, Japan. According to eyewitness reports, he collapsed mid guitar solo. His last words were “ain’t that a bitch.”

1996 : Kevin Gilbert, multi instrumentalist and songwriter, died of accidental asphyxiation. Member of Giraffe, worked with Sheryl Crow, co-wrote her 1994 UK No.4 hit ‘All I Want To Do.’

2002 : Sharon Sheeley, US songwriter, died aged 62. Hits include ‘Poor Little Fool’ US No.1 for Ricky Nelson in 1958 and 1959 hit for Eddie Cochran ‘Somethin’ Else’. Sheeley survived the car crash that killed Eddie Cochran during a 1960 UK tour.

2003 : Singer with Stone Temple Pilots, Scott Weiland, was arrested on suspicion of drug possession after being stopped during a routine traffic search in Los Angeles, He was released on $10,000 bail.

2006 : Paul McCartney and his wife Heather Mills admitted that they had given up the fight to save their marriage, saying that after four years together, they were going their separate ways.

2008 : Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty posted a two-minute clip of themselves playing with newborn mice on Youtube. The video showed Doherty and Winehouse in a bare room, making rambling comments, picking up the mice and talking to them.

2008 : Madonna was at No.1 on the US album chart with her eleventh studio album ‘Hard Candy’. The album reached number one in thirty-seven other countries.

2009 : Black Eyed Peas went to No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Boom Boom Pow’, their second UK No.1 hit.

2009 : Green Day went to No.1 on the UK album chart with their eighth studio album ’21st Century Breakdown’.

2012 : Donna Summer, the 1970s pop singer known as the Queen of Disco, died of lung cancer, an illness she believed she contracted from inhaling toxic particles released after the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York. She won five Grammy Awards, six American Music Awards, and had three multi-platinum albums, including the hits ‘Hot Stuff’, ‘Love to Love You, and ‘Baby and I Feel Love’.

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