May 4

Today In Music History

1886 : The graphophone, a link between the earlier gramophone and the modern phonograph, is patented, featuring wax cylinders which conducted music better than Thomas Edison’s original tinfoil ones.

1956 : Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps recorded ‘Be Bop A Lula.’ The track was written three days before the session. The song became a 1956 US No.7 & UK No.16 hit single spending 20 weeks on the US chart. In April 1957, the record company announced that over 2 million copies had been sold to date.

1956 : Lonnie Donegan quits the popular Chris Barber Jazz Band to form a skiffle group.

1956 : England’s New Musical Express erroneously reports that “Elvin” Presley will be performing an upcoming gig at the Palladium in London. Elvis never plays Europe.

1957 : ABC-TV premieres Alan Freed’s Rock and Roll Revue show, an attempt to replicate the success of their own American Bandstand. The first show features performances from The Clovers, The Del-Vikings, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Sal Mineo, and Guy Mitchell.

1959 : The very first Grammy Awards are held in Los Angeles, with Record of the Year going to Domenico Modugno’s Nel Blu, Dipinto di Blu (Volare) and Henry Mancini’s The Music From Peter Gunn soundtrack winning Album of the Year. The Champs’ Tequila, for some reason, takes home Best Rhythm and Blues Performance.

1961 : The Marcels were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with the Rodgers & Hart song from the 1930s ‘Blue Moon’

1964 : Denny Laine, Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder form the M&B Five in Birmingham, England. They would later change the name to The Moody Blues.

1967 : The Turtles’ Happy Together is certified gold.

1967 : The Young Rascals started a four week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Groovin.’ Atlantic Records head Jerry Wexler did not want to release the song. US disc jockey Murray the K heard the track and encouraged Atlantic to release it.

1967 : The Jimi Hendrix Experience appeared on UK TV’s ‘Top Of The Pops’.

1968 : Steppenwolf makes its US television debut, performing Born to Be Wild on ABC-TV’s American Bandstand.

1968 : Buffalo Springfield disband after doing a final concert in Los Angeles

1968 : Twiggy, one of the first English “supermodels,” catches an 18-year-old singer named Mary Hopkin on the BBC-TV talent show Opportunity Knocks and calls friend Paul McCartney, who eventually signs her to Apple and gives her one of his songs, “Those Were The Days” to record.

1969 : Al Stewart and his girlfriend Mandi attend a party at the Putney home of John Martyn which inspires the song “Night Of The 4th Of May.”

1970 : Later memorialized in the Neil Young song “Ohio“, the United States National Guard fires on protesters at Kent State University in Ohio, killing four students, two of which weren’t even protesting. This shameful event in American history led to the formation of the band Devo, as Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale were both on campus and horrified by the events.

1973 : Led Zeppelin opened their 1973 North American tour, which was billed as the ‘biggest and most profitable rock & roll tour in the history of the United States’. The group would gross over $4 million from the dates, flying between gigs in ‘The Starship’ a Boeing 720 passenger jet, complete with bar, shower room, TV and video in a 30′ lounge and a white fur bedroom.

1974 : Abba were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Waterloo’, the group’s first of nine UK No.1 singles was the 1974 Eurovision song contest winner for Sweden. The song was first called ‘Honey Pie’.

1974 : Grand Funk Railroad started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with their version of the Little Eva hit ‘The Loco-Motion.’ It was only the second time that a cover version had been a No.1 as well as the original.

1974 : The film soundtrack to ‘The Sting’ by Marvin Hamlisch started a five-week run at No.1 on the US album chart.

1975 : Mud were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with their version of the Buddy Holly hit from 1958 ‘Oh Boy’. Their third and final No.1 single.

1975 : Elvis Presley kicked off a 31 date North American Tour by playing two shows at the Civic Center in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

1977 : The Patti Smith Group, David Johansen, Dead Boys, Blondie, Suicide and Richard Hell & The Voidoids all appeared at a Punk Benefit at CBGB’s in New York City.

1977 : Jesse Winchester plays in New York City, his first time in his native country since moving to Canada to avoid the draft ten years earlier

1978 : Jefferson Starship’s LP Earth is certified platinum.

1978 : ‘Night Fever’ by The Bee Gees was at No.1 on the UK singles chart. The group’s third No.1 and the theme from the film ‘Saturday Night Fever.’ The song was a US No.1 for over two months.

1983 : Lee Aaron makes her debut in the UK at London’s Marquee Club

1985 : The legendary Apollo Theatre in Harlem reopens after a massive ten-million-dollar makeover.

1987 : American blues vocalist, harmonica player Paul Butterfield, who fronted The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, died at his home in North Hollywood, California, of drug-related heart failure, he was 44. Gained international recognition, as one of the early acts performing during the Summer of Love, at The Monterey festival and Woodstock festival.

1989 : Stevie Ray Vaughan set out on what would be his last ever tour at the Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver, British Columbia. The guitarist was killed in a helicopter crash on August 27, 1999 after a concert at Alpine Valley Music Theater in Wisconsin, after playing 107 of the 110 dates.

1990 : David Bowie’s ex-wife Angela goes on The Joan Rivers Show and says that she once walked in on Bowie and Mick Jagger naked in bed. Angela signed a gag order when she divorced Bowie that kept her from talking for 10 years, and was taking advantage of the opportunity.

1991 : Governor Ann Richards declares “ZZ Top Day” in Texas, honoring the group for “bringing the powerful beat of Texas boogie to enthusiastic audiences across the globe.”

1996 : Alanis Morissette started a six-week run at No.1 on the UK album chart with ‘Jagged Little Pill’.

1997 : Courtney Love placed an advert in The Seattle Times selling the house she had shared with Kurt Cobain. The five bedroom four bathroom house was on the market for $3m. The carriage house where Kurt Cobain died had been knocked down during refurbishment.

2000 : Metallica (motherf**ckers) were demanding online music service Napster cut off 335,000 users who they claimed had been illegally trading their songs. The band had passed on the names of all those they considered to be “stealing” their material over the internet in the latest development in an ongoing battle over the protection of music copyrights on the web.

2004 : Clement Seymour Dodd died aged 72. Producer and major force in the development of ska and reggae, made the first recordings of Bob Marley.

2008 : Thieves broke into the childhood home of Motown star Martha Reeves and stole about $1 million worth of uninsured recording equipment, including speakers, microphones and karaoke machines. A suspect was arrested at his home later in the day after he tried to sell the goods to a pawnshop for $400.

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