Saturday, November 19, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: November 20

1955:  Bo Diddley appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.  He was requested to perform "Sixteen Tons" but after he sang "Bo Diddley" instead, he was banned from future shows.
1955:  "Rock Around The Clock" by Bill Haley & the Comets went to #1 in the U.K.
1956:  Fats Domino continued to own the #1 R&B song for a fourth week with "Blueberry Hill".
1959:  WABC Radio in New York City fired disc jockey Allan Freed after he refused to deny that he had accepted payola.
1961:  Bob Dylan began recording his self-titled album at Columbia Studios in New York City.  (Note:  many websites incorrectly put the date as October 20.  According to a review of the Archives of Sony Records in New York City, Dylan recorded his album in two sessions, November 20th and November 22nd.)

Friday, November 18, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: November 19

1954:  Sammy Davis, Jr. was in a serious car accident in San Bernadino, California.  Three days later, Davis lost his ability to see with his left eye.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: November 18

1956:  Fats Domino performed "Blueberry Hill" on The Ed Sullivan Show.
1964:  The Supremes and the Righteous Brothers were on the television show Shindig!

Mentor Williams Has Died

We told you in our exclusive Rock and Roll Heaven feature at the end of last year that there would be more and more deaths of musicians who contributed to the Rock Era.  Yesterday, Mentor Williams became the latest in a long list this year.

Williams wrote the classic "Drift Away", which Dobie Gray turned into a #1 song in 1973.

Williams died yesterday in Taos, New Mexico at the age of 70.

Journey, ELO and the Cars Pace Rock Hall of Fame Vote

First off, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a joke.  Deserving acts such as the Beatles, Elvis Presley, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, the Eagles, the Bee Gees and others are watered down by acts that have no business even being near a legitimate Rock Hall of Fame, much less in it--acts such as the Beastie Boys (Ha!), Alice Cooper, Bill Withers, Blondie, Black Sabbath, Bobby Bland, Bobby Womack, Cheap Trick, the Clash, Clyde McPhatter, the Coasters, Curtis Mayfield, David Bowie, Deep Purple, Del Shannon, Dion, Dr. John, Eddie Cochran and Frank Zappa.

Now those artists above who have cheapened the Hall are good artists, with the exception of the Beastie Boys, but no one in their right mind can say they approach the first list of inductees--the Beatles, Elvis, the Stones, Zeppelin...

So each year's class is now met with a collective "ho-hum" from Rock Era fans, as anyone who has ever picked up a guitar or banged a drum can now get in.  Who knows...the low standards for the Rock Hall of Fame might even allow the Vapors ("Turning Japanese") in.

But if you're interested in contributing to the madness, you can vote using the link below.  Voting ends December 5:

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: November 17

1957:  Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps appeared on national television for the first time on The Ed Sullivan Show(Note:  numerous other "timeline" websites and other sites show that this date was November 25.  In the first place, The Ed Sullivan Show aired on Sunday nights, not Monday, and in 1957, Sunday fell on November 3, 10, 17 and 24th.  According to the book 'Handbook of Texas Music' by Laurie E. Jasinski, as well as the book 'Race with the Devil:  Gene Vincent's Life in the Fast Lane' by Susan VanHecke, as well as '' and other television history sites, the correct date is November 17.)
1958:  Duane Eddy roared up the chart from 71 to 25 with "Cannonball".
1958:  The Kingston Trio hit #1 with "Tom Dooley".  
1961:  The Beatles played a lunch show at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, then ventured to the Village Hall, Knotty Ash for a nighttime concert.
1962:  "Big Girls Don't Cry" was the new #1 song on the R&B chart for the 4 Seasons.

Milt Okun Has Died

Milt Okun, founder of Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company and producer of many acts including John Denver and Peter, Paul and Mary, died last night in Beverly Hills, California.

Okun, once a teacher in the New York public school system, became a singer, arranger and conductor with Harry Belafonte.

In the early '60s, Okun produced for acts such as Denver, Peter, Paul and Mary, the Brothers Four and others.  Artists recording under Okun have won more than 75 Gold and Platinum records and Okun was nominated for 16 Grammys.

In addition to starting his own publishing company, Okun founded the Los Angeles Opera. 

Okun, who had been in ill health for several years, was 92.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: November 16

1959:  "Mr. Blue" by the Fleetwoods finally dislodged "Mack The Knife" by Bobby Darin as the #1 song after six weeks.  But Macky would be back for more.

This Date in Rock Music History: November 15

1956:  Elvis Presley appeared in a movie for the first time as Love Me Tender opened at the Paramount Theatre in New York City.  (Note:  there are conflicting reports of the date of the premiere.  The books 'Icons of Rock:  An Encyclopedia of the Legends Who Changed Music Forever' by Scott Schinder and Andy Schwartz and 'Elvis:  Day by Day' by Peter Guralnick and Ernst Jorgensen state that the movie premiered on November 15.  The newspaper 'The Examiner' and The website also show the premiere as the 15th.  The books 'The Elvis Movies' by James L. Neibaur and 'Elvis Presley:  A Biography' by Kathleen Tracy state that the premiere was on November 16.  This would be a tossup to determine the accurate date, unless those sources all saw the picture of the marquee above, which clearly shows that the premiere was on the 15th...)   

Sunday, November 13, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: November 14

1960:  "It's Now Or Never" by Elvis Presley became the fastest-selling single ever in the U.K. at the time, moving 780,000 copies in a week.
1960:  Cozy Cole began a 20-week goodwill tour of Africa that was sponsored by the United States State Department.
1960:  Jerry Butler moved back to the #1 spot on the R&B chart with "He Will Break Your Heart".

Leon Russell Has Died

Leon Russell has died at his home in Nashville, Tennessee, his health going downward as he tried to recuperate from a quadruple bypass.  Russell was 74.

Russell was the pianist for Joe Cocker and wrote many songs, including "Superstar" and "A Song For You", both recorded by the Carpenters.

Russell played at the Concert for Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden in 1971.

His biggest solo hit was "Lady Blue" in 1975.