Category Archives: today in music history

Today in Music History July 29

1953 So You Say Its Your Birthday! Patti Scialfa, American singer-songwriter.  Scialfa came up in the Jersey shore scene, before joining Bruce Springsteen’s E St. Band for the Born in the USA tour.  She has also done session work for the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards, and David Johansen (Buster Pointdexter), as well as released several solo works, including Rumble Doll, released in 1993.  Oh, and she is married to Bruce Springsteen.

 

1966, Bob Dylan is seriously injured in a motorcycle accident near Woodstock NY, suffering broken neck vertebra.  The accident came weeks after the release of  Blonde on Blonde, the third of three classic albums over 18 months that changed rock and roll forever (the other two being Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited).  Dylan went into seclusion for a year, re-emerging in 1967 to record what would become The Basement Tapes.  Some mystery has surrounded the accident.  For more see this story.

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1968 The Beatles begin recording Hey Jude, a song written by Paul McCartney about John Lennon’s son Julian.

 

Sources: This Day in Music.com, Wikipedia, Ultimate Classic Rock.com

Today in Music History July 28

1948 So you say its your birthday –  Gerald Casale, vocalist, bass guitar/synthesizer player, and a founding member of the Devo. The band blazed the trail of new wave music with their 1980 hit ‘Whip It’.

 

1969 Moscow police dealt with thousands of calls reporting vandals destroying public phone booths.  Apparently a Russian youth magazine had shown how to use phone parts to convert acoustic guitars to electric ones.

1979 Bob Geldolf’s Boomtown Rats reach #2 in the UK with ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’.  The song was written about a mass shooting in San Diego, CA, in which the shooter, in explaining their actions, was quoted as saying “I don’t like Mondays, this livens up the day.”

 

Sources: This Day in Music.com; Wikipedia

 

Today in Music History July 27

1944 Today is the birthday of Bobbie Gentry, US singer and songwriter, whose song ‘Ode to Billie Joe‘ came out of nowhere in 1967 and knocked the Beatles (All You Need is Love) out of the #1 spot on the US singles chart.  She was one of the first female country artists to compose and produce her own material.  ‘Ode to Billie Joe’s Southern gothic story line left listeners with a mystery – what was thrown off the Tallahatchie Bridge and who was with Billie Joe.  The song was Gentry’s only hit.  For more on the song and the artist, check out this Rolling Stone story.

 

1974 Paul McCartney‘s post-Beatles group Wings started a seven-week run at No.1 on the UK album chart with Band On The Run. The two singles off the album, ‘Jet’, and ‘Band on the Run’ helped the album become one of the top selling albums of 1974.

 

1976 Bruce Springsteen sued his manager Mike Appel for fraud and breach of trust in a attempt to get out of his contract with Appel’s Laurel Canyon Ltd.  Appel in turn counter sued Springsteen, leading a judge to issue an injunction against Springsteen being able to record.  Coming on the heels of the success of Born to Run, this was potentially disastrous for Springsteen’s career.  The case dragged on for over 10 months, resulting the year after in an out of court settlement giving Springsteen control of his recordings and career.  But Springsteen’s next album, Darkness on the Edge of Town, wasn’t released until 1978, and showcased a much different writing style than Born to Run.  Gone were the sweeping musical and lyrical epics, replaced with tighter, sparer, grittier character portraits.

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Sources: This Day in Music.com; Wikipedia.

Today in Music History July 26

1943 So You Say Its Your Birthday!: Mick Jagger, lead singer of The Rolling Stones. The man, the entertainer, the legend, the rock god.

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1975 Van McCoy and the Soul City go to No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘The Hustle’, one of several massive disco hits during this time period

 

1986, Peter Gabriel goes to No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Sledgehammer’,. off his massively successful album So.  Almost as well known is the video for the song, which is the most played music video in the history of MTV.

Today in Music History July 25

1958 So You Say Its Your Birthday: Thurston Moore, American singer and guitarist with  the noise rock band Sonic Youth.  Moore is known for his innovative guitar techniques, including unorthodox guitar tunings and guitar preparing techniques.

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1960 ‘Only the Lonely,’ Roy Orbison’s first hit, reachs No.2 on the US singles chart.  The song had been offered to both The Everly Brothers and Elvis Presley, who both turned it down, so Orbison recorded it himself. The clip below is from the classic A Black and White Night concert – see if you can spot all the music legends in Roy’s backing band.

 

1965 Bob Dylan headlines the The Newport Folk Festival and plays a plugged in set with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band that includes his new song ‘Like a Rolling Stone.’  Reaction was mixed with some folk music fans outraged while others in the audience cheered.  One writer noted that he had  “electrified one half of his audience, and electrocuted the other”. The moment signifies Dylan’s movement away from folk and toward more rock influences.

 

1980 AC/DC release Back In Blacktheir tribute Bon Scott, their former lead singer who had died in February of 1980.  Brian Johnson stepped into the lead vocalist role, and the album went on to become the second highest selling album of all time.

 

Sources: This Day in Music.com, Wikipedia, HistoryPod.com

Today in Music History July 24

1957: So You Say Its Your Birthday: Robbie Grey, lead singer and songwriter for the English  new wave band Modern English, most famous for their early 80’s hit, “I Melt With You”.

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1965 The Byrds launch folk rock with their cover of the Bob Dylan song ‘Mr. Tamborine Man’, which hits #1 on the UK charts.

 

1976, ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’, a Elton John/Kiki Dee duet, goes to #1 on the UK charts.  Dee had been a backup singer for John.

 

1993 Zooropa by U2 starts a two-week run at No.1 on the US album chart. The album continues the band’s move towards incorporating more electronic dance and alternative rock effects and themes of technology and media oversaturation that they had begun on 1991’s Achtung Baby.

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The Free Wanderin’ Bob Dylan (a special Today in Music History installment)

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On this day in 2009, Bob Dylan was picked up by a local Long Branch police officer  responding to calls of a suspicious person wondering the area.  I’ll let the local paper, the Star-Ledger pick it up from there:

Rock legend Bob Dylan was treated like a complete unknown by police in a New Jersey shore community when a resident called to report someone wandering around the neighborhood.

Dylan was in Long Branch, about a two-hour drive south of New York City, on July 23 as part of a tour with Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp that was to play at a baseball stadium in nearby Lakewood.

A 24-year-old police officer apparently was unaware of who Dylan is and asked him for identification, Long Branch business administrator Howard Woolley said Friday.

“I don’t think she was familiar with his entire body of work,” Woolley said.

The incident began at 5 p.m. when a resident said a man was wandering around a low-income, predominantly minority neighborhood several blocks from the oceanfront looking at houses.

The police officer drove up to Dylan, who was wearing a blue jacket, and asked him his name. According to Woolley, the following exchange ensued:

“What is your name, sir?” the officer asked.

“Bob Dylan,” Dylan said.

“OK, what are you doing here?” the officer asked.

“I’m on tour,” the singer replied.

A second officer, also in his 20s, responded to assist the first officer. He, too, apparently was unfamiliar with Dylan, Woolley said.

The officers asked Dylan for identification. The singer of such classics as “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Blowin’ in the Wind” said that he didn’t have any ID with him, that he was just walking around looking at houses to pass some time before that night’s show.

The officers asked Dylan, 68, to accompany them back to the Ocean Place Resort and Spa, where the performers were staying. Once there, tour staff vouched for Dylan.

The officers thanked him for his cooperation.

“He couldn’t have been any nicer to them,” Woolley added.

How did it feel? A Dylan publicist did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment Friday.

So what was going on? From checking other accounts, it seems that although the officers had heard of Bob Dylan before, they didn’t recognize him in person, and may have been suspicious that it was actually him (and who can blame them – who would expect that the Bob Dylan would be wandering the neighborhood, in the rain, peering into empty houses, 45 minutes from the concert site.) Imagine the officer’s surprise when they pulled up to the hotel!

There has been some speculation that Dylan was checking out the local haunts of another legend, Bruce Springsteen, who lived in the area back in the day and had played in Long Branch.  Apparently Dylan had done something similar when he played in Toronto some years earlier, wandering around Neil Young’s old haunts.

So what was he up to?  Channeling inspiration from other rock legends?  Being the ultimate fan stalker?  We will never know.

Here is a link to the Star-Ledger excerpt above.

And here is a fun interview with the police officer, Kristie Buble, who picked Dylan up, who explains more what happened.