Earlier today we heard the sad news of the passing of Aretha Franklin the Queen of Soul. She of course joins another legend Elvis Presley who died on this day in 1977.
Many other tributes and remembrances have occurred today for Aretha. I have always loved the song Respect, the Otis Redding cover that she made her own and turned into a groundbreaking statement of female empowerment.
When Elvis died in 1977 he was only 42. But of course he was far removed from his artistic peak. His death had a profound effect on a number of artists, including Bruce Springsteen. I think I read somewhere that Bruce saw Elvis’s death as a cautionary tale of what can happen when one’s fame causes you to become isolated from what’s most important in your life – family friends and real connection to others. To honor Elvis on this day here’s Bruce singing Follow that Dream one of his favorites of the King of Rock and Roll
1955 Elvis Presley plays 3 shows in Tampa FL to a crowd of 14,000. A riot broke out after fans took him up on his joking offer to see him backstage after the show, chasing him into his dressing room and tearing off his clothes. A photo from the show was used as the cover of his first RCA album in 1956.
1958 So You Say Its Your Birthday! Bill Berry, drummer for the pioneering American alt rock band R.E.M. Berry suffered a brain aneurysm on stage in 1995 that was successfully treated, and quit the band in 1997 only after getting his bandmates’ commitment to continue the band without him.
1968, Tommy James and The Shondells go to #1 on the UK charts with the garage rock classic ‘Mony Mony‘. The title was inspired after Tommy James, stuck for a title for his new song, went to the terrace of his Manhattan apartment and looked out and saw the “M.O.N.Y.” sign atop the Mutual of New York Building across the way.
2012 Bruce Springsteen, playing the Helsinki Olympiastadionin Finland at the European finale of his Wrecking Ball tour, plays his longest show ever, clocking in at 33 songs and 4 hours and 6 minutes (and that doesn’t include a 5 song acoustic pre-set before the E St. Band comes on!) That’s right kiddies, 4 hours plus! That’s why he’s called the Boss. For more on the show, check out this review.
Sources: This Day in Music.com, Wikipedia, ElvisPresleyPhotos.com, Backstreets.com
1954 Elvis Presley, in his first live concert appearance, appears on the show Hillbilly Hoedown, opening for Slim Whitman. According to reports, Elvis was so nervous that he stood on the balls of his feet and shook his leg in time to the music. After he came offstage, he wanted to know why the audience was yelling at him. They were reacting to the leg shaking, and a signature move was born.
1955, Johnny Cash begins recording ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ at Sun Recording Studio in Memphis. The song was inspired by a movie about the prison that Cash had seen while serving in the US Air Force in West Germany.
1966, The Troggs cover of ‘Wild Thing’ starts a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart. Interestingly, the same song had been released by an American band, The Wild Ones, a year earlier but failed to make the charts.
2003 Sam Phillips, the founder of Sun Records and Sun Recording Studio, dies of respiratory failure in Memphis, Tennessee. Phillips discovered Elvis Presley, and worked with other legends of rock and roll, including Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, as well as Ike Turner and blues legend B.B. King.
Source: This Day in Music.com, Wikipedia, YouTube, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Elvis Presley Music
1954, The Blue Moon Boys, featuring Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black, made their live debut at the grand opening of a drug store in Memphis, TN. The band’s name was taken from the song ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky’ which they had recorded a few weeks prior.
1968, ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida‘, by Iron Butterfly entered the US album charts. The 17 minute title track was supposed to be called ‘In the Garden of Eden’ but lead singer Doug Ingle was so drunk when he recited the lyrics to the band that it was interpreted as In A Gadda Da Vida. The song is considered an early influence on metal.
1975, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band played the opening night on their Born to Run tour in Providence, Rhode Island only hours after finishing recordings for the album. The show was also the live tour debut of Steve Van Zandt (Miami Steve, Little Steven).
Sources: This Day in Music; Wikipedia
1954, Elvis Presley’s first single, “That’s All Right” was released by Sun Records.
1974 The Ozark Music Festival began today at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia, Missouri. Acts who appeared included Bachman–Turner Overdrive, Blue Öyster Cult, The Eagles, America, Marshall Tucker Band, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Boz Scaggs, Ted Nugent, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Electric Flag, Joe Walsh, Aerosmith and Spirit. A committee of the Missouri state Senate issued a report after the festival stating that the festival made Sodom and Gomorrah look mild by comparison.
1987, Bruce Springsteen played his first concert behind the Iron Curtain when he appeared in East Berlin in front of 180,000 people.Sources: This Day in Music.com; Wikipedia.
1953, Elvis Presley, still a truck driver at the time, records his first songs for a vanity disc for his Mom. The disc costs $3.98 and includes two songs, “My Happiness” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin.”
1964, The Rolling Stones make their first appearance on the US music charts with their cover of the Buddy Holly hit “Not Fade Away.”
1966, Bobby Fuller, whose band The Bobby Fuller Four achieved fame with the song “I Fought the Law” was found dead in his car in Los Angeles of gasoline asphyxiation at the age of 23. His death was labeled a suicide, although numerous other theories have been put forward over the years. “I Fought the Law” regained fame in the 1970s when the Clash covered it.
1973 Bruce Springsteen began a four night stand at New York City’s Max’s Kansas City. The opening band was a new reggae artist making their first tour of North America – Bob Marley and the Wailers! (Not that is a concert for the ages!)