Saturday, February 4, 2012

The #97 Guitarist of the Rock Era: Danny Kirwan

This guitarist emerged as a teen superstar to land one of the best jobs in the business.  At #97, Danny Kirwan:
    #97:  Danny Kirwan, Fleetwood Mac
 active guitarist for 12 years

(Kirwan playing "Hard Work" in the group Tramp)
Kirwan was born May 13, 1950 in Brixton, South London.  His skill on the guitar attracted attention at an early age and at age 17, established blues band Fleetwood Mac became aware of Kirwan when he was with the group Boilerhouse.  Mac founder Peter Green was impressed with Kirwan and Boilerhouse began opening for the group, with Kirwan and Green jamming together at points in the show.

Drummer Mick Fleetwood asked Kirwan to join the band in August, 1968.  That made the group a quintet with three guitarists.  Kirwan made his live debut with Fleetwood Mac August 14 at the Nag's Head Blue Horizon Club in Battersea, London and contributed to the great instrumental "Albatross".  Kirwan split songwriting and lead vocals with Green on the album Then Play On that shared dual lead guitars.  Kirwan had diverse musical interests, as displayed on the songs he wrote for the album including "Without You", "One Sunny Day", "Something Inside of Me" and "Jigsaw Puzzle Blues".  Kirwan also played the guitar solo on "Oh Well Pt. 1", the group's best known song until the revamped Fleetwood Mac of the mid-70's. 
Kirwan had developed great improvisational skills and in January 1969, he contributed to Otis Spann's blues album The Biggest Thing Since Colossus and also played on Christine McVie's first solo album--Christine Perfect.  Kirwan also worked with the band Tramp on their self-titled album in 1969 and would later join them for their second album Put a Record On in 1974.   

Jeremy Spencer and Kirwan handled guitars and vocals on the Kiln House album after Green left the group in 1970.  Kirwan wrote "Station Man", "Jewel-Eyed Judy", "Tell Me All the Things You Do" and "Earl Gray". 

After the bizarre departure of Spencer (see Inside the Rock Era article), Bob Welch joined the group for the last two Fleetwood Mac albums with Kirwan.  Future Games featured his opener "Woman of 1,000 Years", "Sands of Time" and "Sometimes".  The following year, Mac released Bare Trees, including five Kirwan songs--the instrumental "Sunny Side of Heaven", "Dust", "Danny's Chant", featuring heavy use of the wah-wah guitar effect, "Child of Mine" and the title cut.
Because of the lineup changes and uncertain period, Kirwan wrote most of the songs and his health suffered.  He had problems with alcoholism and would often not eat for days at a time.  He became estranged from the other band members until finally before a concert  in 1972, Kirwan threw a fit and smashed his guitar, refusing to go on stage.  He instead watched as the band struggled and offered unwelcome criticism afterwards.  Fleetwood, as the leader of the group and the only one still speaking to Kirwan, fired him.

In early 1974, Kirwan joined a short-lived band called Hungry Fighter.  He then recorded three solo albums showing a gentler side of him and the music was filled with infectious melody.  Midnight in San Juan from 1976 featured a reggae-inspired cover of "Let It Be" by the Beatles.  None of these did well, largely because Kirwan was completely reluctant to tour. 

During the late 1970's, Kirwan's mental health deteriorated significantly and in the late 1980's and 1990's he endured a period of homelessness.

Kirwan used four main guitars, the 1952 Gibson Les Paul Standard, the 1959 Les Paul Standard Cherry Sunburst, the 1959 Les Paul Standard Tobacco Sunburst and the 1956 Les Paul Custom Black Beauty.

Danny Kirwan, who began his career as something of a boy genius, joining a major band at age 17, then saw his career decline because of drugs.  He ranks as The #97 Guitarist of the Rock Era*.

This Date in Rock Music History: February 4

1954:  The Drifters recorded "White Christmas".
1955:  Elvis Presley gave two performances (7:30 and 9:30 p.m.) at Jesuit High School in New Orleans, Louisiana.
1959:  Frankie Avalon, Fabian and Jimmy Clanton took over as the headlining acts for the Winter Dance Party after the death of Buddy Holly.
1961:  Johnny Burnette was hospitalized for an emergency appendectomy.

1963:  The Beach Boys released the single "Surfin' U.S.A."

1963:  Ruby & the Romantics released the single "Our Day Will Come".

1965:  The Righteous Brothers scored their first #1 when "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" reached #1 in the U.K.
1967:  The Monkees climbed to the top of the Album chart in the U.K. with their self-titled debut, which would stay #1 for seven weeks.
1967:  Aaron Neville controlled the R&B chart for a fifth week with "Tell It Like It Is".
1967:  The Rolling Stones moved from 43 to 11 with "Ruby Tuesday".

1967:  The Monkees made it 13 weeks at #1 on the Album chart with their debut.  S.R.O. from Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass and the Soundtracks to "Doctor Zhivago" and "The Sound of Music" were next.  The rest of the Top 10:  Winchester Cathedral from the New Vaudeville Band, the Temptations Greatest Hits, That's Life from Frank Sinatra at #7, Got Live if you Want It!  by the Rolling Stones, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass moved back up after 91 weeks with Whipped Cream & Other Delights and Boise, Idaho's Paul Revere & the Raiders moved from 15-10 with their new album The Spirit of '67.

                               Philadelphia's Keith...

1967:  "I'm A Believer" by the Monkees, one of The Top 100 Songs of the 1960's*, as well as one of The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*, spent a sixth week at #1.  "Georgy Girl" by the Seekers was a strong second followed by the novelty "Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron" by the Royal Guardsmen.  Aaron Neville dropped with "Tell It Like It Is" while the Buckinghams were at 5 with "Kind Of A Drag".  The rest of the Top 10:  The Mamas and the Papas and "Words Of Love", Blues Magoos were up to 7 with "(We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet", Keith had a Top 10 with "98.6", Boise, Idaho's Paul Revere & the Raiders were at 9 with "Good Thing" and the Four Tops held down #10 with "Standing In The Shadows Of Love".
1968:  The Beatles recorded "Across The Universe" at Abbey Road studios in London.
1968:  The Jimi Hendrix Experience performed at the Winterland in San Francisco, California.
1969:  Jackson, Tennessee celebrated "Carl Perkins Day".
1971:  Diana Ross was a guest star on Danny Thomas' television show Make Room For Granddaddy.
1972:  This should tell you a lot about who wants you to have the freedom to protest and who doesn't.  South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell, suggesting that John Lennon be deported.

1974:  Being Music Director at a radio station wasn't tough this week.  Mondays of course are the days for new releases from the record companies, and Monday fell on this date back in 1974.  When MD's came to their desks that day, they found two great singles.  If they didn't immediately add them to their playlists, they didn't know what they were doing.  One was the new one from Gladys Knight & the Pips--"Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me".

1974:  Elton John released his new single "Bennie & The Jets".

1974:  New group Blue Swede released their remake of the B.J. Thomas song "Hooked On A Feeling".


1976:  You will see other music news websites post that Fleetwood Mac released the single "Rhiannon" on March 6.  This of course is impossible since that was the day it debuted on the chart and proves they know very little of what they talk about.  As anyone who has been in the business knows, singles must be released by Tuesday to be eligible to appear on the chart.  "Rhiannon" was actually released much sooner than that--on February 4.

           Albums don't get better than this one, featuring "Gold Dust Woman".

1977:  Fleetwood Mac released the album Rumours.
1977:  American Bandstand celebrated their 25th anniversary on ABC-TV.
1978:  Talking Heads plus new group Dire Straits were in concert at the Oasis Leisure Centre, in Swindon, England.     


1978:  ABBA achieved their third #1 album in the U.K. with their release entitled The Album.
1978:  Neil Diamond posted his fifth #1 on the Adult chart with "Desiree".

                 Styx with the title track from their new album...

1978:  The Soundtrack to "Saturday Night Fever" spent a third week at #1 on the Album chart.  Rod Stewart was nearby with Foot Loose & Fancy Free, while the Grammy Award-winning All 'N All by Earth, Wind & Fire was third and Queen's News of the World was ready, willing and able at #4.  The rest of the Top 10:  ELO with their double album Out of the Blue, Fleetwood Mac's Rumours hung in there after 50 weeks on the chart, Neil Diamond moved up to 7 with I'm Glad You're Here With Me Tonight, Styx's solid LP The Grand Illusion, Billy Joel and the phenomenal album The Stranger at #9 and Jackson Browne made the list with Running On Empty.

1978:  Rita Coolidge had one of the hottest songs as her remake of "The Way You Do The Things You Do" moved from 58 to 38.

1978:  The Bee Gees celebrated their second straight #1 with "Stayin' Alive".  Randy Newman's "Short People" was passed up while previous #1 "Baby Come Back" by Player was third.  Queen's biggest hit to date--"We Are The Champions" was fourth followed by Andy Gibb and "(Love Is) Thicker Than Water".  The rest of the Top 10:  Billy Joel's breakthrough hit "Just The Way You Are", former #1 "How Deep Is Your Love" by the Bee Gees, Dan Hill moved from 11-8 with "Sometimes When We Touch", Rod Stewart was on his way down with "You're In My Heart" and Samantha Sang and the Bee Gees moved from 17-10 with "Emotion.  That meant that Barry, Maurice & Robin Gibb wrote half of the week's Top 10.

1980:  The Eagles released the single "I Can't Tell You Why".

                 Karen Carpenter, one of the most-loved stars the world has ever known...

1983:  Karen Carpenter died at her parents' home in Downey, California from heartbeat irregularities resulting from chemical imbalances associated with anorexia nervosa.  She was only 32 years old.
1984:  Paul Gardiner, bassist for Gary Numan ("Cars" from 1980) died from drugs.
1984:  The Eurythmics owned the #1 album in the U.K. with Touch.
1984:  Christopher Cross enjoyed his third #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart since 1980 with "Think Of Laura".

           Genesis was becoming a major force in rock...

1984:  Culture Club moved to #1 with "Karma Chameleon", unseating Yes with "Owner Of A Lonely Heart".  The Romantics remained third with "Talking In Your Sleep" while Kool & the Gang placed "Joanna"at #4.  The rest of the Top 10:  Matthew Wilder's "Break My Stride", Elton John dropped with "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues", Lionel Richie edged up with "Running With The Night", the new Genesis song "That's All!" was #8, Christopher Cross moved into the Top 10 with "Think Of Laura" and John Cougar Mellencamp was at #10 with "Pink Houses".
1984:  Michael Jackson spent a 26th week at #1 on the album chart with Thriller, just five short of the Rock Era record of 31 set by Fleetwood Mac's Rumours.
1986:  Janet Jackson released her third but what would prove to be her breakthrough album--Control.
1989:  Steve Winwood reached #1 on the AC chart with "Holding On".
1989:  Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians' eclectic album Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars moved into the Top 10.

1989:  One of The Top 100 Songs of the 1980's*, "When I'm With You" by Sheriff, was #1 with Paula Abdul chasing from behind with "Straight Up". 
1991:  Cher at the Mirage was televised by CBS.

1991:  Londonbeat released the awesome single "I've Been Thinking About You".
1992:  Pearl Jam performed at the Borderline in London.  Tickets were $8.50.
1992:  Alex Harvey of the Sensational Alex Harvey band died from a heart attack at age 46 n Zeebrugge, Belgium.

1995:  Celine Dion went to #1 in the U.K. with "Think Twice", a song that would remain at the top for seven weeks and would go on to win the Ivor Novello Award for Song of the Year.
1995:  The incredible TLC enjoyed a ninth week at #1 on the R&B chart with "Creep", one of The Top R&B Songs of the 1990's*.
1996:  Rob Pilatus, formerly of the ill-fated Milli Vanilli was hospitalized when was hit over the head with a baseball bat in Hollywood, California.  Pilatus was attempting to steal a car when the owner let him have it.
2000:  Doris Coley of the Shirelles died of breast cancer at age 58.  (Note:  some websites report that Doris died on February 5, but the correct day was Friday, February 4, according to the newspaper 'The New York Times' and other reliable sources.)
2002:  Stevie Wonder sang "Happy Birthday" to Rosa Parks for her 89th at the premiere of the television movie Ride to Freedom:  The Rosa Parks Story.
2004:  Janet Jackson was dropped from the lineup of the Grammy Awards.
2007:  We've heard of infighing within a group but this took it to extremes.  Razorlight stopped their concert in Lyon, France midway through after lead singer Johnny Borrell and bassist Carl Dalemo first exchanged insults then came to blows.  The band then walked off-stage with the French crowd not sure what to make of it all.
2007:  Norah Jones made it three straight #1 albums as Not Too Late rose to #1 in the U.K.

2016:  Maurice White, co-founder, songwriter, arranger, drummer and leader of Earth, Wind & Fire, died in his sleep in Los Angeles.  (Note:  original reports from the group indicated White died February 3, but later Twitter reports, confirmed by both 'CNN' and 'USA Today', among others, indicated he died early in the morning of February 4.)  The group was one of the top acts of the 70's, and White was nominated for 21 Grammys, winning seven, and he won four American Music Awards.  EWF was inducted int both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, and White was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame as well.  In addition to his accomplishments in Earth, Wind & Fire, White worked with numerous artists including Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, the Emotions and Deniece Williams.

Born This Day:
1941:  John Steel, original drummer of the Animals, was born in Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, England.

1944:  Florence LaRue Gordon of the Fifth Dimension was born in Plainfield, New Jersey.  (Glenside, Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania are also shown by several websites as Gordon's birthplace.  There are no reliable sources for either city, but our best information indicates that Florence was born in Plainfield, then moved to Glenside.)
1947:  Spyder Turner (cover of "Stand By Me" from 1967) was born in Beckley, West Virginia.

1948:  Alice Cooper (real name Vincent Furnier) was born in Detroit, Michigan.

1948:  Marguerite ("Margie" or Marge") Ganser, twin sister of Mary Ann below, was born in Oceanside, New York; died of breast cancer on July 28, 1996 in the Bronx, New York.  (Note:  There is much dispute on the Internet regarding Marguerite's vital statistics.  The dates of February 2, 1947, February 8, 1948 and November 8, 1947 are all thrown around.  According to the book 'Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars' by Jeremy Simmonds, Margie was born February 4, 1948 in Queens, New York.  Nick Talevski, in his book 'Rock Obituaries:  Knocking on Heaven's Door', agrees that the Ganser twins were born on February 4, 1948, but says that they were born in Oceanside (a census-designated place) on Long Island, and raised in Queens.  The Long Island newspaper 'Newsday' confirms that Marguerite was in fact born in Oceanside.  Her place of death, on July 28, 1996 unfortunately is also disputed.  Some websites say she died in Valley Stream, New York, while others say she died in New York City.  Marguerite worked in Valley Stream, but she died at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, according to The Associated Press.)

1948:  Mary Ann Ganser was born in Oceanside, New York; died March 14, 1970 in Queens, New York of drugs.  (Note:  Mary Ann's death is also shrouded in myth.  Some websites say that Mary Ann died in 1971, and most websites state that Mary Ann died of encephalitis from a mosquito bite, but according to the newspaper 'The Los Angeles Times', Mary Ann in fact died on March 14, 1970 from a drug overdose.  Further proof of the sisters' birthdays is shown from Mary Ann's gravestone at Saint Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale, New York.  While the birthday shown above confirms the information in the two books referred to above, and gravestones are nearly always final proof of vital statistics, in rare instances, the date of death can be wrong.  The shown date of March 16 was the date that Mr. Ganser identified Mary Ann's body, but according to the newspaper 'The New York Times', Mary Ann was found dead on Sunday afternoon, March 15, and an official Coroner's report showed that she died on March 14. ) 
1950:  James Dunn of the Stylistics was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Note:  some websites state that Dunn was born on February 2, but he was born on February 4, according to the book 'Every Chart Topper Tells A Story:  The Seventies' by Sharon Davis.)
1951:  Phil Ehart, the original drummer of Kansas, was born in Coffeyville, Kansas.
1952:  Jerry Shirley, drummer of Humble Pie, was born in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire. (Various places of berth are listed on the Internet, including London, Wattenham Cross, London, Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, and Waltham Cross, London.  There is a Wattenham, Germany, and a Tottenham, England, but there is no Wattenham Cross in England.  Waltham Cross is indeed in Hertfordshire, but our best information is that Shirley was born in London.)

1975:  Natalie Imbruglia ("Torn") was born in Sydney, Australia.
1975:  Rick Burch, bass guitarist of Jimmy Eat World
1976:  Cam'ron was born in Harlem, New York.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The #98 Guitarist of the Rock Era: Mike Bloomfield

We're well into this special that features The Top 100 Guitarists of the Rock Era*.  The late Mike Bloomfield checks in at #98:
#98:  Mike Bloomfield, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Electric Flag
 20 years as an active guitarist

Bloomfield was born on July 28, 1943 in Chicago, Illinois.  His influences included Scotty Moore, B.B. King, Freddie King, Ray Charles and Little Richard.  Bloomfield became one of the first superstars of the 1960's to earn their reputation almost entirely on their instrumental ability.  Mike was attracted to blues at an early age and spent time at the blues clubs on Chicago's South Side.  B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan and Buddy Guy were among Bloomfield's early supporters.
Bloomfield met Paul Butterfield and Elvin Bishop and ran his own small blues club the Fickle Pickle.  Soon after, John Hammond, producer and scout at Columbia Records, discovered Bloomfield and signed him to a contract.  He recorded a few sessions but ended up joining the Paul Butterfield Blues Band which also included Bishop.  Bloomfield's early work brought much acclaim.  His "East-West's", thirteen-minute title track, which combined blues, jazz, classical Indian raga and psychedelic rock, was especially noteworthy.
Bloomfield also worked as a session musician with Bob Dylan and his guitar work was a major part of Dylan's change into electric music.  Dylan asked Mike to join him permanently but Bloomfield rejected in order to continue playing with the Butterfield Band.  But Bloomfield and fellow group members Jerome Arnold and Sam Lay did back Dylan at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival for his controversial first live electric performance.

Although Bloomfield enjoyed the work with the Butterfield Band, he was exhausted with the constant touring schedule and when he relocated to San Francisco, California, he created his own group, Electric Flag.  He hired drummer Buddy Miles away from Wilson Pickett and the Electric Flag debuted at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival.  However, the use of drugs took its toll on the band and they split up after just one album.
Bloomfield also gained fame for his work with Al Kooper on the album Super Session in 1968, which featured jamming by the two.  Stephen Stills contributed to the album as well.  Bloomfield continued to do session and solo work from 1969 to 19890, releasing his debut solo album It's Not Killing Me in 1969.  He worked with John Cale and Dr. John and was a member for a brief time of the failed supergroup KGB with Ray Kennedy, Barry Goldberg, bassist Rick Grech and Carmine Appice on drums. 

Bloomfield played in local San Francisco clubs in the 1970's and had planned to tour Sweden in 1981 but was found dead on February 15 in the front seat of his car, victim of drugs.
Bloomfield originally used the Fender Telecaster but switched to a 1954 Gibson Les Paul when he joined the Butterfield Blues Band.  He then picked up a 1959 Les Paul Standard for use later in his career.  Bloomfield rarely used feedback and distortion, preferring a loud but clean sound with a good amount of reverb and vibrato.  One of his favorite amplifiers was a 1965 Fender Twin Reverb.  He used chromatic notes within the pentatonic framework and his solos reflected a great degree of fluidity. 

Gibson has released a Michael Bloomfield Les Paul, replicating his 1959 Standard, in recognition of Bloomfield's influence.  Guitarists such as Carlos Santana, Slash, Eric Johnson and Phil Keaggy have all been influenced by Bloomfield's early work.

Mike Bloomfield ranks as The #98 Guitarist of the Rock Era*...

This Date in Rock Music History: February 3

1958:  The Silhouettes reached #1 on the R&B chart with "Get A Job".

1959:  Buddy Holly (22), Ritchie Valens (17) and the Big Bopper (28) died in a plane crash outside of Clear Lake, Iowa, on their way to Fargo, North Dakota.  Holly had set up 26 concerts in three weeks (The Winter Dance Party) to make money after the Crickets broke up.

1962:  The #1 Easy Listening song was "Can't Help Falling In Love" by Elvis Presley for the fourth week.
1962:  There were two new Top 10 songs--"Duke Of Earl" by Gene Chandler, which moved from 20-7, and "Break It To Me Gently" by Brenda Lee.
1965:  Bobby Vinton appeared on The Patty Duke Show on ABC-TV.
1966:  Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys married Annie Hinsche in Los Angeles.

1966:  Paul McCartney went to see Stevie Wonder perform at the Scotch of St. James Club in London, then met the 15-year-old backstage.

1967:  Safe to say Knoxville, Tennessee was hopping.  They got to see the Drifters, the Marvelettes, Otis Redding, Aaron Neville and James and Bobby Purify in concert at the Civic Coliseum.
1967:  Jefferson Airplane and Quicksilver Messenger Service were in concert at the Fillmore in San Francisco, California.
1967:  Joe Meek, producer who helped the Tornadoes with "Telstar", shot his landlady Violet Shinton and then himself in London.
1968:  The Beatles recorded three piano and drum takes with overdub bass, fuzz guitars and vocals of "Lady Madonna" at Abbey Road studios in London.

   "I Am the Walrus"--the Beatles at their creative best...

1968:  The Beatles held on to the #1 position on the Album chart for the fifth week with the "Magical Mystery Tour" Soundtrack.
1968:  Aretha Franklin made it three weeks at #1 on the R&B chart with "Chain Of Fools".  It was her 18th week at #1 within the R&B genre in less than a year.
1968:  Dionne Warwick had one of the fastest-moving songs as "(Theme From) Valley of the Dolls" moved from 61 to 33.                     

                          Dennis Yost & the Classics IV...

1968:  The Lemon Pipers scored a #1 with "Green Tambourine".  John Fred & His Playboy Band suddenly lost their way with "Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)" while Aretha Franklin was down with "Chain Of Fools".  Dennis Yost and the Classics IV had a big hit with "Spooky" and the American Breed remained fifth with "Bend Me, Shape Me".  The rest of the Top 10:  Gary Puckett, from Twin Falls, Idaho, & the Union Gap with "Woman, Woman", Paul Mauriat roared from 18 to 7 with "Love Is Blue", the Human Beinz moved in with "Nobody But Me", the Lettermen had a big hit with their medley--"Goin' Out Of My Head/Can't Take My Eyes Off You" and the Temptations moved from 15-10 with "I Wish It Would Rain".

1969:  The Zombies re-released the single "Time Of The Season", after having initially releasing the song the previous year.  It became a hit a year after the band broke up.
1969:  John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison hired Allen Klein to be the Beatles' business manager.  Paul McCartney dissented, leading to more problems within the group.

1973:  Lobo took over the top spot on the Adult chart with "Don't Expect Me To Be Your Friend".

1973:  Gladys Knight & the Pips were on fire, moving from 86 to 62 with "Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye)".
1973:  The Moody Blues had the highest debut with their great song "I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band)".
1973:  Elton John moved to a position that would become very familiar to him over the next three decades--#1.  The song that earned EJ his first chart topper was "Crocodile Rock".
1976:  ABBA filmed the video for "Fernando".
1978:  The movie Dead Man's Curve, about the life of Jan & Dean, was televised on CBS.

1978:  Harry Chapin met with U.S. President Jimmy Carter at the White House to discuss the problem of hunger.
1978:  Only in America.  Or perhaps only in Texas.  On the 19th anniversary of Buddy Holly's death, we learned that his birthplace in Lubbock, Texas was scheduled for demolition by the Lubbock Building Department.  The landmark was saved when the entire building was purchased and moved out of town.  Gee, do ya think it might have some kinda', you know, heestorical value (hic)?
1979:  "Heart of Glass" by Blondie went to #1 in the U.K.

         Earth, Wind & Fire packaged all their best in a great album.

1979:  The novelty project Briefcase Full of Blues by the Blues Brothers (Dan Aykroyd & John Belushi) reached #1 on the Album chart.  Rod Stewart edged up with Blondes Have More Fun.  Billy Joel's previous #1 52nd Street was next, followed by You Don't Bring Me Flowers from Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand's Greatest Hits, Volume 2.  The rest of the Top 10:  C'est Chic from Chic, The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. I, the Greatest Hits package from Barry Manilow, Foreigner was at #9 after 31 weeks with Double Vision and the Village People were at #10 with Cruisin'.
1979:  Parliament ruled the R&B chart for a third week with "Aqua Boogie".
1979:  Nicolette Larson owned the #1 Adult Contemporary song with "Lotta' Love".

                                  Gaynor had a mass appeal smash...

1979:  Chic had the #1 song for a sixth week with "Le Freak".  There were two new excellent songs in the Top 10:  "Fire" by the Pointer Sisters and Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive", which moved from 20 to 10.

1986:  Mike + the Mechanics released the single 'All I Need Is A Miracle".

                      Rod Stewart's biggest hit in years...

1990:  Michael Bolton's version of "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You" was the #1 song for a third week.  Paula Abdul moved from 8-2 with "Opposites Attract" while Rod Stewart remained third with "Downtown Train".

1990:  In passing one of the great longevity tests of all-time, Paula Abdul took over at #1 on the Album chart after 81 weeks of release with Forever Your Girl.
1991:  Sinead O'Connor announced that she would not accept any Grammy Awards or attend the ceremony because the show represented "false and destructive materialistic values".

1993:  Gloria Estefan was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1996:  B.B. King starred on an episode of Touched By An Angel on CBS-TV.
1996:  Mary J. Blige continued to be red hot as "Not Gon' Cry" moved from 59 to 21.

                   Joan Osbourne made us think...

1996:  "One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men reached a 10th week at #1.  Counting her hit "Fantasy", Mariah Carey had spent 18 of the last 19 weeks at #1.  "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)" by Whitney Houston was #2 with the impressive "Missing" from Everything But the Girl #3.  Newcomer Joan Osbourne was behind that trio with "One Of Us".  The rest of the Top 10:  "Hey Lover" from LL Cool J, the Goo Goo Dolls placed "Name" at #6, Deep Blue Something remained in the #7 spot with "Breakfast At Tiffany's", LaBouche bounced up with "Be My Lover", Monica's double-sided "Before You Walk Out of My Life"/"Like This And Like That" at #9 and the Tony Rich Project moved into the Top 10 with "Nobody Knows".

                                     "Given To Fly"...

1998:  Pearl Jam released the album Yield.

1999:  Gwen Guthrie ("Ain't Nothin' Goin' On But The Rent" from 1986), who wrote songs for Roberta Flack and Sister Sledge and sang backup vocals for Madonna, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel and Aretha Franklin, died from cancer in Orange, New Jersey at the age of 48.

2002:  The Chemical Brothers had the #1 U.K. album with Come With Us.
2002:  Britney Spears sang the national anthem at Super Bowl XXXVI.
2002:  Paul McCartney & Barry Manilow starred in a pre-game concert for Super Bowl XXXVI at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.
2003:  Phil Spector was arrested in connection with the shooting death of a woman at his mansion in Alhamba, California.
2004:  Sheryl Crow and cyclist Lance Armstrong announced they were splitting.
2004:  Cornelius Bumpus, saxophonist with the Doobie Brothers and Moby Grape who also played with Steely Dan, died of a heart attack at the age of 58 while flying from New York City to Los Angeles.
2007:  Wayne Fontana was arrested for arson with intent to injure after setting the car of a bailiff on fire in Glossop, Derbyshire, England.
2008:  Adele had the top album in the U.K. with 19.

Born This Day:
1935:  Johnny "Guitar" Watson, blues and funk guitar and singer ("Cuttin' In" from 1962), was born in Houston, Texas; died May 17, 1996 of a heart attack while performing on stage at the Yokohama Blues CafĂ© outside Tokyo, Japan.  (Note:  several websites proclaim many "causes of death" but according to 'CNN,' it was from a heart attack.)

1939:  Johnny Bristol ("Hang On In There, Baby" from 1974) and producer of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" for Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell and "Yester-Me, Yester-You,Yesterday" for Stevie Wonder, was born in Morganton, North Carolina; died March 21, 2004 in Howell, Michigan.  (Note:  some websites state that Bristol was born in Morgantown, North Carolina.  There is no such town; the correct spelling is Morganton.  Some websites say he died in Brighton Township, Michigan.  Bristol suffered a seizure at his home in Brighton Township, but he was pronounced dead of natural causes at St. Joseph Mercy Livingston Hospital in Howell.) 
1940:  Angelo D'Aleo of Dion and the Belmonts was born in the Bronx, New York.  (Note:  some websites say that D'Aleo was born in New York City, but according to the book 'Motown Encyclopedia' by Graham Betts, he was born in the Bronx.) 
1943:  Dennis Edwards, who shared lead vocals for the Temptations after David Ruffin left, was born in Birmingham, Alabama.
1943:  Eric Haydock, original bass guitarist of the Hollies, was born in Burnley, Lancashire, England.

1947:  Dave Davies, lead guitarist, vocalist and founder of the Kinks, was born in Muswell Hill, London.  (Note:  some websites show his birthplace as Fortis Green, but according to the book 'Legends of Rock Guitar:  The Essential Reference of Rock's Greatest Guitarists' by Pete Prown, Harvey P. Newquist and Jon F. Eiche, Dave was born in Muswell Hill.)

1947:  Melanie (Melanie Safka), who did "Brand New Key" in 1971, was born in Queens, New York.  (Note:  some websites say that she was born in Astoria, Queens, New York.  Astoria is a neighborhood, not a city.)
1956:  Lee Renaldo, songwriter, singer and guitarist of Sonic Youth and also a producer, was born in Glen Cove, New York.  (Note:  some websites say that Renaldo was born in Glen Cove, Long Island, New York.  Glen Cove is its own city.)

1959:  Laurence Tolhurst, founding member, drummer and keyboardist of the Cure, was born in Horley, Surrey, England.
1969:  John Spence, co lead-singer and founder of No Doubt, was born in Anaheim, California; committed suicide in Anaheim on December 21, 1987.  (Note:  some websites say that Spence was born on February 2.  While there are no infallible sources as to either date, our best research indicates that Spence was born on February 3.)

1970:  Richie Kotzen, songwriter, singer and guitarist of Mr. Big ("To Be With You"), was born in Reading, Pennsylvania.
1990:  Sean Kingston (real name Kisean Anderson, whose biggest hit was "Beautiful Girls" in 2007) was born in Miami, Florida.

The Day the Music Died

By now, most of the people who were lucky enough to experience a Buddy Holly concert are just about all dead and gone.  For those who know anything at all about him, he was a musical genius and an innovator.  He was the first major star to produce his own records, the first to use overdubbing, the first to use his own instruments on a song so that the finished product fairly represented his initial vision.

These are things that today's artist takes for granted but whether or not they know it, they have Buddy Holly to thank for the license to be able to create music they way they want to.  He had only been around a few years so hadn't put out a large volume of material.  What had made him so immensely popular and one of the brightest stars of the young Rock Era was his talent and potential. It is believed that had he lived, he would have rivaled Elvis in popularity.  The difference was that Holly wrote his own music while Elvis did not, he was a talented guitar player, and he arranged and produced his own music.  Plus, he didn't have a manager to hinder him the way Elvis did. 

"The Day the Music Died" of course, is the term that Don McLean came up with in 1972 in his epic song "American Pie" to describe the huge loss that was felt on that wintry night in 1959.  The music world not only lost this 22-year-old promising budding superstar but also 17-year-old Ritchie Valens and 28-year-old J.B. "The Big Bopper" Richardson on that fateful night.  It has been called the first and greatest tragedy rock and roll has ever suffered.

The Winter Dance Party was a tour set up by Holly to earn money after his group the Crickets had disbanded.  It covered twenty-four Midwestern cities in the United States in three weeks.  This was a pretty full schedule and to complicate matters, the tour bus that was used to carry the musicians was not prepared for the winter cold--its heating system broke shortly after the tour began.  Carl Bunch, the drummer Holly hired, developed frostbitten feet and had to be hospitalized in Ironwood, Michigan when the bus broke down en route to Appleton, Wisconsin.  When they lost Bunch, Holly, Valens and Dion DiMucci (of Dion and the Belmonts) took turns playing drums for each other at the Green Bay, Wisconsin and Clear Lake, Iowa shows.

Clear Lake originally was not an intended stop on the tour but there was an open date and thus promoters set up the show for Monday, February 2.  When the entourage rolled into the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake that day, Holly was fed up with the tour bus.  He told his remaining band members, Waylon Jennings and Tommy Allsup, that they should try to charter a plane to save time and avoid the cold bus ride of 380 miles (610 km) to the next gig in Moorhead, Minnesota.

Holly contacted Roger Peterson, a 21-year-old local pilot of Dwyer Flying Service in Mason City, Iowa.  Dwyer would charge $36 per passenger to ride in the single-engine 1947 Beechcraft Bonanza 35 (V-tail).  Richardson had developed the flu and asked Jennings for his seat on the plane.  When Holly learned that Jennings wasn't going with them, he said in his usual joking way, "Well I hope your ol' bus freezes up".  To this, Jennings responded, also in jest, "Well I hope your ol' plane crashes".  This exchange haunted Jennings the rest of his life. 

Ritchie Valens had never flown in a small plane before and despite being apprehensive, asked Allsup for his seat on the plane.  Tommy replied "I'll flip ya' for the remaining seat."  Allsup flipped the coin in a sidestage room shortly before the group left for the airport.  Valens won the coin toss and thus had a seat on the flight.

 Dion had been approached to join the flight, but decided he couldn't justify the $36 cost.

The plane left the ramp and taxied to then-Runway 17 at the Mason City Municipal Airport at about 12:55 A.M. Central Time on Tuesday, February 3.  There was a light snowfall, with winds gusting to 30 knots and a cloud ceiling of 3,000 feet. 

Hubert Dwyer, owner of the plane, watched as "the tail light of the aircraft gradually descended until it was out of site", just after 1:00 A.M.  Peterson had told Dwyer he would file a flight plan with Air Traffic Control shortly after takeoff.  When Peterson did not call tower personnel, Dwyer requested that they continue to try to establish radio contact, but all attempts were unsuccessful.  When Hector Airport in Fargo, North Dakota had not heard from Peterson, Dwyer contacted authorities to report the aircraft missing.

About 9:15 A.M., Dwyer left in his private Cessna 180 to fly Peterson's intended route.  Within minutes after takeoff, Dwyer spotted the wreckage less than six miles (9.7 km) northwest of the airport in a cornfield belonging to Albert Juhl.  The plane was at a slight downward angle and banked heavily to the right when it struck the ground at about 170 miles per hour (270 km per hour).  The plane then skidded under 570 feet (170 meters) across the frozen Iowa landscape before the wreckage came to wrest against a wire fence at the edge of Juhl's property.  The bodies of Holly and Valens lay near the plane, Richardson was thrown over the fence into the cornfield of Juhl's neighbor Oscar Moffett, while Peterson's body remained entangled inside the plane.  Since the other musicians with The Winter Dance Party had already left, Surf Ballroom manager Carroll Anderson, who drove the musicians to the airport, had to make positive identifications of the musicians.  All four died instantly from "gross trauma" to the brain, according to county coroner Ralph Smiley.

Investigators found that the crash was due to the poor weather and pilot error, resulting in spatial disorientation.  Peterson had not yet been certified for flight into weather that would require flying the aircraft based solely by reference to his instruments rather than using his own vision.  The Civil Aeronautics Board noted in its final report that Peterson had trained on airplanes equipped with an artificial horizon altitude indicator and not with the one the Bonanza was equipped with.  The two relevant instruments display aircraft pitch altitude but show the information in a visual manner opposite of one another.  Thus, the board considered that this could have caused Peterson to think he was ascending when he was, in fact, descending. 

Signpost near the Clear Lake crash site

In 1988, Ken Paquette, a fan of the early years of the Rock Era, erected a stainless steel monument depicting a steel guitar and a set of three records containing the names of each of the three performers.  The monument is on private farmland, about one quarter mile west of the intersection of 315 Street and Gull Avenue, five miles (8 km) north of Clear Lake.  A large plasma-cut steel set of Wayfarer-style glasses, similar to the ones Holly was famous for wearing, stands at the access point to the crash point.  A similar monument was also created and unveiled outside the Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where the three played on February 1.  In February of 2009, Paquette made a new memorial for pilot Peterson and unveiled it at the crash site.  The road originating near the Surf Ballroom and extending north past the west of the crash site is called Buddy Holly Place.

Directions to Crash Site: From U.S. Highway 18, go north on North 8th Street in Clear Lake for 4.7 miles. When the paved road (which has turned into Grouse Avenue) turns to your left (west), take the gravel road (310th Street) to your right (east), then immediately left (north) on Gull Avenue. Follow Gull Avenue to the north for one-half mile, just past the grain bins to the first fence row on your left (west). Walk along the fence row towards the west for just under one-half mile. A small memorial is located at the place the plane came to rest. Four trees were also planted along the fence row in 1999, one for each performer and the pilot.