Saturday, April 28, 2012

This Date in Rock Music History: April 29

1963:  Lesley Gore released the single "It's My Party".

1967:  Jimi Hendrix, Cat Stevens, Engelbert Humperdinck and the Walker Brothers played two concerts at Bournemouth Winter Gardens in England.
1967:  Aretha Franklin remained atop the R&B chart for a sixth week with "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)".
1967:  "Groovin'" by the Young Rascals was the hottest new song, as it soared from 79 to 49.

1968:  The musical Hair opened on Broadway at the Biltmore Theatre.
1969:  Ringo Starr added the lead vocal to "Octopus's Garden" for the upcoming Beatles' album Abbey Road, although Ringo would later re-record the vocals.
1971:  Bill Graham announced he was closing both Fillmores in San Francisco and New York.
1972:  Roberta Flack's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" remained at #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart for the fifth week in a row.

1972:  Flack set a record when her album First Take reached #1 on the Album chart in its 118th week on the chart, the longest any album had ever taken to reach #1.  The album first charted in 1970, fell off the chart on June 13 of 1970 and then re-entered on March 18, 1972 after 91 weeks. The album then climbed to #1 on this date back in 1972.
1972:  Roberta Flack had the #1 song for a third week with "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face".
1973:  The Bay City Rollers were at the Odeon Theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland.
1973:  John Denver began his weekly John Denver Show on BBC TV in the U.K.
1977:  The Grateful Dead played the first of five concerts at the Palladium in New York City.
1978:  Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams' duet "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late" was #1 on the R&B chart for a third week.

1978:  The Bee Gees had one of The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era*, as "Night Fever" held on to #1 for a seventh consecutive week.  Yvonne Elliman remained second with "If I Can't Have You" while Barry Manilow remained in the #3 position with "Can't Smile Without You".  Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway were next with "The Closer I Get To You".  The rest of the Top 10:  Wings and "With A Little Luck", Eric Clapton tumbled with "Lay Down Sally", Kansas was at 7 with "Dust In The Wind", Raydio's first hit "Jack And Jill", Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta teamed for a Top 10 smash with "You're The One That I Want" and Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams bounced from 20 to 10 with "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late". 
1988:  After stealing George Harrison's wife (Patti Boyd) from him, Eric Clapton announced that he and Patti were divorcing.  The choice was Patti's, of course.

1989:  The hottest new song was a comeback hit for Donna Summer, and really her last big hit--"This Time I Know It's For Real", which moved from #88 to #57.

                                    Southern Rockers .38 Special...

1989:  Madonna had the #1 song with "Like A Prayer", while Bon Jovi made its move with "I'll Be There For You".  Tone Loc was singing about a "Funky Cold Medina" and the Fine Young Cannibals were at #4 with "She Drives Me Crazy".  The rest of the Top 10:  Deon Estus (with George Michael) and "Heaven Help Me", Roxette's "The Look", .38 Special moved to #7 with "Second Chance", Jody Watler moved up to #8 with "Real Love", Cher & Sun Valley, Idaho's Peter Cetera jumped from 15-9 with "After All" and Paula Abdul scored another Top 10 with "Forever Your Girl".
1990:  Floyd Butler of the Friends of Distinction died of a heart attack in Los Angeles at the age of 49.
1992:  Sheena Easton collapsed on stage during a performance of Man of La Mancha on Broadway.  The illness was later determined to be an intestinal ailment.

1992:  Paula Abdul married actor Emilio Estevez.
1993:  Guitarist Gilby Clarke of Guns N' Roses broke his hand in a motorcycle accident, causing the group to cancel several concerts.

1993:  Elite guitarist Mick Ronson, who played for David Bowie, Bob Dylan, John Mellencamp and Morrissey, died of liver cancer at age 45 in London.
1995:  Rapper Tupac Shakur married Keisha Morris inside the Clinton Correctional Facility where he was serving a four-year sentence for sex abuse.  Sounds like a match in heaven--a jailbird and a woman who was looking for the worst man she could find.
1996:  Phil Spector canceled a recording session with Celine Dion due to lack of a recording contract.
1998:  Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler broke his knee while in concert in Anchorage, Alaska, delaying the group's tour.
2003:  The movie Only the Strong Survive, starring Jerry Butler and many other R&B singers, opened in New York.

       The respectable Pearl Jam...

2003:  Pearl Jam purchased a 1,400 square-mile area of rainforest in Madagascar to compensate for the greenhouse gas emissions they estimated would be released because of their North American tour.  You wish everyone would act that responsibly.
2004:  Christina Aguilera canceled her spring tour due to vocal strain.
2005:  Mary Travers of Peter, Paul & Mary had a bone marrow transplant in her battle with leukemia; she died four years later.

Born This Day:
1928:  Carl Gardner, founder of the Coasters, was born in Tyler, Texas; died of congestive heart failure and vascular dementia in Port St. Lucie, Florida on June 12, 2011.
1929:  Ray Barretto, who played percussion for the Bee Gees and Rolling Stones, was born in Brooklyn, New York; died February 17, 2006 of heart failure and complications from multiple health issues in Hackensack, New Jersey.
1931:  Lonnie Donegan, who wrote the Dr. Demento staple "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor On The Bedpost Overnight", was born in Glasgow, Scotland; died November 3, 2002 in Market Deeping, Lincolnshire, England after suffering another in a series of heart attacks in his last years. 

1933:  Rod McKuen, poet and songwriter (over 1,500 songs), was born in Oakland, California; his songs include the Academy Award-nominated "Jean" and the #1 "Seasons In The Sun" for Terry Jacks in 1974; died January 29 of respiratory arrest after suffering from pneumonia in Beverly Hills, California.  McKuen wrote songs for Barbra Streisand, Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield, Perry Como, Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis and Percy Faith, among others.
1936:  April Stevens (real name Carol LoTempio), who recorded "Deep Purple" with brother Nino Temple, was born in Niagara Falls, New York.
1942:  Klaus Voormann, bassist for Manfred Mann and John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band; designer of the album cover for the Beatles' Revolver and many others and also a producer, was born in Berlin, Germany.
1945:  Tammi Terrell, solo singer with Motown Records and successful singing partner of Marvin Gaye, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; collapsed October 14, 1969 into the arms of Gaye on stage and was diagnosed with a brain tumor, died on March 16, 1970 in Philadelphia.

1947:  Tommy James (real name Thomas Jackson) of Tommy James & the Shondells and a solo artist ("Three Times In Love") was born in Dayton, Ohio.
1947:  Joel Larson, drummer and percussionist of the Grass Roots, was born in San Francisco, California.
1953:  Bill Drummond, musician, songwriter, producer; who joined Big In Japan and formed KLF ("3 AM Eternal"), was born in Butterworth, South Africa.

1968:  Carnie Wilson, daughter of Beach Boy Brian Wilson and member of Wilson Phillips, was born in Los Angeles, California.
1971:  Tamara Johnson-George of SWV was born in Brooklyn, New York.
1973:  Mike Hogan, bass guitarist for the Cranberries, was born in Limerick, Ireland.
1979:  Jo O'Meara of S Club was born in Romford, London, England.  (Note:  some websites mistakenly say O'Meara was born in Romford, Essex, England.  Romford was once part of the county of Essex, but the Local Government Act of 1974 moved Romford into the Greater London area.  Since O'Meara was born five years later, she was born in Romford, London.)
1980:  Kian Egan of Westlife was born in Sligo, Ireland.

The #13 Guitarist of the Rock Era: Eric Johnson

Inside the Rock Era began featuring The Top 100 Guitarists of the Rock Era* on February 1.  We're now up to #13.  He's a pleasure to listen to.  Another of those rare breed of guitarists who doesn't waste notes playing a bad riff but chooses his notes carefully.
#13 Eric Johnson
44 years as an active guitarist
("Cliffs of Dover" live)

Eric Johnson was born August 17, 1954.  He blends elements of rock, blues, jazz, soul folk, New Age and classical music into his songs.  In addition to being one of The Top 100 Guitarists of the Rock Era*, Johnson also is an accomplished pianist.

Johnson studied piano at an early age and began playing guitar at age 11.  He was influenced early by Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Cream, Mike Bloomfield, Django Reinhardt and West Montgomery.  Eric joined Mariani, a psychedelic rock group, at the age of 15.  After graduating from high school, Johnson briefly attended the University of Texas and joined a local fusion group known as the Electromagnets.  The group recorded regionally but disbanded in 1977.

Eric next formed a touring trio, the Eric Johnson Group, which recorded the album Seven Worlds in 1978. Contract disputes, however, held up the release of the album until 1998.  As Eric was unable to get a new management contract, he began working as a session guitarist for artists such as Carole King, Cat Stevens and Christopher Cross.  Johnson finally began attracting attention and he signed a recording contract with Warner Brothers.  His major-label debut, Tones, was released in 1986.

Guitar Player magazine featured Johnson on its cover in May 1986.  One of the tracks from Tones, "Zap", was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.  However, the album did not sell and Warner Brothers did not renew Johnson's contract.

Eric signed with Cinema Records, a small label distributed by Capitol, and released Ah Via Musicom.  Guitar magazines praised Johnson for his rich, violin-like tone, and "Cliffs of Dover" won Johnson a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.  This time, his album sold well, going Platinum.  But after supporting Ah Via Musicom for three years on tour, he delayed the release of his next album for three years as he recorded, then scrapped, several completed tracks.

                         "Pavilion"/"Venus Reprise"

Venus Isle was finally released September 3, 1996.  It showed great growth as both a songwriter and a guitarist, but received mixed reviews and Capitol too dropped him.  Johnson was nominated for two Grammys, however, from the album--"Pavilion" and "S.R.V.", both in the Best Rock Instrumental category.   Later that year, Eric went on the G3 tour with Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, a great showcase for his abilities.

In 1994, Johnson formed the side project Alien Love Child and played shows while working on Venus Isle. The concerts were well received and eventually, the album Live and Beyond, was released in 2000.

Johnson recorded Souvenir in 2002 on his own label, Vortexan Records. The album was released on the Internet and received 65,000 plays in its first seven weeks. Johnson went on an electric tour in 2003 and an acoustic tour the following year.
Eric Clapton invited Johnson to perform at his Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2004, giving Eric additional exposure. Johnson released his next album Bloom in 2005, and earned another Grammy nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. Also that year, a performance Johnson gave for the program Austin City Limits, was released on CD and DVD. Johnson also released an instructional guitar DVD, The Art of Guitar, in 2005.

Johnson was part of the theatrical production "Primal Twang: The Legacy of the Guitar", a journey through the 3,5000-year history of the guitar. He then did a second tour of the G3 event, this time with Satriani and John Petrucci before starring in another theatrical production--"Love In:  A Musical Celebration", in which he performed a set of Jimi Hendrix music.

Johnson is a master of guitar techniques, employing a great array of guitar skills.  Not only that, he doesn't waste notes--Eric knows when and how to use those techniques and skills.  Johnson is a shredder, but what makes him stand out is his melodic sense and his ability to play any time of music and play technically sound.  Johnson is a precise, clean player with one of the best tones of all-time.

Johnson plays Fender Stratocasters and Gibson ES-335 guitars through Fender, Dumble and Marshall amplifiers.  He has also played Robin, Rickenbacker and Jackson Charvel guitars, and in 2001, acquired a Gibson Custom Shop '59 Les Paul Reissue.

In 2003, C.F. Martin & Company released an Eric Johnson Signature MC-40.  In 2005, Fender produced the Eric Johnson Signature Fender Stratocaster and in 2009, the Eric Johnson Signature Stratocaster Rosewood model.

Johnson uses several effects, including the Ibanez Tube Screamer, the Dallas-Arbiter Fuzz Face, the BK Butler Tube Driver, the TC Electronic Stereo Chorus, the Vox CryBaby wah-wah, the Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man delay, the Xotic AC Booster, the Boss DD-2 Digital Delay and the Line 6 Echo Pro Studio Modeler.

In addition to the artists mentioned above, Johnson has also played on albums by over 50 artists, including Richard Marx (Rush Street), Rodney Crowell, John McLaughlin, John 5 and Chet Atkins.

Most people outside the guitar community are not aware of Johnson, but guitarists are well aware of his God-given ability.  Here's a man who knows his instrument:  knows what it is capable of, and knows the sound he wants to achieve from it.  There are guitarists behind him who are faster, guitarists who have achieved a higher financial level of success, but none combined the overall level of speed, experience, tone and technical expertise that Johnson has.  Which is why Eric ranks as The #13 Guitarist of the Rock Era*...

Friday, April 27, 2012

This Date in Rock Music History: April 28

1956:  Little Richard earned a third week at #1 on the R&B chart with "Long Tall Sally".
1958:  The Big Beat Show, Alan Freed's rock and roll show, had two performances at Central High School Auditorium in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  The tour featured Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Frankie Lymon, the 
Diamonds, the Chantels, Danny & the Juniors and others.
1958:  The Platters took over at #1 on the R&B chart with "Twilight Time".
1962:  Dee Dee Sharp had the new #1 R&B song with "Mashed Potato Time".
1964:  The Beatles recorded their television special "Around the Beatles" at Wembley studios in England.  
1965:  Barbra Streisand hosted her first television show My Name Is Barbra on CBS-TV.
1966:  The Kinks appeared at the Mecca Ballroom in Nottingham, England.
1968:  The Seeds ("Pushin' Too Hard") were the guests on The Mothers-In-Law on NBC-TV.

1969:  The album Chicago Transit Authority was released to debut the career of the classic supergroup.  They shortened their name to Chicago after the Transit Authority in the Windy City filed suit against the use of their name.  (Note:  some websites say the album was released May 17, but numerous sources, including 'Billboard' and the book 'The Emergence of Rock and Roll:  Music and the Rise of American Youth Culture' by Mitchell K. Hall, state that the album was released in April.  'MTV' reports that it was issued April 1; however, the official Chicago website and 'Mojo' magazine state that the album was released April 28.) 

1969:  Three Dog Night released the single "One".
1973:  Faces had the #1 album in the U.K. with Ooh La La.
1973:  Sylvia owned the top R&B song with "Pillow Talk".

                                           "The Cisco Kid" was a friend of mine...

1973:  Tony Orlando & Dawn remained at #1 with "Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree".  War had their biggest hit with "The Cisco Kid" while the Carpenters held steady at 3 with "Sing".  Vicki Lawrence saw her former #1 "The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia" drop but Sweet reached #5 with "Little Willy".  The rest of the Top 10:  Stevie Wonder had his 31st hit and 14th career Top 10 song with "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life", the Temptations were back with "Masterpiece", Donny Osmond found himself at #8 with "The Twelfth Of Never", although few stations played it, Stealers Wheel scored their only Top 10 song with "Stuck In The Middle With You" and the Four Tops finished the list with "Ain't No Woman (Like The One I've Got)".

                                 "Us and Them" helped Pink Floyd have a #1 album...

1973:  The album Dark Side of the Moon rose to #1 for Pink Floyd.  It would be the only week the album would top the charts.  Aloha from Hawai'i via Satellite by Elvis Presley would knock the Floyd off the following week but on this day settled for #2.  Billion Dollar Babies from Alice Cooper fell from 1-3 with the Best of Bread landing at #4.  The rest of the Top 10:  Houses of the Holy by Led Zeppelin at #5, War's The World Is a Ghetto, Masterpiece from the Temptations at 7, the Soundtrack to "Lady Sings the Blues" by Diana Ross falling to #8, the Beatles/1962-1966 moving from 23-9 and the Beatles/1967-1970 jumping from 24-10.

1974:  Olivia Newton-John released the single that would jump-start her career--"I Honestly Love You".
1975:  John Lennon was a guest on Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show.
1975:  Ringo Starr sang "No No Song" on The Smothers Brothers Show.
1978:  Blue Oyster Cult began a 14-date U.K. tour at the Apollo Theatre in Manchester, England.  (Note:  some websites list the opening date as April 27, but according to the group's official website, the correct date is April 28.)
1978:  Mike Oldfield played the first of three shows at Wembley Arena in London.  (Note:  some websites show that Oldfield only played two nights at Wembley, but according to his official website, he played on April 28 and 29th and May 2.)
1979:  The Very Best of Leo Sayer topped the U.K. Album chart.
1979:  Peaches & Herb climbed to #1 on the R&B chart with their great song "Reunited".

1979:  Donna Summer titled her new song right as "Hot Stuff" was up from #79 to #29 on this date.
1979:  Blondie had their first #1 song with "Heart Of Glass", although Peaches & Herb were right there with "Reunited".  Amii Stewart's former #1 "Knock On Wood" fell to #3 while Frank Mills remained at #4 with one of The Top 100 Instrumentals of the Rock Era*, "Music Box Dancer".

                                  George Benson had another smash album...

1979:  Minute By Minute by the Doobie Brothers took over from the Bee Gees' Spirits Having Flown on the Album chart.  2 Hot! from Peaches & Herb came in at #3 while Dire Straits' debut was at 4.  The rest of the Top 10:  Desolation Angels from Bad Company, Parallel Lines by Blondie was #6, George Benson had #7 with Livin' Inside Your Love, Supertramp's landmark Breakfast in America landed inside the 10 for the first time, the Allman Brothers Band had #9 with Enlightened Rouges and Rod Stewart fell to 10 with Blondes Have More Fun.

1980:  Elton John released the single "Little Jeannie".  (Note:  some websites naively say the song was released May 1.  "Little Jeannie" debuted on the Singles chart on May 3, and the Tuesday deadline for reporting new adds by radio stations in 1980 was April 29, making a claim of May 3 impossible.)

Against the Wind by Bo Seger on Grooveshark
1980:  Bob Seger released the single "Against The Wind".
1980:  Tommy Caldwell of the Marshall Tucker Band died at age 30 of head injuries sustained in an April 22 car crash near his hometown of Spartanburg, South Carolina.  
1981:  Steve Currie, former bassist of T Rex, was killed in a car crash returning to his home near Vale de Parra, Algarve, Portugal.  He was 33.
1983:  U2 appeared at the Rochester Institute of Technology Ice Rink in New York.

You Might Think by The Cars on Grooveshark                                                                        The Cars' first single from 'Heartbeat City'...

1984:  Phil Collins continued to set the pace at #1 with "Against All Odds".  Lionel Richie had another great song making a challenge--"Hello".  The Cars had the top new song in the Top 10 with "You Might Think".
1987:  Ray Charles encouraged the United States Congress to increase funding for hearing research.  "My eyes may be my handicap," he said, "but my ears are my opportunity."
1988:  Pink Floyd was in concert at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas.
1988:  B.W. Stevenson ("My Maria") died after heart valve surgery in Nashville, Tennessee at the age of 38.
1989:  Jon Bon Jovi married high school sweetheart Dorothea Hurley in Las Vegas, Nevada.
1990:  Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses married Erin Everly.  The marriage lasted for 27 days before Erin finally woke up.  (Note:  some websites report the date of the marriage as April 27, but as you can see from the copy of the marriage certificate above, the correct date is April 28.  This date is confirmed by the book 'Watch You Bleed:  The Saga of Guns N' Roses' by Stephen Davis.)   

How Can We Be Lovers by Michael Bolton on Grooveshark                                                                                   Bolton's new song...

1990:  Sinead O'Connor remained at #1 with "Nothing Compares 2 (sic) U (sic)".  Jane Child had the #2 song "Don't Wanna' Fall In Love", Calloway edged up to 3 with "I Wanna' Be Rich", Lisa Stansfield had #4 with "All Around The World" and Michael Bolton moved up to #5 with "How Can We Be Lovers".
1991:  Bonnie Raitt married Michael O'Keefe in Tarrytown, New York.  (Note:  some websites report the marriage as April 27, but according to both 'The New York Times' and 'The Chicago Tribune', the correct date is April 28.)
1998:  The Dave Matthews Band released the album Before These Crowded Streets.
1998:  Stevie Nicks released the boxed set Enchanted.

1999:  Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1999:  The Verve announced that they had split up for a second time.  (Note:  some websites report that the group broke up on April 27.  The band's management company released a statement announcing the group's breakup on April 28, according to 'MTV'.)
2002:  Sugababes had the #1 song in the U.K. with "Freak Like Me".
2004:  The Recording Industry Association of America sued 477 people, accusing them of illegally swapping MP3's.  
2004:  George Michael was named as the most-played artist on British radio over the previous two decades.
2007:  Amelle Berrabah of Sugababes was arrested for assaulting an 18-year-old woman in a Guildford, Surrey, England bar.  What kind of people are we giving our money to these days?

Born This Day:
1943:  Fantastic Johnny C ("Boogaloo Down Broadway") was born in Greenwood, South Carolina.
1945:  John Wolters, drummer for Dr. Hook, was born in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey; died of liver cancer in San Francisco, California on June 16, 1997.
1953:  Kim Gordon, bass player of Sonic Youth, was born in Rochester, New York.
1955:  Eddie Jobson, keyboardist and violinist with Roxy Music, Jethro Tull and Mothers of Invention, was born in Billingham, County Durham, England.
1961:  Roland Gift, lead vocalist of the Fine Young Cannibals, was born in Birmingham, England.
1968:  Howard Donald of Take That was born in Droylsden, Lancashire, England.  (Note:  websites which don't know their history mistakenly say Donald was born in Droylsden, Manchester, England.  Droylsden did not become part of Manchester until the Local Government Act of 1972, four years after Donald was born.  Thus, it is impossible for Donald to have been born in Droylsden, Manchester.) 

The #14 Guitarist of the Rock Era: Tony Iommi

At #14, a guitarist who has exerted considerable influence on the heavy metal scene:

#14:  Tony Iommi, Black Sabbath
49 years as an active guitarist

Anthony Frank "Tony" Iommi was born February 19, 1948 in Handsworth, Birmingham, England.  He was the lead guitarist, songwriter and founding member of Black Sabbath.  As the only consistent member of the group through many lineup changes, Iommi is recognized as one of the most important and influential guitarists of heavy metal.  Allmusic goes so far as to say "Iommi is one of only two guitarists (Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page being the other) that can take full credit for pioneering the mammoth riffs of heavy metal."

Iommi had initial interest in the drums, but after being inspired by Hank Marvin and the Shadows, began playing the guitar as a teenager.  He learned to play left-handed after an industrial accident at the age of 17 left him without the tips of the middle and ring finger of his right hand.

Tony began playing in several blues and rock bands, beginning with the Rockin' Chevrolets in 1964.  The Chevrolets booked regular concerts and played in Germany.  In 1966, Iommi played in the group the Rest, which also included future Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward.

Beginning in 1968, Iommi joined Mythology, but the band split up in July.  In August, the band Rare Breed also broke up, and vocalist Ozzy Osbourne and rhythm guitarist Terry "Geezer" Butler (who would play bass) joined with Iommi and Ward, along with slide guitarist Jimmy Phillips and saxophonist Alan "Aker" Clarke formed the Polka Tulk Blues Company.  After two gigs, however, Phillips and Clarke were fired from the band and the name was shortened to Polka Tulk.

Iommi, Butler, Ward and Osbourne renamed the band Earth in September 1968.  Iommi did one performance with Jethro Tull ("The Rolling Stones Rock & Roll Circus) but rejoined Earth immediately after.

In 1969, since another group had the name Earth, the band renamed themselves Black Sabbath.  Because of the factory accident mentioned above, Iommi detuned his guitar from E to C# in 1971 to ease the tension on his fingers and Butler did the same.  Black Sabbath thus became one of the first bands to do this, a technique which has become common in heavy metal music.

Black Sabbath set out with ominous music and dark lyrics in an effort the create the musical equivalent of horror films.  The group signed with Philips Records in 1969 and recorded their self-titled album.  The album remained on the chart for over a year and went platinum.  The group recorded the album Paranoid just four months later, and the durable title song was recorded in the studio at the last minute, only because the album didn't have enough songs.  "Iron Man" from the album also remains as one of the favorite Black Sabbath songs among fans.

Paranoid went on to sell four million albums and remains as one of the most influential heavy metal albums of all-time and Black Sabbath toured the United States for the first time in 1970.  The following year, the group began work on their third album, which they completed in April 1971.  Thus, the three releases were in rapid succession.  Master of Reality reached the Top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic and went on to achieve platinum status.  Critical reaction was unfavorable.  

Sabbath went to the famous Record Plant in Los Angeles to record their next album, which was plagued by drug issues.  The album was titled Black Sabbath, Volume 4.  Once again, critics blasted the album but it did go gold.  "Tomorrow's Dream" was released as a single but it did not chart.  The group toured the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

The group initially returned to Los Angeles to record a new album, but when no songwriting emerged, Sabbath rented Clearwell Castle in the Forest of Dean.  It was here in the dungeons that Iommi came up with the riff for "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath".  Elite keyboardist Rick Wakeman from Yes contributed to "Sabbra Cadabra" and in 1973, the group released their new album Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.  For the first time, reviews of a Black Sabbath album were positive.  The album became the fifth straight platinum album for the group, and was a #4 album in the U.K.

Sabbath began a world tour in 1974, concluding with the California Jam festival on April 6.  Sabotage was released in 1975, the first album that failed to reach platinum status.  It did feature fan favorites such as "Hole in the Sky" and "Symptom of the Universe".  Black Sabbath toured, but were forced to cut the tour when Osbourne had a motorcycle accident.  

Black Sabbath added keyboardist Gerry Woodruffe to the lineup for the album Technical Ecstasy, released in 1976.  The album featured more synthesisers and uptempo rock songs.  The album did not make the top 50, but did reach gold status in 1997.  Sabbath toured both the U.S. and Europe.

In November, 1977, Osbourne quit the band but, three days before Black Sabbath was set to record a new album, he had a change of heart and rejoined.  The group spent five months recording Never Say Die! in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  The album was panned as unfocused to the group's drug abuse.  Black Sabbath toured to support the album, but was upstaged by opening act Van Halen.  

The group returned to Los Angeles to work on a new album, but as Osbourne had nothing to contribute, Iommi fired him in 1979.  Ronnie James Dio was brought in as the new lead singer.  Geezer Butler temporarily left in September, replaced by Geoff Nicholls on bass.  Butler returned and Nicholls moved to keyboards.  With the fresh new sound thanks to Dio, Heaven and Hell in 1980 became one of Black Sabbath's best albums, charting at #28 in the U.S. and #9 in the U.K.  

Black Sabbath toured the United States with the concert at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, filmed and released as Black and Blue.  On July 26, Sabbath played before 75,000 fans, thanks to the presence of Journey.  During the tour, drummer Bill Ward quit the group, replaced by Vinny Appice.

Mob Rules was released in 1981, and another live album, Live Evil, was recorded during the subsequent world tour.  Things began to fall apart during the mixing of the live album, and Dio left in 1982, taking Appice with him.   

Iommi and Butler were left to audition new live singers, and Ian Gillan was hired in December.  Bill Ward had sobered up and rejoined the group for the album Born Again.  Despite being ripped by critics, the album did reach #4 in the U.K.  But Ward was unable to tour and quit again.  Former ELO drummer Bev Bevan was brought in for a world tour and Black Sabbath headlined the 1983 Reading Festival.

Following the completion of the tour, Gillan left to rejoin Deep Purple, who had decided to reform.  Bevan left at the same time.  Unhappy with an ever-changing lineup, Butler too left Sabbath, leaving Iommi as the sole original member.  

In 1984, Iommi recorded his first solo album, Seventh Star but because of issues with the record company, it was released as a Black Sabbath album.  Meanwhile, the original Black Sabbath agreed to reunite for one appearance at the Live Aid concert on July 13, 1985--it was the time that the original members had performed on stage since 1978.  

A new lineup that featured singer Glenn Hughes set out to tour, but four days before the first show, Hughes and production manager John Downing got into a fight that damaged Hughes' orbital bone and left him unable to sing.  Vocalist Ray Gillen was brought in to replace him, but nearly half of the shows were canceled due to poor ticket sales.

Black Sabbath began working on a new album, but it was a disaster from the beginning.  Bassist Bob Daisley was brought in and wrote all of the lyrics, but left to join Gary Moore's band before the album was completed.  Two producers came and went.  Gillen abruptly left the group to form Blue Murder with elite guitarist John Sykes.  Bevan was brought in again to help with percussion, but when Sabbath agreed to do shows in South Africa during the apartheid era, Bevan refused to play and was replaced by Terry Chimes.

After a year in production, The Eternal Idol was released in 1987, completely ignored by reviewers.  The album was the least successful of any released by Black Sabbath, and the group was dropped from Warner Brothers.  They were able to get a contract with smaller I.R.S. Records, and rebounded slightly with Headless Cross in 1989.  Elite guitarist Brian May came in to do a solo on "When Death Calls".  Drummer Cozy Powell and bassist Neil Murray were added to the group.

A tour of the U.S. began in May but was cancelled after just eight shows due to poor ticket sales.  TYR in 1990 became the first Sabbath album to fail to make the Billboard 200, and once again a tour was canceled because of poor ticket sales.

Dio and Butler expressed interest in rejoining Black Sabbath and Iommi dismissed vocalist Tony Martin and bassist Neil Murray.  Those three along with Powell on drums began working on a new album, but Powell suffered a broken hip while horse riding.  Appice replaced him, reunited the Sabbath lineup on Mob Rules.  Writing tensions between Dio and Iommi resumed, and the album took a year and a million dollars to produce.

In 1992, Iommi performed with the remaining members of Queen and other guest artists at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.  Dehumanizer was released in 1992, the band's biggest success in ten years, peaking at #44.  Osbourne invited Sabbath to open for his solo band but Dio, having too much pride to do that, quit the group.  Iommi, Butler, and Ward did join Osbourne on stage for the first time since Live Aid.

Black Sabbath recorded two albums with Tony Martin before the original lineup reunited in 1997.  In 2011, the original members announced that they were reunited for a new album, a performance at the Download Festival in 2012 and a world tour.

In 2000, Iommi released another solo album, Iommi, and another, The 1996 DEP Sessions in 2004.  In 2005, Iommi combined with vocalist Glenn Hughes and Kenny Aronoff, drummer for John Mellencamp, for the album Fused.

In 2006, Iommi, Vinny Appice, Geezer Butler and Ronnie James Dio formed the group Heaven & Hell and toured in 2007.  The group's show at Radio City Music Hall in New York City was released as a live CD and DVD.  Heaven & Hell joined Judas Priest, Motorhead and Testament on the Metal Masters Tour in 2008 and released their only studio album, The Devil You Know, in 2009.  In 2010, Heaven & Hell performed for the final time at the High Voltage Festival in London.

Black Sabbath are regarded as one of the most influential heavy metal bands.  Acts such as Metallica, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Guns N' Roses, Megadeth, the Smashing Pumpkins, the Foo Fighters, Godsmack, Alice in Chains, Anthrax and Slipknot attribute Sabbath as an influence.  The album Paranoid is thought of as "the birth of heavy metal". 

Black Sabbath has sold 15 million albums in the United States and 70 million worldwide.  They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2006, with presenter James Hetfield saying that "Tony Iommi is the king of the heavy riff."  Black Sabbath's music paved the way for the subgenres thrash, sludge and doom metal.

Early in 2012, Iommi was diagnosed with the early stages of lymphoma.  

Tony combines blues-influenced guitar solos and minor-key guitar riffs with a revolutionary high-gain, highly distorted tone.  The deep sound was necessary because of the accident, and Tony said his extreme volume was necessary because Black Sabbath became "fed up with people talking over us while we were playing".  

Iommi played Jaydee Custom SG's beginning with the Heaven and Hell album and soon, it became one of Tony's main guitars.  The guitar has a 24-fret neck with custom cross inlays and five control knobs.  Iommi began playing a 1965 Gibson SG special ("Monkey") after his white Fender Stratocaster failed during recording of Black Sabbath's self-titled album.

A Gibson Custom Shop SG was built to Tony's specifications in 1997.  It is one of two prototypes for the Limited Edition Iommi Special SG.  Iommi also plays an Epiphone P94 Iommi SG, a Gibson SG Standard with two extra frets, as Iommi became the first guitarist to have a signature pickup designed and built by Gibson, a BC Rich Ironbird, a Gibson Barney Kessel and an Epiphone Riviera 12 string.

Iommi uses the Laney GH 100 TI Tony Iommi Signature amplifiers.  He began his career using Laney Supergroup heads, then switched to Marshall, using the 9005 Power Amplifers, the 9001 Preams, 4x 12" speaker cabinets, 2554 Silver Jubilee Combo, the 2558 Silver Jubilee Combo and Paul Reed Smith modded JCM800 head beginning in the mid-1980's.  Iommi has also used the Mesa Boogie Mark series heads, Laney Klipp, Laney 4x12 cabinets and Engl Powerball Amplifiers.

Iommi uses a Korg Rackmount Delay SDD1000, a Corus pedal and Octave Divider from Boss, the Tycobrahe Wah Pedal and Octavia, the Korg DL8000R multi-tap delay, the Peavey Addverb III, the Dallas Rangemaster Treble Booster and the Drawmer LX22 Compressor.

In 2004, Guitar World ranked Iommi #1 on its list of "The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists of All-Time".  In November 2008, Iommi earned a star on the Birmingham Walk of Stars.

Iommi is fast and a great riff producer.  His solos aren't as melodic as some guitarists ahead of him.  But he does have a lot of experience and was there in the beginning of heavy metal.  Tony ranks #14 for the Rock Era*...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

This Date in Rock Music History: April 27

1957:  Little Richard took over at #1 on the R&B chart with his classic "Lucille".
1959:  Wilbert Harrison's new song was the talk of the town as "Kansas City" moved from #71 all the way to #24.
1959:  The Fleetwoods remained at #1 for a third week with "Come Softly To Me".
1963:  "He's So Fine" by the Chiffons topped the R&B chart for the fourth straight week.

1963:  "I Will Follow Him" became Little Peggy March's only #1 song on this date.  "Can't Get Used To Losing You" remained at 2 for Andy Williams, the Chiffons' former #1 "He's So Fine" fell to 3, Peter, Paul & Mary held at #4 with "Puff The Magic Dragon" and Jackie Wilson was at #5 with "Baby Workout".  Two of The Top 100 Instrumentals of the Rock Era* were in the Top 10 simultaneously--"Pipeline" from the Chantay's was #6 and Mongo Santamaria entered the Top 10 at #10 with "Watermelon Man".  The Drifters scored a Top 10 hit as "On Broadway" held position #9.

1964:  In the wake of their big hit "I Want To Hold Your Hand", the Beatles re-released their first U.K. hit "Love Me Do" on Vee-Jay Records.

1964:  The Dixie Cups released the single "Chapel Of Love".
1967:  Sandy Shaw hit #1 in the U.K. with "Puppet On A String".

1968:  Simon & Garfunkel debuted on the chart with "Mrs. Robinson".  (Beware:  other music history sites tell you that they released the song on this date, and lose considerable credibility by saying that.  Not true.  Charts are printed up in advance--in fact, printing begins on Wednesday for a chart that is released on a Saturday.  So you see, a song can't be released on the same day that a music chart appears in print.)

1968:  The great sound of composer Burt Bacharach coupled with the singing of Dionne Warwick paid off as "Do You Know The Way To San Jose" moved from #61 to #27.

1968:  "Honey", one of the biggest hits of the rock era, was #1 for the third week for Bobby Goldsboro.  The Box Tops edged up to #2 with "Cry Like A Baby", Gary Puckett & the Union Gap was at #3 with their biggest hit "Young Girl" and the Beatles held fast at #4 with "Lady Madonna".  
1969:  Jose Feliciano invited guests Glen Campbell, Andy Williams and Dionne Warwick on his television special on NBC.
1969:  Pink Floyd appeared at the Mother's Club in Birmingham, England.  The concert was recorded for the upcoming album Ummagumma.

1969:  Joe Cocker made his television debut on The Ed Sullivan Show.

1970:  This guy had struggled for years writing songs for other artists.  He decided it was time to break free and put out his own music.  On this date, Elton John released his first single--"Border Song".

1971:  The Rolling Stones released "Brown Sugar", the first 45 from their new Rolling Stones Records.  (Note:  some websites naively say the song was released May 7 in the United States.  "Brown Sugar" debuted on the charts on May 1.  It is physically impossible for a song to debut on the Singles chart if it has not yet been released as a single.)
1971:  The Grateful Dead performed at the Fillmore East in New York City.  The Beach Boys joined them onstage when both groups did a set of Beach Boys songs.
1979:  Stevie Wonder made a surprise appearance at a tribute to Duke Ellington at Royce Hall on the campus of UCLA in Los Angeles.  Stevie played "Sir Duke" and covered Ellington's "C-Jam Blues".

1981:  A great singer with a lot of promise released his first record on this date.  James Ingram released the single "Just Once".
1981:  Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach were married in London.  The two met while filming the movie Caveman.
1981:  The group Wings officially broke up.  (Note:  some websites claim the breakup was April 25, but the official date of the announcement was April 27, according to the book 'Penny Laine's Anthology' by Terry Rowan.)
1985:  DeBarge had the #1 R&B song with "Rhythm Of The Night".

                                                     Animotion was on the move...

1985:  U.S.A. for Africa remained at #1 with "We Are The World", a third week at the top for the humanitarian project.  Madonna was patient at #2 with "Crazy For You" while DeBarge landed the #3 song with "Rhythm Of The Night".  The Commodores proved they could be successful without Lionel Richie with "Nightshift" and Simple Minds had the perfect ending to the great movie The Breakfast Club (which should be required viewing for all junior high and high school kids...) with "Don't You (Forget About Me)".  The rest of a fine Top 10:  Murray Head was back with "One Night In Bangkok", newcomers Animotion had a hot song in "Obsession", the Power Station moved to #8 with "Some Like It Hot", Bruce Springsteen declared "I'm On Fire" and Don Henley reached the Top 10 with his solo hit "All She Wants To Do Is Dance".  

1987:  R.E.M. released their first single "Dead Letter Office".
1988:  Queensryche released their album Operation:  Mindcrime (Note:  some websites report the album was released May 3.  According to 'MTV', the date of release was April 27.)


1991:  Amy Grant scored a #1 hit with "Baby Baby".  Roxette moved up to #2 with "Joyride" while the former #1 "You're In Love" by Wilson Phillips fell to #3.
1994:  The Fillmore re-opened in San Francisco.
1994:  John Mellencamp's wife Elaine gave birth to the couple's son, Hud, in Bloomington, Indiana.  Hud went on to become a two-time Golden Gloves division boxing champion in Indiana, and in 2014, was a reserve cornerback for the Duke University football team.

1996:  Celine Dion could not be budged from the #1 position with "Because You Loved Me", which scored a sixth straight week at #1.  Mariah Carey was #2 with "Always Be My Baby", the Tony Rich Project had #3 with Nobody Knows and Alanis Morissette remained at #4 with "Ironic".

1999:  Al Hirt ("Java") died of liver disease in New Orleans, Louisiana at the age of 76.
2001:  The Bee Gees performed many of their biggest hits in the A&E television show Live By Request, recorded at the Manhattan Center in New York.
2003:  Madonna owned the top album in the U.K. with American Life.

2003:  Vicki Sue Robinson ("Turn The Beat Around") died of cancer in Wilton, Connecticut at age 45.
2004:  Martie Maguire, fiddle and mandolin player with the Dixie Chicks, gave birth to twins Eva and Kathleen.
2005:  President George W. Bush signed into law a bill that established a three-year jail term for anyone caught pirating music or film on the Internet.
2006:  Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones was admitted to a hospital in Fiji after he reportedly fell out of a palm tree.  The reports did not indicate what he was doing up there to begin with.  
2009:  The Tennessee state legislature voted to rename a stretch of road the "Jerry Lee Lewis Highway".
2011:  Rod Stewart received the Founders Award from the American Society of Composers & Publishers (ASCAP).
2015:  Jack Ely, lead singer and guitarist of the Kingsmen, passed away Monday in Redmond, Oregon.  The Kingsmen's version of "Louie Louie" was one of the biggest hits early in the Rock Era.  Ely was 71.  (Note:  some websites report he died in Terrebonne, but he died in Redmond, according to 'Billboard' magazine.)

Born This Day:

1932:  Casey Kasem, the longtime voice of American Top 40 who had high praise for Inside The Rock Era's The Top 5000 Songs of the Rock Era*, was born in Detroit, Michigan; died June 15, 2014 in Gig Harbor, Washington from complications of dementia.
1932:  Maxine Brown of the Browns was born in Campti, Louisiana.
1944:  Cuba Gooding, Sr. of the Main Ingredient was born in New York City.
1947:  Gordon Haskell, bassist and vocalist of King Crimson, was born in Verwood, Dorset, England.  (Note:  several websites report that he was born in Bournemouth, England.  These sites likely got Bournemouth from Haskell's official website, but all that site says is that he was born "in a nursing home near Bournemouth".  Verwood is just 15 miles (25km) from Bournemouth, and according to the 'BBC', Haskell was born in Verwood.)
1947:  Ann Peebles (the first hit version of "I Can't Stand The Rain") was born in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Note:  'Allmusic' and other na├»ve websites claim Peebles was born in East St. Louis, Missouri.  There is no such city--East St. Louis is a city in Illinois.  The correct birthplace is St. Louis, Missouri.)
1947:  Pete Ham, singer-songwriter and guitarist of Badfinger, was born in Swansea, Wales; committed suicide in Surrey, England on April 24, 1975.  (Note:  some websites claim Ham was born on April 26--according to the official website for Badfinger, Ham was born in April 27.)
1948:  Kate Pierson, founding member and lead singer of the B-52's, was born in Weehawken, New Jersey.  (Note:  'Billboard' reports Pierson was born in Weehawken, New York.  There is no such city.  Although Weehawken is considered part of the New York metropolitan area, it is located in the state of New Jersey.)
1949:  Herb Murrell of the Stylistics was born in Lane, South Carolina.

1951:  Ace Frehley of Kiss was born in the Bronx, New York.  (Note:  some websites report he was born in Brooklyn, and others in New York City.  According to the book 'The Hard Rock Masters' by Harvey P. Newquist and Rich Maloof and 'Billboard' magazine, Frehley was born in the Bronx.)

1959:  Sheena Easton was born in Bellshill, Scotland.
1979:  Will Boyd, former bass player with Evanescence, was born in Little Rock, Arkansas.
1984:  Patrick Stump, singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer of Fall Out Boy, was born in Evanston, Illinois.