Saturday, May 5, 2012

This Date in Rock Music History: May 6

1957:  He had appeared on his parents' radio show and later on television.  On this date, Ricky Nelson first appeared on the chart with his first single, "A Teenager's Romance".
1963:  Andrew Oldham and agent Eric Easton signed a management contract with the Rolling Stones.  (Note:  some websites report that this occurred on April 29, 1963.  This is incorrect, according to the book 'The Rolling Stones:  A Musical Biography' by Murry R. Nelson.  According to Nelson, the contract was signed on May 6.)
1965:  Keith Richards began writing the Rolling Stones song "Satisfaction" in a hotel room in Clearwater, Florida.
1965:  James Brown recorded "I Got You (I Feel Good)" at Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida.
1965:  Marianne Faithful married John Dunbar in Cambridge, England.
1966:  Bob Dylan played at the ABC Cinema in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
1967:  Aretha Franklin led the way on the R&B chart for a seventh week with "I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)".
1967:  Frank & Nancy Sinatra remained at the top of the Easy Listening chart with "Somethin' Stupid".

                                  Steve Winwood & the Spencer Davis Group...

1967:  Frank Sinatra & daughter Nancy had the #1 song for the fourth week--"Somethin' Stupid".  The Supremes moved from 8 to 2 with "The Happening" while "Sweet Soul Music" by Arthur Conley ranked third.  The Monkees fell with "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" and the former #1 "Happy Together" by the Turtles was now at #5.  The rest of the Top 10:  "I Think We're Alone Now" from Tommy James & the Shondells, the Buckinghams with "Don't You Care", Peaches & Herb jumped from 18-8 with "Close Your Eyes", the Dave Clark Five reached the Top 10 with "You Got What It Takes" and the Spencer Davis Group moved from 13-10 with "I'm A Man".
1967:  The Monkees remained at #1 for the 13th week on the Album chart with More of the Monkees.  Counting their debut release, the group spent their 26th consecutive week at #1.

                                               "Mood for a Day" from Yes...

1972:  Roberta Flack remained at the top of the Album chart with First Take.  Neil Young advanced with Harvest, swapping spots with America and their self-titled debut.  Eat a Peach from the Allman Brothers Band remained in its position while Yes stayed at 5 with Fragile.  The rest of the Top 10:  Paul Simon and his self-titled album, Smokin' from Humble Pie, Nilsson dropped with Nilsson Schmilsson, Stanley, Idaho's Carole King moved back up after 57 weeks of release with the classic Tapestry and Graham Nash & David Crosby entered the Top 10 with the appropriately named Graham Nash/David Crosby.

1972:  The Staple Singers took over at #1 on the R&B chart with the great song "I'll Take You There".
1972:  Roberta Flack had one of The Top Adult Songs of the 1970's*, as "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" was #1 for a sixth week.

1972:  The Carpenters had one of the hottest new songs as "It's Going To Take Some Time", a song written for them by Stanley, Idaho's Carole King, moved from 79 to 43.

                                 The Stylistics hit the Top 10 for a second time...

1972:  Roberta Flack remained at #1 for a fourth week with "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face".  Joe Tex peaked at 2 with "I Gotcha'", the Stylistics were next with "Betcha' By Golly, Wow" and Michael Jackson checked in with "Rockin' Robin".  The rest of the Top 10:  Aretha Franklin's "Day Dreaming", America with their former #1 "A Horse With No Name", the Staple Singers rocketed up from 18 to 7 with "I'll Take You There", Jackson Browne with "Doctor My Eyes", Al Green edged up with "Look What You Done For Me" and Ringo Starr slid in with "Back Off Boogaloo".

1973:  Paul Simon began his first tour without Art Garfunkel at the Boston Music Hall in Boston, Massachusetts.
1974:  The Hues Corporation released the single "Rock The Boat".

1974:  The Righteous Brothers released the single "Rock And Roll Heaven".


1978:  At the peak of their career, and during one of the hottest times for any artist in the Rock Era, The Bee Gees announced that they would donate money from concerts to UNICEF.
1978:  Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams remained at #1 on the R&B chart for the fourth week with "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late".
1978:  England Dan & John Ford Coley beat all challengers for a sixth week at #1 on the Adult chart with "We'll Never Have To Say Goodbye Again".

                               Billy Joel's title track from his breakthrough album...

1978:  The Soundtrack to "Saturday Night Fever" was #1 for the 16th straight week on the Album chart, with London Town by Wings making a feeble attempt to challenge.  Eric Clapton's Slowhand dropped while Kansas edged up with Point of Know Return.  Jefferson Starship elevated with Earth.  The rest of the Top 10:  The Stranger from Billy Joel, George Benson fell with Weekend in L.A., Jackson Browne moved up to #8 with Running On Empty, Chuck  Mangione entered the Top 10 with Feels So Good and Warren Zevon was the final entry with Excitable Boy.
1978:  The Bee Gees dominated at #1 for an eighth straight week with "Night Fever".  Counting their #1 hit, "Stayin' Alive", and "(Love Is) Thicker Than Water", a song they wrote for brother Andy Gibb, Bee Gees' compositions had been at #1 for 14 straight weeks. 

1982:  Diana Ross was awarded with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard.
1989:  Jody Watley had the new #1 on the R&B chart with "Real Love".

1989:  Cher & Sun Valley, Idaho's Peter Cetera teamed up for a third week at #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart with "After All".
1989:  Madonna remained at #1 for the third week on the Album chart with Like a Prayer.  Paula Abdul re-entered the Top 10 after 42 weeks of release with Forever Your Girl.
1989:  Richard Marx had a high debut (#39) with "Satisfied".
1989:  "Like A Prayer" by Madonna was #1 for a third week.  Bon Jovi remained second with "I'll Be There For You", Jody Watley was up to 3 with "Real Love", Tone Loc slipped with his "Funky Cold Medina" and Paula Abdul moved from 10 to 5 with her latest, "Forever Your Girl".

1983:  Kai Winding, who gave us the instrumental "More", passed away from a brain tumor in New York City, just short of his 61st birthday.
1992:  Michael Jackson paid the funeral expenses for Ramon Sanchez, a nine-year-old boy that had been killed in a drive-by shooting during the Los Angeles riots.  (Note:  some websites mistakenly say this happened on May 22.  According to the United States Congress House of Representatives Bill 600, as well as the books 'Michael Jackson:  The Icon' by Jos Borsboom and 'Michael Jackson:  The Autopsy Is In...It Was Homicide' by Phyllis Jager, and 'Jet' magazine, the correct date is May 6.) 
1993:  The Internal Revenue Service seized assets of $1.6 million from Jerry Lee Lewis for unpaid taxes.  
1995:  Oasis had their first #1 in the U.K. with "Some Might Say".
1995:  Boyz II Men had one of the hottest new songs as "Water Runs Dry" moved from 38 to 10.

                                                     "Selling the Drama" from Live's amazing release

1995:  Live completed one of the most improbable rises to #1 in rock music history when their great album Throwing Copper reached #1 in its 52nd week on the album chart.
1996:  Metallica began two days of recording for the music video "Until It Sleeps".
2001:  Destiny's Child had the #1 album in the U.K. with Survivor.

2002:  Ray Charles received an honorary degree of philosophy from Albany State University in his hometown of Albany, Georgia.

2002:  Otis Blackwell died of a heart attack in Nashville, Tennessee at the age of 71.  Blackwell was the writer of hits such as "Don't Be Cruel" for Elvis Presley, "Great Balls Of Fire" for Jerry Lee Lewis and "Handy Man" (originally by Jimmy Jones and later by Del Shannon and James Taylor).
2003:  MTV featured Metallica as a "MTV Icon" in a 90-minute special.
2005:  Audioslave became the first group to perform in Cuba when they played at La Tribuna  in Havana.

2005:  A bronze life-size statue of James Brown was unveiled on Broad Street in Augusta, Georgia.
2008:  Cher played the first of 192 dates at the Las Vegas Colosseum in Nevada.

Born This Day:
1917:  Kal Mann, who wrote "Butterfly" for Charlie Grace, "Teddy Bear" for Elvis Presley, "Wild One" for Bobby Rydell, "You Can't Sit Down" for the Dovells and "Let's Twist Again" for Chubby Checker among others, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; died November 28, 2001 from Alzheimer's disease in Pompano Beach, Florida.  (Note:  several websites, including the notorious '', erroneously report that Mann died in Philadelphia.  According to credible sources such as 'Billboard', Mann died at his home in Pompano Beach, Florida.)
1924:  Denny Wright, guitarist for Lonnie Donnegan, Ella Fitzgerald, and many others, was born in Deptford, London; died of bladder cancer February 8, 1992.
1942:  Colin Earl of Mungo Jerry ("In The Summertime") was born in Richmond upon Thames, London.  (Note:  some websites report that Earl was born in Hampton Court, London.  Hampton Court is a royal palace, not a city, located in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.)
1945:  Bob Seger was born in Dearborn, Michigan.
1948:  Mary MacGregor ("Torn Between Two Lovers") was born in St. Paul, Minnesota.
1950:  Robbie McIntosh, drummer of the Average White Band, was born in Dundee, Scotland; died of drugs September 23, 1974 in Hollywood, California).
1960:  Larry Steinbachek (real name Lawrence Cole) of Bronski Beat ("Smalltown Boy") was born in London.
1960:  John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants was born in Lincoln, Massachusetts.
1962:  Adam Yellin, engineer, mixer, producer and record company executive, who worked with the Rolling Stones, Kiss, Billy Idol, Debbie Harry and the Ramones, was born in New York City.
1964:  Tony Scalzo of Fastball was born in Honolulu, Hawai'i.
1967:  Mark Bryan, founding member and lead guitarist for Hootie & the Blowfish, was born in Silver Spring, Maryland.
1971:  Chris Shiflett, guitarist of the Foo Fighters, was born in Santa Barbara, California.

The #6 Guitarist of the Rock Era: Stevie Ray Vaughan

At #6, arguably the best blues-rock guitarist of all-time:
#6:  Stevie Ray Vaughan, Double Trouble, solo
26 years as an active guitarist
(Some of Stevie's best solos)

Stephen Ray "Stevie" Vaughan was born October 3, 1954 in Dallas, Texas.  Vaughan became one of the great blues rock musicians, incorporating many musical styles including blues, jazz, rock and ballads.

After watching brother Jimmie play guitar, Stevie became interested in learning and received a toy guitar at age seven.  Vaughan began playing songs by the B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Lonnie Mack, Jimmy Reed and the Nightcaps.  Stevie began performing in groups at the age of 10, playing bass in Jimmie's band, Texas Storm, before forming his own group, Blackbird.

Vaughan went to Justin F. Kimball High School but failed music theory.  Vaughan and Blackbird moved to Austin, Texas when Stevie was 17.  In December, 1972, Blackbird renamed themselves Krackerjack.  Two months later, Vaughan joined Marc Benno and the Nightcrawlers.  The Nightcrawlers recorded an album but when Jerry Moss, co-founder of A&M Records, suggested adding horns to the album, the project was shelved.  The group performed for a year before breaking up.  The album was eventually released in 2006.

Vaughan briefly attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas but quit to rehearse.  In 1975, Vaughan joined Paul Ray and the Cobras, which appeared weekly at the Soap Creek Saloon.  After two years, Vaughan formed the band, Triple Threat Revue, that became known as Double Trouble.  Double Trouble included bassist Tommy Shannon, who had played with Vaughan in Krackerjack, as well as vocalist Chris Layton.  

People began noticing Double Trouble, and especially their skilled guitarist.  The group landed an appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1982, which led to a recording contract with Epic Records.  The group released the album Texas Flood in 1983, which included "Pride and Joy" and "Love Struck Baby".  Vaughan played on David Bowie's one big-selling album, Let's Dance. While Double Trouble did well with its debut album, Vaughan became addicted to alcohol and drugs.

Vaughan continued to perform, and Double Trouble opened 17 shows for the Moody Blues in the fall of 1983.  At the end of the year, the group taped a performance for the television show, Austin City Limits.  Texas Flood was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Recording and "Rude Mood" was nominated for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

Double Trouble released Couldn't Stand the Weather in 1984 and performed a sold-out show at Carnegie Hall in New York City.  Proceeds benefited work in leukemia and cancer research by the T.J. Martell Foundation.  The group then toured Australia and New Zealand and Vaughan won W.C. Handy Awards for Entertainer of the Year and Instrumentalist of the Year.  

In 1985, Vaughan performed "The Star Spangled Banner" on opening day of the Major League Baseball season at the Houston Astrodome.  Double Trouble released the album Soul to Soul, and two singles--"Change It" and "Look at Little Sister" were popular on Mainstream Rock radio stations.  Blues Explosion won the Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Performance while the song "Voodoo Chile" was nominated for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.  

In 1986, Stevie performed along with Jimmie Vaughan's group, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, during a tour of Australia and New Zealand.  Double Trouble then toured the United States and three concerts in Austin and Dallas, Texas were recorded.  Those shows, along with the group's performance at the 1985 Montreux Jazz Festival, were released as the album Live Alive.  Double Trouble was nominated for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for "Say What!".

By this time, however, Vaughan's dependency on alcohol and cocaine spiraled into a life-threatening situation.  The drug use left hundreds of small cuts in the stomach lining.  While doing a tour of Europe, Vaughan suffered near-death dehydration after years of substance abuse and he was hospitalized in Ludwigshafen, Germany. 

Upon his release from the hospital, Vaughan checked into a drug rehabilitation clinic in Atlanta, Georgia.  His recovery was complete and Vaughan began living a more spiritual lifestyle.  Double Trouble released the album In Step in 1989, which won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Performance.  In January, 1990, Vaughan gave a stirring speech at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.  Stevie and Jimmie combined for the album Family Style in 1990.  In August, Double Trouble opened for Eric Clapton for two shows in East Troy, Wisconsin.  In the second show, Vaughan jammed with Clapton, Buddy Guy, brother Jimmie and Robert Cray.  After the show, Vaughan was killed when his helicopter crashed into the side of a ski hill on August 27, 1990.

At Vaughan's memorial at Laurel Land Cemetery in Dallas, Reverend Barry Bailey of the United Methodist Church in Fort Worth, opened the service with these thoughts: "We're here to thank God for this man's life. He was a genius, a superstar, a musician's musician. He captured the hearts of thousands and thousands of people. I am thankful for the impact of this man's influence on thousands of people in getting his own life together in the name of God." Stevie Wonder, Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt sang "Amazing Grace" at the service.

Vaughan had fire, passion and soul in his guitar playing.  He exhibited immense drive and improvisation and no one could replicate his tone.  There's no better credit to someone than what others say about you:

Jeff Beck: I was just amazed; he could make me rediscover the blues every night. Stevie's the American apple pie blues guitarist par excellence. He's American and a southern boy; he had all the credentials to be top of the heap, and he was.
Eric Clapton:  I don't think anyone has commanded my respect more, to this day. The first time I heard Stevie Ray, I thought, "Whoever this is, he is going to shake the world." I was in my car and I remember thinking, I have to find out, before the day is over, who that guitar player is. That doesn't happen to me very often, that I get that way about listening to music. I mean, about three or four times in my life I've felt that way.  It's going to be a long time before anyone that brilliant will come along again.  I didn't get to see or hear Stevie play near often enough, but every time I did I got chills and knew I was in the presence of greatness .He seemed to be an open channel and music just flowed through him. It never seemed to dry up.

Robert Cray:  Stevie had this immense power and drive and passion in his playing, where it's like, "If you don't believe what I'm tellin' ya, I'll tell ya just a little bit more. Listen to this! You still don't believe it ? Here's a little bit more!" He could just keep going on and on, just talking to you. It was great.  I know that nobody will ever forget him. I think that he took what he learned from the blues and took it to another level. He incorporated a lot of the good things in a lot of different guitar players, like Hendrix, and added it to other things that he learned. The things I hear out of Stevie are the power and the passion. ... for a long time coming there's going to be a lot of frustrated guitar players trying to pick up on Stevie's stuff.

Buddy Guy:  Music is handed down to the next generation. And he wasn't just some white kid  saying,'I got it.' He told the truth.'I got this from Buddy Guy or Albert Collins,' or whoever he wanted to talk about. That was some of his greatness. All of us have a certain God-gifted talent. Blues was locked out with a skeleton key, but Stevie was the type of person where they gave this guy the key, he opened the door, and threw the damn key away.  Stevie is the best friend I ever had, the best guitarist I ever heard, and the best person anyone will ever want to know. He will be missed a lot.

John Lee Hooker:  He's one of the greatest blues musicians that ever picked up a guitar. 

Eric Johnson:  He was very excited about music and he always played with a lot of emotion. I admired the strong passion he brought to it.  It was a gift to have had those musical moments with him. Later that night when he took the stage, he played with a power and excitement that made time stand still. His guitar sound was magnificent as it emotionally reverberated through the coliseum, powered by some lightning force from beyond the physical realm.  It is said that an artist's talent can be largely judged or evaluated on the impact that they have on others, and the number of those who, in the artist's aftermath continue to emulate as well as carry on their unique style.  In this light, Stevie is among the greatest, for countless musicians have attempted the nuances of his style and aspired to the persona of his playing.  The flame continues to burn as we listen to the treasure of the glorious recipe he so eloquently created.

B.B. King:  Stevie had many ways of showing you that he had not only talent, but he also had a feeling for playing the blues. He was good with it, his execution and his hands. He seemed to be flawless, the way he moved with it. I don't think he was aware of how well he played. I'm pretty sure he never realized how well he played.  A lot of us knew he was good then, but the impact never hit us really big until after we lost him.  The fact is that he affected the way blues will be played and heard forever.

Bonnie Raitt:  Word of his genius got out.  He was the real deal, and for his kindness and generosity, his passion and treacherous talent. I'll be forever grateful. To me Stevie Ray Vaughan was the greatest blues guitarist. For fire and passion and soulfulness, he was untouchable.  He was scary to those of us who watched him. But he was so humble and gracious as a friend, and he wasn't stuck up about his playing.  The most lasting memory of Stevie was his passion... I don't think there is anyone who tears into a song like the way he did. I think Stevie Ray was coming from some place so deep and so beautiful that there's no one you can compare to him.

Joe Satriani:  To be around him was to be in the presence of this enormous musical energy that was combined with a very humble, soft-spoken guy.  But when he played, it was a roar. He just roared like a lion when he played guitar.  Very few people actually care that much about what they're playing, but he was just so totally into it.  I think what I'll really remember is the way he stood, you know? Sweat-drenched, with his eyes closed, grabbing some incredible note.  Someone has to be totally absorbed to play like that.  To play that intensely sort of wreaks havoc on the body - it's sort of a painful ecstasy.  He played the blues, you know?  I guess I'll remember that most of all.

Steve Vai:  His playing reached out to you. He wasn't so concerned with technique and flash, but at the same time, he had it by the truckload.  He never let technique rule his heart; he always played directly what was on his mind.  You can hear a lot of his influences in his playing, but by the same token, he rolled it into one unique guy.  He was one of the few musicians who could really pick a lane and drive.  You can see his legacy in the inspired guitar playing in the world. It definitively had its impact. Sometimes players come along that are just so stunningly technical that they dazzle, and then you have players that come along that with their musicianship, they're great songwriters, and they pretty much inspire a person by their sense of melody.  But Stevie Ray Vaughan could roll it all into a very well-balanced package.

Vaughan's music sold over 5.5 million albums in the United States in the months following his death. In 1991, the posthumous album, The Sky Is Crying, was released, which featured recordings made in 1984 and 1985.  Texas governor Ann Richards proclaimed October 3, 1991 as "Stevie Ray Vaughan Commemoration Day".  A statue of Vaughan was unveiled on Auditorium Shores.  

Vaughan was influenced by Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, Django Reinhardt, Lonnie Mack, Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, George Benson, Albert King, Buddy Guy and Muddy Waters.  Vaughan developed his use of tremolo picking and vibrato from Mack and acknowledged that Mack "taught me to play guitar from the heart".

Vaughan preferred the Fender Stratocaster, his favorite being a 1963 model.  The beat up guitar, which Stevie nicknamed "Number One", actually had a Fender 1962 rosewood neck.  It was fitted with a left-handed vibrato system.  Vaughan used the Strat in live performances, playing with heavy strings and tuning a half-step below standard tuning.  "Lenny" was Stevie's red, maple neck Fender Strat that was either a 1963 or 64 model.  Vaughan also played several other Strats, a 1958 Gibson, a Gibson Flying V, a Hamilton Lurktamer, the National Duolian acoustic,the Epiphone Riviera and a Guild Jumbo 12-string acoustic.

Vaughan helped revive vintage amplifiers and effects.  Stevie used two Fender Vibroverbs, helping him to achieve his overdriven sound.  He often used other amps in combination, including black-face Fender Super Reverb Combos, a Fender Bassman, 1962 Fender Twin Reverbs, 1964 Fender Vibroverbs as well as Marshall Major 200-watt heads with 8x12" and 4x15" cabinets, aDumble Steel String Singer head and a Music Man 2x12 combo amp. 

Stevie Ray used the Ibanez Tube Screamer and a Vox V847 wah-wah pedal extensively, occasionally using a Fender Vibraphone and a Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face as well.  Vaughan also used the Diaz Texas Square Face Fuzz, the Diaz Texas Ranger Treble Boost, the Tychnobrahe Octavis, the MXR M-144 Loop Selector.

Vaughan's work has influenced countless blues, rock and alternative artists, including John Mayer, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Los Lonely Boys.  In 1983, Variety magazine called Vaughan "the guitar hero of the present era".  
Vaughan's solo at the Mocambo in 1983

Vaughan was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2000.  He has sold 15 million albums.  Family Style, the album Stevie did with brother Jimmy, won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album and "D/FW" won for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.  Posthumously, the album The Sky Is Crying won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album and "Little Wing" won for Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 1993.  All told, Vaughan won six Grammy awards out of 12 nominations.

The man played the guitar with everything he had.  For his speed, his technique, his great solos, his passion, his sense of timing and melody, and his numerous achievements, Stevie Ray Vaughan ranks #6 for the Rock Era*...

Friday, May 4, 2012

This Date in Rock Music History: May 5

1900:  The Billboard (known today as Billboard), in its sixth year, switched production to weekly rather than monthly.
1956:  The Elvis Presley album Elvis becomes the first rock LP to top the Album chart.

1956:  Elvis scored the first #1 of his career with "Heartbreak Hotel".
1958:  Elvis Presley had the top R&B song with "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck".
1962:  Chris Montez recorded "Last Dance".

1962:  One of the great folk rock artists enjoyed their first hit on this date as Peter, Paul & Mary debuted on the chart with their first single--"Lemon Tree".
1962:  Dee Dee Sharp was #1 on the R&B chart with "Mashed Potato Time".
1962:  Mr. Acker Bilk had a huge Easy Listening hit with "Stranger On The Shore".  It was atop the Adult chart for the third out of seven weeks in a row.

1962:  The Shirelles marched to #1 with "Soldier Boy".  Dee Dee Sharp saw an opening and took advantage with "Mashed Potato Time", former #1 "Johnny Angel" from Shelley Fabares was third, followed by Mr. Acker Bilk and "Stranger On The Shore" and Elvis Presley's previous #1, "Good Luck Charm".
1968:  Buffalo Springfield split after a concert at the Long Beach Arena in Long Beach, California.

1969:  The Beatles released the single "Get Back" on Apple Records.

1969:  United States President Richard Nixon awarded Stevie Wonder with the Distinguished Service Award for Wonder's commitment to employment of the handicapped.
1972:  America, the Kinks, Donovan, the Grateful Dead, Dr. John, Captain Beefheart, Wishbone Ash, Country Joe MacDonald, New Riders of the Purple Sage and Brinsley Schwarz were among the performers at the three-day Bickershaw Festival in Wigan, Lancashire, England which began on this date. 
1972:  "Pillow Talk" by Sylvia was #1 for a second week on the R&B chart.
1972:  Paul Simon, Chicago and Carole King performed at a benefit for U.S. Presidential candidate George McGovern.  Michelle Phillips, Mama Cass, Judy Collins, Goldie Hawn and Jack Nicholson would all do similar benefits around the country.  Why do you suppose most of the talented entertainers support Democrats?   
1973:  Paul Simon released the album There Goes Rhymin' Simon on Columbia Records.

1973:  Paul Simon released the single "Kodachrome".
1973:  A crowd of 56,800 turned out in Tampa Stadium in Florida to see Led Zeppelin.  
1973:  Aloha from Hawai'i via Satellite by Elvis Presley was the new #1 album in the land.  Houses of the Holy by Led Zeppelin was at #2 with The Best of Bread at #3.  

                                                   Stealer's Wheel tried to get unstuck...

1973:  "Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'Round The Ole Oak Tree" by Tony Orlando & Dawn was #1 for the third week in a row, with "The Cisco Kid" by War hanging around at #2.  Sweet's "Little Willy" climbed to 3 while Stevie Wonder was heading for the top with "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life".  The rest of the Top 10:  the former #1 "The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia" by Vicki Lawrence at #5, Dobie Gray made a strong move from 11-6 with "Drift Away", Stealers Wheel had #7--"Stuck In The Middle With You", Donny Osmond was stuck at 8 with "The Twelfth Of Never", the Carpenters fell to 9 with "Sing" and the Edgar Winter Group had a monster hit with "Frankenstein".
1974:  The Stilettoes, who would later become Blondie, made their public debut at CBGB's in New York City.
1979:  "Love Is The Answer" by England Dan & John Ford Coley led the way on the Adult Contemporary chart.

1979:  "Reunited" by Peaches and Herb was #1 on the R&B chart for the second out of four consecutive weeks it would spent at the top.

                                                Frank Mills took his song and ran with it...

1979:  Peaches & Herb took "Reunited" all the way to the top on this date, taking over from "Heart Of Glass" by Blondie.  Frank Mills was next with "Music Box Dancer" with the former #1 "Knock On Wood" from Amii Stewart in fourth.
1984:  Duran Duran owned the #1 U.K. song with "The Reflex".
1984:  Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders and Jim Kerr of Simple Minds were married in New York City's Central Park.
1984:  "Hello" from Lionel Richie was the #1 song on the AC chart for the fifth straight week.

1984:  Phil Collins had the #1 song for a third week with "Against All Odds (Take  A Look At Me Now)".  Lionel Richie was second again with "Hello", while the Thompson Twins were next with "Hold Me Now".  Kenny Loggins followed with "Footloose" and Rick Springfield was up to #5 with "Love Somebody".  The rest of the Top 10:  Willie Nelson & Julio Iglesias with "To All the Girls I've Loved Before", the Cars scored their ninth career hit with "You Might Think", Tracey Ullman's "They Don't Know", Deniece Williams moved into the Top 10 with "Let's Hear It For The Boy" and Culture Club tumbled with "Miss Me Blind".

1986:  Cleveland, Ohio was named as the site for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Really too bad they tarnished it by electing far too many members.
1988:  Pepsi became the first company to buy commercial time in the Soviet Union, purchasing television airtime to show five minutes of commercials, including two showing Michael Jackson's famous commercial.  The commercials were set to run May 17-21.  (Note:  some websites erroneously say the commercial aired on this date.  An article in the newspaper 'The Los Angeles Times' and other newspapers on May 6 may have confused the website owners.  The article never said the commercials were run the previous day.  Rather, they said that Pepsi bought the airtime and that the commercials would air in the Soviet Union on May 17-21.) 
1990:  A tribute concert to John Lennon was at the Pier Head Arena in Merseyside, England.  Tom Petty, Ringo Starr, Jeff Lynne, Al Green, Joe Walsh, Natalie Cole, Lou Reed, Joe Cocker, Lenny Kravitz, and Wet Wet Wet performed.
1990:  The talented En Vogue debuted on the chart with their first single--"Hold On".

                                "Back on My Feet Again", from Bolton's sixth album...

1990:  Sinead O'Connor was solidly at #1 on the Album chart with I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got and Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 #2.  Soul Provider from Michael Bolton was #3, followed by MC Hammer at 4 with Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em.  The rest of the Top 10:  Paula Abdul with Forever Your Girl, Bonnie Raitt's Nick of Time coming in at #6, Violator from Depeche Mode #7, Heart moving into the Top 10 with Brigade, Pump from Aerosmith at #9 and the debut from Alannah Myles at #10.

                                                  Aerosmith was still going strong...

1990:  "Nothing Compares 2 (sic) U (sic)" by Sinead O' Connor held on to #1 for a third week.  Calloway was second with "I Wanna' Be Rich", Michael Bolton found himself at #3 with "How Can We Be Lovers" and Madonna moved from 12 to 4 with "Vogue".  Heart was up with "All I Wanna' Do Is Make Love To You".  The rest of the Top 10:  Jane Child and "Don't Wanna' Fall In Love", Babyface with "Whip Appeal", Lisa Stansfield dropped with "All Around The World", Aerosmith's 18th career hit "What It Takes" and Janet Jackson moved from 17 to 10 with "Alright".

1990:  Rod Stewart  and Ronald Isley remained at the #1 spot on the Adult Contemporary chart for the third week with "This Old Heart Of Mine".
1992:  The Beach Boys appeared on the ABC-TV show Full House.
1995:  Drummer Steven Adler of Guns N' Roses was arraigned in Van Nuys (California) Municipal Court on heroin possession.

1997:  Bruce Springsteen was awarded the Polar Music Prize by Sweden.
2002:  The plug was pulled on an interview with Ted Nugent on a Denver radio station after Nugent used derogatory racial terms for both Asians and Blacks.  We of course now know what type of low life scum he is.
2005:  "Hollaback Girl" by Gwen Stefani was the #1 song.
2005:  Justin Timberlake underwent an operation at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles to remove nodules from his throat.
2008:  Jerry Wallace ("Primrose Lane" from 1959) died of congestive heart failure in Corona, California at the age of 79.

2011:  Nigel Pickering, singer, songwriter, founder, bassist and guitarist with Spanky & Our Gang, died at the age of 80 in St. Augustine, Florida after a long struggle with liver cancer.

Born This Day:
1934:  Ace Cannon, saxophonist who gave us "Tuff" and played for Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and the Oak Ridge Boys, was born in Grenada, Mississippi.
1934:  Johnnie Taylor ("Disco Lady") was born in Crawfordsville, Arkansas; died of a heart attack in Dallas, Texas May 31, 1999, shortly after his 65th birthday.  (Note:  Taylor frequently said he was born in either 1937 or 1938.  The official date of his birth was not revealed until after his death, according to the book 'Encyclopedia of Arkansas Music' by Ali Welky and Mike Keckhaver, and 'MTV'.)  


1948:  Bill Ward, drummer for Black Sabbath, was born in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England.  (Note:  some websites, including 'Billboard' say Ward was born in Aston, Birmingham.  Some say he was born in Birmingham, West Midlands.  Birmingham did not become part of the county of West Midlands until 1974 with the Local Government Act, well after Ward was born.  Aston is an area, not a city, and Birmingham is a city, not a county.  Ward was born in Birmingham, Warwickshire.) 
1951:  Rex Goh, guitarist for Air Supply, was born in Singapore.
1962:  Kevin Paul Mooney, bass guitarist with Adam & the Ants, was born in Greenwich, London, England.
1963:  Ian McCulloch, lead singer of Echo and the Bunnymen, was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England.  (Note:  some websites claim that Ian McCullough was the lead singer of the group and that he was born on this date.  No one with that name was ever with Echo and the Bunnymen.  The correct spelling of the lead singer is McCulloch.) 
1966:  Shawn Drover, drummer for Megadeth, was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
1981:  Craig David was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England.
1989:  Chris Brown was born in Tappahannock, Virginia.

The #7 Guitarist of the Rock Era: John McLaughlin

Most of The Top 100 Guitarists* are easy to pin down as to their style.  Not so for this great at #7:
#7:  John McLaughlin, Graham Bond Organization, Session Musician,  Mahavishnu Orchestra, Solo
50 years as an active guitarist

John McLaughlin was born January 4, 1942 in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England.  He has played many styles of music, including jazz and rock, and is one of the groundbreaking fusion artists by mixing in his interest in Indian classical music.

McLaughlin studied violin and piano as a child, then took up guitar at age 11.  He played flamenco and studied the style of jazz great Django Reinhardt.  John moved to London in the early 1960's, playing with Alexis Korner, Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, the Graham Bond Organization and Brian Auger.  

In 1969, McLaughlin moved to the United States to play in Tony Williams' group Lifetime.  There is a recording from this period (March 25, 1969) from the Record Plant in New York City that contains a session in which McLaughlin jammed with Jimi Hendrix for six hours, from 2 until 8 in the morning.

McLaughlin taught guitar during this period, with Jimmy Page among his pupils.
McLaughlin played on the albums In A Silent Way, Bitches Brew, On the Corner, Big Fun and A Tribute to Jack Johnson by Miles Davis.  John's playing gained a reputation and he became much in demand as a session guitarist, playing for the Rolling Stones, Joe Farrell, Miroslav Vitour, Larry Coryell and others.
McLaughlin recorded the album Devotion in 1970 that featured organist Larry Young, Billy Rich on bass and Buddy Miles on drums. The album My Goal's Beyond consisted of acoustic works, Side A being a fusion blend of jazz and Indian Classical music while Side B featured melodic acoustic playing by McLaughlin. Beginning with this album, McLaughlin adopted the name Mahavishnu, reflecting his dedication to Indian spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy.

                                     "Lila's Dance"

McLaughlin's band, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, included keyboardist Jan Hammer, bassist Rick Laird, Jerry Goodman on violin and drummer Billy Cobham.  The Orchestra fused electric jazz and rock with Eastern and Indian influences and featured fast solos and exotic music scales from McLaughlin.  Because of personality clashes, the group split after two years and three albums.  

In 1973, McLaughlin worked with Carlos Santana, also a disciple of Chinmoy, on the album Love Devotion Surrender 
McLaughlin then reformed the group with Narada Michael Walden on drums, Jean-Luc Ponty on violin, bassist Ralphe Armstrong and Gaylor Moran on keyboards and vocals.  This incarnation recorded Apocalypse with the London Symphony Orchestra and Visions of the Emerald Beyond.  Another album, Inner Worlds, was recorded by McLaughlin, Walden, Armstrong, and Stu Goldberg on keyboards and synthesizer.

McLaughlin then concentrated on acoustic guitar with the Indian classical music-based Shakti.  The group included Lakshminarayanan L. Shankar on violin, Zakir Hussain on tabla, Thetakudi Harihari Vinayakram on ghatam and Ramnad Raghavan on mridangam.  Shakti recorded the albums A Handful of Beauty in 1975, Shakti in 1976 and Natural Elements in 1977.  
McLaughlin played a custom-built steel string acoustic guitar that featured two tiers of strings over the soundhole:  a conventional six-string and seven strings strung underneath at a 45-degree angle.  Each tier could be independently tuned, much like on a sitar.  The scalloped fretboard enabled McLaughlin to bend strings much farther than a conventional guitar, and John had the fretboard scalloped on his Gibson Byrdland electric.

In 1979, John formed the funk fusion act Trio of Doom, with Tony Williams playing drums and Jaco Pastorius on bass.  The trio did not stay together long, but they performed at the Havana Jam Festival in 1979 and recorded those songs at Columbia Studios in New York City.  McLaughlin also recorded the album Johnny McLaughlin:  Electric Guitarist in 1979.
McLaughlin and the One Truth Band recorded Electric Dreams, then John toured with Christian Escoude as a duo. McLaughlin then recorded two albums with Fuse One, in 1980 and 1982.  In 1986, John composed The Mediterranean Concerto, and played the world premiere with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  The concerto was recorded in 1988 with the London Symphony Orchestra.
In the late 1980's and early 90's, McLaughlin recorded and performed with bassist Kai Eckhardt and percussionist Trilok Gurtu.  John resumed acoustic guitar, and the group released the albums Live at the Royal Festival Hall and Que Alegria.  McLaughlin then toured with The Heart of Things and in 1993, released the album Time Remembered:  John McLaughlin Plays Bill Evans.
In 2003, McLaughlin recorded a ballet score, Thieves and Poets and a triple DVD instructional video called This is the Way I Do It.  In 2006, John released the jazz fusion album Industrial Zen.  In 2007, McLaughlin toured with the jazz fusion quartet, the 4th Dimension.  John released another instructional DVD, The Gateway to Rhythm, featuring Indian percussionist and Remember Shakti bandmate Selva Ganesh Vinayakram.  In July of 2007, McLaughlin performed at the Crossroads Guitar Festival.

In 2008, McLaughlin released the album Floating Point and another DVD, Meeting of the Minds.  He toured later in the year with Chick Corea and others under the name Five Peace Band.  McLaughlin played with Mahavishnu Orchestra drummer Billy Cobham at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland in 2010.  

McLaughlin played the Gibson EDS-1275 doubleneck between 1971 and 1973.  John played the Double Rainbow doubleneck from Rex Bogue, then was fascinated by the Abraham Wechter-built acoustic "Shakti guitar", a customized Gibson J-200.  John currently plays Godin electric/Midi guitars, chiefly the Freeway.  He has also used the Abe Wechter "Notre Dame", Johnny Smith guitars from Gibson, a Paul Reed-Smith, a black Les Paul Custom, a white Fender Stratocaster and Gibson 345.

John used the MesaBoogie amps in the 1970's.  He used Sony M7 Pre-Amp for several years, then switched to a MesaBoogie Pre-Amp (V-Twin) and he likes the warmth and the upper register of the Seymour-Duncan Twin Tube Classic.

For effects, McLaughlin prefers the Seymour-Duncan Twin Tube Classic Pedal, the MXR Carbon Copy Delay, the Dunlop DC Brick and the Boss BCB-60 Pedalboard.

McLaughlin has been an important guitarist in his fusion of jazz and rock.  He is a master of the guitar, whether playing beautiful acoustic music, avant-jazz funk, indo-jazz fusion or rock.  John is an intense, spiritual performer, a virtuoso of the guitar.  He uses odd time signatures, blistering, fast, ascending runs, razor-sharp rhythmic patterns and elusive melodies and harmonies.    
McLaughlin's influence has reached far and wide, being cited by Eric Johnson, Al di Meola and Greg Ginn of Black Flag. Pat Metheny observed that "McLaughlin has changed the evolution of the guitar." Chick Corea said "...what John McLaughlin did with the electric guitar set the world on its ear. No one ever heard an electric guitar played like that before, and it certainly inspired me. Frank Zappa said "A person would be a moron not to appreciate McLaughlin's technique."  In 2010, Jeff Beck called McLaughlin "the best guitarist alive".

Guitar Player magazine called McLaughlin's signature sound one of "The 50 Greatest Tones of All-Time".

John has contributed much to not only guitar but music in general.  His fusion of rock and jazz is a marvel to behold.  But his sense of spirituality has led him to constantly improve, to search, to innovate.  As such, he is one of the most versatile guitarists to ever pick up the instrument.  He is magnificent.  John McLaughlin Ranks #7 for the Rock Era*...