March 17th: On this day
1957, Elvis Presley bought the Graceland mansion from Mrs Ruth Brown-Moore for $102,500. (£60,295). The 23 room, 10,000 square foot home, on 13.8 acres of land, would be expanded to 17,552 square feet of living space before the king moved in a few weeks later. The original building had at one time been a place of worship, used by the Graceland Christian Church and was named after the builder’s daughter, Grace Toof.
1966, The Walker Brothers had their second UK No.1 with the single ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore’, (originally recorded by Frankie Valli).
1967, Working at Abbey Road studios in London, The Beatles finished the recording of ‘She’s Leaving Home’ after adding backing vocals to the track. Harpist Sheila Bromberg who was part of the string section on the track became the first woman to play on a Beatles recording.
1973, Dr Hook’s single ‘On The Cover Of Rolling Stone peaked at No.6 on the US chart. The single was banned in the UK by the BBC due to the reference of the magazine.
1978, U2 won £500 ($850) and a chance to audition for CBS Ireland in a talent contest held in Dublin. The Limerick Civic Week Pop ’78 Competition was sponsored by The Evening Express and Guinness Harp Lager.
1979, Gloria Gaynor started a four-week run at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘I Will Survive.’ The song was originally released as the B-side to a song first recorded by The Righteous Brothers called ‘Substitute.’
1979, The Bee Gees went to No.1 on the UK album chart with their fifteenth studio album release ‘Spirits Having Flown.’ the group’s first album after their collaboration on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. The album’s first three tracks were released as singles and all reached No.1 in the US, giving the Bee Gees an unbroken run of six US chart-toppers and tying a record set by The Beatles.
1984, Van Halen’s ‘Jump’ peaked at No.1 in the US. Over the years David Lee Roth has given various accounts of the meaning behind the lyrics, but most often says they are about a TV news story he saw where a man was about to kill himself by jumping off a building.
1990, Rick Grech, bass player with Family, Blind Faith and Traffic died of kidney and liver failure.
1997, US singer Jermaine Stewart died of cancer. (1986 UK No.2 single ‘We Don’t Have To…Take Our Clothes Off’). Also worked with Shalamar, The Temptations and Boy George.
1997, Elvis Presley Enterprises of Memphis, Tennessee, lost its Court of Appeal battle to stop London trader Sid Shaw using the name of ‘The King’ on his souvenirs. The legal tussle with Mr Shaw, who ran a memorabilia shop called ‘Elvisly Yours’, had been going on for over 17 years. Speaking after the ruling, Mr Shaw said: “I’m delighted. I’ve proved that Elvis belongs to all of us – Elvis is part of our history, part of our culture.
2004, The Kinks singer Ray Davies received his CBE medal from the Queen at Buckingham Palace for services to the music industry.
2005, Justin Hawkins from The Darkness became the centre of the latest hands-on activity at Madame Tussauds in London. His wax double would judge the air guitar skills of visitors who would be invited to play an imaginary guitar with smoke and music pumping out. Hawkins said: “I find the process of air guitaring rather silly. What makes a good air guitarist? Alcohol.”
2006, The Smiths turned down a $5m (£2.8m) offer to reform for a music festival. The band who split acrimoniously in 1987, rejected the bid to get back together for this year’s Coachella US festival.
2008, Ola Brunkert, the former drummer with the Swedish group ABBA, was found dead with his throat cut at his home in Majorca, Spain. Brunkert died after he hit his head against a glass door in the dining room at his home. He was found dead in his garden after trying to seek help. The 62 year old musician had played on every Abba album and had toured with the group.
2010, Alex Chilton singer and guitarist with Big Star died in hospital of heart problems in New Orleans aged 59. As a teenager Chilton had been a member of The Box Tops who had the 1967 hit ‘The Letter’.
2013, John Lennon and George Harrison were honored with a blue plaque at the site of the former Apple Boutique in a ceremony in London held at at 94 Baker Street. The new plaque reads “John Lennon, M.B.E., 1940-1980, and George Harrison, M.B.E., 1943-2001, worked here.”
March 17th: Born on this day
1919, Born on this day, Nat King Cole, singer, (1955 US No.2 single ‘A Blossom Fell’, 1957 UK No.2 single ‘When I Fall In Love’ plus over 20 other US & UK Top 40 singles). Father of singer Natalie Cole. Cole died of lung cancer on February 15th 1965.
1941, Born on this day, Clarence Collins, Little Anthony and The Imperials, (1958 US No.4 single ‘Tears On My Pillow’), song gave Kylie Minogue a UK No.1 in 1990.
1941, Born on this day, Paul Kantner, guitar, Jefferson Airplane, (1967 US No.18 single ‘White Rabbit’). Kantner died in San Francisco at the age of 74 on Jan 28, 2016 due to multiple organ failure and septic shock after he suffered a heart attack days earlier.
1944, Born on this day, Bob Johnson, guitar, vocals, Steeleye Span, (1975 UK No.5 single ‘All Around My Hat’).
1944, Born on this day, John Sebastian, The Lovin Spoonful, (1966 UK No.2 single ‘Daydream’, and 1966 US No.1 single ‘Summer in The City’), solo (1976 US No.1 single ‘Welcome Back’).
1944, Born on this day, Pat Mcauley, Them, (1965 UK No.2 & US No.24 single ‘Here Comes The Night’).
1946, Born on this day, Harold Brown, War, (1976 UK No.12 & US No.12 single ‘Low Rider’).
1948, Born on this day, Pat Lloyd, The Equals, (1968 UK No.1 & US No.32 single ‘Baby Come Back’).
1951, Born on this day, Scott Gorham, guitar, Thin Lizzy, (1973 UK No.6 single ‘Whisky In The Jar’, 1976 US No.12 single ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’).
1954, Born on this day, Wally Stocker, The Babys, (1977 US No.13 & UK No.45 single ‘Isn’t It Time’).
1959, Born on this day, Mike Lindup, keyboards, Level 42, (1986 UK No.3 & US No.12 single ‘Lessons In Love’ plus 19 other top 40 singles).
1962, Born on this day, Clare Grogan, vocals, Altered Images, (1981 UK No.2 single ‘Happy Birthday’) also an actress, her first film appearance was in the acclaimed film Gregory’s Girl, has also appeared in UK soap Eastenders and the comedy Father Ted. Also worked as a VH1 presenter.
1963, Born on this day, Michael Ivins, bass, Flaming Lips, (2002 UK No. 32 single ‘Do You Realize’).
1967, Born on this day, Billy Corgan, vocals, guitar, Smashing Pumpkins, (1995 US No.1 album ‘Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness’, 1996 UK No.7 & US No.36 single ‘Tonight Tonight’).
1972, Born on this day, Melissa Auf Der Maur, Hole, (1995 UK No.16 & US No.58 single ‘Doll Parts’).
1972, Born on this day, American rapper Sean Price who was a member of the hip hop collective Boot Camp Clik and was also half of the duo Heltah Skeltah, performing under the name Ruckus. Price died on 8 Aug 2015 aged 43.
1973, Born on this day, Caroline Corr, drums, vocals, The Corrs, (1998 UK No.3 single ‘What Can I Do’. Talk On Corners was the best selling UK album of 1998 spending 142 weeks on the UK chart).
1975, Born on this day, Justin Hawkins, vocals, The Darkness. (2003 UK No.2 single ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’, 2003 UK No.1 album ‘Permission To Land’).
1976, Born on this day, Stephen Gately, vocals, Boyzone, who have had 21 UK hit singles, including 6 UK No.1 singles. Their breakthrough hit was their second single and cover version of the classic Osmonds hit, ‘Love Me for a Reason’, which peaked at No.2 on the UK Singles Chart. Gately had the solo 2000 UK No.3 single ‘New Beginning / Bright Eyes’). He died of a congenital heart defect on 10th Oct 2009.
1990, Born on this day, Hozier, Irish singer-songwriter. His self-titled 2014 album went to No.1 in nine European countries.