May 25th: On this day
1961, The Temperance Seven were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘You’re Driving Me Crazy’, their only UK No.1 single. The song gave producer George Martin his first No.1.
1965, Blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter, Sonny Boy Williamson died in his sleep. Van Morrison, Aerosmith, The Who, The Animals, Yardbirds and Moody Blues all covered his songs. According to the Led Zeppelin biography Hammer of the Gods, touring the UK in the 60’s, Sonny Boy set his hotel room on fire while trying to cook a rabbit in a coffee percolator.
1967, Procol Harum’s ‘A Whiter Shade Of Pale’ entered the UK chart for the first time, where it went on to become a No.1 hit. ‘A Whiter Shade Of Pale’ became the most played song in the last 75 years in public places in the UK (as of 2009). The first video for the song was shot in the ruins of Witley Court in Worcestershire, England. Directed by Peter Clifton whose insertion of Vietnam War newsreel footage caused it to be banned from airplay on the Top Of The Pops TV show. The band subsequently made another video.
1967, Pink Floyd appeared at the Gwent Constabulary (‘A’ Division) Spring Holiday Barn Dance, held at The Barn, Grosmont Wood Farm in Cross Ash, Wales, UK.
1968, Simon and Garfunkel scored their second US No.1 album with ‘Bookends’. The album featured four US singles: ‘A Hazy Shade of Winter’, ‘At the Zoo’, ‘Fakin’ It’ and ‘Mrs Robinson’.
1969, A benefit concert was held for Fairport Convention at The Roundhouse, London to raise money for the families of the band’s drummer Martin Lamble, Richard Thompson’s girlfriend and clothes designer Jeannie Franklyn who were all killed in an accident driving back from a gig. Also on the bill, Family, Pretty Things, Soft Machine and John Peel.
1969, The Who and Led Zeppelin appeared at the Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, Maryland, USA. This was the only time the two group’s ever appeared together, with Zeppelin opening the show. On the tickets Led Zeppelin was spelt Lead Zeppelin.
1973, Carole King played a concert in New York’s Central Park, which attracted an audience of 100,000.
1974, Rick Wakeman became the first member of the group Yes to have a No.1 UK album when ‘Journey To The Centre Of The Earth’ went to the top of the charts.
1978, After seeing The Hype (soon to become U2) appearing at the Project Arts Centre, in Dublin, Paul McGuinness became their manager.
1985, Dire Straits scored their second UK No.1 album with ‘Brothers In Arms’, also No.1 in the US and 24 other countries. ‘Brothers In Arms’ was one of the first albums to be directed at the CD market, and was a full digital recording (DDD) at a time when most popular music was recorded on analog equipment. The album won two Grammy Awards at the 28th Grammy Awards, and also won Best British Album at the 1987 Brit Awards, and has gone on to sell over 30 million copies worldwide.
1990, Fleetwood Mac played the first of 42 North American dates on their Behind The Mask world tour at the PNE Coliseum in Vancouver, Canada. Squeeze were the opening act.
1991, Mariah Carey scored her fourth US No.1 single with ‘I Don’t Wanna Cry’, not a hit in the UK.
1992, Khalil Roundtree, tour manager of Boyz II Men, was killed by gunfire after a scuffle in an elevator on the 26th floor of a hotel in Chicago; their assistant tour manager was also injured.
1995, The earliest known recording of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, from 1961, was sold at Christies in London for £50,250 ($85,425).
1996, Gina G had her first UK No.1 hit single when ‘Ooh Aah…Just A Little Bit’ went to the top of the charts for 1 week. Australian singer Gina was representing the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest where she finished in eighth place in the contest.
1997, A report showed that Elvis Presley was now the world’s bestselling posthumous entertainer with worldwide sales of over one billion, over 480 active fan clubs and an estimated 250,000 UK fans who still buy his records. Ironically he had died owing $3 million (£1.76 million).
1997, Bob Dylan was diagnosed as suffering from histoplasmosis pericarditis, a fungal infection of the lung, and was admitted to hospital he stayed until June 2nd. Having just turned 56, Dylan later admitted: ‘I really thought I’d be seeing Elvis soon’. Treated by drugs and rest, Bob was back on the road only 10 weeks later, for 22 American and Canadian shows.
1998, Coldplay released their first ever record, an EP called Safety, which featured 3 tracks; ‘Bigger Stronger’, ‘No More Keeping My Feet on the Ground’, and ‘Such a Rush’. The EP was intended as a demo for record companies and is now such a rarity that it is known to fetch in excess of £2000 on eBay.
2000, UK Supermarket chain ASDA decided to cancel a signing tour planned to promote Boyzone’s Mikey Graham’s debut solo single ‘Like An Angel’ after he admitted that he had used cannabis and gone on alcohol benders with his fellow Boyz.
2001, Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher won a damages settlement from The Daily Mirror after they claimed he lied in court during divorce proceedings with Meg Matthews.
2002, 30 Eminem fans were hurt after a crowd surge at a gig in Washington DC. Five people were taken to hospital, one man suffered a heart attack.
2003, 50 Cent started a four week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ’21 Questions’, the rapper’s second US No.1.
2003, Jemini, the UK entry for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, failed to get a single point, the first time a UK entry had ended up with nul points. The first nul pointers came in 1962, six years after the contest started, when four countries Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain all failed to register.
2003, Marilyn Manson were at No.1 on the US album chart with ‘The Golden Age of Grotesque’, a No. 4 hit in the UK and the bands second US No.1.
2004, Madonna cancelled three shows in Israel after terrorists threatened to kill her and her kids. A spokesperson said she was targeted because she symbolises the West and not because she practises the Jewish faith Kabbalah.
2005, The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office in California announced that it was officially closing the stabbing case of Meredith Hunter, the 18-year-old American who was killed at the 1969 Rolling Stones Altamont Free Concert. Investigators, concluding a renewed two-year investigation, dismissed the theory that a second Hell’s Angel took part in the stabbing.
2006, Jamaican reggae singer, songwriter Desmond Dekker died of a heart attack at his home in London, England. Had one of the first international Jamaican hits in 1968, with the ‘Israelites’.
2007, Sixties pop star Wayne Fontana was remanded in custody after admitting pouring petrol over a bailiff’s car and setting fire to it. The judge criticised the former lead singer of the Mindbenders, for arriving at Derby Crown court dressed as the Lady of Justice. He had to hand a sword and scales to guards but still wore a crown, cape and dark glasses, claiming “justice is blind”.
2009, A former member of Wilco, who was suing the band over a royalties claim, died at his home in Illinois at the age of 45. Jay Bennett worked as a sound engineer and played instruments for the band between 1994 and 2001. Bennett filed his legal action against Wilco lead singer Jeff Tweedy at the beginning of May, claiming $50,000 (£33,160) for five albums he made with the group.
May 25th: Born on this day
1921, Born on this day, Hal David, US songwriter, pianist and arranger, with Burt Bacharach. Wrote many classic songs including, ‘Close To You’, ’24 Hours From Tulsa’, ‘Make It Easy On Yourself’, ‘Magic Moments’, ‘I Say A Little Prayer’. Won two Oscars for film score ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’, for ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head’. David died from from complications from a stroke on 1st Sept 2012.
1936, Born on this day, Donnie Elbert, US soul singer who had a 1972 US No.22 & UK No.11 single with ‘I Can’t Help Myself, Sugar Pie Honey Bunch’. He died on January 26th 1989.
1936, Born on this day, Tom T. Hall, country music singer-songwriter. Hall has written 11 No.1 hit songs, with 26 more that reached the Top 10, including ‘Harper Valley PTA’ a hit for Jeannie C. Riley in 1968. He became known as ‘The Storyteller,’ due to his storytelling skills in his songwriting.
1942, Born on this day, Brian Davison, The Nice, (1968 UK No.21 single ‘America’).
1943, Born on this day, John Palmer, Family, (1971 UK No.4 single ‘In My Own Time’).
1945, Born on this day, Dave Lee Travis, BBC Radio 1 and TV presenter. (1976 UK No.4 single ‘Convoy GB’ as Laurie Lingo and the Dipsticks).
1947, Born on this day, Mitchel Margo, The Tokens, (1961 US No.1 & UK No.11 single ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’).
1948, Born on this day, Klaus Meine, The Scorpions, (1991 UK No.2 single ‘Wind Of Change’).
1950, Born on this day, Jean Millington, all girl group Fanny, (1975 US No. 29 single ‘Butter Boy’.).
1950, Born on this day, Robert Steinhardt, Kansas, (1978 US No.3 single ‘Dust In The Wind’, UK No.59 single ‘Carry On Wayward Son’).
1955, Born on this day, John Grimaldi, Argent, (1972 UK No.5 single ‘Hold Your Head Up’).
1958, Born on this day, Paul Weller, UK singer, guitarist, songwriter, The Jam (1980 UK No.1 single ‘Going Underground’ plus over 15 other UK Top 40 singles). Style Council, (1983 UK No.3 single ‘Long Hot Summer’, plus 14 other UK Top 40 singles). Solo (1995 UK No.7 single ‘The Changing Man’). Weller has received four Brit Awards, winning the award for Best British Male twice, and the 2006 Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music.
1959, Born on this day, Rick Smith, keyboards, Underworld, (1996 UK No.2 single ‘Born Slippy’).
1975, Born on this day, Lauryn Hill, singer, The Fugees, (1996 UK No.1 single ‘Killing Me Softly’), solo, (1998 UK No.3 single ‘Doo Wop, That Thing’, 1998 US No.1 & UK No.2 album ‘The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill’).
1980, Born on this day, Joe King, guitarist, vocals, The Fray, (2005 US Top 3 single ‘How to Save a Life’).