April 5th: On this day
1955, Ray Charles married his second wife Della Beatrice Howard Robinson; the couple had three children and divorced in 1977.
1962, The Beatles performed at The Cavern Club in Liverpool as part of a special night presented by the Beatles’ fan club. The Beatles wear their black leather outfits for the first half of the performance, for old time’s sake, then change into their new suits for the second half of the show.
1967, Monkees fans walked from London’s Marble Arch to the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square to protest Davy Jones’ planned call-up. Jones was exempted because he was deemed responsible for supporting his father.
1968, The first date of a twice-nightly UK tour featuring, Amen Corner, Gene Pitney, Status Quo, Simon Dupree & The Big Sound and Don Partridge kicked off at The Odeon Theatre, Lewisham, London.
1972, Elvis Presley kicked of a 15 date US tour at the Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo, New York.
1975, Minnie Riperton went to No.1 on the US singles chart with the Stevie Wonder produced song ‘Loving You’ (a No.2 hit in the UK). It was the singers only US chart hit. Riperton died of cancer on 12th July 1979.
1978, Duran Duran made their live debut at The Lecture Theatre, Birmingham Polytechnic.
1980, Genesis scored their first UK No.1 album when ‘Duke’ went to the top of the charts.
1980, R.E.M. played their first ever gig when they appeared at St Mary’s Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia.
1981, Canned Heat singer Bob “The Bear” Hite died of a heart attack aged 36. (1970 UK No.2 & US No.26 single ‘Let’s Work Together’). Played at both the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival and the 1969 Woodstock Festival.
1983, Danny Rapp, leader of 50’s group Danny and the Juniors committed suicide in a hotel in Arizona by shooting himself. (1958 US No.1 & UK No.3 single ‘At The Hop’).
1984, Marvin Gaye’s funeral took place at The Forest Lawn Cemetery, Los Angeles; Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Berry Gordy and other Motown singers, writers and producers, attended the service.
1985, At 3:50pm GMT, over 5,000 radio stations worldwide aired the charity single by USA for Africa ‘We Are The World’. The single went on to be a No.1 in the US & UK, and most Western territories.
1985, UK Channel 4 music show The Tube aired a two-hour end of series special featuring UB40, Alison Moyet, Style Council, The Pogues, Spandau Ballet, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Bronski Beat.
1994, Kurt Cobain committed suicide by shooting himself in the head at his home in Seattle. Cobain’s body wasn’t discovered until April 8, by an electrician who had arrived to install a security system, who initially believed that Cobain was asleep, until he saw the shotgun pointing at his chin. A suicide note was found that said, “I haven’t felt the excitement of listening to as well as creating music, along with really writing . . . for too many years now”. A high concentration of heroin and traces of Valium were found in Cobain’s body. His death was officially ruled as suicide by a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head.
1995, Monika Dannerman, the one time girlfriend of Jimi Hendrix committed suicide, two days after losing a court battle with another of the guitarist’s ex-lovers.
1997, The Chemical Brothers went to No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Block Rockin Beats.’ Taken from their second album Dig Your Own Hole the song won a Grammy award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.
1998, British drummer Cozy Powell (Colin Flooks) was killed when his car smashed into crash barriers on the M4 motorway near Bristol, England. Powell had worked with the Jeff Beck Group, Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Brian May, Peter Green and the ELP spin-off Emerson, Lake, and Powell. Powell, known as one of the most driving drummers in rock, had also had hits as a solo artist, including Dance WithThe Devil and The Man In Black, and had fronted his own band, Cozy Powell’s Hammer.
1998, The Spice Girls performed their first ever-live UK concert when they appeared in front of a 9,000 strong audience in Glasgow, Scotland.
2003, Paul McCartney kicked off the UK leg of his ‘Back In The World Tour’ at Hallam FM Arena a year after it began in America. The set included 22 Beatles songs.
2006, Marion “Suge” Knight staved off receivership by seeking bankruptcy protection for himself and his music label, Death Row Records. The record producer had been ordered to pay more than $100m (£57m) to a former associate who said she had helped start the record label in 1989. Lawyers for Mr Knight said he did not have the money to pay the judgement, and was forced to seek federal protection. The label helped launch the careers of rappers such as Snoop Doggy Dogg.
2006, Gene Pitney was found dead aged 65 in his bed in a Cardiff hotel. The American singer was on a UK tour and had shown no signs of illness. Pitney helped The Rolling Stones break the American market with his endorsement of the band. Jagger and Richards wrote his hit ‘That Girl Belongs to Yesterday’ which became the Stones duo’s first composition to reach the American charts. He scored the 1962 US No.4 single ‘Only Love Can Break A Heart’. and 1967 solo UK No.5 & 1989 UK No.1 single with Marc Almond ‘Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart’, plus over 15 other US & UK Top 40 hits.
2007, Former KISS guitarist Mark St. John died from an apparent brain haemorrhage at the age of 51. St. John was Kiss’ third official guitarist, having replaced Vinnie Vincent in 1984 and appeared on the album ‘Animalize’.
2008, Apple’s iTunes overtook supermarket group Wal-Mart to become the largest music retailer in the US. Market research firm NPD said iTunes surpassed Wal-Mart in January and February if 12 downloads are considered equal to the sale of one CD album. iTunes had sold more than four billion songs since its launch in 2003.
2008, Lady GaGa started a four week run at No.1 on the UK album chart with ‘The Fame’ the American singers debut album.
2011, A statue in tribute to Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain was unveiled in his hometown of Aberdeen, Washington, The unveiling marked the 17th anniversary of Cobain’s death, which occurred on April 5, 1994. The statue designed by local artists Kim and Lora Malakoff was of his signature Fender Jag-Stang guitar. The concrete guitar was eight and a half feet tall and also featured a ribbon with lyrics written on it from Nirvana’s ‘On a Plain’. It reads: “One more special message to go and then I’m done and I can go home.”
2012, Jim Marshall, who made rock ’n’ roll rawer and noisier by inventing the Marshall amplifier died at a hospice in London, aged 88. His amplifiers and speakers known as ‘Marshall stacks’ were used by Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and almost every other major rock guitarist in the ’60s and ’70s and by the next generation of guitarists as well, including Kurt Cobain, Eddie Van Halen and Slash.
2013, Mark Knopfler cancelled two shows in Russia in protest over what he called the country’s “crackdown” on human rights groups. The former Dire Straits frontman pulled out of the gigs in June after Russian authorities searched the offices of organisations including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Critics said the raids were an attempt to crush government dissent.
April 5th: Born on this day
1928, Born on this day, Tony Williams, The Platters, (1959 UK & US No.1 single ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes’). Died on 14th August 1992.
1929, Born on this day, Joe Meek, producer. Shot himself dead on 3rd February 1967 after killing his landlady. Produced ‘Telstar’ the 1962 UK and US No.1 single by The Tornadoes. The first British act to have a No.1 in the US. Also produced hits for John Leyton and The Honeycombs.
1935, Born on this day, Peter Grant, manager of Led Zeppelin. Died from a heart attack on 21st Nov 1995 aged 60. Known as being one of the shrewdest and most ruthless managers in rock history, Grant secured 90% of concert gate money and intimidated record store owners who dealt in bootlegs. The former wrestler also worked as a film extra and bodyguard. During the early 60s Grant worked as a tour manager for Bo Diddley, The Everly Brothers, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent and The Animals.
1939, Born on this day, Ronnie White, The Miracles, (1970 UK & US No.1 single with Smokey Robinson, ‘The Tears Of A Clown’).
1941, Born on this day, Dave Swarbick, Fairport Convention, UK folk group, (1969 UK No.21 single ‘Si Tu Dois Partir’).
1942, Born on this day, Alan Clarke, vocals, The Hollies, (over 25 top 40 hits, 1972 US No.2 single ‘Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress’), 1988 UK No.1 single ‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother’, first released in 1969.
1944, Born on this day, Nicholas Caldwell, The Whispers, (1980 UK No.2 & US No.19 single ‘And The Beat Goes On’).
1948, Born on this day, Dave Holland, drummer, Judas Priest.
1950, Born on this day, Agnetha Faltskog, vocals, ABBA (first UK hit 1974 No.1 ‘Waterloo’, followed by eight other UK No.1 singles and 9 UK No.1 albums, 1977 US No.1 single ‘Dancing Queen’).
1951, Born on this day, Everton Morton, The Beat, (1983 UK No.3 single ‘Can’t Get Used To Losing You”).
1954, Born on this day, Stan Ridgeway, Wall Of Voodoo, solo, (1986 UK No.4 single ‘Camouflage’).
1961, Born on this day, Jacob Slichter, drummer, with Semisonic had hits with ‘Secret Smile’, ‘Closing Time’ and ‘Chemistry’.
1965, Born on this day, Mike McCready, guitarist, and one of the founding members of Pearl Jam who had the 1992 UK No.15 single Jeremy, the 1993 US No.1 and UK No.2 album Vs and the 1994 US No.1 and UK No.4 album Vitalogy. McCready also has the side project bands Temple of the Dog, Mad Season and The Rockfords.
1968, Born on this day, Paula Cole, US singer, (1997 UK No.15 single, ‘Where Have All The Cowboys Gone”).
1973, Born on this day, Pharrell Williams, one half of the writing duo, The Neptunes (with Chad Hugo). Produced numerous No.1 hits for Mystikal, Jay-Z, NSYNC, Britney Spears, Nelly. 2003 US No.1 album ‘The Neptunes Present Clones’. Featured on the 2013 worldwide hit ‘Blurred Lines’ with Robin Thicke.
1975, Born on this day, American rapper, songwriter and record producer, Juicy J, (Jordan Michael Houston), founding member of the Southern hip hop group Three 6 Mafia. He featured on the 2014 US Katy Perry No.1 hit ‘Dark Horse’.