May 8th: On this day
1954, BBC radio in the UK banned the Johnny Ray song ‘Such a Night’ after listeners complain about its ‘suggestiveness’. Ray was famous for his emotional stage act, which included beating up his piano, and writhing on the floor.
1955, Tony Bennett was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Stranger In Paradise’. Based on a theme from Borodin’s 1888 opera – ‘Prince Igor’. The song was a hit in the 1953 Broadway show ‘Kismet’.
1964, The Beatles had held the No.1 position on the US singles chart for fourteen weeks with three No.1’s in succession. ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ for seven weeks, ‘She Loves You’ for two weeks and ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’, for five weeks.
1965, The filming of the promotional film for Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues took place at the side of the Savoy Hotel in London. Actors in the background were Allen Ginsberg and Bob Neuwirth. The original clip was actually the opening segment of D. A. Pennebaker’s film, Don’t Look Back, a documentary on Bob Dylan’s 1965 tour of England. In the film, Dylan, who came up with the idea, holds up cue cards for the camera with selected words and phrases from the lyrics. The cue cards were written by Donovan, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Neuwirth and Dylan himself. While staring at the camera, he flipped the cards as the song played.
1969, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr signed a business management contract with Allen Klein and his company ABKCO, but Paul McCartney refused to sign, continuing to let the Eastmans represent his interests.
1970, The Beatles twelfth and final album, Let It Be was released, (it was recorded before the Abbey Road album, and was originally to be called ‘Get Back’). The album came in a deluxe-boxed edition with a ‘Get Back’ book.
1974, UK keyboard player Graham Bond committed suicide after throwing himself under a London tube train at Finsbury Park station, aged 36. It took police two days to identify his body which was crushed beyond all recognition. Briefly a member of Blues Incorporated, a group led by Alexis Korner, before forming the Graham Bond Quartet, with a lineup of Bond on vocals and organ, Ginger Baker on drums and Jack Bruce on bass.
1976, ABBA scored their third UK No.1 single with ‘Fernando’, the song went on to become ABBA’s biggest selling single, with sales over 10 million. And also on day Abba started a nine-week run at No.1 on the UK album chart with their ‘Greatest Hits’ album.
1976, BBC Radio 1 DJ Johnny Walker announced he was quitting the station after being told he must pretend to like The Bay City Rollers.
1976, Former lead singer of the Lovin Spoonful John Sebastian went to No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Welcome Back’, taken from the US TV show ‘Welcome Back Kotter’.
1982, Neil Bogart died of cancer at the age of 39. Bogart was the founder of Casablanca Records, with Peter Guber, home of Donna Summer, The Village People, KISS, T.Rex and Joan Jett.
1982, Paul McCartney scored his fifth UK No.1 album with ‘Tug Of War’. The album featured the duet with Stevie Wonder ‘Ebony & Ivory’, which was inspired by McCartney hearing comedian Spike Milligan say “black notes, white notes, and you need to play the two to make harmony, folks!”, (the ebony (black) and ivory (white) keys on a piano).
1982, Vangelis went to No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Chariots Of Fire’, his only US No.1. Vangelis was accused of plagiarising ‘Chariots of Fire’ from a song by fellow Greek composer Stavros Logaridis called ‘City of Violets’. Vangelis won in court by convincing the judge to allow him to bring his keyboard setup into the court to demonstrate his method of composing by improvising new music.
1984, Roger Waters released his first solo album The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking. The concept album, as originally envisioned by Waters in 1977, rotated around a man’s thoughts during a midlife crisis, and featured guest musicians Eric Clapton on guitar, David Sanborn on saxophone and Michael Kamen on piano.
1993, Aerosmith entered the US album chart at No.1 with ‘Get A Grip’, a No.2 hit in the UK. The album went on to sell over 20 million copies worldwide as well as winning the band two Grammy awards.
1993, Mark Knopfler received an honorary music doctorate from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
1996, A Los Angeles judge ruled against Tommy Lee and wife Pamela Anderson in their bid to keep Penthouse magazine from publishing still photos from an X-rated home movie that was stolen from their home.
1999, Ricky Martin went to No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’. The song spent 5 weeks at No.1.
2005, Bruce Springsteen was at No.1 on the US album chart with ‘Devils and Dust’ his 13th No.1 studio album.
2006, The Rolling Stones called off their forthcoming European tour after guitarist Keith Richards underwent emergency brain surgery. The 62 year-old guitarist suffered “mild concussion” when he fell out of a coconut tree on holiday in Fiji.
2008, American Country artist Eddy Arnold died of natural causes, one week before his 90th birthday. He sold more than 85 million records and had 147 songs on the US charts, including 28 number one hits on Billboard’s Country Singles chart. He was once managed by Colonel Tom Parker (who later managed Elvis Presley). Arnold had the 1965 US No.4 hit, ‘Make The World Go Away’.
2013, Ja Rule was released from prison after serving nearly two years on gun and tax evasion charges. The rapper was let out of a prison in Ray Brook, New York, but would remain under house arrest until 28 July. The 37-year-old pleaded guilty to not filing tax returns over a five-year period in 2011 and attempted criminal possession of a weapon the year before. He was sentenced to 28 months in prison after failing to pay $1.1m (£710,319) in taxes between 2004 and 2008. The rapper was also sentenced to two years in prison for possessing a semi-automatic handgun, which police found hidden in his car after a concert in New York in 2007.
2013, A painting by Fernand Leger owned by Madonna sold for $7.2 million (£4.7m) in New York. The singer bought the 1921 Cubist work, Three Women at the Red Table, in 1990 for $3.4m (£2.2m). According to Sotheby’s, proceeds from the sale “would benefit Madonna’s Ray of Light Foundation, supporting girls’ education projects in the Middle East and South Asia”.
2014, Chuck Berry was named as one of the 2014 Polar Music Prize laureates. A spokesperson from the award committee said: “In the course of three minutes he conjures up an image of the everyday life and dreams of a teenager, often with the focus on cars. Chuck Berry, born in 1926, was the first to drive up onto the highway and announce that we are born to run.”
May 8th: Born on this day
1911, Born on this day, Robert Johnson, blues singer, guitarist. Influenced Muddy Waters, Elmore James, Eric Clapton (Cream covered ‘Crossroads), The Rolling Stones (‘Love In Vain’). Johnson died on 16th August 1938.
1940, Born on this day, Ricky Nelson, US singer, (1958 US No.1 ‘Poor Little Fool’, 1961 UK No.2 single ‘Hello Mary Lou’ plus over 30 US Top 40 hit singles). Played himself on his parent’s US TV The Adventures Of Ozzie and Harriet.’ Nelson died on 31st December 1985.
1941, Born on this day, John Fred Gourrier, from John Fred and His Playboy Band, (1968 US No.1 & UK No.3 single ‘Judy In Disguise’). Died on 15th April 2005 after a long battle with kidney disease aged 63.
1943, Born on this day, Paul Samwell-Smith, The Yardbirds, (1965 UK No.3 and US No.6 single ‘For Your Love’).
1943, Born on this day, Toni Tennille, The Captain and Tennille, (1980 US No.1 & UK No.7 single ‘Do That To Me One More Time’).
1943, Born on this day, Danny Whitten, guitarist, singer, songwriter. Member of Neil Young’s Crazy Horse and writer of ‘I Don’t Wanna Talk About It’, covered by Rod Stewart, Rita Coolidge and Everything But The Girl. The Neil Young song ‘The Needle and the Damage Done’ was written about Whitten’s heroin use (before he died of an overdose on Nov 18th 1972).
1944, Born on this day, Bill Legend, T Rex, (1971 UK No.1 single ‘Hot Love’. Plus over 20 other UK Top 40 singles).
1947, Born on this day, Rick Derringer, producer, guitar, vocals, The McCoys, (1965 US No.1 & UK No.5 single ‘Hang On Sloopy’), Edgar Winter Group, (1973 US No.1 & UK No.18 single ‘Frankenstein’).
1951, Born on this day, Chris Frantz, drummer, Talking Heads, (1983 US No.9 single ‘Burning Down The House’, 1985 UK No.6 single ‘Road To Nowhere’).
1951, Born on this day, Philip Bailey, vocals, Earth Wind and Fire, (1975 US No.1 single ‘Shining Star’, 1981 UK No.3 single ‘Let’s Groove’) & solo, (1985 UK No.1 single ‘Easy Lover’ duet with Phil Collins).
1955, Born on this day, Alex Van Halen, Van Halen, drums, (1984 US No.1 & UK No.7 single ‘Jump’).
1964, Born on this day, Dave Rowntree, drummer with Blur who had the 1994 UK No.1 album ‘Parklife’ which spent over 2 years on the UK chart, and the 1995 UK No.1 single ‘Country House’, plus over 12 other UK Top 40 singles. Rowntree now also works as a solicitor, animator, radio presenter and political activist.
1972, Born on this day, Darren Hayes, singer, songwriter, Savage Garden, (1998 US No.1 & UK Top 5 single ‘Truly Madly Deeply.’ Solo 2002 UK No.8 single ‘Insatiable’).
1975, Born on this day, Enrique Iglesias, singer, (2000 US No.1 single ‘Be With You’, 2002 UK No.1 & US No.3 single ‘Hero’).
1976, Born on this day, H, (Ian Watkins), vocals, Steps, (1998 UK No.1 single ‘Heartbeat / Tragedy’, 1999 UK No.1 album ‘Steptacular’ spent over a year on the UK chart).
1976, Born on this day, Martha Wainwright, Canadian / American, singer-songwriter, daughter of Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle and sister of Rufus Wainwright. Appeared on recordings by her family members and has released several independent EPs. Her full length self-titled debut was released in 2005.
1977, Born on this day in New Hartford, New York, blues rock guitarist and singer Joe Bonamassa, who has released nine studio albums as well as being a member of Black Country Communion.
1978, Born on this day, Ana Maria Lombo, Eden’s Crush, (2001 US No. 8 single ‘Get Over Yourself’).
1985, Born on this day, Matt Jay, Busted, (2003 UK No.1 single ‘You Said No’, 2002 UK No.2 album, ‘Busted’).