April 17th: On this day
1960, Touring in the UK, 21-year-old US singer Eddie Cochran was killed when the taxi he was travelling in crashed into a lamppost on Rowden Hill, Chippenham, Wiltshire, (where a plaque now commemorates the event). Songwriter Sharon Sheeley and singer Gene Vincent survived the crash, Cochran’s current hit at the time was ‘Three Steps to Heaven’. The taxi driver, George Martin, was convicted of dangerous driving, fined £50, disqualified from driving for 15 years, and sent to prison for six months.
1965, Bob Dylan’s debut album ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan was at No.1 on the UK chart.
1965, Paul McCartney spent the day shopping for furniture in Portobello Road, London disguised in a cloth cap, moustache, glasses and overcoat.
1970, While performing at the White House at the invitation of President Richard Nixon, Johnny Cash was asked to perform “Okie From Muskogee”. Cash declined because it was not his song, but had been a hit for Merle Haggard. Instead, Cash sang his No.1 hit, ‘A Boy Named Sue’.
1970, Santana began sessions for what would be their breakthrough album Abraxas at Wally Heider Recording Studio, San Francisco, California. When released in September of this year, Abraxas peaked at No.1 on the US chart.
1971, All four Beatles had solo singles in the UK charts, Paul McCartney with ‘Another Day’, John Lennon ‘Power To The People’, George Harrison ‘My Sweet Lord’ and Ringo Starr ‘It Don’t Come Easy.’
1971, Three Dog Night started a six week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Joy To The World’. The group’s second US No.1; a No.24 hit in the UK.
1973, Pink Floyd’s album The Dark Side of The Moon went gold in the US. The LP went on to stay in the US chart for more than ten years and became the longest charting rock record of all time.
1974, Vinnie Taylor guitarist with US rock ‘n roll revival band Sha Na Na was found dead in a Holiday Inn hotel room in Charlottesville, Virginia from a drug overdose. Sha Na Na played at the Woodstock Festival, their 90-second appearance in the Woodstock film brought the group national attention. The group appeared in the movie Grease as Johnny Casino & The Gamblers.
1975, Elvis Presley bought a Convair 880 Jet formally owned by Delta Airlines for $250,000, which he re-christened Lisa Marie. Presley spent a further $600,000 refurbishing the Jet to include personal quarters, a meeting area and a dance floor.
1977, The Stranglers, Cherry Vanilla, The Police and The Jam all appeared at The Roundhouse, London, England.
1982, Bucks Fizz were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘My Camera Never Lies’, the group’s third and last No.1.
1982, Vangelis was at No.1 on the US album chart with Chariots Of Fire, he later also won an Oscar for the album for best original score.
1983, Felix Pappalardi, producer and bass player with American rock band Mountain was shot dead by his wife Gail Collins during a jealous rage. Collins was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and sentenced to four years in prison. Pappalardi who was 43 had produced the Cream albums ‘Disraeli Gears’ and ‘Wheels of Fire.’
1987, Reggae drummer and percussion player Carlton Barrett of The Wailers was shot dead outside his house in Kingston, Jamaica. Joined Bob Marley and The Wailers in 1970, wrote the Marley song ‘War’. Barrett was the originator of the one-drop rhythm, a percussive drumming style.
1991, Nirvana appeared at the OK Hotel in Seattle, where they played a new song, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, live for the first time. Other local bands such as Mudhoney, Tad, Mother Love Bone, and Soundgarden all appeared at the club, which has now been turned into a residential property.
1993, David Bowie went to No.1 on the UK album chart with ‘Black Tie White Noise’ his eighth UK No.1 LP.
1994, Pink Floyd started a four-week run at No.1 on the UK album chart with ‘The Division Bell’, their fourth No.1 album.
1998, Linda McCartney died after a long battle against cancer. Married Paul McCartney in 1969 when she was working as a photographer. As well as a being a member of Wings, she became an animal rights campaigner and launched her own brand of vegetarian food.
2002, Music weekly The NME published a list of the 50 most influential icons. At No.10, Public Enemy, 9, U2, 8, The Jam 7, Radiohead, 6, Oasis, 5, Sex Pistols, 4, David Bowie 3, The Stone Roses, 2, The Beatles and No.1 The Smiths.
2003, Earl King the New Orleans Blues guitarist died aged 69. King wrote the classic song Come On, (Let The Good Times Roll), covered by Jimi Hendrix.
2004, Kurt Cobain’s Mark IV-style Mosrite Gospel guitar sold for $100,000 at the Icons of 20th Century Music auction held in Dallas, Texas. Other items sold included Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s song writing piano which sold for $140,000 and a 1966 Rickenbacker guitar owned by The Byrds Roger McGuinn’s sold for $99,000.
2007, Bryan Ferry was forced to make an apology after praising Nazi iconography in a German magazine. Talking to Welt am Sonntag, he said the Nazis “knew how to put themselves in the limelight and present themselves…I’m talking about the films of Leni Riefenstahl and the buildings of Albert Speer and the mass marches and the flags. Just amazing – really beautiful.” British MPs asked shoppers to think twice about shopping in Marks and Spencer asking for Ferry to be dropped as the face of the M&S Autograph menswear collection. Ferry said he was “deeply upset” by the publicity surrounding the interview.
2008, Danny Federici, the longtime keyboard player for Bruce Springsteen and a member of The E Street Band, died of cancer at the age of 58. Federici had worked with Springsteen for over 40 years, starting with Steel Mill and Child with Springsteen.
2009, Morrissey walked off stage during his set at the Coachella festival in California after declaring he could “smell burning flesh”. The committed vegetarian took offence to the smell coming from nearby barbecues. Sir Paul McCartney, The Killers and The Cure also appeared at the event.
April 17th: Born on this day
1934, Born on this day, Don Kirshner, who launched the careers of Carole King, Neil Sedaka, Harry Nilsson, The Monkees and The Archies. He died on January 17, 2011.
1940, Born on this day, Billy Fury, (1961 UK No.3 single ‘Halfway To Paradise’, plus 25 other Top 40 UK singles). Played rock ‘n’ roller “Stormy Tempest” in the film That’ll Be The Day along side David Essex and Ringo Starr. Fury died of a heart attack on 28th January 1983.
1943, Born on this day, Roy Estrada, bassist with Frank Zappa and a founder member of Little Feat, playing on their first two albums. Estrada was convicted of sexual assault on a child in 1977 for which he served six years in prison. In January 2012, he pleaded guilty to a charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child which happened in 2008 and he was sentenced to 25 years in prison and is not eligible for parole.
1948, Born on this day, Jan Hammer, keyboard player, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jeff Beck, solo, (1985 US No.1 & UK No.5 single ‘Miami Vice Theme’, 1987 UK No.2 single ‘Crockett’s Theme’).
1954, Born on this day, Michael Sembello, guitarist, singer, (1983 US No.1 & UK No. 43 single ‘Maniac’, featured in the film ‘Flashdance’. a No.43 hit in the UK).
1955, Born on this day, Pete Shelley, guitar, vocals, Buzzcocks, (1978 UK No.12 single ‘Ever Fallen In Love, With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve’).
1964, Born on this day, James Keenan, Tool, (2001 US No.1 album ‘Lateralus’). Also a member of A Perfect Circle and Puscifer.
1967, Born on this day, Matt Chamberlain one of the world’s most widely-heard session drummers. Worked with, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, Pearl Jam, Tori Amos, Morrissey, Fiona Apple, Christina Aguilera, Dido, David Bowie, Elton John, Peter Gabriel, The Wallflowers, Natalie Merchant, Robbie Williams, Kanye West, Garbage, John Mayer and William Shatner.
1967, Born on this day, American singer-songwriter and guitarist Liz Phair. Her 1993 debut studio album Exile in Guyville was ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
1970, Born on this day, Redman, US rapper, (2001 US No.4 album ‘Malpractice’, 2002 UK No.1 single with Christina Aguilera ‘Dirrty’.)
1974, Born on this day, businesswoman, fashion designer, model and singer, Victoria Beckham, (Posh Spice), The Spice Girls who scored the 1996 UK No.1 & 1997 US No.1 single ‘Wannabe’, plus eight other UK No.1 singles). She had the solo 2000 UK No. 2 single ‘Out Of Your Mind’ and married footballer David Beckham at Luttrellstown Castle, Ireland in June 1999. Beckham has become an internationally recognised style icon and fashion designer.
1988, Born on this day, British singer-songwriter, Eliza Doolittle, (born Eliza Sophie Caird). Her debut self-titled album released in 2010, (where it debuted at No.3 on the UK Albums Char), produced two UK top forty hits: ‘Skinny Genes’ and ‘Pack Up’.