This Week in Musical History
This date in musical history
In 1948, Edward Wallerstein, the president of Columbia Records, demonstrated a long playing record developed by Peter Goldmark of CBS Laboratories.
The microgroove record played at 33 1/3 revolutions per minute, in contrast to the standard 78 rpm, and could contain a maximum of 23 minutes of music a side, versus the approximately three minutes that could squeezed on to a 78. Columbia offered to share its technology with its main competitor, RCA Victor, but RCA decided to market its own version of the microgroove record - one that played at 45 rpm. But the battle of the speeds ended in 1950, when RCA announced it also would produce 33 1/3 rpm long playing records.
Soon all major record companies were producing both 45's and 33's, spelling the end of the 78 rpm record.
Other musical milestones on this date:
In 1955, Johnny Cash's first record - "Hey Porter," backed with "Cry, Cry, Cry" - was released on the Sun label. It was a moderate hit, selling about 100,000 copies.
In 1966, the Rolling Stones sued 14 New York City hotels which had banned them.
In 1967, the Centennial Hall, a concert and entertainment auditorium, opened in London, Ontario with a performance by the London Symphony Orchestra. The hall was the city's project for Canada's centennial year.
In 1970, Pete Townshend's use of the British slang term "bomb" to describe the success of the Who's rock opera "Tommy" caused him to be detained at the Memphis airport. FBI agents thought it was a bomb threat.
In 1973, Bread played their final concert before more than 13,000 people at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City. A truck accident earlier in the day had destroyed the soft-rock band's equipment, so they had to play with borrowed instruments and amps.
In 1980, German bandleader and composer Bert Kaempfert died on the Mediterranean island of Majorca (mah-YOR'-kah) at age 56. His recordings featured muted trumpet and electric bass in front of a large orchestra. Among Kaempfert's hits, many of which he composed, were "Wonderland by Night" - a number-one record in 1960 - and "Red Roses for a Blue Lady." Kaempfert also wrote "Strangers in the Night," which Frank Sinatra took to the top of the charts in 1966, and "Spanish Eyes," a hit for Al Martino. Note for trivia buffs: Bert Kaempfert produced the first recording session of the Beatles.
In 1981, just after signing a multi-album contract with Warner Brothers, the pop group Steely Dan announced they were breaking up. Donald Fagan and Walter Becker, the driving forces behind the band, said their 14 year musical partnership was over. Steely Dan's hits included "Reeling in the Years" and "Peg."
In 1989, the Who launched their reunion tour with a warm-up concert before 5,000 fans in Glens Falls, New York. The tour's official opening was two nights later in Toronto, the same city where the Who wound up their so called farewell tour in 1982. At the Glens Falls show, Pete Townshend grimaced when he missed a high note on one of the songs from "Tommy." And the crowd roared its approval when Roger Daltrey shattered one of a pair of tambourines he was banging together, and tossed it aside. The Who played in 36 stadiums during their reunion tour, and also staged two charity performances of "Tommy" in Los Angeles and New York.
In 1990, jazz and big band singer June Christy, who rose to fame with the Stan Kenton Orchestra in the 1940's, died in Los Angeles of kidney failure. She was 64. Her biggest hit with Kenton was "Tampico," which reached number four in 1945. Following the disbanding of the Kenton band in 1949, Christy began a solo career, which included more than 20 albums.
In 1994, Britain's high court ruled that George Michael could not get out of his $12 million contract with Sony. The judge said the contract was "reasonable and fair," and was not a restraint of trade. Michael vowed he would never record for Sony again.
In 1995, police in Albany, New York, arrested at least 50 people in a disturbance outside a Grateful Dead concert. The trouble began when police tried to chase away vendors. Three officers were hurt.
In 1996, the Sex Pistols performed together for the first time in 18 years, beginning their world reunion tour with a show before 15,000 fans in Helsinki. Lead singer Johnny Rotten, feeling the crowd was too subdued, shouted "I can't hear you." The audience responded with a shower of bottles, one of which struck Rotten. The show has halted briefly while the emcee pleaded for calm.
In 1997, Grammy-nominated R'n'B singer Arthur Prysock died in a hospital near Hamilton, Bermuda, after a lengthy illness. He was 74. Prysock's 1952 recording of "I Didn't Sleep a Wink Last Night" made the top five of Billboard's R'n'B chart. But his popularity extended far beyond his record sales. For years, Prysock was a top nightclub entertainer and his ballad recordings were favored by late-night radio DJ's.
Born on this date:
In 1936, singer O.C. Smith was born in Mansfield, Louisiana. A one-time performer with the Count Basie band, his big hit was "Son of Hickory Holler's Tramp" in 1968.
In 1944, Ray Davies, lead singer and songwriter for the Kinks, was born in London. Formed in 1963 by Ray and his brother, Dave, the Kinks have gone through several musical changes. They began as a singles band, scoring hits with such songs as "You Really Got Me," "All Day and All of the Night" and "Well Respected Man." All these hits were written by Ray Davies, who then turned to more ambitious concept albums such as "(The Kinks Are) The Village Green Preservation Society" and "Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One." The Kinks left concept albums behind in 1976, and three years later scored a gold album with "Low Budget." It was the group's first gold LP in 12 years. That was followed by several other hit albums, including 1983's "State of Confusion," which contained the Top 10 hit "Come Dancing."
In 1932, TV and movie composer Lalo Schifrin.
In 1936, '50s pop singer Nick Noble.
In 1942, Brazilian keyboardist, composer and producer Eumir Deodato.
In 1944, Jon Hiseman, leader of the British jazz-rock fusion bands Colosseum and Colosseum Two.
In 1945, Chris Britton, lead singer with the British invasion band the Troggs.
In 1946, '60s soul singer Brenda Holloway.
In 1948, country singer Leon Everette.
In 1950, Joey Kramer, drummer with Aerosmith.
In 1951, guitarist Nils Lofgren of Bruce Spingsteen's E Street Band.
In 1959, country singer Kathy Mattea.
The Rolling Stones.
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