Today in Music History for Aug. 12: In 1838, Joseph Barnby, English organist and choirmaster, was born. He composed nearly 250 hymn tunes during his life. Of these the most enduring include “Now the Day is Over” and “We Give Thee But Thine Own.
Today in Music History for Aug. 12:
In 1838, Joseph Barnby, English organist and choirmaster, was born. He composed nearly 250 hymn tunes during his life. Of these the most enduring include “Now the Day is Over” and “We Give Thee But Thine Own.”
In 1877, Thomas Edison reportedly first successfully demonstrated his phonograph. But the date was fixed upon years later for an anniversary celebration, and subsequent research has indicated that the first working phonograph probably was not made until the fall of 1877. Edison’s machine consisted of a metal cylinder and two diaphragm-and-needle units — one for recording and one for reproduction. Tin foil was wrapped around the cylinder and the sound vibrations were etched on it as the cylinder was turned. For the first demonstration, Edison recited the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and the machine played back a recognizable reproduction of his voice.
In 1949, guitarist and singer Mark Knopfler, leader of the British band “Dire Straits,” was born. The group’s 1978 debut album, which included the hit “Sultans of Swing,” sold one-million copies. The follow-up LP, “Communique,” sold three times that many. Knopfler’s blues-based guitar playing was an integral part of “Dire Straits'” sound. He’s also released a couple of solo CDs.
In 1959, Canadian dance band leader Gilbert Watson died in Peterborough, Ont. He was 60. “The Gilbert Watson Orchestra” was one of Canada’s most popular dance bands in the 1920s and ’30s.
In 1960, “The Silver Beetles” recruited drummer Pete Best. The band later became “The Beatles,” and Best was dropped two years later in favour of Ringo Starr.
In 1966, John Lennon apologized for his remarks that “The Beatles” were more popular than Jesus. That night, “The Beatles” began their final tour with a concert in Chicago. The tour wound up two weeks later in San Francisco.
In 1967, “Fleetwood Mac” made their first public appearance at the British Jazz and Blues Festival. Their debut netted them a recording contract, and their first album stayed near the top of the British charts for more than a year.
In 1969, supergroup “Blind Faith” — guitarists Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton, bassist Rich Grech and drummer Ginger Baker — made their U.S. debut at Madison Square Garden in New York. The band’s American tour included 24 sold-out concerts in eight weeks. By the following year, the group had disbanded.
In 1970, Janis Joplin played what proved to be her final concert at Harvard University in Boston. She was found dead of a drug overdose nearly two months later.
In 1984, Canadian jazz guitarist Lenny Breau was found dead in a swimming pool in Los Angeles. He was 43. A coroner said Breau was strangled but no one was ever arrested. Breau, who spent much of his formative years in Winnipeg, was known for his harmonic innovations on the guitar. He played with many leading American musicians, including Chet Atkins.
In 1984, Lionel Richie performed “All Night Long” at the closing ceremony of the Los Angeles Olympics.
In 1988, Los Angeles police battled with about 200 teenagers outside a sold-out concert by the heavy metal band “Slayer” at the Hollywood Stadium. The crowd threw rocks and bottles at the riot-equipped officers. Three people were arrested on charges of assault with a deadly weapon.
In 1989, more than 100,000 Soviet fans jammed Lenin Stadium for the first day of the Moscow Music Peace Festival, featuring rock superstars “Motley Crue,” “Bon Jovi” and Ozzy Osbourne. Proceeds from the two-day event, estimated at $7 million, went to fight drug and alcohol abuse in the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Four hours of the concert were beamed to cable TV viewers in the U.S.
In 1989, “The Rolling Stones” played a so-called “surprise” show for 700 fans at Toad’s Place, a club in New Haven, Conn. Admission was $3. The group had been rehearsing in rural Connecticut for their world tour, which opened in Philadelphia later in the month.
In 1992, composer John Cage died in New York at age 79. Cage developed the techniques of working with magnetic tape in the 1950s. He spent hours splicing and editing, a practice that became commonplace among rock groups in the ’60s. One of his most famous works is “4’33″”, a three-movement composition with a score that instructs performers not to play their instruments for the entire duration of the piece. Cage said the work was meant to draw the listener’s attention to the sounds occurring around them in the moment it was being “played”, arguing that they too can be considered “music”. Cage considered it his most important work, inspired in part by his study of Zen Buddhism.
In 1993, a jury in Los Angeles rejected a claim by backup singer Yvette Marine that she deserved more credit on Paula Abdul’s 1988 debut album. Marine had claimed her voice was electronically combined with Abdul’s to create lead vocals on several songs. Abdul wasn’t a defendant in the case but testified that Marine had no part in the lead vocals.
In 1993, the “Red Hot Chili Peppers” replaced guitarist Arik Marshall with Jesse Tobias, who was replaced by Dave Navarro three months later.
In 1994, South Korea’s broadcasting commission lifted a ban on nearly 800 foreign songs, including Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Pink Floyd’s” “Another Brick in the Wall” and “Queen’s” “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Most of the songs had been banned as being subversive or promoting sex and violence.
In 1994, Woodstock ’94, a three-day music festival commemorating the 25th anniversary of the original, was held at Saugerties, N.Y. An estimated 300,000 people attended. Security was overwhelmed and many people got in without paying. Two days of rain turned the site to mud, and by the final day, the crowd had shrunk to about 150,000. Among the headliners were Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel and the “Red Hot Chili Peppers,” “Crosby, Stills and Nash” and “The Band.”
In 1995, Gordon Lightfoot made a surprise appearance during the annual Mariposa Festival in Toronto. “The Travellers” and Steve Gillette and Cindy Mangsen had been playing Lightfoot songs when Lightfoot himself walked on stage with his acoustic guitar to play two songs.
In 1996, the “Sex Pistols” made their Canadian debut at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto. The show was part of the group’s reunion tour.
In 1997, about 2,000 fans turned up at The Spectrum in Montreal to watch — via satellite — the worldwide launch of the “Backstreet Boys'” second album, “Backstreet’s Back.” The Florida-based pop group’s news conference and performance were broadcast live from a record store in New York’s Times Square.
In 1997, bluesman Luther Allison died in Madison, Wis., at age 57 of lung and brain cancer.
In 1998, “Stone Temple Pilots” lead singer Scott Weiland was sentenced in Los Angeles to three months in a drug treatment facility after pleading guilty to heroin possession.
In 1999, a record-setting 15-show stand by “Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band” at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J., closed after grossing about $19 million.
In 2007, Merv Griffin, the entertainer turned impresario who parlayed his “Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune” television game shows into a multimillion-dollar empire, died of prostate cancer at age 82. From his beginning as a $100-week San Francisco radio singer, Griffin moved on as vocalist for big-band leader Freddy Martin, a sometime film actor, and TV game and talk-show host. In 1948, Martin hired Griffin to join his band at Los Angeles’s “Coconut Grove” at $150 a week. With Griffin doing the singing, the band had a smash hit with “I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts,” a 1949 novelty song sung in a cockney accent. His “The Merv Griffin Show” lasted more than 20 years. But his biggest break financially came from inventing and producing “Jeopardy” in the 1960s and “Wheel of Fortune” in the 1970s. He wrote the “Jeopardy” theme song.
In 2010, drummer Richie Hayward of “Little Feat” died in Vancouver after complications from pneumonia. He was 64. He had liver cancer and was waiting for a liver transplant. He formed “Little Feat” in 1969 with Lowell George, Bill Payne and Roy Estrada. He also performed session work with Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and Carly Simon.
In 2011, although former lead singer Jani Lane quit “Warrant” in 2008, the band led a sing-along of “Heaven” to Lane’s memory during its show in Grand Forks, N.D. He was found dead the previous night in a hotel room in Los Angeles. He was 47.
In 2011, the Los Angeles County sheriff’s department said rapper The Game incited a telephone flash mob that overwhelmed the emergency phone system after he tweeted the number of the Compton station and told his 580,000 followers that if they wanted an internship with him, they should call the number. The police did not seek criminal charges.
The Canadian Press