Music History May 19

Pete Townshend of The Who, NY, 1974


1919 – Georgie Auld, Canadian-American saxophonist, clarinet player, and bandleader (d. 1990)
1940 – Mickey Newbury, American singer-songwriter (d. 2002)
1945 – Pete Townshend, English singer-songwriter and guitarist (The Who)
1947 – Paul Brady, Irish singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (Planxty and The Johnstons)
1947 – Steve Currie, English bass player (T. Rex) (d. 1981)
1948 – Grace Jones, Jamaican-American singer-songwriter and actress
1949 – Dusty Hill, American singer-songwriter and bass player (ZZ Top)
1951 – Joey Ramone, American singer-songwriter (Ramones) (d. 2001)
1953 – Jimmy Thackery, American singer and guitarist (The Nighthawks)
1954 – Phil Rudd, Australian drummer (AC/DC)
1956 – Martyn Ware, English keyboard player, songwriter, and producer (The Human League and Heaven 17)


1969 – Coleman Hawkins, American saxophonist (b. 1901)
1986 – Jimmy Lyons, American saxophonist (b. 1931)
1999 – James Blades, English drummer (Melos Ensemble) (b. 1901)
2001 – Susannah McCorkle, American singer (b. 1946)
2006 – Freddie Garrity, English singer and actor (Freddie and the Dreamers) (b. 1940)

19?? – Victoria Wimer Contreras. American singer-songwriter


1958 – The first single to be recorded on an 8-track console, Bobby Darin’s “Splish Splash,” is released.

1960: Massively influential DJ Alan Freed is officially indicted, along with seven others, in the “payola” scandal, charged with accepting over thirty thousand dollars from six different labels in order to play their songs.

1961 – The Everly Brothers form the Calliope label, the first artist-owned label to be formed by a rock group.

Dusty Hill of ZZ Top in San Antonio, Texas 2015

1963 – For the first time, female Beatles fans attempt to sneak into the group’s dressing room while they’re supporting Roy Orbison at a gig in Hanley, England. The three girls, who used a ladder to get through the window, are caught but released without charges after the group signs a few autographs for them.

1965 – Convinced that the lyrics to the Kingsmen’s hit “Louie Louie” are as filthy as urban legends claim, the FBI visits Wand Records to ask a few questions. Eventually, they decide the group’s version of the Richard Berry R&B classic is too garbled to make out, anyway.

1973 – After Elvis Presley’s critically-savaged debut at the Sahara resort on Lake Tahoe, and several more cancellations due to “illness,” manager Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis’ father Vernon plead with Los Angeles lawyer Ed Hookstratten to look into Elvis’ prescription drug use and identify his main suppliers. With Elvis unwilling to cooperate, however, the investigation dies a slow death.

1976 – Keith Richards nods off while driving and crashes his Bentley into a highway divider just north of London. Unfortunately, police who come to his rescue also find marijuana and cocaine in the car.

1978 – Dire Straits released their first major label single “Sultans Of Swing.” The song was first recorded as a demo at Pathway Studios, North London, in July 1977, and quickly acquired a following after it was put on rotation at Radio London.

1980 – Ringo Starr and his fiancee, actress Barbra Bach, crash their car very near the spot where T. Rex’s Marc Bolan lost his life in a similar crash, but despite totaling the car, both are uninjured.

1984 – Pink Floyd’s epochal Dark Side Of The Moon LP marks its tenth anniversary, having never left the Billboard album charts.

1985 – Motown celebrates the 50th anniversary of the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem with NBC-TV’s special Motown Returns To The Apollo, featuring performances by James Brown, The Cadillacs, Joe Cocker, The Commodores, Sammy Davis Jr., The Drifters, The Four Tops, Al Green, Thelma Houston, Chuck Jackson, Patti Labelle, Little Richard, The Manhattans, Marilyn McCoo, Wilson Pickett, Billy Preston, Lou Rawls, Martha Reeves, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Mavis Staples, Rod Stewart, The Temptations, Sarah Vaughn, Mary Wells, and Stevie Wonder.

2000 – Guitarist and founder Dickey Betts leaves the Allman Brothers Band over “creative differences.”

2013 – A guitar played by John Lennon and George Harrison sold for $408,000 at auction. The custom-made instrument, built in 1966 by VOX was bought by an unidentified US buyer in New York. Harrison played “I Am the Walrus,” on the guitar in a scene from ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ in 1967. Lennon used it in a video for “Hello, Goodbye” later that year. After playing the guitar, Lennon gave it as a 25th birthday present to Alexis “Magic Alex” Mardas, a member of The Beatles’ inner circle in the 1960s.

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