Today marks the 45th anniversary of the event which inspired Neil Young to write one of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s most iconic songs: the Kent State University shooting.
The whole thing started on April 30, 1970, when President Richard M. Nixon revealed that American combat forces had commenced the so-called “Cambodian incursion.” It would be fair to say that many an educated college student did not take this news well, and their dissatisfaction with these actions was expressed through rallies and protests throughout the United States. Unfortunately, many of these protests were not nearly as non-violent as they perhaps should’ve been, resulting in a state of emergency being declared on May 1 by Kent’s mayor, LeRoy Satrom, and by the following day, Satrom had grown antsy enough from various threats, rumors, and actions to call Ohio Governor Jim Rhodes and put in a request for a National Guard presence in the city.
37 years ago today, the third Bee Gees song to be released as a single from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack became the second Bee Gees song from the soundtrack to hit the top of the UK singles chart…and, no, the other one wasn’t “Stayin’ Alive.” (It was “How Deep Is Your Love,” smarty-pants.)
Released as a single on February 7, 1978, “Night Fever” was – believe it or not – actually written before the Bee Gees ever signed on to help out with the soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever. In fact, the recurring story is that the song was directly responsible for the film’s name, and that it had originally only been called Saturday Night until the Gibbs talked producer Robert Stigwood into adding the “Fever.” True or not, the song itself is a classic, one which came about because keyboardist Blue Weaver had come up with the wacky idea of trying to do a disco version of “Theme from A Summer Place,” and in the process of attempting to do so, he helped inspire Barry Gibb to write the music that became “Night Fever.”
We turn to the Dead this week. It has been nearly 45 years since their iconic date at the Fillmore East venue in New York. Listen to the tracks recorded on the night and released as Road Trips Volume 3 No. 3 - including three sets, one acoustic and the other two electric. Enjoy!
39 years ago today, the pinnacle of the Billboard Top 200 was graced by the presence of Led Zeppelin for the fifth time in the band’s career.
(Get it? Graced by the presence? Ha! We kill us!)
Released in 1976, Presence was somewhat of a turning point in Led Zeppelin’s career, or at least that’s how Jimmy Page has come to see it: he’s referred to the record as being the band’s “most important,” owing to the fact that they managed to bring it to fruition even though they were going through some pretty rough stuff at the time.
40 years ago today, James Taylor released his sixth studio album, an effort which earned the singer-songwriter a pair of significant chart hits, one of which remains one of his signature songs to this day.
James Taylor was unquestionably a familiar musical commodity by the time he released Gorilla in 1975, but he was arguably just as well known by that point for his general celebrity, having married fellow singer-songwriter Carly Simon a few years earlier. In fact, one might even argue that he was more known for the latter by that point, given that his previous album, 1974’s Walking Man, had delivered disappointing commercial returns.
"Find the end of the rainbow
Fly wherever the winds blow
Laugh at life like a sideshow
Just what you need to make you feel better"
John Miles never broke through in America, but he's a star in my book, because he sings lead on "(The System of) Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether"!
At the risk of ruining your Friday, we must regrettably inform you that the world of music lost a true R&B legend today: Ben E. King, the man behind “There Goes My Baby,” “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “Spanish Harlem,” and the immortal “Stand by Me,” has died at the age of 76.
Born Benjamin Earl Nelson in Henderson, North Carolina on September 28, 1938, the future Mr. King moved up the east coast to Harlem when he was only nine years old, but the change in locale ultimately proved fortuitous for the singer: in 1958, he became a member of a doo-wop group known as the Five Crowns, who found themselves selected by manager George Treadwell to replace the members of The Drifters that he’d fired. As the new lead singer of The Drifters, King’s voice was soon emerging from radios all around America, singing such instant classics as “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “This Magic Moment,” and “There Goes My Baby,” which King co-wrote with Lover Patterson, George Treadwell, Jerry Lieber, and Mike Stoller. Unfortunately, a contract dispute led King to depart the group’s ranks, but it all worked out in the end, as that’s when he adopted his stage name, embarked on a solo career, and started to create musical magic with “Spanish Harlem” and “Stand by Me.”
1979 straddles an interesting time in music. Disco was on the wane, rock was chasing its tail, and new wave was peeking around the corner.Sadly, this playlist eschews these genres and explores the 12 volume audio series, where Vincent Price teaches you how to cook. Just kidding…I went the rock/disco/new wave route.