Today in Music History for Nov. 27:
In 1941, country-pop singer Eddie Rabbitt was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. Rabbitt’s big break came in 1971, when Elvis Presley recorded his “Kentucky Rain.” It turned out to be Presley’s 50th million seller. Rabbitt’s own records began to cross over to the pop charts in 1979, with the theme from the Clint Eastwood film “Every Which Way But Loose.” In 1980, Rabbitt’s “I Love a Rainy Night” topped both the pop and country charts. His other hits include “Drivin’ My Life Away” and “Step By Step.” He died in Nashville of lung cancer on May 7, 1998.
In 1942, Jimi Hendrix, one of the most influential rock artists, was born in Seattle. Hendrix expanded the vocabulary of rock guitarists, developing feedback and distortion as a means of musical expression. Hendrix spent several years backing up such artists as Sam Cooke, B.B. King and Little Richard before former “Animals” bass guitarist Chas Chandler took him to Britain in 1966. Chandler became Hendrix’s manager and arranged for the formation of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, with Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums. Hendrix was a star in England months before his guitar-burning performance at the June 1967 Monterey Pop Festival introduced him to American audiences. He quickly attained superstar status, aided by his extravagant stage shows and psychedelic voodoo child image. “The Experience” broke up in 1969, and Hendrix formed “The Band of Gypsies” with Billy Cox and Buddy Miles. But years of drinking and drug abuse were beginning to take their toll. Hendrix’s last performance was in August 1970 at the Isle of Wight Pop Festival. On Sept. 18, Hendrix was found dead in his London apartment after choking on his own vomit after an overdose of barbiturates.
In 1957, “The Chirping Crickets,” the only Buddy Holly album to be issued during his lifetime, was released. The LP contained such Holly standards as “That’ll Be the Day,” “Not Fade Away,” “Maybe Baby” and “Oh Boy.” Holly died in a plane crash in February 1959.
In 1964, “The Beatles” single of “I Feel Fine” and “She’s a Woman” was released in the U.S. “I Feel Fine” topped the Billboard pop chart for four weeks while the flip-side made it to No. 4.
In 1967, “The Beatles” album “Magical Mystery Tour” was released in the U.S. and Canada. One side of the record contained songs from the film of the same name, the other consisted of singles not previously available on LP. The album was a bestseller, but the film — shown on television in Britain and in theatres in North America — was a critical and commercial failure.
In 1969, “The Rolling Stones” opened a four-day stand at Madison Square Garden in New York. Portions of the first two concerts were released on the 1970 album “Get Your Ya-Ya’s Out.”
In 1970, George Harrison’s three-record set “All Things Must Pass” was released. The album was produced by Phil Spector, and contained the No. 1 hit “My Sweet Lord.”
In 1973, Jimmy Widener, who had been Hank Snow’s guitarist for 10 years, and a female companion were mugged and shot to death in New York City. Their bodies were found dumped in an alley.
In 1981, singer and actress Lotte Lenya, best known for her role as Jenny in Kurt Weill’s “The Threepenny Opera,” died in New York at the age of 83. Lenya was married to Weill, who died in 1950, and was regarded as the foremost interpreter of his songs.
In 1986, rock group “Honeymoon Suite” was honoured with the key to the city of their hometown of Niagara Falls, Ont.
In 1987, a son was born to the “Eurythmics'” Dave Stewart and “Bananarama’s” Siobham Fahey.
In 1989, “Smoke on the Water,” an all-star update of “Deep Purple’s” early ’70s hit, was released. All proceeds from the sale of the single went to aid victims of the 1988 earthquake in Soviet Armenia. Besides “Deep Purple,” those participating in the session included “Pink Floyd,” “Emerson, Lake and Palmer,” “Queen” and “Iron Maiden.”
In 1989, “Motley Crue” drummer Tommy Lee was charged with disorderly conduct after dropping his leather G-string in front of 12,000 people at a Cincinnati concert.
In 1989, Paul McCartney suggested the three surviving “Beatles” might reunite, in light of the recent settlement of lawsuits involving the group. But George Harrison quickly threw cold water on the idea with the oddly-worded statement that “there won’t be a Beatles reunion as long as John Lennon remains dead.”
In 1991, MTV’s 10th anniversary special was broadcast on ABC, featuring performances by George Michael, “Aerosmith,” Madonna, “REM” and Michael Jackson.
In 1995, “The Beatles” “Anthology One” set a then-record for first-week sales, selling 1.2 million copies. (In 2015, Adele’s “25” sold 3.38 million albums, breaking the previous record held by boy band “‘N SYNC” in 2000 when “No Strings Attached” sold 2.416 million copies.)
In 1997, more than 2,000 people turned out at a Catholic church in Sydney, Australia, for the funeral of “INXS” lead singer Michael Hutchence. He had hanged himself in a hotel room five days earlier. Among the mourners were his lover, Paula Yates, Tom Jones, Kylie Minogue and the band “Midnight Oil.” Nick Cave sang “Into Your Arms.” The service was interrupted briefly when a man tried to jump from a first-floor balcony in the church.
In 2001, Elvis Presley was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in Franklin, Tenn.
In 2009, Al Alberts, a founding member of the singing group “The Four Aces,” and a longtime TV talent show host in Philadelphia, died at age 87 of complications from kidney failure. “The Four Aces” recorded such hits as “Three Coins in the Fountain,” and “Love Is a Many Splendored Thing.”
In 2009, legendary singer-songwriter Paul Rodgers (“Bad Company,” “Free”) received an honorary doctor of letters at his hometown university in Middlesbrough, England.
In 2009, Bess Lomax Hawes, who sang with Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, co-wrote “The Kingston Trio” hit “M.T.A.” and spent a lifetime documenting American folklore in recordings and films, died at age 88.
In 2012, guitarist Mickey Baker of “Mickey and Sylvia” died of heart and kidney failure in his home in southwestern France at the age of 87. The R&B duo were best known for the 1956 hit “Love is Strange.” It hit No. 1 and was used in the movie “Dirty Dancing.” Baker was an in-demand session musician and played on R&B songs for “The Drifters,” Ruth Brown and Joe Turner. Sylvia Robinson died in 2011.
(The Canadian Press)
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