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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dear Reader,
Friday March 23, and we go from the Pope to pop, to classical, to new wave and back again.
* Pope John Paul II had a dabble in pop music 13 years ago today when he released his debut album.
* Psychedelic Furs show us their pretty pink wares in 1980.
* Elvis at #1 with an old German folk song as he records a new hit with an old Italian folk song in 1960.
* Adam and the Ants show a new style of rock'n'roll new music, 31 years ago.
* It's 1963 and the Beach Boys look performing this hit.
* We go way back to two John Lennon events; his marriage to Yoko Ono, shown here by Australian TV pop show host, Dick Williams, and the release of Lennon's book, In His Own Write.
* Former Creedence Clearwater Revival singer, John Fogerty shows us his solo style in 1985, on this day.
* We go classical once again with a debut of one of Haydn's pieces.
* And classical again, this time with the debut of Handel's Messiah in 1743.

* Scroll down to the bottom of the page for headlines from world's top publications: New York Times, Guardian, The Age, Rolling Stone, Spin, & many more. click on the glowing blue headlines for your daily dose.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

March 23, 1981 - ADAM AND THE ANTS kicked off a UK tour at The City Hall, Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, today, on the back of their hit song of the day. It's easy to forget how very big this band was, and what a huge influence they were at the time…and have been since.

1980 - THE PSYCHEDELIC FURS and The Teardrop Explodes appeared at The Lyceum Ballroom, London, today. The post-punk/new wave band was founded in 1977, and led by singer Richard Butler and his brother Tim on bass guitar. The Furs were one of the many acts spawned from the British post-punk scene, their music going through several phases, from an initially austere art rock sound, evolving into new wave and hard rock. They had several hits in their early career, but were launched to international attention in 1986 when the film director John Hughes borrowed their song title Pretty in Pink for his movie of the same name. A newly recorded version of the song became the Psychedlic Furs' biggest hit to that time. When I was managing Australia's Divinyls in 1982, the band toured USA with the Furs. Here are two of the hits from Psychedelic Furs.

1963 - THE BEACH BOYS, all dressed up in strange pants, striped shirts, with the dancers, the choreography...perfectly cool, bro...and this is how the young Beach Boys are right here, for their very first syndicated TV performance on The Red Skelton Show, as the group promoted their new single, Surfin' USA, released almost half a century ago today.

1743 - HANDEL'S MESSIAH was performed for the first time, 269 years ago today, and to celebrate here's The London  Symphony Orchestra, plus Susan Gritton, Sara Mingardo, Mark Padmore, Alastair Miles and the Tenebrae choir, conducted by Sir Colin Davis, as they perform their version of the piece, as it was performed for the first time in London all those years ago.

1792 - JOSEPH HAYDN'S SYMPHONY #94 IN G MAJOR was performed publicly for the first time, again in London, exactly 220 years ago today. The Symphony is the second of the twelve so-called London symphonies (numbers 93-104) written by Joseph Haydn. It is usually called by its nickname, the Surprise Symphony, although in German it is more often referred to as the Symphony 'mitt dem Paukenschlag' (with the kettledrum stroke). Haydn wrote the symphony in 1791 in London for a concert series he gave during the first of his visits to England between 1791 and 1792. The premiere took place at the Hanover Square Rooms in London on March 23, 1792, with Haydn leading the orchestra seated at a fortepiano.

1961 - FALLING IN LOVE was one of Elvis's biggest hits, written by George Weiss, Hugo Peretti, and Luigi Creatore for the movie, Blue Hawaii. The song is based on the classical French composition Plaisir dAmour by Giovanni Martini. Elvis recorded the song 51 years ago today at Radio Recorders. Take #29 was released as the single. The song had a 14-week stay on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, peaking at #2. It was #1 on the Easy-Listening chart for 6 weeks, and it was #1 in many countries around the world for 4 weeks. It was the A-side to Rock-a-Hula Baby. The song was a stable in Elvis concerts. Whilst he was recording the song, Elvis was sitting at #1 with his seventh chat topping song, Wooden Heart, a song based on an old German folk song. Here are both songs for your enjoyment.

1964 - JOHN LENNON'S first book, In His Own Write, was published 48 years ago today, and here's a special promotion - audio by the Beatles, video by the Beatles, and back-announced by Dudley Moore...and Peter Cooke drops in for a nano second.

1985 - FORMER CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL FRONT MAN, John Fogerty, went to #1 on the US album chart with Centrefield today. Without doubt, Fogerty is one of the great singers and songwriters of rock'n'roll music, and for more details and videos go to this daily blog's archives.

1999 - POPE JOHN PAUL II entered the pop music business today, with his debut album, Abba Pater being released. The 11 tracks consisted of chanting and praying with musical accompaniment. Check it out, excerpts of John Paul II reciting Psalm 27, photos of Karol Wojtyla's life before his elevation to the papacy, background music by Leonard de Amicis.

1999 - IN GIBRALTER, a set of postage stamps was released today, commemorating what would have been the 30th wedding anniversary of Yoko Ono and John Lennon's wedding at the rock. And here is Australian music television pioneer Dick Williams giving us a flash look at the couple's wedding album. For the Ballad of John & Yoko and more Beatles, go to *MUSICBACKTRACK* archives.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March 22, 1978 - ONE OF THE FUNNIEST comedic slants on rock'n'roll music came 34 years ago, with the spoof group, The Rutles and their rockumentary, All You Need Is Cash. The affectionate take of the Beatles' career, was broadcast for the first time in the USA tonight. For your pleasure, dear reader, here are the first four parts of this hilarious mockumentary.

1963 - THE BEATLES' first album, Please Please Me, was released in the UK today, and here's a live performance of the song - the lead guitar sound is on low level here, and the screaming girls are interesting.

1965 - BOB DYLAN'S first electric album Bring it All Back Home was released today, and controversy followed this former acoustic folkie for ever more. When he went electric on stage, many fans booed him. Here is an outtake from Martin Scorsese's No Direction Home movie, independently filmed a year after the album was released, with Dylan and friends, including a bored looking Robbie Robertson, discussing the booing and the concert walkouts.

1956 -  SAMMY DAVIS Jr. remains one of the most talented all round entertainer of all time, and it was on this day that he began his starring role in the NYC Broadway play, Mr. Wonderful. Primarily a dancer and singer, Davis was a childhood vaudevillian who became known for his performances on Broadway and in Las Vegas, as a recording artist, television and film star, and as a member of Frank Sinatra's so-called Rat Pack. Davis battled against racism his entire life, at a time when racism and segregation was a way of life in USA. One day on a golf course with Jack Benny, he was asked what his handicap was. "Handicap?" he asked. "Talk about handicap - I'm a one-eyed Negro Jew." This was to become a signature comment, recounted in his autobiography, and in countless articles. Here is Sammy Davis from his early days, in two clips, a giant talent.

1956 - CARL PERKINS was injured in a car accident, today, on his way to perform on the Perry Como TV Show. But holding to the old show business edict, 'the show must go on',  Perkins still managed to make it to the show on time. And here is the cool Mr. Como introducing the cool Mr. Perkins.

1958 - HANK WILLIAMS Jr made his stage debut 54 years ago today, in Swainsboro, Georgia, USA, at the age of eight, and as much as I'd like to have that video for you right now, I haven't. But I do have a video from 2007, in Baltimore, singing his signature song, Family Tradition, in which he gives a nod to his father, Hank. Great crowd participation. This is a home-grown bootleg, with audience participation supreme.

1962 - BARBRA STREISAND opened in the Broadway show I Can Get it For You Wholesale, tonight. Ms. Streisand's status as one of the most successful singers of her generation remains remarkable not only because her popularity was achieved in the face of the dominant musical trend of rock'n'roll which she did not follow, but also because she used her vocal skills as a mere stepping stone to other careers - as a stage and film actress, and as a film director. Here is Ms. Streisand as a special guest on Judy Garland Show TV.

1978 - THE POLICE signed to A&M Records, today, the new music/new wave/post punk group eventually scoring more than 15 worldwide Top 40 hits with the label including this one, Every Breath You Take.

1980 - JOHNNY MATHIS, the American singer of popular music, began his career singing single recordings of standard songs, but he eventually became highly popular as an album artist, with several dozen of his albums achieving gold or platinum status, and 73 of which making the Billboard charts. According to Guinness Book of World Records and writer and charts music historian Paul Gambaccini, Johnny Mathis has sold 350 million records worldwide, and this was a song from one of them.

1994 - DAN HARTMAN, singer, songwriter, and producer died of a brain tumor in Westport, Connecticut, today. He was once a member of the Edgar Winter Group and wrote the band's hit Free Ride. Hartman also had the 1978 #1 dance hit Instant Replay, along weigh Relight My Fire and a Brit #1 for Take That and Lulu. He also collaborated with Tina Turner, Dusty Springfield, Joe Cocker, Bonnie Tyler, Paul Young, James Brown, Holly Johnson and Steve Winwood. Hartman also produced and co-wrote Living In America, an international hit for James Brown, which appeared on the soundtrack of 1985's Rocky IV.