portrait of this blog's author - by Stephen Blackman 2008

Thursday, October 31, 2019


October 31st

1952 - Chuck Berry
Johnnie Johnson master of the boogie woogie
Pianist Johnnie Johnson hired 26 year old Chuck Berry as a guitarist in his band. While playing evening gigs in the St. Louis area, Berry kept his day job as a hairdresser for the next three years.
Chuck Berry playing with the Johnnie Johnson band
The Johnnie Johnson Trio

1963 - The Beatles
The Beatles returned to London from Sweden and were greeted by hundreds of screaming fans and a mob of photographers and journalists. American television host Ed Sullivan was at Heathrow as The Beatles arrived, and was struck by the sight of Beatlemania in full swing; he decided to look into getting this group to appear on his US television program.

1964 - Ray Charles
Ray Charles was arrested by Logan Airport customs officials in Boston and charged with possession of heroin. This was his third drug charge, following incidents in 1958 and 1961. Charles avoided prison after kicking the habit in a clinic in Los Angeles, but spent a year on parole in 1966.
an earlier bust in 1961

1967 - Brian Jones
Rolling Stone Brian Jones was released from Wormwood Scrubs prison on £750 bail pending appeal. Jones had been found guilty of possession of cannabis. Seven Stones fans were arrested and charged with obstructing the police after demonstrating outside the prison gates.
'Stash' and Brian
Mick and Marianne and Brian
1969 - David Bowie
David Bowie appeared at a Halloween night at the General Gordon, Gravesend, England. The gig lasted about 15 minutes, after Bowie sang 'Space Oddity' to everyone’s delight and then dragged a stool on stage, along with a huge book. He then sat and read poems and was booed off stage.

1974 - Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin held the UK launch for their new record label Swan Song at Chislehurst Caves, Kent, England on Halloween night. Drinks were served by nuns in suspenders, a naked woman lay in a coffin covered in jelly and naked male wrestlers cavorted in recesses of the caves. Label mates Bad Company, The Pretty Things and Maggie Bell also attended. The launch also tied in with the releases of The Pretty Things new album Silk Torpedo. The label was named after an unreleased Zeppelin instrumental track.

Swansong launch in the caves
Robert and friends at the launch
Jimmy and friend Pamela Des Barres and Johnny B

1986 - Bob Geldof
A new series of TV's Channel 4's The Tube started with Jermaine Stewart, Troublefunk, Bob Geldof and Frankie Goes To Hollywood plus Spandau Ballet who played live in the studio at Newcastle upon Tyne.

1986 - Roger Waters
Roger Waters went to the high court to try and stop David Gilmour and Nick Mason from using the name 'Pink Floyd', for future touring and recording. Later he admitted he was wrong to sue the others and regretted it. Maybe something to do with the sixteen (16!) album boxed set without him!

Waters regrets legal case against his bandmates - Rolling Stone
1989 - Squeeze
The very first MTV unplugged show was recorded in New York, featuring UK band Squeeze, the program was aired on 26th Nov 1989.

1990 - Billy Idol
During a gig in Seattle, Washington, Billy Idol dumped 600 dead fish in Faith No More's dressing room. They responded by walking on stage, naked during Idol's set.
1993 - Flea
Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea was at the scene of actor's River Phoenix fatal collapse in Los Angeles.

1995 - James Brown
James Brown was arrested in Aiken, South Carolina for assaulting his 47 year old wife, Adrienne, who said that her husband hit her with a mirror. Adrienne died in January, 1996 and the assault charges against James were dropped.
1996 - Slash
Slash announced he was no longer in Guns N' Roses. The guitarist said that Axl Rose and he had only been civil to each other on two occasions over the past couple of years.

Who's come off best today? Well I'll leave you to decide! . . . . . . . . 
1998 - Cher
Chart history was made when the UK Top 5 singles chart was made up entirely of new entries. Alanis Morissette went in at No.5, Culture Club at No.4, U2 at No.3, George Michael at No.2 and Cher with 'Believe' at No.1. It made Cher (who was 52) the first female artist to have a No.1 single over the age of 50. The song was a No.1 in 23 countries.
2000 - David Gray
Winners at this years Q Awards included, David Gray, best single for 'Babylon', Oasis won best live act, Coldplay won best album for Parachutes, best act in the world went to Travis, Badly Drawn Boy won best new act and former Clash member Joe Strummer won the Q Inspiration award.

2000 - Britney Spears
Britney Spears paid £6,000 to hire a private bar in Leipzig, Germany during a night off on her 'Oops!... I did It Again Tour.' Britney who at 18 was banned from drinking in the US was reported to be knocking back vodka laced White Russians and Pina Coladas. Funny, I assumed it was the default position of third gen white trailer trash?

2002 - Bjork
The amazing mother of pop star Bjork ended a hunger strike she had staged to protest against plans for a by a US company to build a aluminum smelter and hydroelectric plant power plant in the Icelandic wilderness. Hildur Runa Hauksdottir began eating again after four week's of fasting.
not difficult to understand where she got it from!
The force of nature that is Björk

2005 - John Lennon
The white suit worn by John Lennon on the cover of the BeatlesAbbey Road album sold for $118,000 (£66,385) at an auction in Las Vegas. And an Austin Princess hearse driven by the late star in the documentary Imagine sold for $150,000 (£84,388). A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the items went to Amnesty International.

2008 - Amy Winehouse
A couple who admitted supplying drugs including cocaine and ecstasy to singer Amy Winehouse were warned they faced a jail term as they appeared in Snaresbrook Crown Court, England. The charges related to video footage which appeared to show Winehouse smoking a crack pipe. The singer was arrested and questioned over the images but she was not charged.

2013 - Marvin Gaye
Marvin Gaye's family were taking legal action against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams for copyright infringement over their hit song Blurred Lines. Three of Gaye's children filed legal papers accusing them of copying elements of the song 'Got To Give It Up'. The Gaye family cited excerpts of magazine interviews given by Thicke to support their claim he had admitted to drawing on 'Got to Give it Up' when producing Blurred Lines.


1982 - Monica Irimia
Monica and Gabriela Irimia, Cheeky Girls, Romanian duo, (2002 UK No.2 single 'Cheeky Song', Touch My Bum).
Subtle and charming lyrical poetry . . . . . .
1980 - Isabella Summers
English musician Isabella Summers with Florence and the Machine. Summers has also produced remixes for artists including Beyoncé, Juliette Lewis, Nas, Jessica Simpson, Chloe and Halle, Flux Pavilion, Maxine Ashley, Rita Ora, Judith Hill, and The Game.

1963 - Johnny Marr
Johnny Marr, guitarist with English rock band The Smiths who had the 1984 UK No.10 single 'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now', plus 15 other UK Top 40 singles. With Electronic he had the 1991 UK No.8 single 'Get The Message' and with Modest Mouse, the 2007 US No.1 album ‘We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank’. Marr has also worked with The The, The Pretenders, The Cribbs, and Johnny Marr and the Healers.

1937 - Tom Paxton
Tom Paxton, folk singer, (1970 UK No.23 album, 'No.6). I grew up with the work of Tom Paxton thanks to my brother who collected album by him when I was first ;earning what folk music was and how it worked . . . . . lots of his work is still indelibly seared into my blood and almost know some by rote!

Thanks Steve . . . . . . . . night, miss you

with thanks to On This Day in Music


Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019



 “Skylarking”, the eighth album by XTC is released this month. Produced by Todd Rundgren, it is recorded at Utopia Sound Studios in Woodstock, NY and at Cavum Soni (Sound Hole) in San Francisco, CA in Early - Mid 1986. Having recorded their previous album “The Big Express” with David Lord (Peter Gabriel), and the side project EP “25 O'Clock” under the name the Dukes of Stratosphear, XTC come to the US in 1986 to record their next album. 
The band work with musician Todd Rundgren, best known his own diverse and eclectic work also a solo artist and with the band’s Nazz and Utopia, as well as producing Meat Loaf, Hall & Oates and Grand Funk. Coming to the studio armed only with a clutch of guitars, XTC soon finds out that Rundgren has different musical ideas in mind. Interested in utilizing current technology including synthesizers, sampling keyboards and a drum machine, do not always suit the band’s fancy. 
The recording sessions are tense, with Andy Partridge and Rundgren often not seeing eye to eye creatively during the recording process. They argue frequently throughout the sessions, over arrangements, instrumentation and even the speed the recordings are tracked at. Eventually, the pre-programmed drums used during the tracking sessions are replaced with live drums played by Prairie Prince (of The Tubes). Rundgren eventually quits the project after mixing the entire album three separate times, but none are to XTC’s satisfaction. One set of mixes are chosen, and the deficiencies are corrected during the mastering process. 

The initial pressing of the LP is released without the song “Dear God”, which is first issued as the non-LP B-side of the UK only single “Grass”. It finds favor with US radio stations who begin playing it. This forces the band’s US label Geffen Records to quickly reissue the album with the song added on (cutting “Mermaid Smiled” from the reissued edition). “Dear God” peaks at #37 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, subsequently becoming one of their best known and most popular songs. In 2010, the album is remastered and reissued on vinyl with the full track listing, on Andy Partridge’s own Ape House Records label, having regained the rights to XTC’s masters from Virgin and Geffen Records. It also restores the original cover artwork, which had been replaced on the US release. It is also reissued on CD in 2014, correcting the previous CD release which had the stereo channels reversed by mistake. The album is also remastered and reissued on vinyl in September of 2018. “Skylarking” peaks at number ninety on the UK album chart and number seventy on the Billboard Top 200.

I of course bought both when they came out in the UK

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October 30th

1961 - The Beatles
Two days after Beatles fan Raymond Jones asked for The Beatles' German single ‘My Bonnie’ (recorded with Tony Sheridan) at Brian Epstein's NEMS record store in Liverpool, two girls asked for the same record. Epstein's difficulty in locating the record was due to him not knowing that the record was released, not by The Beatles, but by Tony Sheridan and 'The Beat Brothers' ('Beatles' resembles a vulgar slang word in German, so The Beatles' name was changed for this single).

1967 - Brian Jones
Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones admitted in court to possession of cannabis and allowing his flat to be used for the smoking of the drug. His plea of 'not guilty' to the charge of possessing methedrine and cocaine was accepted. Jones was sentenced to nine months in Wormwood Scrubs prison. He was released on bail the following day.

Prince Stanislas Klossowski de Rola and Brian Jones - May 11, 1967

1967 - Tyrannosaurus Rex
Tyrannosaurus Rex recorded a session for the UK Radio 1 'Top Gear' show, the first group to do so without a recording contract.
1970 - Hotlegs
Hotlegs made their live debut supporting The Moody Blues at the Festival Hall, London. Their only hit 'Neanderthal Man' made No. 2 in July 1970. The members from the group went on to become 10cc.

1970 - Jim Morrison
Jim Morrison of The Doors was fined and sentenced to six months in jail after being found guilty of exposing himself during a gig in Miami.

1971 - John Lennon
John Lennon and The Plastic Ono Band went to No.1 on the UK album chart with Imagine. The album contained two tracks attacking Paul McCartney, 'How Do You Sleep' and 'Crippled Inside.' Early editions of the LP included a postcard featuring a photo of Lennon holding a pig, in mockery of McCartney's similar pose with a sheep on the cover of Ram. The front cover photo was a Polaroid taken by Andy Warhol.
1971 - Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd released their sixth studio album Meddle in the US. The album features 'One Of These Days' and the 23-minute track 'Echoes' which took up all of side 2 on the vinyl record. The cover image was photographed by Bob Dowling. The image represents an ear, underwater, collecting waves of sound, represented by ripples in the water.

1978 - Blondie
Blondie released the single 'Hanging on the Telephone', as the second single from the album Parallel Lines. Written by Jack Lee from US West Coast power pop trio The Nerves. The song gave Blondie their first UK Top 10 hit.
1982 - Men At Work
Australian band Men At Work went to No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Who Can It Be Now'' the group's first US No.1, a No.45 hit in the UK.

1990 - Axl Rose
Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose was released on $10,000 bail, after being arrested for allegedly hitting a neighbour over the head with a bottle. The incident happened after a complaint to the police about loud music coming from the singer's house.
1998 - Black Sabbath
All four original members of Black Sabbath reunited momentarily to play 'Paranoid' on US TV's David Letterman Show.
2000 - Britney Spears
A new web site was launched to help teach children basic Physics. www.britneyspears.ac featured the singer to illustrate mathematical equations. Visitors could access physics theories generously interspersed with photos of Britney Spears.
2006 - Arctic Monkeys
Winners at the 2006 Q Awards included The Arctic Monkeys who had four nominations, the Sheffield group won the best album and the people's choice awards, while U2 picked up the prize for innovation. Smokey Robinson was honoured with his first ever UK award for his outstanding contribution to music, and Boy George won the classic song award for Karma Chameleon. Muse won best live act, The Who received the Q legend award and Primal Scream won the Q groundbreaker award and Corinne Bailey Rae won best new act.
2015 - Adele 
Adele went to No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'Hello', the lead track from her third album 25. The track was streamed 7.32 million times in its first week. The song also debuted at No.1 in Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, Slovakia and Switzerland.

2016 - Curly Putman 
American songwriter Curly Putman died aged 85. He wrote 'Green, Green Grass of Home' which was covered by many artists including: Elvis Presley, Johnny Darrell, Gram Parsons, Joan Baez, Jerry Lee LewisJohnny Cash, Porter Wagoner, Merle Haggard, Joe Tex and Tom Jones. He also co-wrote (with Bobby Braddock), 'D-I-V-O-R-C-E' made famous by Tammy Wynette.


1939 - Grace Slick

American singer-songwriter Grace Slick from Jefferson Airplane is 80 today!, doyenne of the counter culture and intergalactic traveler on the Starship. Slick provided vocals on a number of iconic songs, including 'Somebody to Love', 'White Rabbit', 'We Built This City' and 'Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now'.