Today in Music History - Oct. 18

Today in Music History for Oct. 18:


In 1926, legendary rock singer, guitarist and songwriter Chuck Berry was born in San Jose, Calif. His songs, with music based on the blues and lyrics that expressed the spirit of rock 'n' roll rebellion, have influenced virtually every rock musician who followed. "The Beatles," for instance, recorded Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven" and "Rock And Roll Music." And "The Rolling Stones" first single, "Come On," was a cover of a Chuck Berry tune. Berry himself first hit the charts in 1955 with "Maybellene," and that was soon followed by such hits as "School Day," "Sweet Little Sixteen" and "Johnny B. Goode." But his career came to a halt in 1959 after he was charged with transporting a minor -- a 14-year-old girl -- over a state line for immoral purposes. Accounts of the incident vary, but he was convicted and spent two years in prison. When Berry was released in 1964, the British Invasion was in full swing, but he nonetheless had several more hits -- "Nadine," "No Particular Place to Go" and "You Can Never Tell." In 1972, a live recording made in Coventry, England gave Chuck Berry the biggest hit of his career, "My Ding-A-Ling." The double entendres in the lyrics no doubt helped make the record a million-seller. He died March 18, 2017.

In 1943, Russ Giguere, guitarist and vocalist with "The Association," was born in Portsmouth, N.H. The group sold more than 15 million records in the late 1960s, and two of their soft-rock ballads,"Cherish" in 1966 and "Windy" the following year, topped the Billboard pop chart.

In 1947, singer and songwriter Laura Nyro was born in New York City. She attained a cult following in the late 1960s and early '70s with such albums as "Eli and the Thirteenth Confession" and "Christmas and the Beads of Sweat." But other performers had the greatest success with her songs. "The Fifth Dimension" had hits with Nyro's "Stoned Soul Picnic," "Sweet Blindness" and "Wedding Bell Blues." And "Blood, Sweat and Tears" took her composition " And When I Die" to No. 2 on the Billboard chart in 1969. She died in New York, of cancer, on April 8, 1997.

In 1949, country songwriter Stuart Hamblen underwent a spiritual conversion. Author of the popular 1954 hit "This Old House," Hamblen later wrote such Christian favourites as "It Is No Secret What God Can Do," "How Big is God?" and "They That Wait Upon the Lord."

In 1952, country star Hank Williams married his second wife, Billie Jean Jones Eshliman, in a civil ceremony in Minden, La. The couple repeated their vows on stage the following night at a concert in New Orleans. Williams died a little over two months later, on New Year's Day, 1953.

In 1966, "The Jimi Hendrix Experience" made its debut in Paris.

In 1967, the satiric film "How I Won the War," starring John Lennon as Private Gripweed, premiered in London.

In 1968, Bob Wills was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

In 1968, John Lennon was arrested in Ringo Starr's London apartment for pot possession. The arrest became the basis for the battle by U.S. immigration officials who wanted to deny Lennon American citizenship.

In 1969, promoter Richard Nader presented the first of his now famous rock 'n' roll revival shows at Madison Square Garden. On the bill were Bill Haley, Chuck Berry, "The Shirelles" and "The Platters."

In 1974, soul singer Al Green suffered second-degree burns after former girlfriend Mary Woodson poured boiling grits on him while he was sitting in the bathtub of his Memphis home. She then killed herself with Green's pistol. Soon after, Green announced he was entering the ministry. He did not, however, give up his pop career until 1979 when he fell off the stage during a concert in Cincinnati. He considered the incident a warning from God.

In 1988, Bruce Springsteen broke up "The E Street Band," telling them he wanted to pursue his own projects. They later reunited.

In 1990, "Judas Priest" opened their "Painkiller" world tour in Montreal. It was the band's first concert since a Nevada judge ruled their "Stained Class" album did not contain subliminal messages that caused two youths to shoot themselves.

In 1991, "The Rolling Stones" concert film "At the Max" premiered at the IMAX Theatre at the California Museum of Science and Industry in Los Angeles. It was the first full-length feature to be filmed in IMAX, a Canadian-designed process that utilizes stock three times the size of 70-mm film.

In 1992, country singer Naomi Judd declared during "The Hour of Power" evangelical TV program that God had cured her of the chronic hepatitis that broke up "The Judds" a year earlier. Daughter Wynonna went on to a very successful solo career. (They reunited for special events and went on a farewell tour in 2011.)

In 1994, rock 'n' roll saxophonist Lee Allen died in Los Angeles of cancer at age 67. Allen played on much of the rock and R&B that came out of New Orleans in the 1950s. Allen's own instrumental recording of "Walkin' With Mr. Lee" was a hit in 1957.

In 2000, singer Zack De La Rocha announced he was leaving "Rage Against the Machine." They have since reunited.

In 2007, South African reggae star Lucky Dube was fatally shot during an botched carjacking. He launched his career in the 1980s with criticism of the apartheid regime and went on to become a huge international star. He recorded more than 20 albums and shared stages with the likes of Michael Jackson, Peter Gabriel, Ziggy Marley and Sting.

In 2008, Dee Dee Warwick, a soul singer who won recognition for both her solo work and her performances with her older sister Dionne Warwick, died at age 63. She had several hits on the soul and R&B charts in the 1960s and '70s, including "Foolish Fool," "She Didn't Know (She Kept on Talking)" and a version of "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" that was later covered by "Diana Ross and The Supremes."

In 2009, Toby Keith was voted Songwriter/Artist of the Decade by the Nashville Songwriters Association International. He was honoured for hits like "Courtesy of the Red, White And Blue (The Angry American)," "Who’s Your Daddy?," "As Good As I Once Was" and "God Love Her." Craig Wiseman, who wrote numerous hits for others, was voted as Songwriter of the Decade. He wrote Kenny Chesney’s "The Good Stuff" and "Summertime," "Believe" by "Brooks & Dunn" and "Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw.

In 2014, Canadian-American innovators The Band and Jeff Healey, the blind blues-rock guitarist who died in 2008, were among a group who received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame.


(The Canadian Press)

The Canadian Press

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