Month: May 2015

A dragon lives forever

Steve Kline Ages of Rock

May 31

Walt Whitman1819: Walt Whitman is born.

Peter Yarrow1938: Peter Yarrow of Peter Paul and Mary is born.

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She’s out of reach and out of sight

Steve Kline Ages of Rock

May 30

Jack Bruce1943: John Symon Asher “Jack” Bruce is born in Bishopbriggs, Lanarkshire, Scotland, to musical parents who move around a lot, resulting in the young Bruce attending 14 different schools. He takes up jazz bass in his teens, and wins a scholarship studying cello and composition at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Bruce plays in a dance band to support himself. The academy disapproves of its students playing jazz, however. Given the choice of quitting jazz or college, Bruce leaves school. He is best-known as an electric bass guitarist, harmonica player and pianist, and most famous as a vocalist and the bass guitarist with the short-lived supergroup Cream. Prior to joining Cream in July 1966, however, Bruce has a turn with Manfred Mann, notably on the #1 hit Pretty Flamingo. We lose Bruce way too soon in October 2014.

The Beatles1964: The BeatlesLove Me Do is #1.

Take the train from Casablanca going south

Steve Kline Ages of Rock

May 29

Procul Harum1945: Art rocker and Procul Harum founder Gary Brooker is born.

1Crosby Stills & Nash969: Crosby Stills & Nash is released and it will hang on the album chart for 107 weeks. The LP includes two hit singles, Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, which peaks at #21; and Marrakesh Express, which peaks at #28.

Smiling faces I can see but not for me

Steve Kline Ages of Rock

May 28

UNITED STATES - CIRCA 1964:  Photo of Gladys Knight  (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images) 48th Annual ACM Awards held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena inside MGM Grand - Arrivals Featuring: John Fogerty Where: Las Vegas, NV, United States When: 07 Apr 2013 Credit: Apega/WENN.com

1944-45: Gladys Knight and John Fogerty share a birth date.

Marianne Faithful1964: Marianne Faithfull records her hit debut As Tears Go By. The song is written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (Rolling Stones). The recording includes one-half of the future Led Zeppelin: Jimmy Page on guitar and John Paul Jones on bass.

That’ll be the day when I die

Steve Kline Ages of Rock

May 27

1Buddyholly1957: Buddy Holly and the Crickets release That’ll Be The Day. Holly and co-writer Jerry Allison are inspired by the movie The Searchers, in which John Wayne’s character repeatedly says “that’ll be the day.” Voila! Song. It is a huge hit, topping charts in the U.S. and the U.K. Many artists cover it, including Linda Ronstadt. It is the first song to be recorded by The Quarrymen, the Liverpool group that becomes known as The Beatles. Here’s the original and the Ronstadt cover.

With the blue lights way down low

Steve Kline Ages of Rock

May 26

Levon Helm1942 / 1948: Levon Helm and Stevie Nicks are born.

1Louis Jordan950: Louis Jordan and His Tympani Five are at the top of the R&B chart with Blue Light Boogie — Parts 1 and 2. The last of 18 chart-topping hits for Jordan, it will remain #1 for seven weeks.

Work it on out

Steve Kline Ages of Rock

May 25

Hal David1921: Lyricist Hal Davidclose collaborator with Burt Bacharach — is born. His credits include Close to You, Magic Moments, Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head and the Jackie DeShannon hit What the World Needs Now is Love.

Miles Davis1926: Jazz trumpeter Miles Davis is born in Alton, Illinois. He begins his career with Billy Eckstine’s orchestra in a lineup that includes Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. He goes on to record more than two dozen albums and is considered the originator of more jazz styles than any other artist. He earns the first of six Grammys in 1960 and receives a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990.

Isley Brothers1962: The Isley Brothers release Twist and Shout.

As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes

Steve Kline Ages of Rock

May 24

Bob Dylan1941: Robert Zimmerman, who will grow up to be Bob Dylan, is born in Duluth, Minnesota, where he lives until he is 6 years old. He spends the rest of his childhood in his mother’s hometown, Hibbing, Minnesota on the Mesabi Range west of Lake Superior. Dylan is the most influential songwriter and rock artist of the 20th Century. The 50-year-old Like a Rolling Stone remains the greatest rock song ever written.

1Rolling Stones968: The Rolling Stones release Jumpin Jack Flash.

Don’t you remember?

Jefferson AirplaneSteve Kline Ages of Rock

May 23

1973: Jefferson Airplane is prevented from giving a free concert in Golden Gate Park when San Francisco authorities pass a resolution banning electronic instruments. The successor to Jefferson Airplane (later Jefferson Starship) is the group Starship, which in 1985 has a hit with We Built This City. It is said that a portion of the song refers to this 1973 incident. Here’s the verse:

Someone’s always playing corporation games
Who cares, they’re always changing corporation names
We just want to dance here, someone stole the stage
They call us irresponsible, write us off the page