Month: December 2015

Come on pretty baby and surf with me

Steve Kline Ages of Rock

December 31

The_Beach_Boys_1965.png1961: The Pendeltons, performing under their new name The Beach Boys, play the New Year’s Eve Ritchie Valens Memorial Dance in Long Beach. The group earns $300 — it’s their first paying gig. The dance is headlined by Ike & Tina Turner. The Beach Boys at this point are a Southern California sensation — their Surfin is #3 on local charts and peaks at #75 nationally.

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I walk forty-seven miles of barbed wire

Steve Kline Ages of Rock

December 30

Bo Diddley 11928: Ellas Otha Bates — who will blaze the trails of blues and rock in the 1950s and 60s as Bo Diddley — is born in McComb, Mississippi. His family moves to Chicago in 1934, and it is there that young Ellas purifies and hones his sound. He is a student of the violin but once he hears John Lee Hooker, his future course is set. Origins of his stage name are not clear — he claims it is given to him by his peers and he suspects it is an insult. Another story is that Bo Diddley is the moniker he uses as a Golden Gloves boxer. Does it matter, the name’s origin? Ask yourself: Who do YOU love?

Help me, ya’ll

Steve Kline Ages of Rock

December 28

StaplesSingers11914: Roebuck “Pops” Staples is born near Winona, Mississippi, the youngest of 14 children. When growing up he hears, and begins to play with, local blues guitarists such as Charlie Patton (who lives on the nearby Dockery Plantation), Robert Johnson, and Son House. He drops out of school after the eighth grade, then sings with a gospel group before marrying and moving to Chicago in 1935. In 1948, he and his wife Oceola form the The Staple Singers. They take you there.

Sometimes a man must be alone

Steve Kline Ages of Rock

December 27

john wesley harding1967: Bob Dylan’s long-awaited followup to Blonde on BlondeJohn Wesley Harding — is released, generally to rave reviews. Rolling Stone says “Without a doubt this is another major musical step for Bob Dylan. The predominance of country blues, white and black, from Hank Williams to Leadbelly is unprecedented in the new electric music.”

The ships have come to carry you home

Steve Kline Ages of Rock

Christmas Day

Annie Lennox 11954: Singer, songwriter and activist Annie Lennox is born in Aberdeen, Scotland. She will gain fame as lead vocalist with The Eurythmics, and then have a hugely successful solo career. That is her singing the Oscar-winning Into the West on the soundtrack of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Why don’t you just let me go

Steve Kline Ages of Rock

December 23

Esther Phillips 11935: R&B and soul singer “Little” Esther Phillips is born Esther Mae Jones in Galveston, Texas. She is discovered at age 14 by Johnny Otis, who signs her to his roster of performers. She records her first hit Double-Crossing Blues in 1950. By mid-decade she is battling drug addiction. She scores a comeback hit in 1962 with Release Me, which soars to the top of the R&B chart. She will die too young in 1984 of the liver and kidney disease brought on by her drug abuse.