Musings On Music History: Goodbye To Jimi, Hello To Bruce, And Kiss Sans Makeup
09.17: On this day in 1923, Hank Williams Sr. was born. What a glorious entry into this world. Holy moly, this man was a giant during and after his very short life. His music is country music. We wouldn’t have country music as it is today without Hank Williams, Sr. Believe it.
09.17: Banned from the Ed Sullivan Show on this day in 1967 for including the original lyrics (how dare they) to their song “Light My Fire” (that go like this: “Girl, we couldn’t get much higher) when they’d performed on said show, The Doors laughed and laughed because they really couldn’t have cared less.
09.18: On this day in 1970, Jimi Hendrix died in a London hotel room. His exact cause of death has never been confirmed, but it is believed he was intoxicated and asphyxiated on his own vomit. An ignominious end to such an amazing career did nothing, however, to undo the ginormous facts and myths surrounding his virtuosity and life. Hendrix’s influence on rock is a mountain unto itself. So many guitar players site his work as their inspiration that it would be counterproductive to attempt a list of such players. Suffice it to say that Hendrix is, was, and forever shall be the greatest guitar player of all time.
09.18: On this day in 1983, KISS made their first appearance without makeup. It wasn’t pretty.
09.19: On this day in 1981, Simon and Garfunkel reunited for a concert in New York’s Central Park. It was their first appearance together on stage in 11 years. Just in case you weren’t there, don’t remember, or have no clue as to exactly how popular these guys were, 750,000 people attended this concert. Three quarters of a million people! Listening to “Mrs. Robinson,” “Slip Slidin’ Away,” and “The Sounds of Silence”! What a strange, strange world we do inhabit.
09.20: On this day in 1973, Jim Croce died in a plane crash, another young casualty on the road of fallen musicians. Croce’s working man storyteller style hit a chord in the early ’70s, along with his smooth, honest voice, driving “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” and, posthumously, “Time In A Bottle” to the top of the charts.
09.21: Liam Gallagher, the somewhat snotty, extremely opinionated, and oft-drunken lead singer for Oasis, came to officially be on this day in 1972.
09.22: On this day in 1951, David “Mrs. Tawny Kitaen” Coverdale was born. It began his journey down the only road he’s ever known. Oh, glorious hair metal, how we miss the ’80s. (Yes, we didn’t mean that, but we actually really do love, love, love “Here I Go Again.”)
09.22: On this day in 1960, Joan Jett was born. In case you don’t know, she loves rock ‘n’ roll and dirty deeds done dirt cheap, and she hates herself for loving you. And she’s totally awesome and would kick our ass in a back alley fight any day of the week. Then she’d sing “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll” quietly, yet forcefully, into our ear and everything would be alright. Believe it.
09.23: On this day in 1930, Ray Charles was born. This baby would become the man who would propel R&B into the future, melding gospel with juke joint lyrics and jazz rhythms, as well as taking pieces of country, rock, and blues along for the ride. A singular, monumental talent, if you only know Ray from the biopic of the same name, then you need to delve further into his catalog, need to experience the albums that defined this man. We’ve rattled ’em off before, but just pick up The Genius Hits The Road (from whence “Geogia On My Mind” came) or his masterpiece Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music and you’ll understand the talent in his arrangements, production, playing and voice. Happy birthday, Ray! We miss you, sir.
09.23: On this day in 1949, Bruce Springsteen was born. ‘Nuff said. If you don’t know this man, you don’t know rock, so just give it up. Happy birthday, Bruuuuuuuuce! You still rock harder and put on a better show than 99.99% of anyone out there.