Music History Monday: July 16

Posted by Jeff Harris, July 16, 2012 05:40pm | Post a Comment
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Country music icon Kitty Wells (born Ellen Muriel Deason in Nashville, TN. August 30, 1919 - July 16, 2012) has died today. Farewell to The Queen Of Country Music.

Funk Brothers bassist Bob Babbitt (born Robert Kreiner in Pittsburgh, PA. November 26, 1937 - July 16, 2012) passed away today.For those of you who may not know this man's name or face, you will certainly know his outstanding work as a musician. Having been a part of Motown's legendary studio band The Funk Brothers from 1967 to 1972, he played on numerous hits such as Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Mercy Me" and "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)," Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours," and other classics like Dennis Coffey's "Scorpio," The Capitols "Cool Jerk," Gladys Knight & The Pips' "If I Were Your Woman" and "Midnight Train To Georgia," The Shades Of Blue's "Oh How Happy," Edwin Starr's "Agent Double 'O Soul," The Parliaments "(I Wanna) Testify," The Spinners' "(They Just Can't Stop It) Games People Play" and "Rubberband Man," Gloria Gaynor's "Never Can Say Goodbye," The Main Ingredient's "Just Don't Want To Be Lonely," The Manhattans' "Kiss And Say Goodbye," Ray Goodman & Brown's "Special Lady," Barry Manilow's "Copacabana" and "Ready To Take A Chance Again," Deniece Williams' "Silly" and "It's Gonna Take A Miracle," and on and on. He will be missed.

Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord (born Jonathan Douglas Lord in Leicester, UK. June 9, 1941 - July 16, 2012) also died today. Read more HERE on the Amoeblog.

On this day in music history: July 16, 1966 - "Hanky Panky" by Tommy James & The Shondells hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks. Written by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, the song is originally recorded in 1963 by Barry and Greenwich under the name The Raindrops.  Tommy James and his band will record their own version of the song the same year and it is released on Snap Records in the bands' hometown of Niles, MI. The record will become a minor regional hit in Michigan and the surrounding area before it is forgotten about. A few years later,  DJ "Mad Mike" Metro at WZUM in Pittsburgh, PA will rediscover the record and begin playing it on air, regenerating interest in the song. Someone will bootleg over 80,000 copies of the single and begin selling it in local record stores. The buzz created by the sudden revival of the single will encourage James to sell the master to Roulette Records who will pick it up for national release. "Hanky Panky" will enter the Hot 100 at #78 on June 4th, rocketing to #1 just five weeks later.

On this day in music history: July 16, 1966 - The legendary rock band Cream officially forms in London, UK. Drummer Ginger Baker will ask guitarist Eric Clapton to join his new group after seeing him play with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Clapton agrees to join only if Baker hires his former bandmate bassist Jack Bruce. Baker and Bruce were known to have had a very volitile relationship, having had on stage fist fights (in their previous band Powerhouse) with Baker even pulling a knife on Bruce, which will drive him out of that band. The two will put their differences aside when they realize the immediate chemistry between the three when they play together. The band will play their first gig 13 days later at The Twisted Wheel in Manchester.

On this day in music history: July 16, 1969 - "I'm Free" by The Who is released. Written by Pete Townshend, it is issued as the follow up to "Pinball Wizard" from Tommy. The songs' narrative tells of Tommy's ability to spiritually enlighten others in the wake of his sudden fame and popularity. The song will become a staple of the bands' live performances thoughout the 70's and beyond. "I'm Free" will peak at #37 on the Billboard Hot 100 on August 23rd.

On this day in music history: July 16, 1977 - "Easy" by The Commodores hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for one week, also peaking at #4 on the Hot 100 on August 27th. Written by Lionel Richie, it is issued as the first single from the bands' self-titled titled fifth album. The pop/soul ballad will become a multi-format smash, taking the band to the next level of success in their career. Ove the years will be covered numerous times by pop, rock, and country artists including Clarence Carter, Faith No More, and Boyz II Men.

Remembering singer/songwriter and humanitarian Harry Chapin (born Harry Forster Chapin in Brooklyn, NY. December 7, 1942 – July 16, 1981)

Born on this day: July 16, 1941 - Reggae music legend Desmond Dekker. His classic "Israelites" was the second record by a Jamaican artist to make the top 10 on the US charts (after Millie Small's "My Boy Lollipop" in 1964), peaking at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in June of 1969. Sadly, Desmond passed in May of 2006 at the age of 64.

Born on this day: July 16, 1952 - Stewart Copeland, drummer for The Police. Happy 59th Birthday Stewart!!

Relevant Tags

Kitty Wells (3), Funk Brothers (1), Bob Babbitt (1), Deep Purple (7), Jon Lord (3), Tommy James & The Shondells (2), Cream (8), The Who (17), The Commodores (5), Harry Chapin (2), Desmond Dekker (2), Stewart Copeland (3), The Police (8)