Music History Monday: December 21

Posted by Jeff Harris, December 23, 2013 09:29am | Post a Comment

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On this day in music history: December 23, 1947 - Bell Laboratories scientists John Bardeen, Walter Bell LaboratoriesBrattain, and William Shockley will conclude experiments they had begun five weeks earlier that will result in the development of the bi-polar contact transistor. The trio will discover that by applying two gold contacts to a crystal of germanium, that it will will produce greater output power than its input. Their discovery will become the one of the cornerstones in the development of modern electronics (transistor radios, computers, calculators, etc...), and is regarded as one of the most important inventions of the 20th century. Texas Instruments will be the first company to produce the silicon transistor in 1954. Bardeen, Brattain, and Shockley will be awarded the Nobel Prize for their discovery in 1956.



On this day in music history: December 23, 1959 - Musician Chuck Berry is arrested in St. Louis, MO on charges check berry transporting a minor across state lines for "immoral purposes." At the height of his popularity at the time, the arrest of the rock & roll pioneer stems from his association with Janice Norine Escalanti, a 14-year-old bar waitress he meets in Juarez, Mexico. Berry will offer Escalanti a job working as a hat check girl at his Bandstand nightclub in St. Louis. When she is fired two weeks later, the girl will allege Berry attempted to have sexual intercourse with her. Police will arrest the musician for violation of the Mann Act (first known as the United States White-Slave Traffic Act of 1910), a vaguely worded piece of federal legislation meant to crack down on organized prostitution. The Mann Act will be used to claim that Berry has transported Escalanti "across state lines for immoral purposes." Following his arrest, Berry is fined $5,000, and after a two-week trial by an all male, all white jury, is sentenced to five years in federal prison. However, the initial sentence is turned over on appeal on the grounds that his original trial was heavily biased and racist. A new trial is ordered by the Federal Appeals Court in October of 1960, with Chuck Berry being convicted in 1961 after his second appeal fails. He will spend twenty months in federal prison from February 1962 to October 1963.

On this day in music history: December 23, 1977 - Musician Cat Stevens will formally convert to the Islamic religion. Stevens' interest in Islam will begin while on vacation in Marrakech, Morocco when he hears cat stevensAdhan, the Islamic call to prayer which a local will describe to him as "music for God." Long having had an interest in things of a spiritual nature, two further events during the following year will be instrumental in the musician's spiritual awakening. In 1976, Stevens is staying at the home of A&M Records co-founder Jerry Moss, when he decides to go for a swim in the Pacific Ocean. He will get caught in a rip current, which will begin taking him further and further away from shore. Frightened and fearing that he will drown, Stevens will begin to pray, shouting out, "Oh God! If you save me I will work for you." With that exclamation, a wave will push the musician back to shore. A short time later, Stevens' brother David will give him a copy of the Qur'an as a birthday gift. The musician will identify strongly with the prophet Joseph (son of Jacob) and his trials of being sold into slavery before finally being liberated. Born Steven Demetre Georgiou, Cat Stevens will legally change his name to Yusuf (the Islamic name for "Joseph") Islam in 1978. Following his religious conversion, the musician will cease his pop music career after the release of his eleventh studio album Back To Earth, also selling off his guitars and other musical equipment. Stevens will perform at UNICEF's International Year of the Child Benefit Concert at Wembley Stadium in November 22, 1979, which will be his final public performance for over twenty five years. Also in 1979, Islam will marry Fauzia Mubarak Ali and the couple will have five children. Two years later in 1981, the couple will found the Islamia Primary School in North London, opening several other Islamic schools, and dedicating their time to philanthropic and educational causes.

On this day in music history: December 23, 1989 - "Another Day In Paradise" by Phil Collins hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks, also topping the Adult Contemporary chart for five weeks on December 2, 1989. Written by Phil Collins, it is the sixth US chart topper for the British singer, songwriter, and musician. Attaining global pop stardom during the '80s, Phil Collins will end the decade with what will become his most successful solo single. Originally titled "Homeless," the inspiration for "Another Day In Paradise" will come from an encounter that Collins has with a homeless woman on a London street. One day while crossing the street to the recording studio, he will cross paths with the woman and her two kids who asks the singer for money, but does not stop to talk to her. Feeling bad about having ignored her, he will write the song as a way to bring light to the issue of homelessness and people's "awkwardness" about the subject. Musician David Crosby will sing background vocals with Collins on the finished track. Released on October 9, 1989, as the first single from Phil Collins' fourth solo album, it will become an immediate hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #43 on November 4, 1989, it will climb to the top of the chart seven weeks later. The single will be nominated for four Grammy Awards, winning the award for Record Of The Year in 1991. Collins and Crosby will also deliver a memorable performance of the song on the awards telecast. "Paradise" will be final number one single of the 1980s. "Another Day In Paradise" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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Music History Monday (83), Transistor Radio (1), Bell Laboratories (1), Chuck Berry (7), Cat Stevens (6), Phil Collins (8)