1961, Frank Sinatra launched his own record label, Reprise Records, in order to allow more artistic freedom for his own recordings. Hence, he garnered the nickname “The Chairman of the Board.” One of the label’s founding principles under Sinatra’s leadership was that each artist would have full creative freedom, and at some point complete ownership of their work. Reprise later became the home of many influential US acts such as Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman and The Beach Boys.
1967, The Monkees announced that from now on they would be playing on their own recordings instead of session musicians.
1967, The Beatles released the double A sided single ‘Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane’ on Capitol Records in the US. The single spent 10 weeks on the chart peaking at No.1.
1969, A launch party was held for the release of Mary Hopkin’s album Postcard at the Post Office Tower in London. Guests included Jimi Hendrix, Donovan and Paul McCartney with his new girlfriend Linda Eastman.
1969, Bob Dylan recorded versions of ‘Lay, Lady, Lay’, at Columbia Recording Studios in Nashville, Tennessee. ‘Lay Lady Lay’ was originally written for the soundtrack of the movie Midnight Cowboy, but wasn’t submitted in time to be included in the finished film. The song has gone on to become a standard and has been covered by numerous bands and artists over the years, including The Byrds, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, The Everly Brothers, Neil Diamond, Melanie, The Isley Brothers, Duran Duran, Hoyt Axton and Isaac Hayes amongst others.
1970, On this day, Friday the 13th, Black Sabbath released their debut self-titled studio album on Vertigo records in the UK. Peaking at No.8 on the charts, the album has been recognised as the first main album to be credited with the development of the heavy metal genre.
1971, The Osmonds started a five week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘One Bad Apple’. The group had been appearing on TV in the US from 1962, on the Andy Williams Show and then the Jerry Lewis show.
1972, The Greasy Truckers concert took place at the Roundhouse in London, featuring Man, Brinsley Schwarz and Hawkwind. The eveining was recorded and released as a double vinyl album, in a limited edition of 20,000 which sold at just £1.50. The release rapidly sold out, becoming a collector’s item.
1973, After becoming ill during a concert in Las Vegas Elvis Presley presented Doctor Sidney Bowers with a Lincoln Continental to show his appreciation for all his work.
1974, David Bowie turned down an offer from the Gay Liberation group to compose ‘the world’s first Gay National Anthem.’
1976, The 101’ers featuring Joe Strummer played at The Town Hall, Hampstead, London, and on the same night DP Costello, (Elvis Costello) played at The Half Moon, Putney, London supporting Vivian Stanshall.
1977, Julie Covington was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’, taken from the Tim Rice & Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical Evita. Covington had been in the 1977 UK TV series based on an all female group called Rock Follies. Madonna had a hit with her version of the song in 1996.
1978, Dire Straits began recording their first album at Basing Street Studios, London. The whole project cost £12,500 ($21,250) to produce. The album which featured the group’s breakthrough single ‘Sultans of Swing’ went on to enjoy a 132 week run on the UK chart. The inspiration for ‘Sultans of Swing’ came from Mark Knopfler witnessing a mediocre jazz band playing in the corner of a practically deserted pub. At the end of their performance, the lead singer came up to the microphone and announced that they were the “Sultans of Swing.”
1980, Police raided the home of former Sex Pistols John Lydon who greeted them waving a ceremonial sword, the only illegal item they found was a canister of tear gas, claimed to be for defence against intruders.
1982, The Jam became the first band since The Beatles to play two numbers on the same edition of Top Of The Pops when they performed ‘A Town Called Malice’, and ‘Precious’, their latest double A sided No.1.
1982, The marble slab was stolen from the grave of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s singer Ronnie Van Zant, police found it two weeks later in a dried up river bed.
1989, This years Brit Awards was hosted by Sam Fox and Mick Fleetwood in which just about everything went wrong – lines were fluffed and bands mis-cued onto the stage. Winners included Phil Collins who won British Male Solo Artist, British Female Solo Artist was Annie Lennox, Erasure won Best British Group, Best British Album went to Fairground Attraction for ‘First Of A Million Kisses’, British Breakthrough Act was Bros, Michael Jackson won International Male, International Female went to Tracey Chapman and U2 won Best International Group. This was the last year the show was broadcast live.
1993, Founder member of Musical Youth, Patrick Waite died aged 24, of natural causes (hereditary heart condition), whilst awaiting a court appearance on drug charges. Best remembered for their successful 1982 single ‘Pass the Dutchie’, which became a No.1 hit around the world. It was a cover version of two songs: ‘Gimme the Music’ by U Brown, and ‘Pass the Kouchie’ by Mighty Diamonds, which deals with the recreational use of cannabis (kouchie being slang for a cannabis pipe).
1996, Take That split up, the biggest band of the 90s announced their demise in front of the world’s press at The Hilton in Manchester, the band had achieved 7 No.1 singles & 2 No.1 albums. They released one more single and a Greatest Hits album. (Take That reformed in 1996 and have now scored another 5 No.1 albums in the UK).
1997, Michael Menson of Rebel MC died from burns sustained in a racial attack aged 30. Lost on a street in North London, Menson was attacked twice. His tormentors were determined to burn him alive, throwing fuel at him, setting his back on fire. He suffered terrible burns and died 16 days later. Rebel MC had the 1989 UK No.3 single ‘Street Tuff’.
1998, Police at Manchester Airport arrested former Stone Roses singer, Ian Brown after an incident during a flight from Paris. Brown was found guilty in August the same year and jailed for four months; British Airways also banned him from flying with the airline. Come Fly With Me
2002, American country singer, songwriter Waylon Jennings died in his sleep after a lengthy fight with diabetes. Was bassist for Buddy Holly following the break-up of The Crickets. Released a series of duet albums with Willie Nelson in the late 1970s. Scored the 1980 US No.21 single ‘Theme From The Dukes Of Hazzard’, he was also the narrator on the television series. Member of The Highwaymen with Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson.
2004, Led Zeppelin were awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Grammys. Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham all attended. Robert Plant did not, since he was working on a new album and tour.
2005, Readers of UK newspaper The Sun voted George Michael’s ‘Careless Whisper’ as the greatest British pop single of the past 25 years. Oasis came second with ‘Wonderwall’ and Kate Bush third with ‘Wuthering Heights’. The rest of the Top 10: No.4, Robbie Williams, ‘Angels’, No.5, The Jam, ‘Going Underground’, in equal 6th, Sex Pistols, ‘God Save The Queen’ and Joy Division, ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, 7th was Queen, ‘We Are The Champions’, 9th, The Stone Roses, ‘Fool’s Gold’ and 10th The Undertones ‘Teenage Kicks’.
2007, Rod Stewart was paid $1million when he performed at a billionaire’s birthday bash. Stewart was booked to play a one-hour gig to help Steve Schwarzman celebrate his 60th birthday held at New York’s Park Avenue Armory.
2008, A fan paid $3,000 for a jewelled bra, which Shakira wore on her Oral Fixation world tour in 2007, in an auction for the pop star’s children’s charity. More than $60,000 had been raised so far, with one fan paying $14,100 to meet Shakira. The charity was currently building a school for poor children in the singer’s home country, Colombia. Other items in the auction included a purple wig and Gibson guitar used in the video for Las De La Intuicion, which sold for $3,301, a shiny lavender skirt with turquoise and coral beading that Shakira wore while singing Hips Don’t Lie on tour, fetched more than $1,076.
2012, Adele won all six categories she was nominated for at this years Grammy Awards. The British singer won song of the year for ‘Rolling In the Deep’, and also received Grammys for best pop solo performance for ‘Someone Like You’, best pop vocal album and album of the year for 21, and record of the year and best short form music video for ‘Rolling In the Deep’.
2013, Lady Gaga was forced to postponed her world tour after sustaining an injury which left her unable to walk. The singer had severe inflammation of the joints, known as synovitis.
2016, All four members of English indie rock group Viola Beach, along with their manager Craig Tarry, died in a car crash in Södertälje, Sweden. Witnesses said they saw the car fall through a gap on the E4 motorway bridge, which was open to let a boat pass. The band had played at the Where’s the Music? festival in Norrköping the previous day. The band had been scheduled to support Blossoms on a tour of the UK and Ireland during February and March 2016.
(This Day in Music)