Best of the Week – March 7

In case you missed it, here’s The Best of the Week from the Rock and Roll Revisited Twitter Feed:

Frank Kelley

For a generation “Attorney General” and “Frank Kelley” went together like bread and butter. He served Michigan in that role for 37 years, leaving us last night at 96. Here’s the Freep’s obituary. Godspeed, good and faithful servant.

Jim Kerr at WOIA

iHeart recently extended Q104.3 morning iron-man, Jim Kerr‘s contract for another five years. Here’s the man on the air at Ann Arbor’s WOIA, circa 1969

John Belushi died on March 5, 1982. Here’s one of our favorite SNL Sketches – “No Coke, Pepsi.”

Steve Winwood

Great memories of seeing Steve Winwood at the Florida theater during his “Roll With It” prime. An incredible show by an extraordinary musician and performer. On March 5 in 1967, he and his brother Muff decide to leave the Spencer Davis Group for new adventures.

Fred Jacobs asks:”Does new music ‘suck‘? Or does it just need a champion?” I agree that us more “seasoned” folks are less likely to seek out the new stuff, especially now when nostalgia is an elixir for a world that feels like it’s gone crazy.

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

Remember when the Warner brass balked at giving the Superman creators any love for creating the world’s favorite superhero? Kurt Vonnegut and Will Eisner were among the luminaries and comic fans who helped change corporate minds

Barbara Martin (left)

Remembering Motown artist Barbara Martin (bottom left). She was an original member of the Supremes, who left in 1962, before the group’s breakout fame. She passed away March 4, in 2020, at 76.

Mar 3rd 1931, Cab Calloway records “Minnie The Moocher” (Video) on the Brunswick label in New York. It would become the first jazz recording to sell 1 million copies.

March 3, 1922 was a big date in Detroit radio history: WWJ-AM begins radio transmissions. And, no, they didn’t get callers asking, “Ya got any Fanny Brice?”

Did you Love Lucy? Here’s a fascinating look behind the scenes at how I Love Lucy was filmed.

On March 2, 1971, Kodak introduced the Instamatic Camera. Here’s an early Mark Hamill appearance in a commercial for the product.

The Monkees’ Davy Jones passed away on February 29, 2012. In the wake of his death, The Monkees Greatest Hits returned to the Billboard Hot 100, selling 17,000 units. “For me,” Mike Nesmith said, “David was The Monkees. They were his band. We were his side men. He was the focal point of the romance, the lovely boy, innocent and approachable.”

It was announced that Aretha Franklin‘s estate had reached an agreement with the IRS to pay $7.8 million dollars in back taxes.

And this week’s featured image is also the most popular post of the week, a rare early photo of J.P. McCarthy on the air at WJR.

Today in History

1955 Mary Martin as “Peter Pan” 1st televised.
1955 Comedienne Phyllis Diller, at age 37, made her debut at the Purple Onion in San Francisco.
1964 Capitol Records was swamped with requests for heavyweight boxing champion Cassius Clay‘s album ‘I Am the Greatest’ after Clay defeated Sonny Liston on February 25th.
1967 Teamsters Union President Jimmy Hoffa began an eight-year jail sentence for defrauding the union and jury tampering. The sentence was commuted in December 1971.
1967 Actress Sandra Dee and singer/actor Bobby Darin were granted a divorce after almost seven years of marriage and one son.
1968 The BBC broadcasts the news for the first time in color on television.
1971 Country music singer Mickey Gilley opened Gilley’s, his Pasadena, Texas nightclub. It was the central location in the 1980 movie ‘Urban Cowboy.’
1973 Columbia Records throw a party at Max’s Kansas City in New York City to celebrate the newest addition to the label’s roster, Bruce Springsteen.
1982 NCAA Tournament Selection televised live for 1st time.
1983 The Songwriter’s Hall of Fame inducts Neil Sedaka and Stevie Wonder into their ranks during their annual New York ceremony.
1985 IBM-PC DOS Version 3.1 (update) released.
1985 USA For Africa • “We Are The World” is released.
1987 The first Beatles albums are released on compact disc: Please Please Me, With The Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night, Beatles For Sale, and Help!.
1988 Cross-dressing movie actor (Pink Flamingos, Hairspray, Female Trouble, Polyester) Divine, born Harris Glen Milstead, died of heart failure at the age of 42.
1994 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that parodies poking fun at an original work can be considered ‘fair use’ and do not require permission from the copyright holder. 2 Live Crew’s ‘Pretty Woman,’ a parody of Roy Orbison’s 1964 hit, was the example brought before the Court for its decision.
1997 Darlene Love, one of two lead singers on records credited to the Crystals, was awarded $250,000 in back royalties for the group’s 1960s hit recordings. The award followed four years of litigation against record producer Phil Spector.
1999 Film director (2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Barry Lyndon, Spartacus, Lolita) Stanley Kubrick died of a heart attack at the age of 70.
2012 Sales of albums by The Monkees soared following the death of singer Davy Jones. ‘Best Of The Monkees’ re-entered the Billboard album chart at No.20 with sales of over 17,000 units.

Today’s Birthdays:

1934 Willard Scott (Today Show), born in Alexandria, Virginia.
1940 Daniel J Travanti (Frank Furillo-Hill St Blues), born in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
1942 Tammy Faye Bakker (Messner) (The PTL Club), born in International Falls, Minnesota (d. 2007).
1944 Townes Van Zandt (d. 1997)
1945 Arthur Lee guitarist (Love) (d.2006)
1945 Chris White, bassist with The Zombies.
1946 Matthew Fisher (Procol Harum)
1946 Peter Wolf (The J Geils Band)
1952 Ernie Isley (The Isley Brothers – It’s Your Thing, Heat is On)
1956 Bryan Cranston, American actor (Breaking Bad, Malcolm in the Middle), born in Canoga Park, California.
1962 Taylor Dayne [Leslie Wunderman], American vocalist (I’ll Always Love You), born in New York.
1964 Wanda Sykes, American actress and comedienne (Black-ish), born in Portsmouth, Virginia.
1970 Rachel Weisz, English actress (The Mummy, The Constant Gardener), born in London, England

Much More Music:

1956, “Blue Suede Shoes”- Carl Perkins: Carl’s signature song became the first recording to cross over from the country music hit parade to the R&B chart on this date.  It is considered one of the first rockabilly records, incorporating elements of bluescountry and pop music of the time. Perkins’ original version of the song was on the Cashbox Best Selling Singles list for 16 weeks and spent two weeks in the number two position. Elvis Presley performed his version of the song three different times on national television. It was also recorded by Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran, among many others. (Video)

1966, “River Deep – Mountain High” – Ike & Tina Turner: With Phil Spector as producer, Tina Turner recorded the vocal track for Ike & Tina Turner’s ‘River Deep-Mountain High.’ Spector had drawn up an unusual contract for the Turners because of Ike’s control issues (and Spector’s): the ‘River Deep-Mountain High’ album and single were credited to ‘Ike & Tina Turner,’ but Ike was paid $20,000 to stay away from the studio, and only Tina Turner’s vocals were used. (Video)

1970, ‘Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)’ – Melanie:  A spirited collaboration between the folk singer and songwriter famous for “What Have They Done to My Song Ma” and “Brand New Key” and the Californian gospel act the Edwin Hawkins Singers, who had reached the national Top Ten the previous year with “Oh Happy Day“. Melanie wrote the song after performing at Woodstock in August 1969; the song’s lyrics describe what she felt as she looked out at the sea of people attending the music event. (Video)

Today’s Quote Worth Re-Quoting: “Marry your true love so you can always wake up together and say, ‘breathe the other way.'”

One more for the road: This week in 1970,  “Love or Let Me Be Lonely” by the Friends of Distinction was entering the top 30. Formed in LA in 1966, two of its members sang with “The Hi-Fis” along with future Fifth Dimension member Marilyn McCoo. This one was the follow up to their first hit, a cover of  Hugh Masekela‘s “Grazing in the Grass“. Friends was discovered by former football player Jim Brown, who also is credited with discovering Earth, Wind & Fire. Member Jessica Cleaves sang for many years with EWF before her death in May of 2014 at age 65. (Video)

Thanks for listening!

Scott Westerman
Host and Producer – Rock and Roll Revisited
Author: Motor City Music – Keener 13 and the Soundtrack of Detroit