Barry Gordy’s first release on the newly established Motown Records, “Bad Girl” by The Miracles, entered the Billboard chart in 1959. The song “Bad Girl” is a sad, remorseful ballad about a young woman, whom Smokey Robinson says “was so good at the start” but who later in the song is breaking Smokey’s hear. The record’s success, coupled with the distributor’s failure to pay Gordy and The Miracles properly for its sales, prompted Robinson to urge Gordy to “go national” with it, meaning that Motown should do its own national distribution of its songs and eliminate the middle man to ensure all sales would go directly to the label.
While working at Abbey Road Studios in London, in 1967, The Beatles mixed the new John Lennon song “I Am The Walrus” which included the sound of a radio being tuned through numerous stations, coming to rest on a BBC production of William Shakespeare’s “King Lear”. Lennon composed the song by combining three songs he had been working on. When he learned that a teacher at his old primary school was having his students analyze Beatles’ lyrics, he added a verse of nonsense words.
On the last night of their first ever tour in Japan, Led Zeppelin appeared at the Osaka Festival Hall in 1971. Near the end of the set, the group played a melody of songs during an extended version of “Whole Lotta Love”, including “Let That Boy Boogie”, “I Gotta Know”, “Twist and Shout”, “Fortune Teller”, “Good Times Bad Times” and “You Shook Me”.
Grand Funk Railroad went to No.1 on the U.S. music singles chart in 1973 with “We’re An American Band”, the group’s first of two U.S. chart toppers. The song is from the album of the same name and was written by Don Brewer and produced by Todd Rundgren. Its huge chart success broadened Grand Funk’s appeal. The song was sung by Brewer rather than Farner, who usually took lead vocals. Brewer’s lyrics are somewhat autobiographical, detailing the band’s recent tour and their energetic live performances. In the song, the band mentions traveling through Little Rock Arkansas, as well as stopping to party with four groupies that sneaked into their hotel in Omaha, Nebraska. Also in the song are the lyrics “sweet sweet Connie”, which refer to the legendary groupie Connie Hamzy.
Prince and the Revolution started a two-week run at No.1 on the U.S. singles music chart in 1984 with “Let’s Go Crazy”, his second U.S. No.1 and a No.7 hit in the U.K. it was the opening tack on both the album and the film Purple Rain. “Let’s Go Crazy” is one of Prince’s most popular songs, and is always a staple for concert performances. The song is also notable for opening a funeral like organ solo with Prince giving the “eulogy” for “this thing called life”. But the song’s eulogy ends with a distinctive drum machine pattern and then quickly becomes a hard rock number with heavy guitar, bass and synthesizers.
Pink Floyd’s thirteen studio album “A Memory Lapse Of Reason” was on the U.K. chart in 1987. The shoot for the album cover involved dragging 800 hospital beds onto Sauton Sands in Devon, but rain interrupted the session and they had to repeat the exercise two weeks later. A hang glider can be seen in the sky, a possible reference to the track “Learning to Fly”. Photographer Robert Dowling won a gold award at the Association of Photographers’ Award for the image, which took two weeks to create.
While traveling on his motorcycle from Los Angeles, Bruce Springsteen stopped in at a local bar called Matt’s Saloon in Prescott, Arizona and jammed with the house band. Bruce played a lot of rock and roll classics, including Elvis Presley’s “Don’t Be Cruel” and Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen” and “Route 66”. Before leaving the bar, Bruce donated $100,000 to a barmaid’s hospital bill.
Maria McKee, an American singer-songwriter is a founding member of the country rock bank Lone Justice in 1982 and released two album with the band. In 1990, Maria McKee was at No.1 on the U.K. music singles chart with “Show Me Heaven” the song that is featured in the Tom Cruise film “Days Of Thunder”. The song was written by Maria McKee, Eric Rackin and Jay Rifkin. The song was later covered by Laura Branigan and a few other artists.
U.S. TV America Idol winner Kelly Clarkson started a two-week run at No.1 on the U.S. singles music chart in 2002 with “A Moment Like This”. The song was written co-written by Jörgen Slofsson and John Reid and produced by Stephen Ferrera and Steve Mac. “A Moment Like This” was to be the first single for the winner for the first season of American Idol. With the four finalist there was a recording done by each finalist. Kelly Clarkson sang the song as her final performance.
Country music singer and songwriter Randy Travis received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2004. The Grand Ole Opry member received his star as his career was in full swing. Less than two years after the release of his crossover No.1 hit “Three Wooden Crosses,” Travis was getting ready to release his gospel album “Passing Through”, and just released his Top 10 “The Very Best Of Randy Travis” collection. At the time he received his star, Randy was impressive on the screen as well with having over 30 credits to his name, including appearing in films such as “At Risk”, “The Rainmaker” and “Baby Geniuses”.
Columbia releases the Miranda Lambert album “Revolution” in 2009. “Revolution” is the third studio album by the American country music singer. The album includes the singles “Dead Flowers”, “The House That Built Me”, “White Liar”, “Only Prettier” and “Heart Like Mine”. All these songs, listed on the Billboard country chart. In 2010, “Revolution” won the Album of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards and at the Country Music Association Awards.
In 2012, The U.K. press reported that there really was a girl who works down the “chip shop” and swears she’s Elvis’ daughter, after Lisa Marie Presley was spotted serving up deep-fried treats on a mobile motor call Mr. Chippy. The 44-year-old, offspring of Elvis and actress Priscilla, donned an apron and cooked battered cod for the locals. Kim Scales, who owns the business, said “Lisa Marie likes to see how we live and experience British life. We were laughing because the customers didn’t know who she was. She really enjoyed it.” The singer, had moved to the village of Rotherfield, East Sussex, two years ago from Los Angeles.
And now it is time to say Happy Birthday to the people that brought us great music or had a hand in creating the music we all love. Those born today, September 29th are:
Gene Autry – born in 1907, Gene Autry became known as America’s singing cowboy. During his career, Autry scored 25 successive Top 10 Country hits. From 1934 – 1953, Gene Autry appeared in 93 films and 91 episodes of The Gene Autry Show television series.
Jerry Lee Lewis – born in 1935, this American U.S. singer and keyboardist had the 1958 U.S and U.K. No.1 music single “Great Balls Of Fire”, the 1957 multi-million seller “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”. As an early pioneer of rock and roll music, Lewis made his first recordings at Sun Records in Memphis. His career was going great and he was growing as a rock star until he married his 13-year-old cousin when he was 22.
Tommy Boyce – born in 1939, Tommy was an American singer and songwriter. He was best known for his song writing capabilities that skyrocketed The Monkees in the early 60’s. He co-wrote with Bobby Hart and the had a string of No.1’s including “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonite” which topped at No.8 on the U.S. music single chart. “Last Train to Clarksville”, “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone” and the very famous for the cartoon show “Scooby-Doo Where Are You.” In total, Boyce and Hart sold over 40 million records.
Mark Farner – born in 1948, Mark became successful American singer, guitarist and songwriter and was best known as the lead singer and lead guitarist with the rock band Grand Funk Railroad. Grand Funk Railroad had a number of hits with “Inside Looking Out” in 1969, “I’m Your Captain” in 1970, “Some Kind Of Wonderful” and their songs that put them on the top of the billboard chart “We’re An American Band” and “The Loco-Motion”.
Suzanne Shaw – born in 1981, Suzanne is an English actress, singer and television personality who rose to fame after she won the talent contest Popstars and subsequently became a member of the band called Hear’Say. The band achieved instant fame, breaking chart records with their debut “Pure and Simple”. The song hit the chart in the U.K and became the number one music single in 2001.