July 11: David Bowie released the single “Space Oddity” in 1969

Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on
Ground Control to Major Tom (ten, nine, eight, seven, six)
Commencing countdown, engines on (five, four, three)
Check ignition and may God’s love be with you (two, one, liftoff)

…Finally, he teamed up with Elton John producer Gus Dudgeon to create “Space Oddity,” a song he’d been fiddling with all year. The folk ballad about astronaut Major Tom getting stranded in space was rushed out by his label to coincide with the launch of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and the BBC played the song during the coverage of the event. “In England, it was always presumed that it was written about the space landing, because it kind of came to prominence around the same time. But it actually wasn’t,” he told Performing Songwriter. “It was written because of going to see the film 2001, which I found amazing.
rollingstone.com

Single by David Bowie
from the album David Bowie
B-side “Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud”
Released 11 July 1969
Format 7-inch single
Recorded
Genre
  • Psychedelic
  • folk rock
Length 5:15 (album version)
4:33 (UK single edit)
3:26 (U.S. single edit)
Label Philips
Songwriter(s) David Bowie
Producer(s) Gus Dudgeon

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January 6: Chuck Berry recorded the classic Johnny B. Goode in 1958

DeepdowninLouisiana’crossfromNewOrleans,
waybackupinthewoodsamongtheevergreens.
There stood a log cabin made of earth and wood
Where lived a country boy named Johnny B. Goode,
Who never ever learned to read or write so well
But he could play a guitar just like a ringin’ a bell.

You can’t copyright guitar licks and maybe that’s good, because if you could, Chuck might have hoarded them as he does his Cadillacs. Without The Chuck Berry Riff, we’d lose not just the Beach Boys, but essential elements of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bob Seger, and Bruce Springsteen — to mention only the most obvious examples. In a way, what was at the center of the first wave of the British Invasion could be described as a Chuck Berry revival.
~Dave Marsh (The Heart of Rock and Soul)

Live 1958:

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Dec 16: Jimi Hendrix released the single Hey joe in 1966

Folk rock singer Tim Rose’s slower version of the song (recorded in 1966 and claimed to be Rose’s arrangement of a wholly traditional song) inspired the first single by The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

The ex-bassist for The Animals, Chas Chandler, who was now focusing on managing other acts, had also seen Rose performing the song at the Cafe Wha? in New York City and was looking for an artist to record a rock version of “Hey Joe”. Chandler discovered Jimi Hendrix, who had also been playing at the Cafe Wha? in 1966 and performing an arrangement of “Hey Joe” inspired by Rose’s rendition. Chandler decided to take Hendrix with him to England in September 1966, where he would subsequently turn the guitarist into a star. Tim Rose re-recorded “Hey Joe” in the 1990s, re-titling it “Blue Steel .44” and again claimed the song as his own arrangement of a traditional song.

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September 20: Everyday/Peggy Sue the single was released by Buddy Holly in 1957

peggy_sue_nor_va_jak_1957

Peggy Sue” is a rock and roll song written by Buddy Holly, Jerry Allison, and Norman Petty, recorded and released as a single by Holly in early July of 1957. The Crickets are not mentioned on label of the single (Coral 9-61885), but band members Joe B. Mauldin (string bass) and Jerry Allison (drums) played on the recording. This recording was also released on Holly’s eponymous 1958 album.

The song went to number 3 on the Billboard Top 100 chart in 1957.

In 1999, National Public Radio (NPR) included “Peggy Sue” on the NPR 100, a list of the “100 most important American musical works of the 20th century”. The song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. Acclaimed Music ranked it as the 106th greatest song of all time and the third best song of 1957. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it number 197 on its list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” in 2010.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum placed the song on its list of the “Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll”.

Peggy Sue (tv performance from Dec. 1957):
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Dec 15: Johnny Cash released the single Folsom Prison Blues in 1955

“Folsom Prison Blues” is a song written and first recorded in 1955 by Johnny Cash. The song combines elements from two popular folk styles, the train song and the prison song, both of which Cash would continue to use for the rest of his career. It was one of Cash’s signature songs.

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