1971 - Frank Zappa was forced to cancel a concert at London's Royal Albert Hall after venue officials deemed Zappa's classical opus "200 Motels" to be obscene and refused to allow its performance.
Like the film, the album covers a loose storyline, a kind of magical mystery trip through all the motels, concert halls, cities, states, groupies and going crazy in the small town of Centerville. Highlighted with smutty humor, the Albert Hall said "no thank you".
1973 - The Jamaican cult classic film The Harder They Come is released in the US. The film casts singer Jimmy Cliff as an aspiring reggae singer who turns to a life of crime after getting mixed up with a corrupt record producer.
The actors' thick, patois is difficult for many English speakers to understand, making the use of subtitles necessary. It doesn't find an appreciative audience until it runs on the midnight circuit a few months later, where the subtitles take a backseat to the real star of the movie: the soundtrack.
The soundtrack features four songs from Cliff, including the title track, and tunes from reggae artists like Desmond Dekker, Toots and the Maytals, and The Slickers. The film brought reggae off the island and into the rest of the world. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
1975 - Queen released "Killer Queen". In the New Musical Express, Freddie Mercury said this: "It's about a high class call girl. I'm trying to say that classy people can be whores as well. That's what the song is about, though I'd prefer people to put their interpretation upon it - to read into it what they like."
1977 - Television release their debut album, Marquee Moon. it is a guitar rock album -- it's astonishing to hear the interplay between Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd -- but it is a guitar rock album unlike any other. Marquee Moon is comprised entirely of tense garage rockers that spiral into heady intellectual territory, which is achieved through the group's long, interweaving instrumental sections. That alone made Marquee Moon a trailblazing album -- it's impossible to imagine post-punk soundscapes without it. Of course, it wouldn't have had such an impact if Verlaine hadn't written an excellent set of songs that conveyed a fractured urban mythology unlike any of his contemporaries. Highlights include "See No Evil" and the majestic title track.
John Williams — acclaimed composer of music for Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jaws, and many others — is 92.
Tom Rush is 83. A mainstay of the 1960s urban folk revival, Tom Rush has enjoyed a long-running career spanning more than 70 years. His rich, warm voice and his knack for finding new material from gifted songwriters made him a frequent presence at folk clubs and festivals from the '60s onward. Also a talented tunesmith, Rush's song "No Regrets" went on to become a folk standard and was included on the Wonder Boys soundtrack in 2000.
Terry Melcher, who was behind hits by the Byrds, Ry Cooder and the Beach Boys (and the son of actress Doris Day) was born on this day in 1942. He co-wrote ‘Kokomo’ for The Beach Boys, and produced 'Mr Tambourine Man' for the Byrds,
Interesting note: In 1968, Beach Boy Dennis Wilson introduced Melcher to ex-con and aspiring musician Charles Manson. Manson eventually auditioned for Melcher, but Melcher declined to sign him, unimpressed with his talents. The Tate–LaBianca murders happened at a home once rented by Melcher. There was speculation at the time that Melcher was the intended target, the New York Times reported. However, police later established that Manson knew Melcher had moved from the house before the killings.
Creed Bratton, from the band Grass Roots and from the TV show The Office, is 81.
Dan Seals was born on this day in 1948. One half of Seals & Croft, the duo were drawn to the quieter aspects of rock music, developing a signature sound distinguished by their easy melodicism and mellow vibe. Their craft was evident on their biggest hits. "Summer Breeze," "Diamond Girl," "We May Never Pass This Way (Again)," and "Get Closer" which would become radio staples.
On a personal note, I grew up in a small rural town in southeastern Illinois. For years, the carnival that came to town every summer included a burlesque/stripper tent. During the summer of 1973, they played "Diamond Girl" on a constant loop as the barker called the men in for the show (2 a night!). And yes, my mates and I, being inquisitive 8th graders, were constantly crawling under the tent hoping to catch a glimpse of skin only to get run off by the carney bouncers. A fond memory from my misspent youth.
Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, who is half of the masked French electronic music duo Daft Punk, is 50.
2023 - Composer, songwriter, record producer, pianist, and singer Burt Bacharach died. One of the most important composers of popular music in the second half of the 20th century, Burt Bacharach's sophisticated yet breezy creations borrow from cool jazz, soul, Brazilian bossa nova, and traditional pop.
The vast majority of his songs were the product of his long-running partnership with lyricist Hal David, highlights including "I Say a Little Prayer" (Dionne Warwick, 1967), and "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" (B.J. Thomas) from the soundtrack to 1969's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. In 1998, the album Painted from Memory, a collaboration with Elvis Costello, launched another recurring partnership.
1990 - Del Shannon died on this day. One of the best and most original rockers of the early '60s, Del Shannon was also one of the least typical. Although classified at times as a teen idol, he favored brooding themes of abandonment, loss, and rejection.
In 1963, he became the first American to record a cover version of a song by the Beatles: his version of ‘From Me to You’ charted in the US before The Beatles' version.
His 1961 hit "Runaway" was named checked in Tom Petty's "Runnin' Down A Dream". There were rumors that he might (among others) replace Roy Orbison in the Traveling Wilburys. But Shannon said rumors of his joining the Wilburys are no more than that. “It’s a nice rumor, and I do know Jeff, Tom and George quite well, but it hasn’t been mentioned to me at all, not even hinted. And it’s certainly not my business to bring it up with them."
On This Day In Music History was sourced, copied, pasted, edited, and occasionally woven together with my own crude prose, from This Day in Music, Song Facts, Roger Ebert, Allmusic, LA Times, Fox News and Wikipedia.