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1965 - The Byrds release Mr. Tambourine Man. "Mr. Tambourine Man" launched The Byrds, and might have helped convinced Dylan to "go electric".

David Crosby recalled the day Dylan heard them working on the song: "He came to hear us in the studio when we were building The Byrds. After the word got out that we gonna do 'Mr. Tambourine Man' and we were probably gonna be good, he came there and he heard us playing his song electric, and you could see the gears grinding in his head. It was plain as day. It was like watching a slow-motion lightning bolt."

1968 - The outspoken Frank Zappa performed at a dinner for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences: the folks who give us the Grammys. Zappa says the event was "a load of pompous hokum" and told the audience, "All year long you people have manufactured this crap, now for one night you're gonna have to listen to it!"

1972 - Manassas release their self titled debut double album. Formed in 1971 from the sessions for what was going to be Stills' third solo album, the chemistry of the musicians he gathered was so intense that before long they were a full-fledged band.

It all started in Colorado. After watching the Flying Burrito Brothers play the Boulder nightspot Tulagi, Stills (who was living in Gold Hill) posited that Chris Hillman, then the Burritos’ lead singer and driving force, and guitarist Al Perkins should quit their band and join him.

What could have been a disorganized mess in other hands, though, here all gelled together and formed a cohesive musical statement. The songs are thematically grouped: part one (side one on the original vinyl release is a composite of rock and Latin sounds. Part two mainly centers on country and bluegrass. Part three, is largely folk and folk-rock. Bill Wyman (who guested on "The Love Gangster") has said he would have quit the Rolling Stones to join Manassas. Manasasas is in the Colorado Music Hall Of Fame.

1973 - In one of Sesame Street’s most memorable moments, Stevie Wonder played a funky, seven-minute live version of "Superstition" on the show. Watch below, it'll make your day!

1975 - During an interview with Playboy Magazine David Bowie announced his second career retirement, saying, 'I've rocked my roll. It's a boring dead end, there will be no more rock 'n' roll records from me. The last thing I want to be is some useless f—ing rock singer.'

1975 - Elton John's "Philadelphia Freedom," named after the professional tennis team his friend Billie Jean King coaches, hits #1 on the Hot 100. “Philadelphia Freedom” was inspired by one of his bouts of fan worship. The World Tennis League was started in 1974, and he was an ardent supporter of Billie Jean King’s team, the Philadelphia Freedoms.

“We had the playoffs in Denver,” the tennis great said. “Elton came because he’d been recording up at Caribou (near Nederland). He was all excited, saying, ‘You’ve got to listen to this tape. This is it, the song I wrote for you,’ So he played me a rough mix of ‘Philadelphia Freedom,’ and it was great. And when he got to the chorus he said, ‘Listen to this part. Hear the beat? That’s when you get mad on the court.’”

1983 - 41 years ago today, R.E.M. released their debut album, Murmur. Heightening the enigmatic tendencies of Chronic Town by de-emphasizing the backbeat and accentuating the ambience of the ringing guitar, R.E.M. created a distinctive sound for the album -- one that sounds eerily timeless. Even though it is firmly in the tradition of American folk-rock, post-punk, and garage rock, Murmur sounds as if it appeared out of nowhere, without any ties to the past, present, or future. Highlights: Radio Free Europe, Talk About the Passion, and Catapult.

2008 - Lou Reed married his third wife, the conceptual artist Laurie Anderson. The couple, who had been together since the early '90s, had decided to get married the previous day. The marriage ceremony was conducted by Nick Forster, the co-host of etown (heard Sunday nights at 8 on 97.3 KBCO) who just happens to have a certificate of ordination from the Universal Life Church.

Before that, Lou had come by the KBCO studios for an interview with Bret Saunders before a show at the Boulder Theater. After the interview I escorted Lou back down to the parking lot. On the elevator ride down he dialed up Laurie and told her Boulder was beautiful and they should move here. That didn't happen, but getting married in Boulder did. (Photo by Lawrence Lucier/Getty Images)


Hound Dog Taylor was born today in 1912. Alligator Records, Chicago's leading contemporary blues label, might never have been launched at all if not for the crashing, slashing slide guitar antics of Hound Dog Taylor. Bruce Iglauer, then an employee of Delmark Records, couldn't convince his boss, Bob Koester, of Taylor's potential, so Iglauer took matters into his own hands. In 1971, Alligator was born for the express purpose of releasing Hound Dog's debut album. We all know what transpired after that.

Taylor's relentlessly raucous band, the HouseRockers, consisted of only two men, though their combined racket sounded like quite a few more. He wasn't the most accomplished of slide guitarists, but Hound Dog Taylor could definitely rock any house that he played.

Tiny Tim was born today in 1932. During his proverbial 15 minutes of fame in the late '60s, Tiny Tim was one of the most bizarre spectacles on television: a six-foot-tall man with long, unkempt ringlets of hair, and a garish plaid wardrobe; warbling the old-time pop standard "Tip-Toe Through the Tulips" in a quavering, shockingly high falsetto while accompanying himself on the ukulele. Pegged as strictly a novelty act, Tim actually possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of vintage American pop and vaudeville songs; he was an avid collector of 78 rpm records and sheet music, and often scoured the New York Public Library's musical archives for material.

Herbie Hancock is 84. One of the most revered figures in jazz, just as his employer/mentor Miles Davis was when he was alive. Unlike Miles, who pressed ahead relentlessly and never looked back until near the very end, Hancock has cut a zigzagging forward path, shuttling between almost every development in electronic and acoustic jazz and R&B over the last third of the 20th century and into the 21st. While able to absorb blues, funk, gospel, and even modern classical influences, Hancock's piano and keyboard voices are entirely his own, with their own urbane harmonic and complex, earthy rhythmic signatures.

Amy Ray of Indigo Girls is 60. Along with her musical partner, Emily Saliers, Indigo Girls became one of the most enduring female acts of the '90s, weaving activism with art and building a large and deeply devoted fan base that continued to support them in the following decades.

On This Day In Music History was sources, curated, copied, pasted, edited, and occasionally woven together with my own crude prose, from This Day in Music, Westword Song Facts, Colorado Music, Allmusic, and Wikipedia.


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