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On October, 18th, in 1926, Charles Edward Anderson Berry (Chuck Berry) was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He’s a guitarists, vocalist, songwriter and innovator of the Rock ‘n’ Roll sound, some consider him to be the inventor of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Matter of fact, in 1986 (age 60), Berry was in the first class of inductees into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. He also has three songs on the RnR Hall of Fame’s list of 500 Songs That Shaped Rock ‘n’ Roll: Rock and Roll Music, Johnny B. Goode & Maybellene. In 1977, his Johnny B. Goode was launched into space via NASA Voyager. The song is featured on the Voyager Golden Record.
Berry has remained in the top 10 of Rolling Stones Magazine’s Top 100 Greatest Artists of All Time (he ranked 5th in 2004 & 2011). Interesting fact about Chuck Berry: he went to Reformatory School in the 40s when he car jacked someone at gunpoint. While he was locked up, he got into boxing and started a vocal quartet. In the early 50s, he started playing with T-Bone Walker and Johnnie Johnson. By the mid-50s, he’d found his footing and was recording hits for Chess records like Maybellene. Berry merged Blues, R&B, Country & Pop to make a unique sound that drew a wide audience. He passed away in 2017, he was 90.
Two interesting things happened to John Lennon & Yoko Ono on this day, exactly 41 years apart. John would no longer be living for the second one. First, on October 18th, in 1968, The Paddington Green police in London, England arrested John Lennon and Yoko Ono for obstruction of justice. They were taken to the police station and formally booked. The original charge was marijuana possession, which was ‘discovered’ at an apartment the couple stayed at. I’m sure the cops had to search the premises to secure the apartment, based on some complaint call they’d received, or not…John pleaded guilty in November and paid about a $250 fine. I’m not sure if his fine payment covered Yoko’s charge as well, but it’s safe to say neither of them were locked up for it.
On October 18th, in 2005, John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s infamous photo of them in bed, with John being naked, curled in the fetal position, and Yoko being stretched out lengthwise, fully clothed, was named the Top US magazine cover photo for the past 40 years. The original photo was taken for the Rolling Stones Magazine cover. The photographer that took the photo was Annie Leibovitz. This photo was picked above all the others by designers, editors and artists.
The Infamous Al Green Story: On October 18th, in 1974, Al Green was chilling, taking a shower at his place in Memphis, Tennessee. His girlfriend at the time-Mary Woodson was in the kitchen making hot grits. Al kept showering, Woodson kept cooking. I’m pretty sure Woodson was highly upset with Green, most likely over some ‘other woman’ or ‘women’. She went into the bathroom and poured hot grits on him while he was showering. He suffered second degree burns. Woodson didn’t stop there though. I guess she figured she’d just purposely burned one of the most loved Soul singers of the time…
or maybe she thought that she wanted to hurt him even more than the burns she inflicted, so she shot herself. Yes, shot herself. She burned him with hot grits, for whatever reason, and then killed herself? I’m trying to understand why she’d even burn him, inflict that pain, if she wasn’t going to stay around to see him suffer from it. Shortly after this incident occurred, Al Green went Gospel for a bit. I guess them hot grits poured over him got him closer to God. I bet. Grits stick, I can only imagine how much that hurt. On top of losing her to suicide.
On October 18th, in 1974, one of the United Kingdom’s original Soul Bands-Sweet Sensation, had a number 1 UK hit with their song-Sad Sweet Dreamer. The band contained 8 members and was formed in 1971 (Manchester). They appeared on the British talent TV show called New Faces and won first place. They signed to Pye records shortly after, recording their first single-Snowfire. The song didn’t chart, but their next single did (Sad Sweet Dreamer). They put out nine singles from 1974 to 1977, however, many of them did not chart. In 1977 they tried to represet the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest, but came up short (8th place). As a result of both of these things, the band was dropped from Pye.
They were no longer performing or recording after 1978. The lead singer for the band, Marcel King 9(c)-also the youngest member, attempted to go solo in the mid 80s, but was met with little response. King penned a couple songs for Donald Johnson from the British band A Certain Ratio, and Bernard Summer from the band New Order (Reach for Love). He also wrote the song Hollywood Nights for the ZYX Music GmbH & Co. KG imprint, which was a German record label (former name-Pop-Import Bernhard Mikulski). It didn’t do much on the charts either. King passed away in 1997 from a brain hemorrhage, he was 37. Note: just because a song doesn’t chart, doesn’t mean that it’s not good.
On October 18th, in 2008, we lost another great musician, this time Gospel, Soul, Pop & R&B vocalist, songwriter, Cissy Houston’s niece, Whitney Houston’s 1st cousin and little sister of Dionne Warwick-Dee Dee Warwick (Delia Juanita Warwick). She left earth from the city of Newark, New Jersey at the tender age of 66. Dee Dee got her start in the church with Dionne and Cissy in the choir. They eventually became the Gospelaires. The group performed with the Drinkard Sisters (Houston also was a member) in 1959 at the infamous Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY. They got rave reviews and Dee Dee, Dionne & Doris Troy became the session back up singers for NYC recording aritsts.
In the early 60s, Dee Dee stepped out solo, releasing her version of You’re No Good on Jubilee Records. In 1965, she had her first national network TV appearance on the NBC show Hullabaloo. Dionne accompanied her and they sang Gospel on the show. She signed with Mercury records that same year and put a couple singles out on their subsidiary label, Blue Rock. She had 3 top 100 Pop singles from 1965 to 1966: I Wanna Be with You (number 9); We’re Doing Fine (30th); and the original version of I’m Gonna Make You Love Me (88th). The latter would go on to be a platinum selling staple sung by Diana Ross & the Supremes with the Temptations. Intersting fact: Dee Dee was openly gay.
Honorable Mention: On October 18th, in 1958: Thomas ‘The Hitman’ Hearns AKA Tommy Hearns AKA the Motor City Cobra was born in Memphis, Tennessee. The Hitman is credited with being a Detroit native, but his earthly entrance occurred in the Stax & Hi Records city. He is the first boxer to win world titles in 5 weight classes: Light Heavyweight, Super Middleweight, Middleweight, Light Middleweight & Welterweight. Tommy won Ring Magazine’s & Boxing Writers Association of America’s Fighter of the Year Award in 1980 and 1984. He’s 60 today.
About two years before MTV debuted the song, The UK studio band Buggles was at number 1 on the UK pop chart for their song-Video Killed the Radio Star. They were ahead of their time with that in that music videos were mainly a promotional object used by record companies to show performance footage of artists. Ironically enough, the song would be the first video that MTV showed when it aired on August 1st, in 1981.
Ladies First! On October 18th, in 1986 three women made music history. It was the first time that the Hot 100 Singles Chart had three solo women in the top three slots: Janet Jackson was at number 1 for When I Think of You; Tina Turner, formerly with Ike & Tina Turner held down the number 2 slot with her song-Typcial Male; and energetic falsetto singer-Cyndi Lauper had the number three slot with her song-True Colors. The chart came out in 1955…it’s a shame it took 31 years for this feat to occur.
…‘You don’t own no loops, it’s how you hook em up with the rhyme style troop’…On October 18th, in 2005, Madonna made the general public aware of a letter she’d wrote the band Abba begging them to allow her to sample their song-Gimme Gimme Gimme for her single Hung Up. She’s only one of two artists that Abba has granted permission to sample their music. The other band was the Fugees. They used a sample from Abba’s The Name of the Game song for the Ali soundtrack song-Rumble in the Jungle (1996).
For more information on any musician or event reviewed in posts, or for additional information on the Wandering Eyes Blog overall, use the search bar and search the artist or event using keywords. It’s like a Google search for the site. A myriad of information, covering several topics exists on this site going back to 2013 when it was created. PEACE!