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On October 15th, in 1938, singer, pianist, songwriter and the first person to have a single released on the Motown imprint-Marv Earl Johnson was born in Detroit, Michigan. Gordy discovered Johnson singing at a carnival in Detroit. The song he recorded was called Come to Me, written by Berry Gordy. It was released on Tamla records, which was the original name for Gordy’s record company before he changed it to Motown. The song was released in May of 1959. It cracked the top 40 (peaked at number 30 on the US pop chart).
Johnson did even better on the charts with his single he released a year later-Way You Love (1960), reaching the top 10 on the singles chart (number 9). Johnson would make it to the top ten one more time, in 1969 for his single-I'll Pick A Rose for My Rose. The song peaked at number 10 on the UK singles chart (it never charted in the US). Johnson recorded about 25 singles from 1959 to 1970. He also released 4 LPs from 1960 to 1969 (Marvelous Marv Johnson 1960, More Marv Johnson 1961, I Believe 1966, I’ll Pick a Rose for My Rose 1969). He wrote and worked for Motown throughout the 70s. He passed away in 1993, he was 54.
On October 15th, in 1931, Jazz pianist, composer, arranger, singer, brother of Nat King Cole and uncle of Natalie Cole-Lionel Frederick Cole AKA Freddy Cole was born in Chicago, Illinois. Cole began playing the piano around age six, he continued his formal studies at the Roosevelt Institute in Chicago during his teens. In the early 50s he moved to New York City and studied at Juilliard School of Music. After graduating from there, he got a masters from the New England Conservatory of Music. In the mid 50s, Cole recorded for Okeh Records, joined and toured with Earl Bostic’s band.
He started working closely with Grover Washington Jr. in the 70s. He also did some television and jingle music for Turner Classic Movies. Cole recorded for 4 imprints in all: Fantasy, Okeh, Telarc and HighNote. He’s regarded as: ‘The Cole that nobody knows”, and even had a documentary made about him that has the same title. It came out in 2006. Cole has an extensive discography, releasing over 40 LPs from 1964 to 2018. He’s worked on many levels within the music world: Pop vocals, Jazz Hard Bop-Standard-Post Bop-Fusion, Jazz vocals, R&B and Soul. His accomplishments are commonly overshadowed by his brother Nat & niece Natalie, but make no mistake, Freddy did his thing. He’s 87 today!
On October 15th, in 1953, singer, guitarist, songwriter, third eldest son in the Jackson family, and the typically quiet one in the Jackson 5 group-Tito Jackson (Toriano Adaryll ‘Tito’ Jackson) was born in Gary, Indiana. Tito accomplished much with his brothers in the Jackson 5 (Marlon, Jermaine, Michael, Jackie, later Randy would join making them the Jacksons-no longer the Jackson 5). Tito plays a mean guitar, that I think a lot of listeners overlook due to the focus on Michael, and the assumption that the other Jackson brothers are back up singers, not musicians. You can really hear him playing his own style on the Going Back to Indiana Live LP.
Especially on the Walk On By Melody. Hank Shocklee most famously sampled this guitar lick laid by Tito. Overall though, all the guitar rhythms, solos and riffs on Jackson LPs are nicely done, and that’s Tito. The instrumentation on the Jacksons LPs are very good, and it was mostly children that were makin git. The Jacksons wer a unique Motown group in that way, all their music was played by them, unlike the Tempts, Tops and Supremes that relied on the Funk Brothers…The Jackson were their own Funk Brothers and Tito was on lead guitar. He recorded some solo LPs for Epic in the late 80s and early 90s, but his best work is with his brothers. He’s 65 today.
On October 15th, in 1973, guitarist, songwriter, musician, founding member of Rolling Stones and the All-Star Rock collective The Mac Band-Kieth Richards was in trouble with the law again. I like Keith because of his brashness and middle finger to authority…or anyone for that matter. He’s been charged many a time by the folks. Let’s see what he was in hot water for this time…Seems the homey was found guilty of selling marijuana…these charges weren’t some small time dimes though, no, they got him for trafficking. This went down in the courts of Nice, France. He didn’t do any jail time, but he did have to pay a $5000 fine and was given a one-year suspended sentence…pending he didn’t get into any other trouble during that year.
Nice officials didn’t stop there, they also banned Richards from planting his feet on any French soil for two years. Wow, Nice isn’t nice at all. On the same day, exactly 23 years later (1996), drummer and Motley Crue member-Tommy Lee had a run in with the cops. He was arrested and charged with assault for swinging on a guy trying to take pictures of him and his then wife-Pamela Anderson. It all went down outside of a nightclub in Los Angeles. Tommy Lee went to court and pleaded guilty. He got 4 months. The criminal justice officials sure do hate celebrities, especially musicians. It’s like they actually enjoy catching famous people doing ‘bad’ things. That’s very sickening…haters…
On October 15th, in 1917, author educator, musician and musical intstrument inventor-Paul Tanner was born in Skunk Hollow, Kentucky. Tanner started off as a Trombone player for the Glenn Miller Orchestra during the late 30s. During WWII, he played in the USAAF Band (United States Army Air Force). After the war ended, he attended college, gaining 3 degrees and then started writing and performing music in Hollywood (late 50s). Around the same time, he and Bob Whitsell invented the Electro-Theremin. It mimicks the sound of the Theremin, but adds a portamento and tone that’s distinctive to the electronic version of the instrument…
it’s like a piano patch simulated on an organ, and the tone of an actual analog piano sound similar, but are distinctly different. Tanner began to use the electro-theremin for film production companies in Hollywood (early 60s). From 1963 to 1966, Tanner was responsible for playing the instrument on the intro to My Favorite Martian (CBS). He also played the instrument on Beach Boys recordings like Good Vibrations, Wild Honey and I Just Wasn't Made for These Times. Tanner (l) left an indelible imprint on music with his Elctro-Theremin. He passed away in 2013, he was 95 years-old.
Honorable Mention: On October 15th, in 1906, Female Blues Legend, singer, songwriter, record company owner, sister to Addie Sweet Peas Spivey and pianist-Victoria (Regina) Spivey AKA Queen Victoria was born in Houston, Texas. Spivey is most known for her songs-Black Snake Blues (1926), Dope Head Blues (1927) and Organ Grinder Blues (1928). She performed vaudeville with her sister Sweet Peas during the 20s-30s, and co-founded Spivey records in 1962. She recorded a number of singles on 6 different lables. She passed away in 1976.
On October 15th, in 1912, pianist, arranger, singer, songwriter, friend of Nat King Cole & Ma Rainey’s fill-in pianist-Nellie (Rose) Lutcher was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Nellie’s career spanned over 8 decades, she was 12 when she first started performing with her siblings. By age 15, she was toruing with Clarence Hart’s Imperial Jazz Band. She influenced Blues, Jazz and Soul music for eighty years. She passed away in 2007. She was 95 years-old.
On October 15th, in 1925, Blues, R&B, Jazz and Funk guitarist-Mickey Baker (MacHouston Baker) was born in Louisville, Kentucky. Mickey Baker is resposnbile for showing Sylvia Robinson (Sugarhill Records) how to play guitar. They sang as a duo in the 50s. Baker performed with several groups and put out solo work from the 50s to the early 90s. He passed away in 2012 in Toulouse, France. He was 87 years-old.
On October 15th, in 1983, the US R&B and US Pop Chart had two nice joints at number one. The seminal female vocal lead for Rufus-Chaka Khan, had a number one R&B single with her band-Ain’t Nobody. Today marks the first day it hit number 1. On the same day, The King of Pop-Michael Jackson & the former member of the Beatles-Paul McCartney had their duet off the Thriller LP-Say Say Say, reach number 1 on the US Pop chart. The song remained in the top spot for six weeks.
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!