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On October 26th, in 1911, the infamous vocalist coined: The Queen of Gospel Music-Mahalia Jackson (birth name Mahala Jackson-nickname Hailie) was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. She grew up in the Black Pearl section of New Orleans near the Carrollton community in Uptown New Orleans. Mahalia’s mother died when she was 5 or so, she was raised by her aunt Duke. She was baptized at 12 by Mount Moriah Baptist Church pastor-E.D. Lawrence, the same church that she got her start in. At 16, she’d move to Chicago, following the Great Migration of Blacks to the North from the South. She got a spot singing in the choir at that Greater Salem Baptist Church Choir after she sang Hand Me Down My Silver Trumpet, Gabriel.
Shortly after, she toured with the Johnson Gospel Singers and legendary Gospel musician Thomas A Dorsey. During the early 30s, Mahalia was becoming well-known for two songs-Take My Hand & Precious Lord. Mahalia was a contralto which is the lowest register for the female voice. Almost a mezzo-soprano, the voice is fairly rare, which made her unique and standout amongst her contemporaries and those that would come after. When asked why she didn’t go secular or sing the Blues, Mahalia replied: "I Sing God’s music because it makes me feel free. It gives me hope. With the Blues, when you finish, you still have the Blues." She recorded over 30 albums, is one of the most known international Gospel singers, and was an accomplished civil rights activist. She died in 1972 due to complications from diabetes. She was 60 years-old.
On October 26th, in 1951, one of the world’s most known bassists, singer, songwriter, musician, performer, P-Funk vet & James Brown mentored-Bootsy Collins (William Earl Collins) was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is the younger brother of Funk guitarist Phelps Catfish Collins who also played with James Brown & P-Funk related acts. Catfish and Bootsy got their start together in the Pacemakers with band-mates Frankie Kash Waddy & Philippe Wynne (1968). In the early 70s, when James Brown’s band quit on him, he hired the Pacemakers and their name changed to the J.B.’s. This is where Bootsy learned the concept of the ‘one’, that’s accenting the first beat of a rhythm on a 4 count: ONE, two, three, four, etc.
He learned this ONE concept in less than a year, because James fired them and hired others to replace them (such is the saga of musicians). Some of the Funkiest songs ever associated with James came out of this 11-month tenure-Sex Machine, The Grunt, Super Bad, Soul Power and Talkin’ Loud. After leaving the J.B.’s and forming the House Guests with Catfish, they ran across Funkadelic with George Clinton. Bootsy recalls how everyone was saying to him: You need to meet George, You need to see/hear/get up with Funkadelic. The two met and had an experience on the highway where they were being followed by aliens or a spacecraft. They performed together from that point on. Making songs for Parliament, Bootsy’s Rubber Band, Funkadelic, Brides of Funkenstein & Parlet. Bootsy is infamously known for his vocals and Funky slap bass playing style. He’s 67 today.
On October 26th, in 1991, we lost a great Rock concert promoter to another dreaded crash in a vehicle that roams the sky-Helicopter crash with Bill Graham (Wulf Wolodia Grajonca). He was an infamous promoter from the early 60s up to his death in 1991. The Berlin, Germany native passed away in the crash that happened in Northern California near Vallejo. He got his start on a whim in the Haight Ashbury area (San Francisco) during the height of the Hippie subculture. His first concert was a benefit event he co-conceived and promoted with Chet Helms. After doing a few more free concerts, he found that the business of concert promoting could generate a lot of revenue. Thus, he assembled a team, going at it full-time.
Some of the acts he promoted shows for were Janis Joplin, The Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe & the Fish, Bob Dylan, The Allman Brothers, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, and The Fugs. Graham also briefly owned a record label-Fillmore Records, signing Elvin Bishop, Rod Stewart, J. Geils Band & Cold Blood. He was killed in 1991 when the helicopter he was riding in flew too low and collided with a Pacific Gas & Electric tower near Vallejo, California. The helicopter and the PG&E transmission tower exploded upon impact killing all three passengers: Bill Graham, Melissa Gold-girlfriend, and the pilot-Steve Kahn. He was 60 when he passed away.
On October 26th, in 2007, Pete Doherty was in hot water with the London police. The pianist, guitarist, melodica player, singer, poet, actor, writer, bassist, harmonica player, songwriter, co-lead singer for The Libertines, Babyshambles and the Puta Madres-Pete Doherty, was given prison time for possession of drugs and driving while under the influence. The sentence was suspended because the artists went to rehab and cleaned up his act, but this wasn’t his first violation, nor was it just regulated to DUI & possession. Doherty didn’t have any vehicle insurance or a driver’s license at the time he was caught for his DUI. In the UK they have a safety and emissions test that they call MOTs (Ministry of Transport).
Doherty was doing his thing though when he got caught. He had on his person: heroin, crack, weed and some ketamine. He got four-months at first, only four months for all of those violations…but the West London Magistrate suspended his sentence for 2 years. He could remain out of jail if he did the following: allowed the courts to ‘observe’ him for 18 months (UK for Probation), attend a year long Rehab program and remain clean for the duration (successfully achieve sobriety), and pay a fine of about $800 for not having his MOT and car insurance.
This was a hard one to write up, just off GP, because it pissed me off to be honest. So once Michael Jackson passed away in 2009, erbody associated with the King of Pop’s money or music kind of went crazy. That was expected, ya know? Recent loss, folks want to get in on his royalties or assure that they continue to get theirs, etc. However, Sony Music, the corporate gluttons they are, tried to ease Quincy Jones up out of the royalties equation for songs he’d produced for Jackson. Thus, on October 26th, in 2013. Quincy sued Sony & the Jackson estate over the discrepancy.
This is what they did: Sony & whoever was overseeing Mike’s estate decided to remix and remaster some of the Thriller tracks, but Jones, while Mike was alive, had signed a contract with Mike’s blessing to assure that them songs were only re-edited, remixed or remastered by him. However, Sony Music Entertainment took it upon themselves to re-edit some songs and take Jones off the credits. I’m not sure if he won the suit, but he sure as hell filed one against them for millions. The sad part about all of this is that if Mike were alive, it’d be a non-issue. Never trust a grieving corporation, ever…they have their monetary interests in mind, not yours...
Honorable Mention: This is historic day for the Rolling Stones. On October 26th, in 1962, they recorded their first set of songs for their demo. The personnel included Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, drummer Tony Chapman and pianist Ian Stewart. It all went down at Curly Clayton Studios in Highbury, London, England, UK. They did not record any originals, but instead did 3 Blues covers: Muddy Waters-Soon Forgotten, Jimmy Reed-Close Together and Bo Diddley-You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover.
This is another one that annoyed me, just because I grew up in the era when people stopped taking responsibility for their own behaviors (the 80s). On October 26th, in 1984, Heavy Metal Rocker Ozzy Osbourne was blamed for John D. McCollum’s suicide by his parents. They claimed that Ozzy’s Suicide Solution song off the Blizzard of Ozz LP coerced their son to shoot himself because he listened to it so much…pause…many people hear and see a lot, repeatedly, but still don’t do what they hear and see…the case was thrown out...
On October 26th, in 2007, TI got out of jail after posting $3 million for bail. He was detained with such a high bail amount for the case he caught in Atlanta: illegal possession of firearms, silencers and unregistered machine guns. The Judge in Henry County that presided over the case (Judge Alan Baverman), sentenced TI to house arrest. TI hired his own private firm to watch him 24/7. He also was given an electronic monitoring device so that the courts could keep up with his whereabouts.
Boy George Goes Gangsta! On October 26th, in 2010, the former frontman for Culture Club went ham on this lady. Boy George was at a club singing in London, England. A woman kept talking during his set, so he addressed her saying: Why don’t you shut the fu*k up you rude cu*t. He threw his drink on her and all….from the stage…the crowd was shocked….claiming ‘he flew into a rage’…He warned her first, asked her to be quiet, she didn’t in time I guess, so the drink pouring came after. Yep, I don’t like incessant talkers so I know I would’ve probably hyped him up to do it again…
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!