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On September 26th, in 1937, on US Route 61, near Clarksdale, Mississippi-The Empress of the Blues-Singer, Dancer, Comedian, Promoter, Showcase Founder and Actress-Bessie Smith returned home. As the story goes, her man Richard Morgan was driving his Packard down the road with Bessie riding shotgun. They were headed to Memphis when they came upon a slow moving truck that Morgan attempted to pass on the left. He was going too fast and misjudged the distance. As a result, he nicked the rear left corner of the truck’s bumper, causing the tailgate of the truck to take off the hood of Morgan’s car.
Since he was on the driver’s side, Bessie caught all the tailgate. Morgan walked away from the accident largely unharmed. Bessie got her start with Ma Rainey and went on to have her own troupe. During the Great Depression, she continued to sing and dabble in bootlegging. She also was one of the first female Blues singers to make overt sexual references in her lyrics and pen most, if not all of her own songs. Her first recording sold over 750,000 copies in a few months (1923-Down Hearted Blues). She’s like a female 2 Live Crew of the 20s. Check out the movie starring Latifah, it’s quite accurate on Bessie’s life. She was 43 years-old when she died.
On September 26th, in 1965, GQ’s older lady in Juice, model, mother of 4, actress, singer, songwriter, original co-founding member & lead singer for En Vogue-Cindy Herron (Cynthia Ann Herron) was born in San Francisco, California. Little known fact: Herron’s father is Black & her mother is White. She grew up during the height of the Civil Rights and Hippie/Free Love movement. The area was very diverse. She began signing on San Francisco’s cabaret scene, and did live and session backup vocals for other artists in the Bay area.
She modeled as well. Being Jet’s Beauty of the Week in 1980, Miss Black California, Miss San Francisco in 1986, and 2nd runner up for Miss California that same year. Around 1988 Herron, Maxine Jones & Dawn Robinson were all chosen by 80s R&B seminal producers-(Denzil) Foster & (Thomas) McElroy to sing in an all-female vocal trio. They added Terry Ellis, and came out the gate strong as En Vogue. Herron has appeared in over 8 films and 16 TV shows from 1980 to 2017. She sings lead on most of the songs En Vogue recorded: that’s 7 LPs from 1990 to 2018. She’s 53 today!
On September 26th, in 2003, original Power Station co-founder, member, lead singer, songwriter and solo superstar-Robert Palmer (Robert Allen Palmer), passed away from a heart attack at a hotel in Paris, France after doing a TV show appearance. Palmer had a unique voice. One of those voices that when you heard it for a second time, you knew exactly who the artist was. Palmer started out on Island Records in the mid 70s. He was heavily influenced by NOLA funk outfits like the Meters & Little Feat. He recorded reggae covers, had a few singles that charted, and his vocals were definitely strong then.
However, in the mid 80s, he formed a super group with Duran Duran’s former guitarist & bassist-Andy Taylor & John Taylor, and Chic’s former drummer Tony Thompson. His New Wave Band Power Station added a more soulful and funky side to the MTV generation’s fascination with the genre. Up to that point, a lot of the acts were more electronic and had a pop feel to them (Devo, Go-Go’s, Pet Shop Boys, Cyndi Lauper, Culture Club, Madonna), aside from bands like the Police, the Eurhythmics and Duran Duran. After he left Power Station, he continued to do just as well, if not better at making his voice heard and keeping it recognizable. Nobody could come out and sound Like Palmer, he had his own lane. He was 54 years-old when he passed away.
Social Study-Interesting facts about performers’ venue preferences: On September 26th, in 2003, the results of a survey were published that focused on the quirky requests artists make backstage at the venues they are to perform at. The results showed that The Red Hot Chili Peppers request that promoters provide a meditation room, and a selection of particular aromatherapy candles. Even wilder, Limp Bizkit required that all the lights backstage, and in their dressing rooms can be dimmed.
Van Halen makes the promoter trim, not peel their celery. Barry Manilow has to have it cold, 65 degrees air temp please. Last but not least, Mariah Caery has to have straws that bend, no straight straws backstage. It’s interesting that all of these artists have particular requirements to perform. I wonder the requirements they had when they weren’t well-known, when they first started? Somewhere that gets lost. The original hunger and passion. It doesn’t mean the music suffers, but still, I can feel em, in a way. I mean, if I could eat Salmon, why have sardines?
A Tale of the Cyber Bootleg: On September 26th, in 2016, one of the royalties rapists of artists for at least a century, the corporate commercial monolith greedy entity-Universal-Warner Brothers-Sony, and a few other bloodsuckers of the entertainers filed a lawsuit against YouTube-mp3.org. We all know the site…if it’s a song you want but don’t have, you just convert the video to mp3. The label execs alleged that mad folks were putting up videos of music that they owned the rights to…and they received no dough for it…pause…so what?!
How much money have y’all made, how much of that did the artist get paid? It’s all in the game y’all, Karma…Anyways, they claimed that people could rip the videos to MP3 files for free. The company, which is based in Germany, was told by the prosecution that: tens or even hundreds of millions of tracks are illegally copied and distributed by stream ripping services each month…Whatever, get ya game up and stop whining. I’m not sure what happened with the lawsuit, but it’s probably safe to say that all of the labels started policing the music they owned more heavily to curb the ripping.
Honorable Mention: On September 26th, in 1936, Winnie Mandela (Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela) was born in Mbizana, Pondoland, South Africa. She was an anti-Apartheid Activist, spouse of Nelson Mandela, and Pan-Africanist. She helped mobilize women in the movement, served on South Africa’s Parliament from 1994-two years after Mandela was released, to 2003. She also was member of the ANC (African National Congress), & headed the ANC’s Women’s League. She was 81 years-old when she passed away.
On September 26th, in 1954, singer, songwriter and guitarist for the Latino based band-Los Lobos (the wolves)-Cesar J. Rosas was born in Hermosillo, Mexico. He helped put Chicano-Rock on the map and was heavily influenced by Carlos Santana. He disbanded Los Lobos and started another band called Los Super Seven. He’d perform at the White House for then POTUS Barack Obama in 2009. Rosas is most know for his cover of the Ritchie Valens tune La Bamba. They had a number 1 hit with this song in the US & UK in 1987. He’s 64 today!
On September 26th, in 1965, The Who split up after a show. As the story goes, lead singer Roger Daltry got kicked out of the band because he stole on Keith Moon, knocked him cold out. Tempers flared most likely due to over working. They had played two shows that night, out in Denmark. Sources claim that all four of the members were arguing, but Daltry bombed first. He was reinstated the next day. Such is Rock ‘n’ Roll.
(SEX), DRUGS & (ROCK ‘n’ ROLL): On September 26th, in 1968, Brian Jones-Harmonica Player, Guitarist, Singer, Songwriter and Composer for the Rock band Rolling Stones was fined about $100 after pleading guilty to weed possession. 28 Years later, the Bobbies of London (cops) raided the home of Michael Hutchence (lead singer INXS) and Paula Yates (his lady). They found some drugs in a Smarties tube while the couple were in Australia. Shameful, raiding their house and they weren’t even there…stupid too because they could avoid the case by staying abroad.
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 Plethora of information, covering several topics exists on this site going back to 2013 when it was created. PEACE!