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On October 9th, in 1944, vocalist, and former original member of Labelle-Nona Hendryx was born in Trenton, New Jersey. Nona is unique in several ways. She is said to be a distant cousin of Jimi Hendrix, and claims her family originally spelled the surname with an I not a Y. To add, she’s an author, can play the guitar and the piano, she writes songs, produces, and acts. Nona also has done work under several genres of music: R&B, Soul, Pop, Funk, Hard Rock, New Age, Funk Rock (early Funkadelic sound) and New Wave. She got her start with Sarah Dash in the 50s. Their band was called the Del-Capris. Shortly after, they met Patricia Holte and Cindy Birdsong, who’d later become a Supreme.
The four started a group called the Bluebelles in the early 60s. They signed and recorded for Newton Records. They eventually became a trio after Birdsong left to join the Supremes. This was around the same time that Patricia changed her name to Patti, became lead vocalist and the band changed their name to Patti Labelle and the Bluebelles. They toured and recorded throughout the 60s. In the 70s, the band would change their name again to Labelle. In the early 80s, Patti and Nona went solo. Nona kept the ‘free-spirit’ mentality that the group used during the 70s, and carried it to the current date. She’s 74 today.
…‘The irony of the number 69’…On October 9th, in 1969, the BBC took a stance on censorship and sexual overtones in music. As the story goes, the producers of the show-Tops of the Pops, a show that played the top 40 hits in the UK, were battling whether to play the number 2 UK song for the first time in the show’s history...Why, you may ask? Because it had sex sounds in it, real sex sounds. The song ‘Je T’aime…Moi Non Plus’: translated it’s 2 voices, the first is a woman saying ‘I love you’ to a man during sex, the second is the guy’s reply: ‘me neither’.
The title wasn’t the problem as much as it was actress Jane Birkin & composer of the song Serge Gainsbourg using the instrumental to lay their recorded sounds in the act of love making. Folks considered it to be too over the top for the time, pun not intended. Even though this was the number 2 song, go figure, Gainsbourg’s label-Fontana dropped him. However, all was not lost, a small independent label called Major Minor Records bought the rights to the song and reissued it. The song went to number 1. It became the first French language song to reach the top spot. The owner of Fontana Records had to be sick after he sold that song…
An ironic thing, that has 1 to 365 odds, occurred on October 9th, in 1940 & 1975. John (Winston) Lennon and his only son by Yoko Ono-Sean Taro Ono Lennon were both born, albeit in separate locales. John took his first breath in the working class community of Liverpool, England. He the co-founder and songwriter of the Beatles. They sold over 20 million singles from 1962-1970. They also have more number 1 LPs than any other group. The world took notice of Lennon’s legacy when 130 countries simultaneously played Imagine in 1990 to commemorate his 50th birthday. Lennon did solo work and worked closely with Yoko Ono, David Bowie and others in the late 70s. Mark Chapman shot and killed John in 1980.
Five years prior to getting gunned down, John and Yoko had a son Sean, on John’s birthday. He’s the only child the couple share. During those 5 years, John had retired from music to be a father. His son followed closely in his father’s footsteps. Sean is a singer, actor, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist (piano, guitar, bass, drums, omnichord). Sean’s music is his own sound, it’s very Avant Garde. He’s 43 today.
On October 9th, in 1991, TV, stage and movie actor-Thalmus Rasulala (formerly know as Jack Crawford), passed away due to complications with his heart. The Redlands University graduate got his professional start in the 1970 film-The Out of Towners. He played a cop in the flick. In 1972, he got his first lead role as Sidney Lord Jones a tycoon in the Blaxploitation classic film Cool Breeze. He had major roles in 9 other films from 1972 to 1977, most of them Blaxploitation: Blacula (1972), Willie Dynamite (1974), Mr. Ricco (1975), Cornbread, Earl & Me (1975), Bucktown (1975),
Friday Foster (1975), Adios Amigos (1976), The Last Hardmen (1976) and Fun with Dick & Jane (1977). From 1986 to 1991 he was in 7 films. He also appeared on TV shows: Star Trek, Good Times, the Jefferson, Sanford & Son, One Life to Live, What’s Happening, SNL with Richard Pryor & Roots (Kunta Kinte’s Father). Interesting fact: Rasulala passed away two days before Red Foxx. On the Sanford & Son show, Rasulala was pitching heart awareness and anti-heart attack meds to Fred. Thalmus had 7 kids, 4 by his first wife and 3 by his second. He was 51 years-old when he died.
There have been a few times that music has transformed due to one individual’s creativity and innovation, Elmer Chester Snowden belongs to this group of gifted people. Snowden is responsible for birthing the Big Band Jazz sound and artists. He was born on October 9th, in 1900 to a single mother in Baltimore, Maryland. When WWI hit in 1917, he did not have to enlist as he was already listed as a professional musician in the USA census. He had trouble finding gigs in his home state. The DC area was extremely stingy about booking him, or his band (The Washingtonians) so he moved to NYC. There he recorded as a session musician for the Victor imprint (early 20s).
He did work for Bessie Smith and numerous other vocalist, but musician credit was not given at the time. As a band leader, he had Duke Ellington as a member, who would later use the remnants of the Washingtonians to form his Orchestra. Others that Snowden had in his band were Chick Webb, Count Basie, Benny Carter, Frank Newton, Rex Stewart and Jimmie Lunceford. Snowden was the Art Blakey of the 20s-30s. Without him, his leadership, sound and instruction, we’d have no ‘swing’. Ellington, Basie, Webb & Carter alone went on to have a HUGE impact on the sound of Jazz, penning standards that artists of all genres play and enjoy today. He passed away in 1973, he was 72 years-old.
Honorable Mention: ‘You Must Learn!’ On October 9th, in 1806-The man that invented and authored the Almanac-Benjamin Banneker passed away in Baltimore County, Maryland. He was a scientist, author, mathematician, astronomer, farmer, and land surveyor. His mother was Molly, a White indentured servant that when she was freed, purchased Banneke, Banneker’s father, and later married him. Banneke & Molly are both believed to be the ones responsible for giving Banneker his astronomy foundation. He was 74 years-old.
On October 9th, in 1981, Prince was booed off the stage. He was opening for the Rolling Stones at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. On the first night, Prince came out in his Dirty Mind garb-bikini briefs, stockings, heels and trench coat. About 15 minutes into his set, he had to run off the stage due to the beer cans flying his way. I bet them same beer can throwers were D riders when Purple Rain came out. Pops had the Dirty Mind LP, so I’d been up on game…
On October 9th, in 1999, the all-star benefit Netaid was going on. It was started as an event to raise awareness and money for global poverty. Some of the acts that performed were: Bono from U2, David Bowie, The Eurythmics, Robbie Williams and George Michael. The shows that were held in New York City, London and Geneva were broadcasted live over the internet. Making it one of the first benefit concerts to do so.
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!