Musings On Music History: Rock Gets A Hall, We Gain A Buddy, and The World Gets The Greatest Front Man In The History Of Rock ‘N’ Roll

09.02: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened its doors on this day in 1995 in Cleveland, Ohio, forever enshrining all that is awesome and good about rock and roll, rhythm and blues, hip-hop, country, and most other genres of which one could think. Over the years, there have been many a criticism lobbied against the voting and nomination processes, with many of the progenitors of popular music ignored in favor of more popular and contemporary groups. We can’t speak to that, but one thing we can agree with is the site of the museum. Cleveland had long argued its position as the birthplace of rock and roll, with the actual coining of the term by Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed, in lobbying to be the home of the Hall of Fame, beating out Memphis, Cincinnati, and New York. Rock and roll wouldn’t be “rock and roll” without Alan Freed and Cleveland.

09.02: On this day in 1970, Genesis placed an add for a drummer in Melody Maker magazine. Phil Collins answered the ad. Lucky for us that he did. Otherwise, who knows if the world ever would have experienced the mysticism and enchantment that is “Easy Lover”(which would never have come from Genesis of the late ’60s and ’70s, but probably wouldn’t have existed without Phil’s induction into said band and his exposure to the larger world of pop music). [more]

09.04: The Animals, they of “House of the Rising Sun,” one of the first salvos in the British Invasion of the ’60s, played their first show in the U.S. at the Paramount Theater in Brooklyn, on this day in 1964. America would very quickly become Brit-happy day trippers, rolling like stones and thinking ’bout tambourine men. The work of The Animals and their contributions to Brit Invasion history has been kind of forgotten in time. Sure the Brits probably would’ve still taken over American airwaves, bringing blues back to the States, but The Animals were one of the first to do it and are still one of the best. “House Of The Rising Sun” is an old, old American folk song, and nobody’s quite sure about its origins, but The Animals claimed it as their own and will be forever attached to it.

09.04: The Beatles’ “Love Me Do” became recorded reality, for the 2nd of 3 times, on this day in 1962 at Abbey Road Studios. It’d been recorded a few months earlier with The Beatles’ first drummer, Pete Best. After Ringo joined the group, they re-recorded it. Their producer, George Martin, however, didn’t like Ringo’s drumming, so another version, the one people are most familiar with, was recorded one week later using a session drummer. Ringo was still on that version, though. He played the tambourine.

09.05: Aerosmith didn’t miss a thing on this day in 1998 when the biggest hit of their career, their one and only #1 song, hit the top of the charts and remained there for four weeks. Can you guess which song it was? If you guessed “Sweet Emotion,” you are a loser. Yes, “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” is cheesy and shmaltzy and over the top, but if it brings even a few more people into Aerosmith’s realm of rock and roll, then that’s okay. If a fan of this song happens to discover “Sweet Emotion” or “Dream On” or “Rag Doll,” then we’ll accept all of its cheese and shmaltz and over-the-top theatrics. But we will not listen to it because it will be stuck in our heads for days. Too late. Damn.

09.05: On this day in 1946, Freddie Mercury, lover of champions, fat-bottomed girls, Scaramouche, and fandangos, was born. The frontman’s frontman, Mercury’s stage presence would never be equaled by anyone, ever. The man couldn’t not be cool. We love Freddie, his passion for music, his passion for life, the way he could prowl a stage, and his incredible chops. The man could SING! Happy birthday, Freddie! We miss you, man.

09.05: On this day in 1992, John Cougar Mellencamp pounced on his matrimonial prey. The rocker married model Elaine Irwin after the two met when she was hired to appear on a Mellencamp album cover. And so the long line of model-rocker marriages would remain intact, though the Mellencamps, who were married for 18 years, lasted longer than the usual rocker-model marriage and seemed to be bucking the “use-’em-and-lose-’em” trend of divorces that hit the likes of Billy Joel, Paul McCartney, and Rod Stewart.

09.06: On this day in 1943, Roger Waters was born. Fortunately, there weren’t any floating pigs, walls, or dark sides of any moons in the delivery room. Those would come later when Roger and his little-band-that-could, Pink Floyd, took over the world.

09.07: On this day in 1936, Buddy Holly was born. One of rock ‘n’ roll’s earliest stars, it is hard for us to imagine that Holly’s career lasted all of around 18 months, from the time “That’ll Be The Day” was released on May 27, 1957, to that fateful Day The Music Died on Feb. 3, 1959. Holly didn’t invent rock ‘n’ roll, wasn’t it’s first pracitioner, but he brought songwriting to the fore, as before he came along, most perfomers had songs written for them, chosen by producers or label chiefs or even radio programmers. Holly wrote his own songs and showed that an artist could have more control over what he performed, while still churning out hits. Holly and his band, The Crickets, also did things differently in the studio, taking their time to craft the music, instead of adhering to label mandates, which usually kept the artists in tight schedules, leaving little room for experimentation. By writing his own songs and taking time in the studio to get those songs right, Holly influenced everone from The Beatles to The Beach Boys, from The Rolling Stones to Jimi Hendrix, and those artists, in turn, as you may have heard once or twice, influenced a plethora of musicians, themselves. Though Buddy Holly’s career lasted only a short while, his influence has lasted (and will continue to last), whether musicians, performers, and audiences know it or not, for over 50 years.

09.07: On this day in 1978, two weeks after his 32nd birthday, The Who’s drummer, Keith Moon, died of a drug overdose. Though he died quietly in his sleep, Moon’s death stood in concert with his destructive rock ’n’ roll attitude, which included the quintessential acts of trashing many a hotel room, blowing up his drum kit, and influencing Animal from The Muppet Show.

09.07: On this day in 1996, Tupac Shakur and Suge Knight were shot while driving in Las Vegas, after they’d been involved in a fight at a nearby casino. Shakur died six days later. His shooting has never been solved. Shakur’s prolific catalog of music is still being released. Some say he always knew he would die young, so he recorded as possible. An unfortunate martyr in the media-hyped East Coast vs. West Coast hip-hop “war”, Tupac was just beginning to realize that

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