7 February

Pick a Day

7 FEBRUARY

In Music History

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2012 Alicia Keys and Nas join Jay-Z at the second of two charity concerts he holds at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The concerts raise $3.5 million for the United Way and the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation.

2009 Jazz singer Blossom Dearie dies in her sleep at age 84.

2000 Dave Peverett (original lead vocalist for Foghat, guitarist for Savoy Brown) dies of cancer at age 56.

2000 Rapper Big Pun, real name Christopher Lee Rios, dies at age 28 of a heart attack and respiratory failure.

1997 Sarah McLachlan marries her drummer, Ashwin Sood, in Negril, Jamaica.

1994 Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski dies of cancer at age 81.

1993 Neil Young records a live set on MTV's Unplugged. Fraught with trouble due to Young's displeasure over the performances of his backing band, it's still released as an album later that year.

1989 The Georgia State Representative Billy Randall introduces a bill to make Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" the official state rock song. It doesn't pass.

1981 ABC begins airing the first installment of the mini-series Elvis and Me, based on ex-wife Priscilla Presley's book of the same name.

1980 Twelve days before his death, Bon Scott goes to the UFO concert at the Hammersmith Odeon in London.

1979 Stephen Stills records the first major-label album using all-digital equipment, but it's never released, which means that Ry Cooder's Bop Till You Drop will get the honor.

1976 Elvis Presley records "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain."

1976 Paul Simon's "Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover" begins its three-week run at #1 in America.

1974 Barry White's "Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up" and his album Stone Gon' are certified gold.

1974 The Love Unlimited Orchestra's "Love's Theme" and their album Under the Influence of Love Unlimited are certified gold.

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Pink Floyd Perform The Wall For First Time

1980

At the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, Pink Floyd stage the first production of The Wall, an immersive concert performance in which a giant wall is erected on stage as the band plays, representing the alienation between audience and performer.


The Wall album was released in November 1979. Composed almost entirely by group leader Roger Waters, it is a manifestation of the emotional wounds of his childhood, notably the death of his father months before he was born and the authoritarian teachers of his grammar school. These wounds can be seen as bricks that when mortared together, form an impenetrable wall. It's a feeling he got when Pink Floyd toured stadiums for the first time in 1977: there was no real connection between the massive crowds and the music. The album has already sold millions and spawned a #1 UK single, "Another Brick In The Wall (part II)," which in March also hits #1 in America. They could easily support another stadium tour, but that would violate the ethos of the album, so Waters insists on indoor venues. He also insists on a production like no other, centered on the giant wall that is erected while the band is performing. The show opens with a master of ceremonies (local Cynthia Fox) welcoming the crowd as a decoy band wearing masks takes the stage and starts playing "In the Flesh?" At the end of the song, a model airplane crashes into the portion of the wall that has been built and the real Pink Floyd emerges. They play the rest of the album in order as the wall is constructed around them. At various intervals, 30-foot-tall inflatable puppets appear, representing grotesque caricatures of a school teacher, mother and wife. When the wall is completed, it becomes a screen, with animated images projected onto it. Both the puppets and animations come courtesy of Gerald Scarfe, who did the album art. During "Comfortably Numb," one of just three songs on the album Roger Waters and David Gilmour wrote together, Water appears in front of the 33-foot wall, then Gilmour appears on top of it, thanks to a hydraulic lift. At the conclusion of the song "The Trial," the wall comes crumbling down and the band, along with the additional musicians, show themselves to perform the final number, "Outside The Wall." This is not a production that can be loaded into trucks and performed elsewhere the next day; it hits only five cities, playing several shows in each before moving on to the next one. There are just 31 total performances, and because they are relatively small venues, it's a money-losing operation, a statement of sorts on the greed that has engulfed the industry. According to Waters, a Philadelphia promoter offered them millions to bring the show to JFK Stadium, but he refused. There is also no concert film, so to see it, you had to be there. Other bands stage grand productions, but The Wall tour stands out for its intimacy - arenas instead of venues. It's also not a money grab, putting art before commerce, quite a contrast to the 1981 Rolling Stones tour, which is sponsored by Jovan fragrances. It's also the only case of a band at the peak of its powers performing their new album from start to finish with no songs mixed in from their catalog. Pink Floyd splits up in 1983, but Gilmour and original member Nick Mason resume operations in 1986, leading Waters to file a lawsuit trying to get the band dissolved. He's unsuccessful, and Pink Floyd moves forward without him. As part of a settlement, he's granted the copyright to The Wall, allowing him to put on the production again if he wants to. In 1990, he does just that, performing The Wall with a passel of special guests at the site of the Berlin Wall, which came down eight months earlier. He revives it once again in 2010 as a touring production, performing it through 2013.

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