29 January

Pick a Day

29 JANUARY

In Music History

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2015 Shakira gives birth to her second child, baby boy Sasha, with Spanish soccer player Gerard Pique.

2015 Suge Knight, former bodyguard-turned-record producer, is the alleged perpetrator in a hit-and-run which leaves his friend Terry Carter dead and actor Cle Denyale Sloan injured. Knight was filming the upcoming N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton when he reportedly fled the scene after an argument and plowed into the victims. Knight's lawyer confirms the incident, but refuses to say more as he's "waiting for a preliminary investigation for more information."

2015 Rod McKuen, songwriter, poet, and composer, dies during a bout of pneumonia at age 81. Frank Sinatra's 1969 A Man Alone album was a compilation of McKuen's songs, including "Love's Been Good To Me."

2014 Johnny Allen, a pianist and arranger for Motown and Stax Records, dies of complications from pneumonia at age 96. In 1971 he, along with Isaac Hayes, won a Grammy Award for his arrangement of the "Theme From Shaft."

2013 Kenneth Hodges (bass guitarist for Spanky & Our Gang) dies of pneumonia at age 76.

2008 Prog rock band The Mars Volta release their album The Bedlam in Goliath. As a promotion, the band also gives away a CD-vinyl single, a special format with an optical side readable in CD players and a vinyl side that plays on a turntable for about three minutes. Both sides contain a cover of Pink Floyd's "Candy and a Currant Bun." The Bedlam in Goliath debuts at #3 on the Billboard 200.

1995 Ken Jensen (drummer for D.O.A.), age 29, dies of smoke inhalation while trying to escape a house fire.

1994 Mary Wilson (of The Supremes) is injured and her 14-year-old son is killed in a California auto accident.

1989 Billy Joel sings the US national anthem at Superbowl XXIII in Miami.

1985 The "We Are The World" soloists, including Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross and Bob Dylan, stumble into the morning light after an all-night recording session with producer Quincy Jones.

1982 Adam Lambert is born in Indianapolis, Indiana. After making his mark on American Idol, he goes on to a successful solo career and becomes the frontman for Queen.

1981 Blues guitar prodigy Jonny Lang is born Jon Langseth, Jr. in Fargo, North Dakota.

1977 Rose Royce's "Car Wash" hits #1 in America.

1974 Grand Funk records "The Loco-Motion" after Mark Farner comes into the studio singing the song.

1970 Elvis Presley releases "Kentucky Rain."

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Bob Dylan Meets Woody Guthrie

1961

Five days after arriving in New York from Minnesota, Bob Dylan meets his ailing folk hero, Woody Guthrie, tracking him down in East Orange, New Jersey. Dylan pays tribute with "Song To Woody," which appears on his first album the following year.


Guthrie, 48, lives at Greystone Park Psychiatric hospital in Morris Plains, New Jersey, but spends his Sundays at the apartment of Robert and Sidsel Gleason, 20 miles away in East Orange. He has been in psychiatric care since September 1954, when he checked himself into Brooklyn State Hospital; Guthrie had trouble controlling his muscles and thought he had a mental disorder. When he checked out of the hospital in May 1956, he went to Morristown, New Jersey, where he wandered the streets, homeless. When police arrested him, he spent a night in Morris County Jail and was then sent, at his request, to Greystone, where staffers assumed he had paranoid schizophrenia - his claims that he had written thousands of songs and published a book seemed implausible. Months later, they realized he had Huntington's, a hereditary disorder (Guthrie's mother had it) that causes the victim to gradually lose control of his movements. Even though his mind was sound, Guthrie's family kept him at Greystone because it was the best option - little was known about Huntington's (once known as "the shakes") or how to treat it. In 1959, when the Gleasons learned Guthrie was at Greystone, they arranged to take him every Sunday - Sidsel Gleason used to listen to Guthrie's radio show on KFVD in Los Angeles. This made it much easier for Guthrie's family, who lived in Brooklyn, to visit. The Gleasons let visitors come by when Woody was with them, and some folk singers, including Pete Seeger, Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Phil Ochs, who often stopped by. Dylan found out how to find Woody when he went to the Guthrie home in Brooklyn and talked to Woody's 13-year-old son, Arlo. Dylan, a 20-year-old singer-songwriter who came to New York after dropping out of the University of Minnesota, had read Guthrie's autobiography Bound For Glory, which detailed Guthrie's travels across America, playing his songs for anyone who would listen. Guthrie was rarely recorded, so it was up to Dylan and other folkies of his generation to secure his legacy and carry on his tradition. By the time Dylan visits Guthrie, Woody is in pretty bad shape. He can barely move or speak, let alone sing. But Guthrie loves hearing his own songs, and Dylan, a "Woody Guthrie jukebox," is happy to play them. After his visit, Dylan writes a song about his hero. In "Song To Woody," Dylan pays tribute to Guthrie, mentioning him by name so there'd be no doubt: Hey, hey Woody Guthrie, I wrote you a song 'Bout a funny ol' world that's a-comin' along Dylan incorporates some of Guthrie's songs into the lyric, peppering in bits from "1913 Massacre," "Joe Hillstrom" and "Pastures of Plenty." He plays the song to Guthrie at a later visit. In the Spring of 1961, Guthrie's family transfers him back to Brooklyn State Hospital, so the visits to the Gleasons' apartment end. "Song To Woody" appears on Dylan's self-titled debut album in 1962. Guthrie dies in 1967 at age 55. Through Dylan, a new generation discovers his songs and learns about his contributions to American music.

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