28 July

Pick a Day

28 JULY

In Music History

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2020 The British music magazine Q publishes its last issue, ending a 34-year run.

2018 Neil Diamond stops by the command post near his home in Basalt, Colorado, to play for firefighters and rescue personnel who have been battling wildfires in the area.

2016 Marianne Ihlen, the subject of Leonard Cohen's song "So Long, Marianne," dies at 81. Before her death, Cohen sent her a letter that read, in part, "Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine." Cohen joins her in death on November 7.

2016 Katy Perry performs her songs "Roar" and "Rise" on the final night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Before she sings, she encourages voters to support Hillary Clinton.More

2004 George Williams (lead vocalist for The Tymes) dies in Maple Shade, New Jersey, at age 68.

2000 Guitarist Jerome Smith (of KC And The Sunshine Band) dies in a construction-site accident in Miami, Florida, at age 47.

1996 Jason Thirsk (bass player for Pennywise) dies from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at age 28.

1996 Marge Ganser (of The Shangri-Las) dies of breast cancer at age 48 in Valley Stream, New York.

1995 Guitarist Eddie Hinton dies from a heart attack in Birmingham, Alabama. He wrote the Dusty Springfield hit "Breakfast in Bed."

1995 After decades of legal wrangling, James Al Hendrix, surviving father of Jimi, is once again granted legal use of his son's name and likeness for merchandising.

1993 10,000 Maniacs perform with lead singer Natalie Merchant for the last time at the birthday bash for New York radio station Z100 (Bon Jovi, Duran Duran, The Proclaimers and Terence Trent D'Arby are also on the bill). Merchant launches a successful solo career and the band soldiers on without her, bringing new lead singer Mary Ramsey into the fold.

1992 Prince trademarks the male/female symbol he has been using on various album covers and promotional materials. He later re-designs the symbol and uses it as his name.More

1992 Patti LaBelle walks offstage during her concert in Warwick, Rhode Island after complaining to the audience about the catering backstage.

1990 Rapper Soulja Boy is born DeAndre Cortez Way in Chicago, Illinois.

1989 Anne Murray opens the Anne Murray Centre, a multimedia museum of her career, in her hometown of Springhill, Nova Scotia.

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Summer Jam Draws Biggest Festival Crowd Ever

1973

The "Summer Jam" concert takes place at Watkins Glen racetrack in New York, outdrawing Woodstock with a crowd of over 600,000. The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers Band, and The Band play to the massive crowd that paid $10 a ticket - if they bought one.

After the soundchecks turn into a de facto concert for the many fans who showed up the night before, the Summer Jam gets officially underway. The Band's set is interrupted by a thunderstorm. While the rest of the group seeks refuge, organist/keyboardist Garth Hudson refuses to be punked by weather and tears through a rendition of his improvisational master work "The Genetic Method." The concert grounds quickly turn into a mud bath reminiscent of the Woodstock scene from four years before. After the rain stops, the rest of The Band regains the stage and rips into "Chest Fever." The Allman Brothers Band, never one to be outdone when it comes to fortitude or indulgence, play for three hours. "In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed," "Statesboro Blues," Whipping Post," and "Les Brers in A Minor" are righteously wailed. About 150,000 people have paid $10 each for a ticket, but few, if any, have their tickets collected. All other attendees get in for free. The traffic jam resulting from the crowd is reputed by some sources to be 100 miles long. One reporter observes, "The odor of marijuana, mixed with that of exhaust smoke. Pollution—counter-culture style." A local resident sees a redheaded woman "better than 200 pounds" walk through his land with no clothes on. Later he will remark, "You couldn't help but get a kick out of something like that." The otherwise idyllic rock and dope fest is slightly tarnished by two events. The first is an incident involving Willard "Smitty" Smith of Syracuse, New York. Smith's body becomes engulfed in flames as he skydives over the concert with either a flare or an M-18 smoke grenade tied to his rig. The second event is the disappearance of Mitchel Weiser and Bonita Mara Bickwit, two teenagers attempting to hitchhike to the concert. They were never discovered. The concert goes on to enter The Guinness Book of World Records for the largest audience ever at a pop festival. Historians estimate that nearly one out of every three people aged 17-24 from Boston and New York are in attendance. Forty years later, cars abandoned by concertgoers are discovered by a maintenance crew. The Grateful Dead's So Many Roads (1965–1995), released in 1999, includes an 18-minute jam they played during sound check.

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