November 21 – Drifters, Zodiacs, Sidewalk surfing, Sonique and more


Thomas Edison announces his invention of the phonograph, a device for recording sound onto tinfoil and replaying it.
Gramophone recording on wax-coated cylinders, based on Tainter’s work on Alexander Graham Bell‘s idea, is patented in 1886.
(Long, good: Charles Sumner Tainter and the Graphophone)


Premiere of Symphony #5 by Dmitri Shostakovich ,’said to have received an ovation of at least 40 minutes’.
It was the composer’s response to his denunciation as a degenerate artist in the Soviet press, as well as to a period when many friends and relatives were imprisoned or killed by the Stalinist regime.


Newly-formed doo wop/R&B vocal group The Drifters (lead singer Clyde McPhatter) have their first USR&B#1 hit with Money Honey.
In August 1954 they are part of a five-week Alan Freed Biggest R&B Show midwest-to-Brooklyn tour.(*) They would break into the mainstream in 1957 with Ben E. King singing There Goes My Baby (US#2, R&B#1).
The Drifters group was owned by George Treadwell, and there were many personnel changes in the franchise over the years. In 1988 the original Drifters enter the Rock Hall of Fame.
 ( Original Drifters site ▷Vocal Hall of Fame ▹



Doo-woppers Maurice Williams and The Zodiacs top the charts with the shortest #1 song, Stay (1:39).
Maurice was 15 when he wrote ‘Stay’. It emerges again 27 years later as part of the huge-selling Dirty Dancing soundtrack. Maurice also wrote the song Little Darlin, which was a hot, finger-poppin’ #2 for Canadian group The Diamonds in 1957.

See also: List of doo-wop musicians

Liverpool‘s five-piece black vocal group The Chants make their debut at the Cavern, with instrumental backing by The Beatles.
They’re next backed by The Harlems. In 1976, Eddie and Chris Amoo, as part of British soul group The Real Thing, have a UK#1 (USR&B#28) with You to Me Are Everything.

US surf music duo Jan and Dean‘s song Sidewalk Surfin’ (a rework of The Beach BoysCatch a Wave) makes the charts on the way to US#25.

Roller Derby skateboard

Along with the Sep. 1964 Challengers album Go Sidewalk Surfing!, it marks the emergence of the new SoCal sport of skateboarding. (Early skateboard brand-names: Nash, Makaha, Hobie, Jack’s, Banzai, Roller Derby.) ▷A History ▹
By then (for a year) the sport has Skateboarder, a magazine (*), destined to re-appear in 1975.  ( Website But the fad dies — and those clay & metal wheels gotta go! Short history 
In 1972, Frank Nasworthy invents polyurethane wheels, and starts the Cadillac Wheels Company — oh look out! By 1975 Frank’s selling 300,000 sets a year.

See also: Dogtown and Z-Boys (*), Skate Rider (started 1976), Thrasher (1981), Transworld Skateboarding (1983), Big Brother (1992) (*) The Devil’s Toy 


First release of the amazing, yearning dance song It Feels So Good by UK DJ, singer Sonique (Sonia Clarke).
The single sells 32K copies, rising to UK#24 in December. (*) A 2000 re-recording of the song (lead track on album Hear My Cry released February 14) rises in May,2000 to UK#1, US#8 and top 5 in many nations.

In 2008 it’s declared the biggest selling dance song of the 21st century. (The album makes UK#6).
 ( Website  ( Fansite

November 20 – Elvis sold, Cabaret, Alice Massacree, Shafted


RCA Victor buys Elvis Presley from Sun Records for $35,000.

Sam Phillips later claims it was a good deal because it saved his business.


Premiere of musical Cabaret at NYC’s Broadhurst Theatre.

Adapted from Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood, it runs for 1165 shows; a 1988 revival sees 2,377 shows.


Arlo Guthrie, son of famed folksinger Woody, releases album Alice’s Restaurant.

The eighteen-minute first track, the anti-draft Alice’s Restaurant Massacree, was extremely funny and a 60s counterculture favorite … especially with DJ’s who needed the time to go out for a puff. Pt.1  Pt.2  The song’s popularity raised the money for anequally funny movie in 1969.

So if you’re getting ‘injected, inspected, detected, infected, neglected and selected’? Welcome to the Group W Bench.
 ~ Underground 
 ~ UK Underground 
 ~ Undergr Bios 
 ~ Counterculture timeline 


Hayes later on

Singer Isaac Hayes scores a US#1 with an unusual soundtrack hit, the Theme From Shaft.

It’s from the MGM action film Shaft, which wins an Oscar for Best Music.

November 19 – Endtroducing DJ Shadow


24-yr-old DJ Shadow introduces a stone classic, all-samples trip-hop vinyl Lionel called Endtroducing… stamped by Mo Wax.

Akai MPC60

Just as remarkable: the whole 63-minute album is pieced together sample-by-sample, from an extensive hand-picked vinyl collection, on a lowly Akai MPC60 drum machine with 1.5MB of RAM. It so uppity-ups the game.

Just as one example of how deep the man digs: Track 7, Stem, begins with a sample from the ‘Love Suite’ (track 9) of inspired UK baroque rock duo Nirvana‘s May 1970 album To Markos III (only 250 copies pressed, a serious let-down by Island Records).  ( Nirvana UK site(*)

Stem becomes Shadow’s first top-10 hit when it reaches #9 on the Ireland singles chart. In 2002 he manages a US Hot Dance#1 in his EM-disabled home market with Six Days from second album The Private Press (UK#8, US#44).

Samples used in Endtroducing: Disc 1 Disc 2  ( DJ Shadow site Midnight in a Perfect World 

November 18 – Roberta, First live webcast


Opening on Broadway of the original production of Jerome Kern, Otto Harbach musical Roberta.

The production includes, among others, Bob Hope, Sydney Greenstreet and Fred MacMurray. The score’s the source of the multi-time hit song Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.

They said someday you’ll find
All who love are blind
Oh, when your heart’s on fire
You must realize
Smoke gets in your eyes

The show becomes a 1935 movie.

A generation later in Jan. 1959, Smoke becomes a fourth and last US#1 hit for doo wop group The Platters. In following years it’s heard at a million high-school prom dances.

Internet radio: The Rolling Stones webcast a concert on the Internet, and claim to be the first.
Nice glimmer. Turns out that Seattle band Sky Cries Mary did a webcast a few days earlier on Nov. 10, 1994.
Nice try: little known band ‘Severe Tire Damage’ did an hour-and-a-half webcast on June 24, 1993.

November 17 – Schubert, The Fall, Best-selling soundtrack


Stamp of Moldova

First performance of Franz Schubert‘s last instrumental work, the C Major String Quintet, in Vienna.

Written in Ronsperg (at his brother Ferdinand’s home) in the summer of 1828, it had been offered to a publisher on Oct. 2. But Schubert dies in November (he was 35) and it is not published until the 1880s. After his death, much of his work sat waiting for decades, much of it rescued by other composers who understood its importance.

Today the Quintet is regarded as a high point in the entire chamber music repertoire. It’s catalogued as Deutsch #956 in 1951. A performance takes about 45 minutes. Unusually it includes two cellos instead of two violas. Among many who thought it one of the greatest works of music are philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein and pianist Artur Rubinstein.

The art of music here entombed a rich possession, but even far fairer hopes. — Franz Grillparzer
… the period in which Franz Schubert wrote his Winterreise, the C-major Symphony, his last three piano sonatas, the C-major Quintet … the standard of inspiration, of magic, is miraculous and past all explanation. — Benjamin Britten, 1964

▷full scores at IMSLP▹ Zagreb Int’l, 2008 (4 parts)


English post-punk band The Fall releases 3rd studio album Grotesque.
Their first release was Aug. 11, 1978 EP Bingo-Master’s Break-Out!. Early albums made the UK Indie charts, ending with Dec. 5, 1983′s Perverted by Language. Totally Wired . At the time the band’s highly-regarded by BBC disc jockey John Peel. Since then the band has survived on a strong fanbase. With Nov. 14, 2011′s album Ersatz GB, the ‘band’ (its only constant member is Mark E. Smith) has released 29 studio albums. Nate Will Not Return 
 ( Fansite


Release of the world’s best-selling soundtrack album for the Kevin Costner, Whitney Houston romantic-thriller movie The Bodyguard.
The album is co-executive produced by Houston and Clive Davis. Its first track is a cover of Dolly Parton‘s I Will Always Love You. Certified 17× Platinum, to date it has sold over 45M copies worldwide.

See also: List of best-selling albums worldwide

November 16 – Fleetwoods, Lennon’s only solo #1


In the peak of the doo-wop years, teenaged Olympia,WA pop trio The Fleetwoods(*) enjoy a second US#1 hit with Mr. Blue.

The group’s original, very logical name was ‘Two Girls and a Guy’. The title of their first #1, Come Softly to Me, was originally just ‘Come Softly’. (It’s the first release of Dolton Records.) They’re one of the main reasons rock -finally- arrives in the Pacific Northwest region — a tiny bit less-adventurous neck of the woods. (The Wailers and The Kingsmen soon fix that.)

When Troxel is inducted into the Navy in 1959, that’s it for the big hits. A 1961 cover of Tragedy makes US#10; 1961′s (He’s) The Great Imposter makes US#30. All are heard in many films. In all they land nine top-40s. In 2006 the band is inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

▷VH1 bio▹ ▷ColorRadio page▹  ( Gretchen’s site  ( Gary’s site

See also: US 1959 #1 singles  ~ Pacific Northwest Bands 

John Lennon scores his only solo US#1, Whatever Gets You Through the Night.

It was co-released on Sep. 26 with his fifth (of 8) solo studio album, Walls and Bridges, which reaches US,CA#1, UK#6.

The second single from the album, #9 Dream, includes May Pang vocals. It’s well covered by both US band R.E.M. and Norway’s a-ha for the Make Some Noise album in 2007.