October 30 – Midsummer Night, Grapevine, Imagine, Beasties

1935

Black-and-white film masterpiece A Midsummer Night’s Dream (*) is released.

Actors include (18-year-old Tokyo born) Olivia de Havilland (*), Joe E. Brown, James Cagney, (14-year-old vaudeville son) Mickey Rooney (broke his leg during filming) (*), Dick Powell, Victor Jory.

With incidental music by Felix Mendelssohn (which premiered in Potsdam on Oct. 14, 1843), and choreography by Njinsky’s sister, it wins Academy awards for Best Cinematography (the result of a write-in campaign) and Best Film Editing.

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear.
~ Puck

 Stills  Gallery ▷Youtube clips▹

1968

Motown releases the Marvin Gaye recording of I Heard It Through the Grapevine on Tamla 54176. It goes US#1 on December 14 (UK#1 in 1969).

While it had previously been recorded by other Motown acts (it was a USR&B#1 hit – released as Soul 35039 Sep. 28, 1967 – for Gladys Knight & the Pips ), it becomes Gaye’s signature song.

An 11-minute cover appears on Creedence Clearwater Revival album Cosmo’s Factory, a US#1 on Aug. 22, 1970. In 1985, Gaye’s rendition co-stars in a famous UK Levi’s commercial .

1971

John Lennon‘s solo (with a little help from ‘is friends) album Imagine goes to #1 worldwide. Imagine (live) 

Helpers included King Curtis, Nicky Hopkins, Phil Spector, Klaus Voormann and many more. Oh well … well, well, well.

1986


First mainstream US#1 rap album

Hip-hoppers the Beastie Boys release their debut album, Licensed to Ill.

The first hip-hop LP to top the Billboard 200 chart, it sells 5 million copies. The cut (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right helped a little.

The original album title? ‘Don’t Be A Faggot’. Columbia talked Russell Simmons into getting that fixed.

October 29 – Don Giovanni, My Generation, ? and the Mysterians

1787

Mozart conducts the premiere of one of his great operas, Don Giovanni, with Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte, in Prague, Bohemia.

Da Ponte recalled ‘the enthusiasm of the Bohemians’ for Mozart, their appreciation even of ‘the pieces least admired in other countries,’ and their ability to understand ‘perfectly’ a genius whom other nations recognized only ‘after many, many performances.’

Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard called it “a work without blemish, of uninterrupted perfection.”

A piece appearing in the Prager Neue Zeitung shortly after Mozart’s death expresses this sentiment: ‘Mozart seems to have written for the people of Bohemia, his music is understood nowhere better than in Prague, and even in the countryside it is widely loved.’

The Don Juan subject (dates to 1630) has been made into countless films; the opera itself is adapted to a highly-regarded film(*) in 1979; Lorin Maazel conducting the Paris Opera Orchestra. Note: librettist Da Ponti’s life story is an interesting one.

Harnoncourt:DG Overture  1979 film (3 hrs)    Audio: WFMT show on DonG (Stream, 59m)  ‘Prague’ Symphony 

1965

British rockers The Who release a new single, My Generation (*).

It climbs to UK#2, but only US#74, despite an airing on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Eventually Rolling Stone will name it #11 on their top-500 songs list.

The rushed debut Who album (same name)(*) is released December 3, going to UK#5 and nowhere in the US charts. (It’s widely heard within the 60s counterculture; the US mainstream doesn’t notice The Who until 1969’s double-album Tommy.) In 2006 NME names My Generation #49 on their 100 Greatest British Albums list (*).

 ( Website Out in the Street  The Kids are All Right 

1966

Bay City, MI band ? & the Mysterians have a US#1, CA#1 hit with their garage rock classic 96 Tears on Cameo-Parkway Records. Live  Record 

The original song title was ’69 Tears'; the original pressing (Pa-Go-Go Records #102) was 750 copies. (*) It makes them the first Latino rock group with a major hit.

’96 Tears’ (with a Vox organ played by 14-year-old Frank Rodriguez) appears on their 12-track 1966 debut album (US#66). Followup 1967 album Action includes single Can’t Get Enough of You Baby (US#56) (also a US#27 for Smash Mouth in 1998).

The name The Mysterians came from a 1957 Japanese sci-fi film (by Godzilla father Ishiru Honda), in which aliens arrive to conquer Earth. Hòrale!

 ( Website▷CB: Bio▹ (*) ▷about Pa-Go-Go▹ ▷Michigan RnR Legends▹ ▷Retrokimmer▹

October 28 – 50s tape music, Ian & Sylvia

1952

First public performance of tape music by Vladimir Ussachevsky and Otto Luening at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

In the years before electronic musicians have access to computers, they are exploring the new technology of tape-recording. Using tape for composition or accompaniment can be very tedious. For example, at the time of the MOMA concert, John Cage is at work on his (somewhat more famous) Williams Mix. It involves recording 600 sounds, chopping up the tapes into pieces and splicing them into one of 8 tapes. With help, it takes him a year to complete the 4 minutes and 15 seconds piece. (It’s first heard March 21, 1953.)

Ussachevsky and Luening soon join forces to co-found the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center with Milton Babbitt and Roger Sessions. Making music on really, really slow computers, they will learn, is even harder.

Luening:Low Speed (1952 4m)  Ussachevsky: Piece for tape recorder (1956 6m)  Cage:Williams Mix (1953 6m)  Vinyl Collection: Electronic Music (1950-1969 10m) 

See also: Halim El-Dabh, Society for Electro-Acoustic Music US

1963

Ian and Sylvia Tyson folk masterpiece Four Strong Winds (writen by Ian, first recorded by The Brothers Four) climbs to #9 on Canadian charts.

It’s pure Canadian, so it’s a Beauty, ey. It’s later covered by Neil Young (on 1978 album Comes a Time), and by dozens of others. Their second album, Four Strong Winds was released in April, 1964; the two were married that June.

October 25 – Swing dance, Stones, Tull, Rolling Thunder

1938Too Bad for Hitler

A Catholic archbishop in Iowa (!) denounces jazzy swing music as “a degenerated musical system… turned loose to gnaw away at the moral fiber of young people”.

Swing is popular from 1935-1945 along with ‘wild’ swing dancing.

Interestingly Swing was known as ‘degenerate art’ to foreign Nazis in Hitler Germany where the Hitler Youth closely observed the Swing Kids. 300 were arrested in 1941. The 1993 film Swing Kids explores the era.

Attacks on pop music continued through the 1960s – and beyond (*) – often likewise, motivated by racism, and otherwise by those people who fear anything new.

1964


Stones, 1964

British invasion rockers The Rolling Stones make the first of six appearances on CBS TV’s The Ed Sullivan Show.

They sing Chuck Berry‘s Around and Around and Time Is on My Side.

1968

Unique (rock bands with flute-players are fairly scarce) British group Jethro Tull releases its first album This Was, recorded for only £1200.

It reaches UK#10. Beggar’s Farm  Tull’s been playing ever since: A Billion Hands Concert was held on December 5, 2008! The band has sold 60 million albums worldwide.

1975


Yep, that’s whiteface

Rocker Bob Dylan‘s Rolling Thunder Revue tour hits the road.

In two legs (the first a success), it (and Scarlet Rivera‘s fine gypsy fiddling) lasts ’til May 25, 1976. As a souvenir of the tour, the great live album Hard Rain (US#14, UK#3) is released in September. Coffee  Coffee (tour) Hard Rain  Idiot Wind 

October 24 – Harlem hits, White Swan, Relax, Movin Out

1942

Billboard starts a race music chart called The Harlem Hit Parade (*)

In Feb. 1945 the chart’s name becomes Juke Box Race Records. In June 1949 the name becomes Rhythm and Blues Records.

Prior to the emergence of rhythm & blues as a musical genre in the 1940s, ‘race music’ and ‘race records’ were terms used to categorize practically all types of African-American music. Race records were the first examples of popular music recorded by and marketed to black Americans…. During the 1920s and 1930s … approximately 10,000 blues, 3,250 jazz, and 1,750 gospel songs were produced…

And now you know the rest of the story.
Extra credit: Compare Ernie Tubb’s 1943 country tune: Mamie Smith, 1920 

▷AllMusic:Early R&B▹ ▷R&B ’42 to ’54▹ ▷Scaruffi:R&B▹ ▷Emusic Dozen:HHP▹

See also: List of number-one rhythm and blues hits(1942-1959), Black Swan Records (founded 1921, Harlem)

1970

English rock band T.Rex releases it’s first hit single Ride a White Swan.

Produced by Tony Visconti, climbing to a UK#2 in January 1971, ‘Swan’ is credited with starting Glam rock.

The band is fronted by guitarist, singer and songwriter Marc Bolan (Mark Feld) who enjoys a brief solo career before a tragic 1977 auto death.  ( Fansite

See also: Alvin Stardust  Gary Glitter  Leningrad Cowboys 

1983
Thanks to being banned by the BBC, Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood goes to #1 … and becomes one of the top-ten best-selling UK singles ever! Nice of the Beeb.

2002

Broadway opening of Movin’ Out, a jukebox musical featuring the songs of US musician, composer Billy Joel.

Conceived by Twyla Tharp, the story of kids growing up on Long Island during the 1960s sees 2400 performances in 5 years in the US, winning Tony Awards for choreography and orchestration. A 2006 London run lasts only two months. What the hey?

October 22 – Met, 66 Supremes, Mookie

1883

Opening of the Metropolitan Opera House in NYC.

The first public radio broadcast aired a Met performance on Jan. 12, 1910. Weekly live Texaco-Metropolitan Opera Network broadcasts on the NBC Red Network began with Hansel and Gretel on Dec. 25, 1931 and have been heard ever since.

1966

The Supremes become the first all-girl group to score a US#1 album, the stack-o-Motown called The Supremes A’ Go-Go.

As always it’s all over the radio. Most of the songs are by Motown‘s songwriting locomotive Holland-Dozier-Holland. Songs include You Can’t Hurry Love and Baby I Need Your Loving. The well-seasoned Funk Brothers sound even more effortless than usual.

1990

What will become the Seattle alt-rock band Pearl Jam plays its first official show as “Mookie Blaylock” at the Off Ramp club.

They’re supporting Inspector Luv and the Ride Me Babies (who later became Green Apple Quick Step). Their first release is, logically, Release.

Formed out of Mother Love Bone after the heroin death of Andy Wood (*), PJ releases it’s first album Ten in August, 1991.

In 2009 PJ makes the US top-10 single charts for the first time since 1993 (16 years!) with Brother. No singles are released! but Ten is reissued. Yep … nostalgia hit.

 ( Website
▷Pearl Jam timeline at IA▹
▷Five Horizons Concert Chronology▹
▷RS PJ page▹

October 21 – My Bonnie, Pentagon levitates, Ommadawn, Camper van Beethoven

1961

Polydor Records releases a single with singer/guitarist Tony Sheridan singing My Bonnie. On the flip side is When the Saints Go Marching In.

Tony Sheridan and The Beat Brothers made the recording in Hamburg, Germany. The single, Polydor NH24673 with McCartney on bass, marks The Beatles‘ first appearance on commercial vinyl.

In the US, Decca Records releases the very limited 31382 single (one of the scarcest) on Apr. 4, 1962. (*)

1967

The ‘Exorcism of the Pentagon’, including a levitation and a performance by band The Fugs, is part of a demonstration by 100,000 in Washington DC. CIA Man 

It’s organized by the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam. 682 are arrested and dozens injured. There are parallel demonstrations in Japan and Europe; in London 3,000 demonstrators attempt to storm the US Embassy. Newsreel 

A famous photo shows a flower (one of 10,000 originally intended to be dropped on the Pentagon) placed in the barrel of a rifle by George Harris.(*)

Leaders like Morris Udall, Daniel Ellsberg and Robert McNamara later stated that the demonstration changed their minds about the war. (*) March film 

1975

Mike Oldfield releases third album Ommadawn.

It rises to UK#4. More relaxed and listenable than his flashier debut Tubular Bells. Nothing to prove any more. The lyrics are a translation into Gaelic of ‘Daddy’s in bed, The cats drinking milk, I’m an idiot, And I’m laughing.’

Side two ends with a delightful third track, ‘On Horseback'; drums by William Murray. Horseback 

 ( Website ( Fansite

1977

US hard rock vocalist Meat Loaf (Michael Aday) releases his second album, Bat Out of Hell.

By 2010 it becomes the world’s fifth-best-selling album … 43 million copies. Track Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad reaches US#11, Meatloaf’s best. Track Paradise By The Dashboard Light only reaches US#39 but is enduringly popular. Both songs are written by US producer Jim Steinman ▷Bio▹ ▷MeFi▹.

Meatloaf also appears as a biker in cult favorite film The Rocky Horror Picture Show – which ain’t bad either.
 ( Meatloaf site  ( Steinman fansite  ~ Meat Loaf 

1989

Redmonds, CA alt-rock band Camper Van Beethoven(*) makes USMRT#1 with a single from their 5th album Key Lime Pie. The dandy Status Quo cover is called Pictures of Matchstick Men.
 
It opens with a catchy riff played on a violin no less, lifted from 1967 Vanilla Fudge US#6 hit You Keep Me Hangin’ On (itself a Supremes cover). Alas it’s been four years since Camper’s 1985 debut album Telephone Free Landslide Victory, and in 1990 the band packs it in.
 
But ‘Pictures’ and a debut album track called Take the Skinheads Bowling   MP3  keep the band on the radio for years. After 14 years, the band reforms in 2004 to release a new album called New Roman Times on Oct. 12. And 8th studio album La Costa Perdida appears on Jan. 22, 2013.
 
 ( Website ▷Dave Lowery blog, Hits are Black Swans