November 25 – YMO, 3 ladies at top, Planes Trains, Beatles 1


Japanese electronic music group Yellow Magic Orchestra releases its first, eponymous album.

It’s the first album in the world to include the world’s first ($8000) stand-alone microprocessor music sequencer, the Roland MC-8 Microcomposer. The single ‘Computer Game / Firecracker’ from the album sells 400,000 records in the US.

YMO, said to have inspired Afrika Bambaataa, is best remembered for jump-starting the career of Ryuichi Sakamoto(*). He goes on to create many solo albums (notably 1980’s B-2 Unit and its seminal track Riot in Lagos ) as well as soundtracks for videogames and movies. One of them, 1983 David Bowie film Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, wins a BAFTA Award for Best Film Music (and features Sakamoto in a lead role).(*)
 ( YMO site  ( Sakamoto site Thousand Knives 

See also: Haruomi Hosono, Yukihiro Takahashi, Tadao Kikumoto


Three female artists top the Billboard charts for the first time.

– At #1 is Cyndi Lauper, from her second album with the title single True Colors

– #2 is Tina Turner‘s Typical Male

– #3 … the third single from her third album! … is Janet Jackson‘s When I Think Of You


John Hughes‘ adult comedy road film Planes, Trains & Automobiles is released.

Steve Martin and John Candy have a weird old time getting home for Thanksgiving. A modern classic, rated a top-10 comedy film by Total Film readers in 2000.

A compliment of rock, pop and country music makes a great soundtrack for this film about everyday people (well…!) just trying to get home.

 37 years after their first time

of the

The Beatles top the charts again … with a collection of chart toppers.

Called 1, it becomes a best seller in 28 countries. Like, oh sure, it could miss. These guys can print money any time …

November 24 – Faure’s Pavane, Rutles

Debut of the delightful, wistful Pavane, Op. 50 by French composer Gabriel Faure at a Paris Concerts Lamoureux.

A ‘Pavane‘ is a slow processional Spanish court dance of the Renaissance. Faure’s piano original is often performed at a slower tempo than he intended.

Another famous modern pavane is the 1910 (orchestration) ‘Pavane for a Dead Princess‘ by Maurice Ravel. Both create haunting, archaic moods. Faure-Barenboim  Ravel-Ozawa 

The very first song by Beatles parody group The Rutles, I Must Be In Love, is filmed in Buckinghamshire for the film A Hard Day’s Rut. Live  Record 

The UK saw it in 1976 on Rutland Weekend Television, the US on SNL on October 2, 1976, and the game was afoot.

The group released an album in 1978, a video, as well as a raging cascade of miscellaneous merch. Members included Nasty, Stig, Dirk, Barry, and Leppo.

 ( Website Hold My Hand 

November 23 – Leginska, Cat Stevens, Killer Queen, Soft Cell


In the Chicago City Opera, English piano prodigy Ethel Leginska(*) (Liggins) (1886-1970) becomes the first woman to conduct her own opera, ‘Gale’.

Leginska had founded her own women’s orchestras in the late 1920s. In 1939 she begins teaching piano in Los Angeles.


Release of one of two amazing albums — Tea for the Tillerman — by British singer/songwriter Steven Demetre Georgiou, aka Cat Stevens.

Steven’s 13 albums, warm, wise, highly melodic, sell over 60 million copies by 1978. After nearly drowning, he converts to Islam and ends his music career.
 ( Website


English rock band Queen climbs to UK#2 (US#12) with first hit single, ‘Killer Queen’.
 ( Website


Leeds, England synthpop duo Soft Cell releases first album Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret. (CA#2, UK#5, US#22)

Marc Almond and David Ball top charts worldwide with the single Tainted Love.

Once I ran to you
now I’ll run from you
This tainted love you’ve given
I give you all a boy could give you.
Take my tears and that’s not nearly all — oh
tainted love — tainted love.

The Ed Cobb (of The Four Preps) northern soul song was originally recorded in 1964 by LA singer and (later) Marc Bolan girlfriend Gloria Jones. (Jones joined a band with Billy Preston when she was 14.)

Soft Cell manages ten top-40 hits and four top-20 albums before splitting in 1984. Synth Britannia:Soft Cell 

November 22 – Bolero, Grand Canyon, Tom & Jerry, Beatles, Miracles



Premiere at the Paris Opera of Maurice Ravel‘s one-movement orchestral piece Bolero. Dudamel, Vienna

15 minutes long, it’s originally composed as a ballet called ‘Fandango’. It consists entirely of a single theme in two 18-bar sections, repeatedly played with different orchestration, over an unchanging ostinato rhythm.

It has become a standard. Social critic Allan Bloom complained in 1987 that its rhythm is the same as that of sexual intercourse. Noone is surprised that Allan thought he discovered this.

Bolero, while tonal, is extremely repetitive, yet never boring. Proving that ‘minimalism’ does not have to mean ‘sounds like it was written by a sewing machine.’


Premiere of US composer, pianist Ferde Grofe‘s most popular work, Grand Canyon Suite. Bernstein (32m) 

It’s introduced by Paul Whiteman (for whom Grofe arranged for 12 years) and his orchestra in Chicago’s Fine Arts Building. Grofe had been awed by the Park when he camped there in 1916. The five-part work paints a delicate picture of the majesty and mystery of the National Park.

It (3 parts of it anyway) first appears in film on Dec. 17, 1958 in Disney’s Grand Canyon; the 29-minute short wins an Oscar.

▷Songwriter’s Hall-Grofe ▹


Tom and Jerry (named after the cartoon characters?) appear on TV’s American Bandstand show.

They’re pleased to score a US#49 record with their first professional recording, ‘Hey, Schoolgirl’. Later they’re better known as Simon and Garfunkel.


Release of The Beatles second UK album With the Beatles.

Most of its tracks … long on covers … are released in the US as Meet the Beatles (with the same photo) on Jan. 24, 1964 … the first album seen by most Americans. Postman Marvelettes version

Five years later, the now internally contentious Fabs release their White Album, a 2-LP set (originally to be called ‘A Doll’s House’) …

Site of the damage

their 9th official UK album and 15th US album.

It’s the result of nearly forty unprecedently diverse songs written during the band’s stay in Rishikesh, India. Its birth is so difficult, a frustrated Ringo had taken two weeks off in August, threatening to quit. Me and My Monkey

Its svelte, white, no-text no-graphics cover will later be adopted by Fabs freak Steve Jobs for several of his computer designs.


Motown releases Smokey Robinson song You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me, a US#8, USR&B#1 hit for ‘soul supergroup’ The Miracles.

It is performed by The Beatles for their second, 1963 album. The song wins a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998. The group spends 19 years on US charts with 50 hits, 26 R&B top-10s; in 2011 Rolling Stone again names them #32 of the 100 greatest artists.

Original  Shindig (1964)  Funk Bros backing ‘Hold on Me’ 

See also: The Definitive Performances (DVD)

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

Anniversaries from music history, links to quality articles.


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