July 29 – Light My Fire, Powder Ridge Rock Fest

1967

Rock band The Doors tune Light My Fire reaches US#1.

It is famously performed on The Ed Sullivan Show on September 17. In 1968, Buick offers the band $$$ to use the song in a car commercial; Morrison says no, threatening to have a Buick smashed with a sledgehammer on a TV show.

In 2001, General Motors offers $15 million to use the tune in a Buick commercial; drummer John Densmore does the right thing and turns them down.
Live at the Hollywood Bowl 1968 (62m) 

1970

30,000 freaks begin to show up for a prohibited music fest in Powder Ridge Ski Area, CT.

The show was cancelled too late to notify ticket-purchasers, who’d paid $20 for the weekend. (30 of 48 shows proposed that year are shut down by local opposition.)

The crowd rocks on anyway; the media goes nuts as if trying to bring festivals to an end. Ya think? ▷Chronos archive▹

Quite a similar thing happens in 2009 in the UK … a licensed festival running since 1994 is shut down.

July 28 – Jerry Lee, Animal House

1957

Wild rocker Jerry Lee Lewis appears on TV’s Steve Allen Show.

He kicks his piano stool across the stage while singing (Roy Hall and Dave Williams song) Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On. Sales rocket! 1st Allen appearance ▷Aol bio ▹ ( Website )

1978

Belushi

Release of comedy film Animal House, considered the first gross-out film.

Allen

As a matter of fact the $3M John Landis film grossed $114M! It’s the first film for Karen Allen, destined to major roles in far-out flicks like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Starman, Scrooged, Malcolm X, The Sandlot, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and many more.

It’s also the first film for Kevin Bacon, the first comedy soundtrack for composer Elmer Bernstein, and (… too numerous to mention!) Food fight

July 27 – Chuck Berry, Spirited Away & Joe Hisaishi

1955

An unknown blues musician and songwriter from St. Louis, MO breaks onto the US charts, headed for US#5, R&B#1.
 
Chuck Berry‘s (*) first hit song Maybellene was recorded at Chess Records after Muddy Waters heard him play and brought him there. An adaption of fiddle tune Ida Red (first recorded in 1924), its first album appearance is on 1959 third studio album Chuck Berry Is on Top, in the company of Johnny B. Goode (1957, US#8) and Roll Over Beethoven (1955, US#29).
 
Berry was to chart in the US top-40 thirteen more times (and lands 12 in the USR&B top-10) … all hits on Chess. His crossover music was instrumental in gaining acceptance for rock’n’roll on mainstream American radio. He’s included in the first group inducted into the Rock Hof in 1986. 1987 documentary Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll celebrates his life.
 
 ( Website

See also: Rock Hall inductees

2001

Chihiro and No-Face

Hayao Miyazaki releases his anime fantasy-adventure Spirited Away. #41 (*).
 
It’s the story of a young girl who has to find a way out of the amazing spirit world she’s trapped in. (Somewhat like the plot of The Wizard of Oz, no?)

It’s not a story in which the characters grow up, but a story in which they draw on something already inside them, brought out by the particular circumstances. I want my young friends to live like that, and I think they, too, have such a wish. — Miyazaki

Made for US$19M, it beats Titanic in Japan; worldwide, it remains the all-time highest-grossing Japanese-made film at US$274M. It wins the 2002 Oscar for Best Animated Feature.
 
Its music is by Joe Hisaishi (an alias inspired by Quincy Jones), composer of over 100 film scores; his piece Ani Hi no Kawa (Day of the River) wins the Tokyo International Anime Fair 2001 Best Music Award.
 
All this follows Miyazaki’s 1997 triumph with Princess Mononoke#91. In 2004 he releases Howl’s Moving Castle#185; in 2008 Ponyo … all scored by Hishaishi, who’s won 6 Japanese Academy Awards.  ( Studio Ghibli site  ( Hishaishi site

July 24 – Zombies She’s Not There, Paul Revere Indian Reservation

1964

Argent, Blunstone, Grundy, Atkinson, White

It’s early in the British Invasion and hair’s still shortish as Brit pop band The Zombies release their first, classic hit, She’s Not There (UK#12,CA#2,US#2). (*)

Vocals are by Colin Blunstone.

Hohner Planet T, lid off

The first Moog synths are still being engineered. Keyboardist Rod Argent plays the unpowered Hohner Pianet keyboard, built with 60 pickups! — heard, surprisingly, on many well-known 60s hits, such as Louie, Louie by The Kingsmen and Summer in the City by The Lovin’ Spoonful.

The Zombies enjoy two more US hits. Tell Her No (1964 US#6) is found on their 1965 debut album. Their April 19, 1968 second album Odessey and Oracle produces their top hit single Time of the Season (US#3) ; the album is ranked #100 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums list.

The band splits up in 1968. Beginning in 1990 it reforms several times. Fourth album As Far as I Can See… is released in 2004, and, in 2011, fifth album Breathe Out, Breathe In.

( Zombies site ) ( Argent site ) ( Blunstone site )

1971
US#19 1971 album

Idaho rock band Paul Revere & the Raiders(*) enjoys their biggest hit, US#1 single Indian Reservation (written by John D. Loudermilk).

From the 1971 album (produced by Mark Lindsay), the song refers to the removal of Cherokee people from the SE US in the 1830s, a tragedy known as the Trail of Tears.

The band’s first Pacific Northwest hit, ‘Like, Long Hair’ (title of their first debut album) reached US#38 on April 17, 1961. Before ‘Reservation’ the band had scored ten top-20 hits, like classic Kicks (US#4) . By 1983 the band has released 14 studio albums.

( Raiders site ) ( Lindsay site )

July 23 – Napolean XIV, Summer I Feel Love, Pancho and Lefty, Synchronicity

1966

Napoleon XIV (Jerry Samuels) has a raucous US#1 novelty hit and becomes a one-hit-wonder with They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa.

It’s like a reprise of the demented 1956 success of Nervous Norvus (Jimmy Drake) song Transfusion. ▷Songfacts ▹

1977
 One of Discos Queens 

US singer Donna Summer scores a UK#1 hit (US#6) with I Feel Love.

Produced by Giorgio Moroder, it is said to be the first disco-style song recorded with an entirely synthesized backing track. Years before sequencers or MIDI, engineer Robbie Wedel records a pulse to tape of a 16-track Studer that locks all Moog synth tracks in sync. ▷SOS on IFL ▹

Those who were there say it has been enormously influential in the development of disco, electronica and techno music.

Eno came running in and said, ‘I have heard the sound of the future.’ He puts on I Feel Love, by Donna Summer. He said, ‘This is it, look no further. This single is going to change the sound of club music for the next fifteen years.’ Which was more or less right.
— David Bowie

Over time Summer wins five Grammies, recorded 14 top-20 hits like Love to Love You Baby, Last Dance, Heaven Knows and She Works Hard for the Money and, in 1979, US,CA#1 double album Bad Girls(*). In 2004 she’s elected to the Dance Music Hall of Fame(*).

( Website )  ( Fansite   Audio: 2003 Fresh Air interview

See also: Honorific nicknames in popular music

1983

Townes van Zandt‘s incredibly fine songwriting is honored when Willy and Merle take his Pancho and Lefty to US#1.

van Zandt first recorded it for his 1972 6th studio album The Late Great Townes Van Zandt.

AND Brit band The Police, propelled by 8 weeks at US#1 for single Every Breath You Take, begin 17 weeks at US#1 with fifth, final studio album Synchronicity. (It actually knocks Michael Jackson‘s Thriller out of the top slot!). It’s multiple hit singles include Every Breath You Take and Wrapped Around Your Finger.

Anniversaries from music history, links to quality articles.

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