March 28 – Radio Caroline’s first broadcast


Owing undoubtedly to the high excitement of listening to government-run BBC radio, Radio Caroline makes its first pirate radio transmissions offshore of Felixtowe (100 mi NE of London) on 1520 kilocycles.

The ship is the former Danish ferry Fredericia. The most famous offshore station (named for JFK’s daughter) was created by Irish businessman Ronan O’Rahilly — owner of the Mod Scene Club in London’s Soho district (home of DJ Guy Stevens (*) (*)) and manager of music acts like Georgie Fame. Another investor was Queen Magazine.

If teenagers like me wanted to hear The Beatles or the Rolling Stones, we had to listen to radio stations outside Britain which meant hiding under bedclothes late at night with a transistor radio trying to tune in to a feeble, crackly signal. —  Tom Edwards (*)

Among Caroline’s early DJs are Christopher Moore, Tony Blackburn and Simon Dee. The station (which soon had offshore competitors) is taken off-air in 1968, returns from 1972 until the ship sinks in 1980, and returns in a new ship from 1983-1991. (*)

 ( Website The Boat That Rocked (2009) ▷Pirate Radio HoF▹ ▷Buoyancy of Rock N’ Roll▹
Scene Club  Tornados:Is that a ship I hear? (1966) 

See also: Pirate radio in North America  ~ Offshore Radio Guide 

March 27 – Sun Records, Terry Riley, Laser Harp

  70 years ago 

Sam Phillips begins operation of Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee.
Previously a DJ on Alabama’s WLAY and Tennessee’s WREC, Sam opened a studio in the space — previously an auto upholstery shop — in January 1950.
Presley, Cash, Perkins, Lewis and Orbison cut their teeth there. Phillips also recorded B.B. King, Howlin Wolf, Ike Turner, Rufus Thomas, Carl Perkins, Charlie Rich ‘and many more’.
On July 31, 2003 — the day after Sam dies — the 706 Union Avenue studio is declared National Historic Landmark #03001031.
 ( Sun site ▷Sun Blog▹ ▷1998 detailed Phillips interview▹


First recording of Californian Terry Riley‘s influential composition In C.
Riley started as a solo pianist, then studied composition in the Bay Area; among his classmates was La Monte Young. In 1962 he joined the experimental gang at the San Francisco Tape Music Center (they moved to Mills College in 1966).
Written in 1964, In C is often cited as the first minimalist music composition. Caution: some performances will drill holes in your skull.
▷History of experimental music in N. California▹  Joe Anderson on STFM

See also: Tape music


Szajner, harp

Bernard Szajner(*)(*) receives a French patent (FR2502823) for an electronic musical instrument called the Laser harp.
Apparently the instrument, popularized by Jean Michel Jarre, directs laser light vertically; when interrupted by a player’s hands, the light is reflected onto photoresistor floor sensors.
In 1979 Szajner as Zed releases his first LP, ‘Visions of Dune’. (*) (*) Harkonnen  He had produced ten more by the late 90s.(*)
 ( Website ▷Hobley interview▹

March 25 – Hillybilly music, The Turtles, Killing Me Softly, The Streets OPM


Cowboy Jack, 1939

Billboard introduces a Hillbilly Records category in its magazine.
For a time it becomes ‘Western and Race’. In July 1944 a section appears titled ‘American Folk Tunes: Cowboy and Hillbilly Tunes and Tunesters’. By 1944 there are more than 600 country music radio shows. Billboard begins tabulating jukebox favorites.
On Dec. 10, 1949, with sales mounting, Billboard starts a chart for ‘Country & Western Records Most Played By Folk Disk Jockeys’.
▷▹ ▷Roughstock Country Music History▹

See also: Country music:Early history, Billboard charts, National Barn Dance (WLS-AM, 1924-1960)


LA pop rock band The Turtles has taken a demo of a song turned down so many times the demo is worn-out and turned it into US#1, UK#12 hit Happy Together.
The song’s been heard dozens of times in film and TV, and makes BMI’s list of most-played of the century.
In 1968 the Turtles record another song as a parody of happy-go-lucky pop, and it turns into US#6 hit Elenore. (Just the same way that Canadians The Diamonds got their US#2 ten years earlier. )  ( Website


US singer Roberta Flack gets herself an immortal US#1 hit with Killing Me Softly with His Song.
The recording wins three 1974 Grammy Awards: Song of the Year, Record, and Best Female Vocal.
In 1996 a version by Haitian-American hip-hop group Fugees reaches UK#1,US#2. As a result The Score (their last album) becomes an international #1. In 1998 magazine The Source includes it in their 100 best rap albums list. Members Lauryn Hill and Wyclef Jean move on to successful solo careers.
 ( Website  ( Fugees site


UK garage project The Streets releases debut album Original Pirate Material (US release October 22).
Reaching UK#12, it rebounds in 2004 to UK#10 with the release of second, concept album A Grand Don’t Come for Free, widely praised by critics. In 2003 NME names OPM number 9 in their list of the 100 Best Albums of the Decade. Has It Come to This 

See also: List of UK garage artists

March 24 – Palace Theater & vaudeville, New Edition, Girls Wanna Have Fun


Opening of the Palace Theatre on Broadway in NYC, at one time the mecca of every US variety act, and for decades the center of vaudeville.
In its heyday it runs 2 shows a day at $2 a show. By 1932 the Depression has it running 4 shows and charging $1. It becomes a movie theatre that year; in 1950 it becomes a theatre for musical comedy.
 ( Website ▷Palace history▹ ▷American Vaudeville▹ ▷Vaudeville theaters▹  ~ PBS: Vaudeville  


Boston’s R&B “progenitors of the boy band movement”, teenaged New Edition, release single Candy Girl.
Just in time for MTV, from the UK#1,USR&B#1 album of the same name ▷Songfacts▹, in May the single becomes a US,UK#1. Five more albums are released by 1997, many resulting in USR&B top-10 singles.


Six years after her first single was released, 31-year-old US singer Cindy Lauper has a massive hit with Girls Just Want to Have Fun.
Way to bounce back! In 1985 she takes home the Grammy for Best New Artist after debut album She’s So Unusual (released Oct. 14, 1983) puts four US top-5 singles on the charts (first female to do that). Time After Time 

March 23 – Mozart ‘Haffner’, Gliere ‘Ilya’, Crimson ‘Lark’, Usher


Premiere of one of Mozart‘s most joyous (depending on the conductor) works, his 1782 Symphony No. 35, ‘Haffner’ in the Burgtheater in Vienna.
It begins life as a rush job on a commission that he probably was too busy to finish on time (what with a move, an opera, wedding plans and all). So, he recycles it as a symphony — also not finished on time.
Pinnock 1  3&4  ▷NPR:Mozart▹



Premiere of Russian composer Reinhold Gliere‘s long, dark, magical third symphony Ilya Murometz in Moscow, Emil Cooper conducting.
Gliere, the second son of a wind instrument maker, enters the Moscow Conservatory in 1894. The 90+ minute symphony (in B minor, Op.42), written in 1911, depicts the adventures of Kievan Rus’ folk hero Ilya Muromets. Downes:1-8 
Gliere becomes and remains a Professor of Composition until his retirement in 1941. Two students: Prokofiev and Khachaturian. 1927 ballet The Red Poppy remains popular. Russian Sailor’s Dance 
 ( Fansite


King Crimson releases 5th, prog rock studio album Larks’ Tongues in Aspic.
Besides Fripp, drummer Bill Bruford is heard on the first of his 7 albums, as is David Cross on violin and mellotron for his first of two.

I might have known it was going to be an interesting ride when the first of the two gifts (Fripp) gave me in some 35 years was a book called Initiation into Hermetics. — Bruford

Easy Money  Larks 1  Larks 2  ’79 Fripp interview 
 ( Website ▷ET Wiki▹


Release of US R&B singer Usher‘s fourth studio hip hop and crunk album Confessions.
The second best-selling album of the 2000s (an international top-10, 8M copies), it scores 4 US#1 singles — Yeah! and Burn combined hold US#1 for 20 weeks — a record for a solo artist. The album wins Usher a 2005 R&B Grammy.
 ( Website Burn  Yeah! 

March 22 – First Beatles album, Puff Daddy, M.I.A.

 Do you want to know a secret? 

The Beatles first album Please Please Me is released on Parlophone in the UK.
It’s made up of four sides from two hit singles, and ten songs from their live act recorded in 9 hours on Feb. 11 at EMI with George Martin — at a cost of £400 — rushed out the door to capitalize on the success of 2nd single Please Please Me. The album tops the UK charts on May 11, 1963.
Lead track I Saw Her Standing There is released by Capitol in the US in Dec. 1963 as a B-side along with I Want to Hold Your Hand, which tops the US charts on Jan. 14, 1964. Just as Vee-Jay album Introducing… The Beatles (loaded up with covers of US music) is released — with Capitol’s Meet The Beatles! 10 days behind.

The US, long soggy with manufactured, under-talented teen idols, is swept away. The British Invasion has begun.
 ( Website Book:The Beatles British Invasion playlist 


Rappers Sean ‘Puff Daddy’ Combs and Mase begin 6 weeks at US#1 (NZ#11,UK#19) with Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down.
It appears on the US#1 album No Way Out. His 5th and most recent album Last Train to Paris is released on Dec. 13, 2010 (US,UKR&B top-5). Coming Home 
 ( Website


British vocalist, songwriter, producer M.I.A.‘s debut album Arular climbs to #3 on the Dance/Electronic Albums chart. Bucky 
Her 2007 followup album Kala climbs to USD&E#1, Boyz  as does 2010 3rd album Maya. XXXO 
The Dance/Electronic Albums chart debuted on June 30, 2001. The first #1 was the original soundtrack to 2001 film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

March 21 – Mussorgsky, Schubert ‘Great’, Easy Rider, Surfer Rosa


Birthday of Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky.

Famous works include orchestral tone poem Night on Bald Mountain (seen in Disney film Fantasia) and 1874 piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition (as arranged in 1922 by French impressionist composer Maurice Ravel).

Night (from Fantasia)  Kissin:Pictures(piano)  Marin:Pictures(Promenade) 

See also: The Five, Music of Russia, Tchaikovsky and The Five


Felix Mendelssohn conducts the world premiere of Franz Schubert‘s magnificent 1826 symphony, The Great C-major (D.944) in Leipzig.

Vienna, 1758, about to burst with musical genius

In Oct. 1826, Schubert gave the symphony to the Society of Friends of Music with a dedication (they return a small honorarium). There it remains until 1838, when Robert Schumann visits Vienna and the work is shown to him by Schubert’s brother Ferdinand. (Ferdinand sold the majority of Franz’s work to Anton Diabelli‘s music publishing concern (est. 1817) in 1828. The firm systematically published and championed the works.)

Actually the symphony had already been (privately) performed earlier, at a 12 March 1829 Concert Spirituel in Vienna. Schubert heard only two of his symphonies performed during his lifetime. But then he didn’t even own a piano until his last year. (*)

Gardiner:1st mvmt  ▷Schubert symphonies▹


Noir counterculture road-trip film Easy Rider premieres.

It ignites the careers of Jack Nicholson and Dennis Hopper. The soundtrack album — including Canadian-American hard rock band Steppenwolf‘s major July, 1968 hit Born to Be Wild — is experimental, highly popular & influential.


Boston alt-rock band Pixies masterpiece debut album Surfer Rosa is released by 4AD in the UK.

Engineered by Steve Albini, in 2005 Spin calls it the sixth best album in 20 years. While it doesn’t chart in the UK, all followup albums make top-10 there — while most of the US scratches its head. It eventually sells second-best only to 2nd album Doolittle.

 ( Pixies site Gigantic  Where’s My Mind 
 Best Album Art


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