February 12 – Gershwin, Screamin Jay, XTC, Aphex

1924


Gershwin

George Gershwin tune Rhapsody in Blue for two pianos is premiered by Paul Whiteman.

It’s played by Whiteman in 1930 film King of Jazz. He commissioned it, to be part of his Feb. 24 concert ‘An Experiment in Modern Music’ at NYC’s Aeolian Hall. Combining classical music with elements of jazz, it’s still a very popular concert piece.

The piano work is arranged for orchestra by Whiteman’s arranger, composer Ferde Grofe. On June 10, 1924, Gershwin and Whiteman record it. (Victor 55225).

1956


The skull’s name is ‘Henry’

US shock rocker Screamin’ Jay (Jalacy) Hawkins records his song I Put a Spell on You for Okeh Records.
▷Songfacts▹

The song’s been covered dozens of times; Nina Simone gets it to USR&B#23 in 1965. S-Jay makes it work for him for decades. It’s heard in the soundtrack of 1984 Jim Jarmusch film Stranger Than Paradise starring John Lurie.

OkeH was a US indie label founded in 1918! which has an ‘indian head’ on the label until 1920.

In 1922 it pioneers location recording with touring trucks and hires a ‘race record(*) director. It’s acquired by Columbia on Nov. 11, 1926.

1982

British new wave band XTC releases album English Settlement.

It reaches UK#5, partly on the strength of top-ten single Senses Working Overtime by singer/songwriter Andy Partridge.

I’ve got one, two, three, four, five
senses working overtime
Trying to taste the difference ‘tween the lemons and limes
The pain and the pleasure and the church bells softly chime…

XTC never got huge, but made enough memorable singles like 1979’s Making Plans for Nigel (UK#17,CA#12) (covered by Primus on Miscellaneous Debris ) to keep going for 12 albums.
 ( Website

1991

Release by Richard D. James of the first, ambient techno Aphex Twin studio album Selected Ambient Works 85-92. Heliosphan 

It flops in the charts, but SAW v.2 makes UK#11. It’s hard to overestimate the Aphex influence on the electronic music-making community … jaws dropping.

James’ first release was a 200-copy first-run acid house techno EP called Analogue Bubblebath released in 1991 on the Mighty Force label (# MIGHTY 001).