December – More music history #1 – Etta, CBGB, Evening Star


US R&B singer Etta James releases her debut studio album At Last! on Argo Records and produced by Phil and Leonard at Chess Records.

When she was 14, James had formed a doo-wop group called ‘Peaches’; the group’s recording of The Wallflower — with the help of Johnny Otis  — made USR&B#1 in 1955.

The album’s title tune will become her signature song, the great At Last.

At last, my love has come along
My lonely days are over
And life is like a song
Oh, yeah, at last
The skies above are blue
My heart was wrapped up in clovers
The night I looked at you

It climbs to US R&B#2 and crosses over to US#47.

At Last was written by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren for 1941 musical film Sun Valley Serenade; James’ version receives the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999. In 2004 Rolling Stone rates Etta #22 in their list of 100 Greatest Singers. At last!
▷Lyr Freak bio▹


Hilly Kristal opens the CBGB nightclub at 315 Bowery at Bleecker Street in Manhattan.

It soon becomes a mecca for American punk rock; in March 1974, for example, Television begins regular gigs. Rock Family Trees: NY Punk 


British composer Brian Eno and guitarist Robert Fripp (temporarily ex-King Crimson) release highly satisfying electronic ambient experimental album Evening Star. It includes a 28-minute piece of drone music. ▷AMG▹

Within a month, Eno releases first purely ambient solo album Discreet Music ▷AMG▹

The mid-70s is an incandescent period in Eno’s music career. Before titling four of his works ‘ambient’ beginning in 1978, he’s exploring the idea with several albums. (They’re notably preceded in 1972 by Wendy Carlos‘ illustrative double LP Sonic Seasonings.) Fripp continues along these lines in his 1981 collaboration with David Byrne, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. (Like Star, recommended.)

▷Excellent Lester Bangs<>Eno interview, 1976▹