Monday, March 19, 2018

Rock & Roll in the NEWS: Where New Rock Meets Old Rock...March 19, 2018 (Nokie Edwards of the Ventures - R.I.P. - Music Video)

Remembering Nokie Edwards: 10 Essential Songs from The Ventures

  The Ventures photographed circa 1960

​Even if you can’t claim yourself to be a fan on a proper level, chances are you dig surf rock, the instrumental strain of Southern California music culture that pioneered the use of the various effects provided to them by their Fender guitars and amplifiers while taking cues from Buck Owens, Chet Atkins and Ravi Shankar to create the soundtrack for surf and skate culture on the lower West Coast.  And while there was a literal barrel full of surf bands to emerge from the scene in the early early 1960s, only one group stood like giants amongst the rest: The Ventures.
Noel Floyd “Nokie” Edwards, who died on Sunday at age 82 following complications from hip surgery, was the group's fearless lead guitarist, a man whose unorthodox explorations of the inner workings of his gear helped separate The Ventures from their contemporaries on the scene. The band was also willing to translate everything from filmy scores to TV themes to Christmas carols, which led them to wide success as a novelty act of sorts.
But Nokie, one of the great Native American rock icons, never let the soul of the band get swept away in a sea of cheese. Instead The Ventures surfed its waves straight into the hearts of guitar scholars across the generations. Surf music continues to maintain a presence in the periphery of the American consciousness through reruns of the ’66 Batman series, its heavy use in Pulp Fiction and -- perhaps most prominently -- the incidental music featured on SpongeBob SquarePants. But it was the uncompromising inventiveness by which Nokie Edwards employed that still makes surf music such an inspirational touchstone for each new generation of rock bands, the latest of which includes such exciting young acts as La Luz, Dead Coast and The Buttertones barrel riding through the guitarist’s legacy of innovation and daring.
To honor the life of this Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Billboard has selected ten songs from his tenure with the beloved classic lineup of The Ventures alongside fellow guitarist Don Wilson, bassist Bob Bogle and drummer Mel Taylor to stand as a testament to Nokie and his tireless early work at the vanguard of rock composition.

The United Kingdom had its own instrumental rock scene going on down by their waters just as surf was taking off in America. And one of the most popular groups of the time was The Tornados, who hit pay dirt when the legendary composer Joe Meek hired them to flesh out his space-age pop homage to the communications satellite of the same name, which was shot into space on July 10, 1962. The Ventures’ version of the Meek instrumental was released seven months later as the title cut to the covers album The Ventures Play Telstar and The Lonely Bull, which saw the group trying to rev up popular instrumental schlager from the 50s and early early 60s. But it was their fiery version of “Telstar” that captured the imagination of the American youth, including one gentleman who stated on YouTube that as a kid “I had a transistor radio and it would make my bike go faster.”

"Walk Don't Run ‘64"
Nokie had just joined The Ventures in 1960 as the bass player when the group recorded their signature hit version of the 1954 Johnny Smith composition the first time around. By '64, however, Edwards had long since traded instruments with Bob Bogle, and the reverb charged update of “Walk” made The Ventures the first band in Billboard history to score two top 10 hits with the same song (a feat that would be achieved again by Queen with “Bohemian Rhapsody” in 1976 and 1992).

"The 2000 Pound Bee Parts 1 & 2"
Though they made music that repped SoCal surf culture, The Ventures originated in Tacoma, Washington, the same town that gave us The Sonics. But before their hometown homeboys would revolutionize guitar rock in 1965 with Here Come The Sonics, Nokie took the fuzz pedal for a test run in 1962 with this aptly named instrumental. If you are looking for the true ground zero for grunge, don't look beyond the "Bee."

"Surf Rider"
Written by Edwards but made popular by The Lively Ones, one cannot hear “Surf Rider” these days without that image of Vince and Jules casually leaving the diner at the end of Pulp Fiction as the movie cuts to black. The Ventures’ version of the song, featured on the 1963 LP Surfin’, eschews the sax in favor of a more twang and scrappy, Teutonic riffing to create a more sinister take on the tune.

"The Bat"
Allegedly Keith Moon had cited The Ventures in Space as his favorite album. And by the way the band continued to test the boundaries of their guitars and amps on this strange and spooky collection that capitalized on JFK’s promise to go to the moon. Their rendition of composer Lou Forbes’ “The Bat” is arguably the most telling track in regards to the group’s sense of sonic adventure, as Don Wilson mimics police sirens on this guitar while Nokie peels off a riff that arguably gave birth to The Who’s direction after they ditched the name the High Numbers while planting a seed for groups like The Cramps and Pussy Galore to evolve from to boot.

"Rap City" 
A well-tuned ear can definitely pick up the German influence in the rhythms of surf music. As a band who saw no genre they couldn’t translate into their language of cool, with classical music being no exception. And one can find no clearer connection to surf’s Deutschland roots than "Rap City" from Walk Don’t Run Vol. 2, which is based on Hungarian Dance No. 5 composed by Johannes Brahms and translated through an orchestra of reverb.

"Steel Guitar Rag"
Before he joined the Ventures, Nokie Edwards had briefly played with Buck Owens when the Bakersfield legend briefly relocated to Tacoma to run the local country radio station up there. He also spent some time performing with Lefty Frizell in 1984 after he left The Ventures for the second time following the 1973 reunion of the classic lineup. It was Nokie who brought out the Western in the band's surf sound, and you can most certainly hear the strength in those roots on this seminal instrumental that was a hit for Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys in 1936, one of the many highlights from the 1963 LP The Ventures Play The Country Classics.

The Ventures’ rendition of the 1936 Duke Ellington jazz standard first appeared on the band’s 1960 debut Walk Don’t Run. But their best version of the song would turn up in 1965 on their ferocious Live in Japan LP, where they stretch the tune out to nearly 10 minutes. The majority of it, mind you, is Taylor’s epic drum solo, but its book-ended by some of the most visceral guitar playing on a Ventures recording, as Edwards and Wilson tear at their guitars in ways that would be perfected a few years later through the likes of The MC5 and Led Zeppelin.

"Speedball Trucker"
Nokie rejoined The Ventures in 1973, and upon his return the band released The Jim Croce Songbook in April of the following year. Despite its psychedelic cover art, much like its counterpart Play The Carpenters that followed in July of ’74, the album was an overall snooze, muddled with unimaginative, phoned-in reworks of such Croce hits as “Operator” and “Time in a Bottle.” But deep at the end of Side B, the band takes on “Speedball Trucker” off the singer’s fourth LP Life and Times, which was released not even three months prior to Croce’s untimely death in September of ’73. For their rendition of the twisted trucker anthem, the group cross-referenced its rhythm pattern with Edwards’ own “Surf Rider,” colored the melody with sitar and barrelhouse piano and transformed it into a fitting homage to the sonic elasticity of a great American pop artist gone far too soon.

"Ginza Ska"
In 1980, the classic Ventures lineup of Nokie-Bogle-Mel-Bob released the album Chameleon as a Japanese import. What makes this album so interesting is how well they just seemed to fit in with the sound of the times, no doubt appeased by the presence of such Ventures acolytes as The Go-Go's, the Dead Kennedys and the B-52’s, all of whom were ascending the punk and new wave ranks with their own offshoots of the surf rock sound.  But that notion makes it even more intriguing just how comfortably they sidled up to the Two-Tone Ska movement of the time with this Specials-saluting album highlight.

Rock & Roll in the NEWS: Where New Rock Meets Old Rock...March 19, 2018 (Springsteen on Broadway)

Bruce Springsteen's Broadway Show Has Become His Most Satisfying, Challenging Work Since 'The Rising' 

  Bruce Springsteen performs onstage during a special performance of “Springsteen on Broadway”

At a star-studded SiriusXM event, Bruce's show flaunts a fresh level of excellence.

Five months into its run, Bruce Springsteen's career retrospective Springsteen on Broadway has morphed into the most satisfying, challenging and honest piece of art he's delivered since 2002's The Rising.
Not that Springsteen has been a slough since that post-9/11 masterwork. Devils & Dust was haunting; We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions exploded with life-affirming exuberance; and 2012's Wrecking Ball reminded us he remains America's most empathetic troubadour of working class tales. And in 2016, with the memoir Born to Run, he established himself as the rare rock star who can write a book that deserves to be treated as literature.
It is that book which forms the basis of Springsteen on Broadway, which finds the 68-year-old Jersey warrior reading passages from his memoir and singing 15 songs that tangentially relate to the text.
Full disclosure: I had not seen Springsteen on Broadway prior to the Wednesday (March 14) night performance at the Walter Kerr Theatre for an audience of SiriusXM subscribers (including devotes of the E Street Radio channel) and more than a few celebrities, including Howard Stern, Stephen Colbert, Ricky Gervais, Jenny McCarthy, Donnie Wahlberg, Liev Schreiber and Emmylou Harris.
But by the accounts of returning fans in attendance Wednesday night, the show as it stands now is a notable improvement on what was already an acclaimed show when it debuted Oct. 2017. Naturally, this is part of the evolution of any Broadway show: As producers watch audiences react, you tighten the parts that jar (my colleague Frank DiGiacomo, who reviewed it five months ago and attended the March 14 SiriusXM event, felt the previously "clunky" Vietnam section has been satisfactorily smoothed out) and have a little fun once you're comfortable with the basics (by most accounts, his ad-libs are more frequent, and he's notably looser while reading portions of his book from a TelePrompTer).
So now, with a bit of post-debut polish, Springsteen on Broadway -- slated to run through June 2018 -- is easily among Bruce's best 21st century pieces by virtue of its simultaneously daring and rewarding nature. 
Like the book it draws from, the mostly one-man show (wife Patti Scialfa joins him toward the end for two songs) finds Bruce the Regular Guy taking a hard look at Bruce the Artist, and it opens with a startling admission of his own fraudulence: "I come from a boardwalk town where almost everything is tinged with a bit of fraud. So am I." That theme is the topic of a brief forward in his book, but it's treated to a lengthier, franker and funnier monologue on stage. He cops to the absurdity of a career singing about factory gigs and 9-to-5s when, in reality, the first Monday-Friday job he's held in his life is this Broadway show ("And I don't like it," he deadpanned to the crowd). He points out that he penned "Racing In the Streets" but couldn't even drive until well into his adulthood. He admits that despite writing odes to leaving New Jersey like a phoenix rising from the ashes, he still lives just 10 minutes away from where he grew up. Watching a legend, in the flesh, admit to pulling the wool over America's eyes for nearly 50 years grabs you by the throat -- and it requires a level of candor, honesty and yes, even a little fraudulence (you can't say the same thing five nights a week for months and mean it every single time) that lets you know this show will be much more than a rose-tinted stroll through Asbury Park's past.
But Springsteen on Broadway isn't a confession, either – it's an investigation into where his great "magic trick" comes from, and what that means to him and us. And while the answer is complicated, it's also painfully universal. Springsteen's father, who died in 1998, was an emotionally distant man who struggled with depression while bouncing between various jobs: Factory worker, security guard, taxi driver – if there's a blue-collar gig that appears in a Bruce Springsteen song, Doug Springsteen probably worked it. As the Boss runs down his dad's history on stage, from working at a Ford Motor plant to planting himself at the local pub in their Irish Catholic neighborhood for hours, you realize Bruce's life's work has been composing a distinctly American rock n' roll version of La Comedie Humaine, with its various characters allowing him to celebrate, understand and mourn his father. As he says in his show to explain the persona he's taken on and his lyrical fixations, "Those whose love we wanted but couldn't get, we emulate"; that's a tough piece of wisdom, an insight far beyond what most rock stars dare to offer.
But of course, the show wouldn't work if it were purely a hard-eyed look at how his insecurities made him one of the most popular rock legends in history. The show is also about the healing, spiritual element of music – but true to Springsteen's keen mind, it's far more than pandering readings-from-the-Gospel-of-Rock fare. The spiritually satisfying portions of the show are as much about what it means to seek release through rock n' roll as they are about what it means to be a young person yearning for freedom while remaining tethered to a hometown and history. Some of the most transcendent parts of the show recount his joy as 19-year-old kid, lying in the back of a truck bed as he speeds away from Freehold, NJ. It's about the thrill of an unwritten future for an unsatisfied American teen, and the irrepressible sense of freedom engendered when you leave behind something small for something bigger. But unlike most rock stars who fled small towns or suburbs and adopted a worldlier public persona, Springsteen has made exploring that world his life's work. And that's what's so satisfying about the show – it encapsulates the unresolved spiritual tug-of-war in his music, one that finds him oscillating between blowing out of a town full of losers in one song ("Thunder Road") and celebrating the small-time circle of life with Sherwood Anderson-esque attention to detail in another ("My Hometown").
Caught between pursuing his dreams and honoring his roots, Springsteen has always managed a delicate magic trick throughout his career, and he's rarely faltered. But some of the Boss' artistic achievements soar higher than others, and five months after debuting, Springsteen on Broadway stands as one of the most fascinating, invigorating and emotionally nuanced entries in his creative catalog.

Rock & Roll in the NEWS: Where New Rock Meets Old Rock...March 19, 2018 (Bob Dylan - Japan's Fuji Rock Festival Lineup)

Bob Dylan Added to Japan's Fuji Rock Festival Lineup

  Bob Dylan onstage during the 17th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards

The icon joins Kendrick Lamar, N.E.R.D., Skrillex and others at the three-day event in July.
Smash Corporation, the promoter of the Japan's original international summer music bash, Fuji Rock Festival, has announced that Bob Dylan will headline the celebrated event.

Other headliners include Kendrick Lamar, N.E.R.D., Skrillex and Vampire Weekend, all of whom were announced last month.

The pairing of folk and rock icon Dylan and rapper Lamar echoes the 2001 edition of the fete, which saw Neil Young and Eminem grab top billing.

Fuji Rock started on the slopes of Mt. Fuji in 1997, but the fest is now held at a ski resort in Naeba, Niigata prefecture, about 200 miles from the iconic mountain. It usually attracts between 100,000-120,000 patrons.

The three-day event will be held July 27-29. The festivities usually feature over 150 international bands and are one of the highlights of Japan's crowded summer music festival line-up. 

Rock & Roll in the NEWS: Where New Rock Meets Old Rock...March 19, 2018 (Graspop Metal Meeting Festival 2018)

Guns 'N Roses, Marilyn Manson, Iron Maiden Among 2018 Graspop Metal Meeting Festival Headliners

  Axl Rose and Slash of Guns N' Roses perform onstage during the "Not In This Lifetime..." Tour

The annual Dressel, Belgium-based Graspop Metal Meeting festival has had a number of amazing lineups over the past two decades years. But the 2018 roster reads like a heavy metal hall of fame dream.

Guns N’ Roses, Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden and Marilyn Manson lead the pack this year alongside co-headliners Avenged Sevenfold, Volbeat, Limp Bizkit, and a newly-reunited A Perfect Circle.

Other notable acts also include Rise Against, Megadeth, Killswitch Engage, and Skillet, solidifying the 2018 lineup as a powerhouse year for Metal fans. The four-day festival kicks off on June 21 and runs through June 24. Tickets are on sale now, and you can find the full lineup on Graspop's website.

Rock & Roll in the NEWS: Where New Rock Meets Old Rock...March 19, 2018 (Second Annual LOVE ROCKS NYC! See the All Star Lineup)

Watch Keith Richards, Mavis Staples, Donald Fagen, Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones & More Perform At Love Rocks NYC Benefit

  Keith Richards performs onstage at the Second Annual LOVE ROCKS NYC!

A tremendous lineup of stars gathered at New York’s Beacon Theater on Thursday night (March 15) to play the second annual Love Rocks benefit. The show raised money for the New York charity God’s Love We Deliver, which provides meals and nutrition counseling for people with severe illnesses. Keith Richards, Norah Jones and Emmylou Harris headlined the benefit, but there were plenty of other stars and legends on hand, as well.
The night also featured music from people like Mavis Staples, Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Warren Haynes, Gary Clark Jr., Ziggy Marley, Andra Day, Trombone Shorty, Marc Cohn, Lucinda Williams, Cheap Trick, Ann Wilson, Anthony Hamilton, Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo, and tennis great John McEnroe, among many others.

More Music History for March 19, 2018


1955 -

March 19
19 year old Ruby Murray has five records in the UK Top 20, including "Softly, Softly" at #2 and "Let Me Go, Lover" at #5.

1958 -

March 19
The duo of Tom And Jerry released their first single, "Our Song". The record will fail to crack the Billboard chart, but the pair would eventually find success recording under their real names, Simon and Garfunkel.

1964 -

March 19
The Beatles are presented with an award for Show Business Personalities of 1963 by Prime Minister Harold Wilson at a Variety Club of Great Britain luncheon.

1966 -

March 19
Gary Leeds of The Walker Brothers is abducted by British students raising money for charity. He is later released unharmed.

1974 -

March 19
Jefferson Airplane changes their name to Jefferson Starship. The new line-up includes Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, drummer Johnny Barbata, David Freiberg, Peter Kaukonen, Cragi Chaquico and 56 year old violinist, Papa John Creach.

1976 -

March 19
Former Free guitarist, 26 year old Paul Kossoff died of heart failure while on a flight across the US. He had been troubled with heart disease most of his life. Free is most often remembered for their hit, "All Right Now". Lead singer Paul Rodgers went on to form Bad Company with Free drummer Simon Kirke, Boz Burrell (from King Crimson) and Mick Ralphs (of Mott the Hoople).

1980 -

March 19
Elvis Presley's autopsy is subpoenaed in the "Dr. Nick" drug case. Dr. Nick is Dr. George Nichopoulous, Presley's personal physician, who will soon be found guilty of over-prescribing drugs to Presley and other clients, including Jerry Lee Lewis.

1982 -

March 19
Ozzy Osbourne's rhythm guitarist, 25-year-old Randy Rhoads, was killed when the small plane he was riding in crashed into a house. The plane's pilot, Andrew Aycock and a female passenger, Rachel Youngblood, also died. It has often been written that the plane tried to buzz Osbourne's tour bus, but some of those closest to the band deny that story.

2007 -

March 19
Luther Ingram suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 69. The Soul singer reached #3 on the Billboard Pop chart in 1972 with "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right" and wrote the Staple Singers' 1971 hit "Respect Yourself".

2012 -

March 19
Madonna's new album, "MDNA" was leaked online nearly a week before its official release date. Her 12th studio record was due to hit store shelves on March 26th, but emerged on an illegal file-sharing website.

2015 -

March 19
Kenny Loggins appeared on the TV talent show American Idol where he performed his 1984, US #1 hit, "Footloose".

March 19
Michael Brown, keyboardist for The Left Banke, died of heart failure at the age of 65. Brown co-wrote the band's 1966, #14 hit "Walk Away Renee" and composed the follow-up, "Pretty Ballerina", which rose to #15 on the Billboard Hot 100.

2017 -

March 19
Kim Campbell, wife of Country music icon Glen Campbell, told the on-line news source The Tennessean that Glen's Alzheimer's disease had advanced to the point where he could no longer play guitar. He would pass away on August 8th, 2017 at the age of 81.

Today in Music History...March 19, 2018 (Now with more info)

Music History: March 19th:

2016 I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It by The 1975 goes to #1 in the US, becoming the album with the longest title to hit the top spot.

2013 Floyd "Buddy" McRae, the last surviving original member of The Chords, dies at age 85.

2011 Archie "Aashid" Himons, formerly known as Little Archie, dies of complications from diabetes and vascular disease at age 68.

2007 Soul singer-songwriter Luther Ingram dies of heart failure at age 69.

2002 Soul jazz organist Big John Patton dies of complications from diabetes at age 66.

2001 Aerosmith, Michael Jackson, Paul Simon, Queen, Ritchie Valens, Solomon Burke, Steely Dan and The Flamingos are inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

1997 Gabrielle's ex-boyfriend (and the mother of her child), Tony Antoniou, is sentenced to life in prison for murdering his stepfather. Gabrielle was called as a witness at the trial.

1996 Barenaked Ladies release their third studio album, Born On A Pirate Ship.

1993 Jeff Ward (drummer for several bands, including Low Pop Suicide and Nine Inch Nails) commits suicide via carbon monoxide poisoning at age 30.

1980 In proceedings against the doctor who supplied the prescription drugs that killed Elvis Presley, Elvis' autopsy is entered as evidence. Dr. George Nichopoulos, who was known as "Dr. Nick" is eventually found guilty of overprescribing the drugs.

1978 Billy Joel makes his UK concert debut at London's Theatre Royal.

1976 Paul Kossoff (guitarist for Free), age 25, dies of a pulmonary embolism during a flight from Los Angeles to New York.

1975 Kiss release their third studio album, Dressed to Kill.

1974 Jefferson Airplane re-form with most of their original members and kick off their tour at Auditorium Theatre in Chicago as Jefferson Starship. They drop the "Jefferson" in 1984 and become simply "Starship."

1971 Bobby Sherman plays a songwriter on the "A Knight In Shining Armor" episode of The Partridge Family. He soon gets his own TV series, Getting Together.

1971 Elvis Presley records "Miracle Of The Rosary," "Seeing Is Believing," "It's Still Here," "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen," and "I Will Be True."

1970 David Bowie marries his first wife, Angela, who contrary to rumor, was not the subject of The Rolling Stones' song "Angie."

1968 Dean Martin's LP Houston is certified gold.

1968 Donovan travels to India to study transcendental meditation under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

1966 Gary Leeds of The Walker Brothers is "abducted" by British students raising money for charity.

1965 Britain's Tailor and Cutter magazine runs an article by tie makers asking The Rolling Stones to start wearing ties with their suits, a fashion which had recently gone out of style among the youth. Mick Jagger responds, diplomatically, that ties would only give screaming female fans something else to grab onto in a crowd.

1964 The British Prime Minister Harold Wilson, who is the "Mr. Wilson" in their song "Taxman," presents The Beatles with the Show Business Personalities of 1963 award at the Variety Club of Great Britain Annual Show Business Awards.

1962 Bob Dylan releases his self-titled debut album. It doesn't chart in America, but sets the stage for his breakthrough a year later: The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.

1958 As Tom and Jerry, Simon & Garfunkel release their third single, a ditty named "Our Song" (BIG 616).

1953 Ricky Helton Wilson (guitarist for The B-52s) is born in Athens, Georgia.

1951 Derek Longmuir (drummer for Bay City Rollers) is born in Edinburgh, Scotland.

1946 Ruth Pointer (of The Pointer Sisters) is born in Oakland, California. She is the eldest member of the singing sisters.

1946 Paul Atkinson (guitarist for The Zombies) is born in Cuffley, Hertfordshire, England.

1941 Jimmy Dorsey records "Green Eyes," with vocals from Helen O'Connell and Bob Eberly.

1937 R&B singer Clarence "Frogman" Henry, known for the 1961 hit "(I Don't Know Why) But I Do," is born in New Orleans, Louisiana.

1930 Jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman is born in Fort Worth, Texas. Date of birth sometimes listed as March 9.

1926 Jazz singer Bill Henderson is born in Chicago, Illinois.

1921 Tommy Cooper is born in Caerphilly, Wales.

1914 Actress/singer Patricia Morison is born in New York City.

Andrew Wood's Death Leads To Pearl Jam

1990Andrew Wood, lead singer of Mother Love Bone, dies of a heroin overdose at age 24. Members of the band go on to form Pearl Jam.

Featured Events

2010 The Runaways, about the pioneering all-girl rock band, hits theaters. The film, which focuses on group member Joan Jett (played by Kristen Stewart), is a huge flop.More

2000 The New York Mets release Garth Brooks, who is participating in spring training with the team. The country star is cut loose after going 0-17 at the plate.

1988 Michael Jackson begins construction on his 2,800-acre ranch and private amusement park in Santa Barbara, California, which he names "Neverland" after a fantasy location in his favorite book, Peter Pan, a place where children never grow up.

1982 Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist Randy Rhoads dies when he takes a plane ride with a pilot who tries to buzz Ozzy's tour bus. When the wing hits the bus, the plane crashes into a nearby house, killing Rhoads, the pilot, and the tour costume designer/hairdresser.

1975 The movie version of The Who's rock opera Tommy premieres in America.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

More Music History for March 18, 2018


1902 -

March 18
29-year-old Italian opera singer Enrico Caruso was paid $50 each to record 10 songs on wax for the Gramophone and Typewriter Company in Italy. He would go on to become the world's first recording star. Two years later he began recording in America for the Victor Talking Machine Company (later RCA Victor). Over a 16-year span, he would earn millions of dollars in royalties from the retail sales of his 260 recordings.

1959 -

March 18
Britain's EMI Records announces that it has now stopped all production of 78 rpm discs.

1962 -

March 18
Gary "U.S." Bonds appears on The Ed Sullivan Show performing his latest hit, "Twist, Twist, Senora", which will reach #9 in April.

1965 -

March 18
The Standells appear on an episode of The Munsters, where they perform their version of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" to show the adults in the house what Rock music is all about.

1967 -

March 18
After three minor chart makers, an Oklahoma group called Five Americans release their biggest hit, "Western Union", which would rise to #5 on The Hot 100.

March 18
The Beatles enjoy their thirteenth US number one single with "Penny Lane". The song's title refers to the busy shopping area around Allerton Road and Smithdown Road in Liverpool where John and Paul would meet to catch a bus into the centre of the city.

March 18
The UK music magazine New Musical Express announces that Steve Winwood is planning to form a new group with Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood and Dave Mason. The ensemble will choose the name Traffic.

1972 -

March 18
Neil Young enjoyed his only solo, US number one hit with "Heart Of Gold". Backing vocals were provided by James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt. The song reached #10 on the UK chart.

March 18
Paul Simon's self-titled debut album topped the UK chart on the strength of the singles "Mother And Child Reunion" and "Me And Julio Down By The School Yard".

March 18
The Chicago vocal group, The Chi-Lites make their second appearance on TV's Soul Train, where they perform their newest release, "Oh Girl". The tune will go on to top the Billboard Pop and R&B charts and reach #14 in the UK. Not bad for a song that writer Eugene Record would later say he was surprised that the record company even wanted to issue as a single.

1976 -

March 18
Jim McCartney, father of former Beatle Paul McCartney, died at his home in the Norfolk village of Gayton at the age of 73. Paul was just about to kick off a European tour in Copenhagen with Wings and chose not to attend the funeral. A falling out with Jim's wife Angie and Paul's step-sister Ruth soon followed.

1978 -

March 18
The Bee Gees continued an amazing hot streak of three consecutive number one hits with "Night Fever". After "Oh, Darling" stalled at #15, they would have three more chart toppers in a row.

1981 -

March 18
Driving home from a basketball game in Philadelphia, Teddy Pendergrass was involved in a car accident that left him partially paralyzed from the neck down. Pendergrass had been with The Cadillacs and Harold Melvin And The Blue Notes before going solo in 1977. Two years would pass before he could return to performing.

1992 -

March 18
Disco Queen, Donna Summer gets a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1994 -

March 18
The Rolling Stones introduce Darryl Jones as the replacement for baseman Bill Wyman, who had previously announced that he would no longer tour with the band.

2000 -

March 18
A film company paid over a million dollars for nine hours of film shot by Yoko Ono during the '70s that showed John Lennon smoking hash and talking about his political beliefs.

2001 -

March 18
John Phillips, the quiet leader of The Mamas And Papas died of heart failure at the age of 65. John's daughter, Mackenzie Phillips co-starred in US TV's One Day At A Time, which ran from 1975 until 1984.

2002 -

March 18
Dionne Warwick, The Doobie Brothers and Petula Clark are among the entertainers at the wedding reception for Liza Minelli and David Guest. The couple split in July 2003 after just 16 months of marriage.

2011 -

March 18
Terence "Jet" Harris, bass guitarist for The Shadows, died from throat cancer at the age of 71. Jet played on the hit "Apache" and during their days as Cliff Richard's backing band, performed on the chart-topper "Living Doll". In 1962 he left the group and had solo hits with "Besame Mucho" and "The Man With The Golden Arm".

2013 -

March 18
The Billboard 200 albums chart welcomed some old friends into its Top 10 this week when Bon Jovi's "What About Now" debuted at #1, David Bowie's "The Next Day" reached #2 and Eric Clapton's "Old Stock" came in at #7.

2014 -

March 18
Elvis Presley's concert in Memphis in March 1974, when he returned to the city during a U.S. tour to perform in his hometown for the first time in 13 years, was released on a new two-CD set. "Elvis Recorded Live On Stage in Memphis" includes a re-mastered version of the full concert, including songs that weren't on the original July 7, 1974 release on vinyl. The 1974 album featured the song "How Great Thou Art," which would win Presley a gospel Grammy.

March 18
Joe Lala, a drummer and percussionist who worked with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, The Bee Gees, Whitney Houston, The Eagles and Eric Clapton, died from complications of lung cancer at the age of 66.

2017 -

March 18
Chuck Berry, one of Rock 'n' Roll's founding fathers and a true music legend, passed away at his home near St. Louis at the age of 90. Along with influencing a generation of guitarists, he placed fourteen singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and twenty-two on the R&B chart.