Almanac

Rock 'n' Roll Almanac for Saturday, May 8, 2021

110 years ago (1911)Legendary bluesman Robert Johnson, who supposedly sold his soul to the devil for his raw blues talent, dies in Leflore County, Mississippi, poisoned by a jealous girlfriend. He was an influence on hundreds of rockers, including Eric Clapton. Johnson's song Crossroads, a hit for Cream in 1968, seems to allude to Johnson's midnight deal with the devil at the intersection of Highways 61 and 49 in Clarksdale, Mississippi.
81 years ago (1940)Ricky Nelson is born Eric Hillard Nelson in Teaneck, N.J.
78 years ago (1943)Paul Samwell-Smith, bass player for the Yardbirds, is born.
77 years ago (1944)Gary Glitter is born.
70 years ago (1951)Chris Frantz, drummer with the Talking Heads, is born.
68 years ago (1953)Alex Van Halen, drummer for Van Halen, is born.
51 years ago (1970)The Beatles’ Let It Be album is released. The group had broken up a month earlier.
49 years ago (1972)Keyboardist and singer Billy Preston becomes the first rock performer to headline at Radio City Music Hall. Others to soon follow will include David Bowie and Mountain.
46 years ago (1975)Straight Shooter, the second album by British hard rock band Bad Company, goes gold. The band's first album, called Bad Company went gold a year earlier.
45 years ago (1976)Bob Dylan and his entourage return to Houston, the city where the not so good Benefit II for Rubin Hurricane Carter has held just five months earlier. For the concert, Dylan requests Willie Nelson to join him and the two croon Will the Circle Be Unbroken. Meanwhile backstage, Nelson is given a subpoena for an upcoming grand jury investigation on drug trafficking.
45 years ago (1976)The Steve Miller Band's Take The Money And Run is released.
44 years ago (1977)Olivia Newton-John makes her New York City debut with a concert at the Metropolitan Opera House.
42 years ago (1979)Supertramp's LP, Breakfast in America, turns platinum and eventually goes to #1. The group has three Top Fifteen singles: The Logical Song, Goodbye Stranger and Take the Long Way Home.
40 years ago (1981)Sheena Easton, a singer from Scotland, hits gold the first time out with Morning Train. It's a #1 smash and she has three more before the year is out.
40 years ago (1981)Loverboy earns a gold record for their debut album.
39 years ago (1982)Veteran record executive Neil Bogart, a big mover of the disco era with his Casablanca Records, dies of cancer. He got the careers of Donna Summer, Kiss and Joan Jett going. He was 39 years old.
31 years ago (1990)Tom Waits wins $2.5 million when a Los Angeles court rules that Frito-Lay unlawfully used a Waits sound alike in its Doritos ads.
25 years ago (1996)A Los Angeles judge rules against drummer Tommy Lee and wife Pamela Anderson Lee in their bid to keep Penthouse magazine from publishing still photos from an X-rated home movie that was stolen from their home.
23 years ago (1998)A British court rules in favor of the former Beatles and Yoko Ono to stop the release of another Star-Club Tape recording. The judge orders all copies of the new recording and the original tape be rewarded to The Beatles. The Fab Four are also awarded damages and legal costs.
21 years ago (2000)The Elton John and Tim Rice musical for Disney, Aida, receives four Tony nominations including one for best original score.
21 years ago (2000)Elton John is the main feature in the world's largest photo unveiled at the Selfridges department store in London. The photo, entitled XV Seconds, includes images of other celebrities, and is used to cover scaffolding surrounding the store during remodeling.
1 year ago (2020)Little Richard, a founding father of rock and roll whose fervent shrieks, flamboyant garb, and joyful, gender-bending persona embodied the spirit and sound of that new art form, dies at age 87.

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