Today is B.B. King’s 83rd birthday! He was born Riley B. King on September 16, 1925 and was named the third-greatest guitarist of all-time by Rolling Stone magazine. He received the 1987 Lifetime Achievement Grammy and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Several of B.B.’s early recordings were produced by Sam Phillips, who later founded Sun Records in Memphis, TN. King was also a disc jockey in Memphis, where he got the nickname “Beale Street Blues Boy,” which was then shortened to “B. B.” Since the 1950s, B.B. has been one of the most important names in Blues and R&B music, with a long list of hits which include:
The Thrill is Gone (His biggest hit, 1969)
Click here to find out why B.B. named his guitar Lucille.
Live At The Apollo
Live At The Regal
Today marks the 5th anniversary of Johnny Cash’s passing. He was 71, and had only three months prior, suffered the loss of his wife, June Carter Cash. Despite being sick since 1997 with Autonomic Neuropathy, the Man in Black continued to perform until just two months before his death.
American IV: The Man Comes Around is the fourth album in Johnny Cash’s American series. Most songs are covers which Cash performs in his own simple style. The Eagles’ “Desperado,” Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” The Beatles’ “In My Life,” Roberta Flack’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” and Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” are included on this album. American IV: The Man Comes Around was the first of Cash’s albums to go gold in thirty years, and the last album he released during his lifetime.
The most popular song from this collection is Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt.” The video for “Hurt” was nominated in seven categories at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards and won for Best Cinematography. The video also won a Grammy for Best Short Form Video in 2004. This video is now known as Johnny Cash’s epitaph, since he expressed his view of his past and feelings of regret in this rendition.
Watch some of the videos from American IV below.
And here are some of his classics:
The Man in Black
Below, some of the winners from the 4th MTV Awards, which took place on September 11, 1987.
The big winner was Peter Gabriel’s Slegdehammer. It won for Video of the Year, Best Male Video, Best Concept Video, and Most Experimental Video.
Let’s watch it below:
Other winners from that year include:
Madonna – Papa Don’t Preach (Best Female Video)
Talking Heads – Wild Wild Life (Best Group Video)
Janet Jackson – Nasty (Best Choreography)
U2 – With or Without You (Viewers’ Choice)
Catherine MacLellan’s second album Church Bell Blues is a mix between folk and country music. It’s folk, because of the minimal instrumentation, and country, because it’s quite melancholy and MacLellan’s voice fits nicely in the genre. Her songwriting skills, husky and compelling voice, and guitar talent shine through on this album.
The twelve-song collection begins with “Dreams Dissolve.” The guitar sounds almost purposely out of tune, making this tune dark and sad. “Emily’s Song” is a happier song; MacLellan’s acoustic guitar and James Phillip’s electric guitar make it lively. The title track is bluesy, and a bit more uplifting than its title would suggest. “The Long Way Home” is reminiscent of Emmylou Harris. It has a beautiful melody, male and female voices blending, poetic lyrics and a country twang. “Brave Love” has heavier guitars, and is probably the most fast-paced song on the album. “River Valley Plains” speaks of the environmental problems our earth is facing with powerful lyrics like: One hundred fifty years we’ll throw our garbage, shed our tears into the river that once ran clear through this land. “Brave Love” and “Too Easy” are standout songs on this album.
All the songs on Church Bell Blues are worth a listen. The album is low-key, and will take a couple of plays for the listener to realize how good it is. Catherine MacLellan is a skilled songwriter and vocalist, and Church Bell Blues is a solid album that showcases her talents.
Watch the video for Too Easy, by clicking here.
Elvis Presley first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show on this day – September 9 – in 1956. The video below is part of The History Channel’s When America Was Rocked special. The Jordanaires, Elvis’ backup singers, are interviewed about working with him. They had a working relationship with Elvis for almost 15 years.
And here’s an article about Elvis’ early TV appearances.
Elvis Gyrates on Ed Sullivan’s Show