1960 — The Beatles arrive in Hamburg

At the time of their arrival in Hamburg, the Beatles were a five piece ensemble, with a line up consisting of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best. When the Beatles left, two years later, Stuart Sutcliffe stayed behind to be with the girl he had met there, Astrid Kircherr. (It was Astrid who helped to popularise the distinctive Beatles mop-top.)

The Beatles’ time in Hamburg saw them gigging extensively in clubs around the city, indulging in copious amounts of Preludin (a prescription amphetemine) and learning a lot about sex (almost all the women they met in Hamburg were strippers or prostitutes). It also lead, eventually, to their first recording. This single, “My Bonnie”, was what eventually attracted the attention of Brian Epstein to the boys, leading to him becoming the manager of the band for many years.

The Beatles would leave Hamburg in 1962, returning briefly in 1966, after they had become superstars.

Referenced in:
No More Fun — Roger Taylor

1969 — The Beckenham Free Festival is held

The Beckenham Free Festival was held at the Croydon Road Recreation Ground in Beckenham in August 1969, in parallel with the Woodstock Festival. It was organised by a group of British musicians and artists, the most prominent of whom was David Bowie (quite early in his career).

The festival was a success, with some 3,000 people attending. The atmosphere was generally peaceful, for which Bowie was complimented by Bromley’s mayor and chief of police (who were among the attendees).

Referenced in:
Memory of a Free Festival — David Bowie

1964 — Adam “MCA” Yauch of the Beastie Boys born

Adam Yauch was born and bred in Brooklyn. His Catholic father and Jewish mother raised him without religion – although he later found Buddhism without their help. He is best known as a founding member of the Beastie Boys, and along with Mike D, one of only two members to have stayed with the band for its entire career.

Yauch was a political activist, especially concerned with the issue of Tibetan freedom, but also a film-maker and a music producer. He died in 2014 from a cancer affecting his parotid gland and lymph nodes. He was 47 years old.

Referenced in:
The Chanukah Song (Part II) — Adam Sandler

Lotus

Growing on, and forming almost the entire diet of the inhabitants of an un-named island in the Mediterranean off the coast of North Africa, the Lotus plant is infamous for its powerful stupefying effects. The people who live on this island have no recognizable culture other than consumption of the Lotus plant, extreme lassitude and a certain lazy friendliness to outsiders. The only known name for them is that given them in contempt by Ulysses, Lotus-Eaters.

Basically, the Lotus-Eaters live an idyllic life of being perpetually stoned. No wonder they so offended a man of action like Ulysses.

Week Ending July 27, 2015

Not a lot this week – I’ve added quite a few new entries to the Podcast History and done a little bit more work updating entries in Trade Paperback Timelines.

I realise that this stuff is kind of dry, but it’s what interests me to work on right now, and also, there actually are no new Rock’n’Roll History entries for July – I’ve posted every last one that I know of (which doesn’t rule out me learning about other songs in the future, just that for the moment, the well is dry). There are new entries coming up in August, so that’s something to look forward to. And some point soon, I’m going to be heading back into Crossing Over, with new entries popping up there, too.
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Week Ending July 20, 2015

Weird, huh?

I mean, this Weekly Update immediately follows the last one in the feed. It looks like I’ve done nothing when I’ve literally created hundreds of new posts. But to list them all here would overwhelm this entire page with a long, long list of years. And I don’t want to do that. So instead, what I’ve decided to do is simply to list which podcasts and which periods have had material added to them this week. I realise that it’s not a great solution, but it allows this post to be much, much shorter than would otherwise be the case.
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Week Ending July 13, 2015

So I got impatient this week, and pulled the trigger on something I’ve been working on for a while, launching it even though there’s still lots and lots of work to be done on it. But it was time: The Podcast History of the World‘s hour had come round at last, and it is born. (Messily, like all births.) I’m trying not to spam people with too many new posts to it on any given day, but given that there will be somewhere in the region of 3000 posts all up, I also want to get them up in a reasonable span. Still working on a compromise there, folks.

I’m not going to be ignoring other features of the site (although I’m still wavering on how I want to deal with The Rock’n’Roll History of the World, although I am determined to come to an end of it in the not too distant future.

Also, I’ve been working on the Trade Paperback Timelines, and the main Marvel Universe one is nearly up to date with its reformatting (and with a lot of new volumes added to the more recent pages), but I don’t want to release it until I can put up all the reformatted pages, and I’m currently about 3/4 of the way through 2011. So it’s getting closer, but it’s still a ways off.
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1967 — David Bowie records “The Laughing Gnome”

Bowie himself regards it as one of his worst songs.

He’s not wrong. The Alvin and the Chipmunks high-voices, the tortured puns… it’s just horrible. Except for the music. Musically, it’s one of the strongest pieces of his work to that time. It’s the lyrics that let it down.

However, on the plus side, Bowie performed it for an audition in 1968 and failed to get the part – which meant that he continued to record pop music instead of pursuing a career in cabaret.

Referenced in:
No More Fun — Roger Taylor

1984 — First publication of “The Ballad of Halo Jones”

Originally published in five page installments in “2000AD”, beginning with the July 7, 1984 issue, “The Ballad of Halo Jones” was a serialised story written by Alan Moore and drawn by Ian Gibson. It detailed the life and times of Halo Jones, introduced as an 18 year old living in the 50th century. Across three major arcs (“books”), Jones matured and took on various careers, including stewardess on a space-liner and guerrilla fighter.

But disputes over the ownership of the series saw it discontinued, although Moore and Gibson had planned six more books of the story (telling the complete history of Halo). And because they have been unable to reach an agreement with the owners of the copyrights, Gibson and Moore have been unable to complete the Ballad of Halo Jones, and are likely to remain so.

Referenced in:
Hanging Out With Halo Jones — Transvision Vamp

1965 — Alan Freed dies

Alan Freed was one of the first really famous DJs, and his efforts were instrumental in promoting early rock’n’roll music – indeed, he is widely held to have been the one to coin the phrase “rock’n’roll”.

Freed had become interested in radio while attending college, and spent his military service working as a DJ on Armed Forces Radio. He later worked as a DJ at WKST (New Castle, PA); WKBN (Youngstown, OH); and WAKR (Akron, OH). But his great fame began in 1951, when he began working for WJW (Cleveland, OH), playing rhythm and blues, hot jazz and this strange new dance music that would be called rock’n’roll. Freed nicknamed himself “Moondog” after a jazz instrumental he played as the show’s intro. He later moved to WINS (New York), where his fame grew. Freed appeared in many of the early rock’n’roll films, co-wrote songs (such as “Maybelline” by Chuck Berry)…

…and was eventually ruined when it was revealed that he had taken payola (playing certain songs in exchange for money from record companies).

Freed worked a little after that, but his prestige and status as a tastemaker were destroyed in the scandal. He died of uremia and cirrhosis brought on by alcoholism. Freed was only 43 years old when he died.

Referenced in:
Done Too Soon — Neil Diamond