I Bet Yo' Mama Was a Trash-Hall Queen
May 29, 1992: Eighth-grade students at Sacred Heart School in Clifton, New Jersey, are told they won't be able to sing Queen's "We Are the Champions" at graduation as they had planned, after school officials find out Freddie Mercury was gay and died of AIDS. The ceremony is canceled entirely after students plan to protest the decision.
May 29, 1967: At a place called the Tulip Bulb Auction Hall in Spalding, England, a concert is held featuring the Move, Cream, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Zoot Money, and Pink Floyd. Cost per ticket: one British pound--equal to about $2.80 American back then. Accounting for inflation since then, the ticket would cost about $20 American today. That's real rock-and-roll value right there, yes indeed.
May 29, 1955: One of the first outdoor pop concerts is held in Atlanta. Headliners include Ray Charles, B.B. King, the Drifters, Ruth Brown, and Jimmy Reed. It rains.
May 29, 1942: Bing Crosby, John Scott Trotter and His Orchestra, and the Ken Darby Singers record "White Christmas." Released that Christmas, it would crack the pop charts every year for many years afterward, and is the second-largest selling single of all time. Only Elton John's 1997 Princess Di tribute version of "Candle in the Wind" has sold more.
Larry Blackmon of Cameo is 50. I mention this only because I heard Cameo's 1986 hit "Word Up" the other day. Still some funky music, but the hip-hop slang in the lyrics sounds pretty archaic now.
Mike Porcaro is 51. One of the busiest studio musicians during the 70s and 80s, he also played in Toto, and still does.
Gary Brooker is 61. Brooker played piano and guitar with the original incarnation of Procol Harum and continues to lead today's version of the band. He's also played with the Ringo Starr All-Starr Band, Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings, and the Alan Parsons Project.
Number One Songs on This Date:
1991: "Rhythm of My Heart"/Rod Stewart. Stewart 1991 album Vagabond Heart was probably the best record he'd made since the 1970s. In addition to "Rhythm of My Heart," there's the joyous "Motown Song," a version of the Buffalo Springfield tune "Broken Arrow," a smokin' cover of "It Takes Two" featuring Tina Turner, and even a non-embarrassing version of the Stylistics' "You Are Everything."
1985: "Everything She Wants"/Wham. One of the great ticked-off classics of the 80s, in which George Michael decides he's had enough of his grasping, never-satisfied lover, and says so over the funkiest rhythm track Wham ever managed.
1972: "Oh Girl"/Chi-Lites. This record contains quite possibly the saddest sound ever coaxed out of a musical instrument--that gorgeously mournful harmonica.
1971: "Brown Sugar"/Rolling Stones. One of the greatest displays of testicular fortitude in rock history--taking a song full of such obvious racial and sexual incorrectness onto the singles chart in the first place. That it got to Number One is thanks largely to the grade-A musical assault that cloaks the nastiness in the lyric. I bought it. I was 11.
1966: "When a Man Loves a Woman"/Percy Sledge. Without 1966, oldies radio as we know it today wouldn't exist. Of the 27 songs to make Number One that year, between 15 and 20 are core records of the format today.
Blink and You Missed It: For about 20 minutes today, there was a post here that focused on "Memory Motel," a cut from the Rolling Stones' 1976 album Black and Blue. Then I thought better of it and took it down. But since the song is still taking up file space online, you can go and download it if you want. If you've never heard it, you'll want to, if only because it might be the exact opposite of "Brown Sugar."
"Memory Motel"/Rolling Stones (WMA file; Windows Media Player required for this one.) Buy it here.