October 17 Music et al

October 17 Music et al

Some dates just seem to have a whole lot a music et al going on and October 17 is one of those days. Just look at what happened on October 17 throughout the 60s.
Save the Last Dance for Me

October 17 Music et al
October 17 – 23, 1960:  “Save the Last Dance for Me” by the Drifters was #1 on the  Billboard Hot 100. 

The story behind the song is that Doc Pomus found a wedding invitation in a hatbox. The invitation reminded him of his own wedding reception and watching his brother Raoul dance with his new wife, Willi Burke, a Broadway actress. Doc watched because the effects of childhood polio kept him in his wheelchair. 

The memory inspired him to stay up all night writing lyrics. He used the invitation for stationery.

Earlier that day, Doc's musical partner, Mort Shuman had played a Latin melody. Doc wanted the lyrics to sound like a poem translated into English  They do suggest jealousy: "If he asks if you're all alone, can he take you home, you must tell him no." 

Pomus ended his night of songwriting by writing down the words that would become the title: "Save The Last Dance For Me."

Famous composers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller produced the song. Ben E King was the Drifters lead singer at the time. Ironically, equally famous Atlantic Records Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler decided to put "Save the Last Dance for Me" on the B-side. Dick Clark of American Bandstand flipped over the single, listened to "Dance," realized what a great song it was, and played it on his show American Bandstand. 

It was the Drifters only #1 hit.

The song's popularity continues into our 21st century. Unfortunately, Pomus and Willi Burke's marriage did not make it out of the 60s. 

October 17 Music et al

Beatles first Christmas wishes

October 17 Special Music Edition

October 17, 1963 was a(nother) busy day for the Beatles that began mid-afternoon. First they recorded their first Christmas disc. Click below to hear it, likely hear it again. American fans did not receive this recording because Americans did not yet know about the Beatles. The Beatles continued to record these annual fan club gifts until 1969. The Official Beatles Fan Club mailed this disc out on December 9.

Later, the Beatles again recorded Smokey Robinson's "You Really Got a Hold On Me," but were still not satisfied. The version we hear on With the Beatles is actually a combination of earlier attempts. 

The main goal of the day was to record their next single, "I Want To Hold Your Hand." It took 17 takes. 

They then recorded (in 15 takes) "This Boy." They overdubbed some of the vocals which are the hallmark of the song.

Their day ended at 10 PM though they had taken a break between 5:30 and 7 PM.

October 17 Music et alOctober 17 1964 was the first day that Manfred Mann's version of Do Wah Diddy Diddy hit #1 on Billboard's Hot  100. It remained there until October 30.

October 17 Music et al

Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich wrote the song and the American group the Exiters first recorded it in 1963.  Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (see above) had hired Barry and Greenwich who are also famous for many other songs such as  "Chapel of Love", "People Say", and "Iko Iko,"  "Remember (Walkin' in the Sand)," and "Leader of the Pack" 

Manfred Mann recorded the song (with the extra Ditty in the title) and had the number one hit with it.

October 17 Music et al1967's October 17 Special music event is the first one that feels like the 60s as many remember it. Very much so. The play, Hair premiered off-Broadway at the Public Theatre and ran for a limited engagement of six weeks. Although the production had a "tepid critical reception", it was popular with audiences.

James Rado and Gerome Ragni wrote the play. Galt MacDermot the music. and music by Galt MacDermot. The play reflected the counter-cultural times with its depiction of the use of illegal drugs, sexuality, and treatment of the flag.  A nude scene caused much comment and controversy. It became the blueprint for future so-called "rock musicals."

October 17, 1967, The Beatles after live performances: John, Paul, George, and Ringo attend a memorial service for Brian Epstein at the New London Synagogue, Abbey Road. (see Nov 27)

And we come full cycle. October 17, 1969, just two years after Hair opened (and continued to run) was the last day  Archies' "Sugar Sugar" was the Billboard #1 song. Who co-wrote "Sugar Sugar"? None other than Jeff Barry whom we find in the middle of today's post with his wife Ellie Greenwich.

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October 17 Peace Love Activism

October 17 Peace Love Activism


October 17, 1872: President Grant declared martial law and suspended the writ of habeas corpus in nine South Carolina counties. Once he did so, federal forces were allowed to arrest and imprison KKK members and instigators of racial terrorism without bringing them before a judge or into court. Many affluent Klan members fled the jurisdiction to avoid arrest but by December 1871 approximately 600 Klansmen were in jail. More than 200 arrestees were indicted, 53 pleaded guilty, and five were convicted at trial. Klan terrorism in South Carolina decreased significantly after the arrests and trials but racial violence targeting black people continued throughout the South for decades. (see Nov 28)
Lunch counter desegregation
October 17, 1960: in response to the sit-ins that had began on February 1, several chain stores announced on this day that they would desegregate their lunch counters in North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and seven other southern states. This decision was arguably the greatest single victory for the sit-in movement, but many restaurants continued to segregate. (see Oct 19)
October 17, 2010: force in Pleasantville, N.Y police officer, Aaron Hess shot and killed Danroy Henry, a college running back sitting next to his best friend Brandon Cox from Easton, Mass., Hess fired four rounds, his lawyer said, into the Nissan Altima with Cox and Henry inside, killing Henry, wounding Cox. (B & S, and Henry, see February 14, 2011)


October 17, 1887: French Indochina was officially formed from Annam, Tonkin, Cochinchina (which together form modern Vietnam) and the Kingdom of Cambodia following the Sino-French war (1884–1885). Laos was added after the Franco-Siamese War in 1893. (see May 19, 1891)

Cold War

Loyalty oath invalidated
October 17, 1952 : a loyalty oath for University of California employees was a major controversy for many years, beginning in 1949. The Board of Regents finally adopted a required oath on April 21, 1950. On August 25, UC fired 31 faculty for refusing to sign the oath. On this day, the California Supreme Court invalidated the law in Tolman v. Underhill. (The university oath was separate from, and in addition to, the Levering Act oath, which was required of all California public employees, signed into law by Governor Earl Warren on October 3, 1950.) (see Nov 1)
Che returned

Oct 17

October 17, 1997: Guevara's remains, with those of six of his fellow combatants, were laid to rest with military honors in a specially built mausoleum in the Cuban city of Santa Clara, where he had commanded over the decisive military victory of the Cuban Revolution. (see April 10, 1998) (NYT article)
Fernald School

mit radiation exp

October 17, 1995: in a lawsuit over radiation experiments MIT researchers conducted at a home for mentally retarded children during the 1950s was filed. The lawsuit came only days after an advisory committee to President Clinton released findings about thousands of human radiation experiments conducted during the Cold War, including tests done at the Fernald School. The committee concluded that the experiments were wrong and warranted apologies to the test subjects but that only a few should receive monetary compensation. (ADA, see February 8, 1996; CW, see May 12, 2002)

see October 17 Music et al for more

“Save the Last Dance for Me”
October 17 – 23, 1960: written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, “Save the Last Dance for Me” by the Drifters #1 Billboard Hot 100. The song was written on the day of Pomus' wedding while the wheelchair-bound groom, who had polio as a child, watched from his wheelchair as his bride danced with their guests.
Beatles first Christmas disc
October 17, 1963: among other things, the Beatles recorded a free flexi-disc to be given away to members of the Official Beatles Fan Club. This was the first of seven such recordings made between 1963 and 1969, and was posted to members on 9 December. (see Oct 21)
“Do Wah Diddy Diddy”
October 17 – 30, 1964: “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” by Manfred Mann #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Cultural Milestone
October 17, 1967: the play, Hair premiered off-Broadway at the Public Theatre and ran for a limited engagement of six weeks. Although the production had a "tepid critical reception", it was popular with audiences. (CM, see Oct 18; Hair, see  Dec 22)
Brian Epstein
October 17, 1967: John, Paul, George, and Ringo attend a memorial service for Brian Epstein at the New London Synagogue, Abbey Road. (see Nov 27)


Homosexual League of New York
October 17, 1963, LGBTQ: Randolph Wicker, director of the Homosexual League of New York, called for public acceptance of homosexuals as a legitimate minority group. (see December 16) NYT article)
Westboro Baptist Church
October 17October 17, 1998: Matthew Shepard buried. Fred Phelps, leader of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, took his church's "God Hates Fags" message to the funeral of Matthew Shepard, held in Casper, Wyoming. Two of his picket signs read: "No Tears for Queers" and "Fag Matt in Hell. (NYT article) (see April 5, 1999)

Native Americans

October 17, 1988: The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act established the jurisdictional framework that governs Indian gaming. There was no federal gaming structure before this act. The stated purposes of the act include providing a legislative basis for the operation/regulation of Indian gaming, protecting gaming as a means of generating revenue for the tribes, encouraging economic development of these tribes, and protecting the enterprises from negative influences (such as organized crime). (see January 30, 1989)
October 17 Peace Love Activism

Immigration History

October 17, 2013: a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the federal hate-crime convictions of Derrick Donchak and Brandon Piekarsky in the July 12, 2008 beating death of immigrant Luis Ramirez.

The Third Circuit panel in Philadelphia affirmed both convictions and sentences for Donchak and Piekarsky for violating the civil rights of Ramirez, 25, after a booze-fueled confrontation with a group of white high-school football players in the former mining town of Shenandoah.

Donchak, then 20, and Piekarsky, then 18, were found guilty of the federal charges by a federal jury sitting in Scranton on October 14, 2010. Each was sentenced to nine years in prison followed by three years of supervised release. (see March 3, 2014)

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