Category Archives: Today in history

Charles Hardin Buddy Holly

Charles Hardin Buddy Holly

When we boomers fell in love with the Beatles and enthusiastically pour more gasoline on the Beatlemania already raging conflagration, we congratulated ourselves on finding such new wonderful music.

Ah, youth! forever dear, forever kind.

And forever naive.

Charles Hardin Buddy Holly

American music

The Beatles, of course, like most of the world’s young people who loved rock and roll, fell in love with American rock music: the descendant and combination of the blues, country, and gospel music. I imagine that John, Paul, George, and Ringo were a bit dumbfounded to hear our discovery of their “new” music. They knew that they were doing their best to come up with something new, yes, but thoroughly based on the American music they so loved.

Like that of Charles Hardin Buddy Holly.

Charles Hardin Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly

Charles Hardin Buddy Holly

Charles Hardin Holley was born on September 7, 1936  in Lubbock, Texas and played several instruments as a child, but it was the guitar that he settled on.

And he dropped the e from his last name.

He and his band, the Western and Bop Band, performed throughout the southwest. Nashville’s Decca Records signed Holly: Buddy Holly and the Two Tunes, later Buddy Holly and the Three Tones.

Charles Hardin Buddy Holly

Success then release

Decca released a few singles before dropping the band. Holly and his band mates returned to Lubbock. During this time Holly developed his singer-songwriter skills and the band became a local favorite to open for touring musicians. The most important gig was opening for Elvis. That experience shifted Holly to rock and roll.

Charles Hardin Buddy Holly

Norman Petty

Charles Hardin Buddy Holly

On February 25, 1957 Buddy Holly and the Crickets were in Norman Petty’s Clovis, NM studio. They recorded another version of: “That’ll Be the Day.”

Charles Hardin Buddy Holly

Peggy Sue

The song attracted national attention and a national tour. “Peggy Sue” was a #3 hit here and a hit in the UK where young musicians like John, Paul, George, and Ringo were just starting out. A 1958 tour in England gave Holly and even bigger presence there.

Charles Hardin Buddy Holly

It was while on the 1958 Winter Dance Party Tour that Holly decided to take the plane and not the bus.

On February 3, 1959 that plane crashed just outside Mason City, Iowa killing all on board including the Big Bopper and Richie Valens.

Charles Hardin Buddy Holly

Quarrymen

Holly’s influence continued beyond his death. The Quarrymen eventually changed their name to the Beatles in homage to Holly’s Crickets. They also slowly developed their own singer-songwriter abilities, the hallmark of the most successful musicians whom the 1960s–and beyond–produced.

Charles Hardin Buddy Holly
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September 6 Peace Love Art Activism

September 6 Peace Love Art Activism

US Labor History

Avondale Mine disaster

September 6, 1869: one of the worst disasters in the history of U.S. anthracite mining occurred at the Avondale Mine, near Scranton, Pa., when a fire originating from a furnace at the bottom of a 237-foot shaft roared up the shaft, killing 110 miners. (see Dec 28)

National textile strike of 1934

September 6 Peace Love Art Activism

September 6, 1934: strikebreakers and special deputies opened fire on the 300 textile workers picketing the Chiquola Mill in Honea Path, South Carolina, killing six people and wounding dozens of others; a seventh man died the next day from his wounds. The national textile strike of 1934 saw nearly half a million textile workers from New England, the Mid Atlantic, and the South walk off the job to demand better wages and working conditions. (see Sept 12)

September 6 Peace Love Art Activism

Anarchism in the US

September 6, 1901: Leon Czolgosz, a Polish citizen associated with the Anarchist movement  shot President William McKinley twice in the stomach while McKinley was attending the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. McKinley had been greeting the public in a receiving line. Czolgosz later confessed to the crime, signing a statement saying that the last public speaker he had heard was Emma Goldman, but added she had never told him to kill the president. (Biography article) (see Sept 10, 1901)

September 6 Peace Love Art Activism

Cultural Milestone

September 6 Peace Love Art Activism

September 6, 1916: Clarence Saunders opened the first self-service grocery store, Piggly Wiggly, in Memphis, Tenn. [Piggly Wiggly site] (see October 28, 1919)

September 6 Peace Love Art Activism

BLACK HISTORY

Emmett Till

September 6, 1955: Emmett Till was buried at Burr Oak Cemetery. The same day, a grand jury in Mississippi indicted Milam and Bryant for the kidnapping and murder of Emmett Till. They both plead innocent. They will be held in jail until the start of the trial.  (see Emmett Till)

Mississippi Southern College

September 6, 1965: after previous failed attempts, Clyde Kennard, Raylawn Young Branch, and Elaine Armstrong became the first African-American students enrolled at Mississippi Southern College (now University of Southern Mississippi). Branch had served as Forrest County NAACP secretary and as an active member of SNCC, CORE and SCLC. [more on Clyde Kennard] (see Sept 8)

Atlanta revolt

September 6, 1966: 4 days of rioting in Atlanta, GA. Authorities blamed without evidence SNCC and its leader Stockley Carmichael. (BH, see Sept 12; RR, see June 2, 1967)

Equal Justice Initiative

September 6, 2010: in September 2010, lawyers at the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a nonprofit civil rights law firm in Montgomery, Alabama, mailed a copy of Slavery by Another Name to client Mark Melvin, then incarcerated at Kilby Correctional Facility. Written by award-winning journalist Douglas Blackmon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning book documents the little known history of convict leasing in Alabama in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As the book’s title suggests, the exploitative and inhumane convict leasing system strongly resembled slavery. Under the pretext of criminal punishment, African Americans arrested on frivolous charges were sold to plantations, turpentine farms, mining companies, and railroads and forced to work in perilous conditions to pay off “debt” accumulated from unjust court costs and fines.

Deciding that the book’s title was “too provocative,” Kilby prison officials prohibited Mark Melvin from receiving Slavery by Another Name when it arrived in the mail. When Melvin used the internal grievance process to appeal the book’s banning, prison officials defended their decision and insisted the book was properly banned under a rule prohibiting material that incites “violence based on race, religion, sex, creed, or nationality, or disobedience toward law enforcement officials or correctional staff.” Alabama prison officials had previously limited prisoners’ access to portrayals of Southern racial history; in the early 2000s, wardens in some Alabama prisons prohibited prisoners from watching a re-broadcast of the Roots miniseries.

In September 2011, represented by EJI lawyers, Mark Melvin sued the Alabama Department of Corrections to be able to read Slavery By Another Name. The civil litigation was settled in February 2013, when state officials finally agreed to allow prisoners to read the book.  [EJI site] (see Nov 15)

September 6 Peace Love Art Activism

Women’s Health

September 6 Peace Love Art Activism

September 6, 1966: Margaret Sanger, the most famous advocate of birth control in American history, died on this day at age 86. She opened the first birth control clinic in the US, on October 16, 1916, and was arrested for doing so a week later, along with her sister. She rejected a plea bargain and served one month in jail. Sanger’s career as a birth control advocate was filled with many dramatic events in addition to her arrest and jailing. Her magazine, Woman Rebel, was banned from the mails.  After her release from jail in 1917, she produced a short film, Birth Control, which had one private showing on May 16, 1917, after which it was banned. No print is known to survive. She was prevented from speaking on a number of occasions. Sanger’s organization, the American Birth Control League, evolved into today’s Planned Parenthood Federation. (NYT obit) (see April 6, 1967)

September 6 Peace Love Art Activism

INDEPENDENCE DAY

September 6 Peace Love Art Activism

September 6, 1968: Swaziland independent from United Kingdom. [2018 Guardian article on name change] (see Oct 12)

September 6 Peace Love Art Activism

September 6 Music et al

Midwest Pop

September 6, 1969: First Annual Midwest Mini-Pop Festival, (Cleveland Zoo) (see Midwest for more))

Jimi Hendrix

September 6, 1970: Hendrix played at the Love and Peace Festival on the Isle of Fehmarn in Germany. He was supposed to play the day before but couldn’t because of bad weather. The festival was not very successful financially and many of the scheduled bands didn’t perform. Hendrix decided to stick around. He had been paid in advance. There were only about 10,000 people that saw him perform. They did not realize that they were watching history being made. It was the last concert Jimi would ever play. (see JH for more)

September 6 Peace Love Art Activism

Technological Milestone

September 6, 1978: US scientists announced the production of human-type insulin by a strain of E. coli bacteria, that had been genetically engineered after months of creative use of gene-splicing techniques. The work was a joint effort by research teams in California at the biochemical firm, Genentech Inc, San Francisco and the City of Hope National Medical Center, Los Angeles. A normal body’s production of insulin takes place within cells of the pancreas, programmed by certain genes (segments of DNA). The scientists synthesized copies of these genes and inserted them into a weakened lab strain of the intestinal microbe Escherichia coli. In 1982, insulin was the first recombinant DNA drug to be marketed, Humulin by Eli Lilly & Co [Gene dot com article] (see July 2, 1979)

September 6 Peace Love Art Activism

Marijuana

September 6, 1988: Administrative law judge Francis Young was asked by the Drug Enforcement Administration in 1988 to comment on the merits of rescheduling marijuana in response to NORML’s 1972 petition. Young suggested that marijuana be rescheduled from schedule I to schedule II for nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy. He also concluded that the evidence was insufficient to warrant the use of crude marijuana for glaucoma or pain. (see December 30, 1989)

September 6 Peace Love Art Activism

LGBTQ

September 6, 2005: the California legislature became the first state legislature to pass a freedom to marry bill. The landmark bill was vetoed soon after passage by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Two years later, the legislature again passed a marriage bill, and again, it was vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger.  [Washington Post article] (California, see May 15, 2008; LGBTQ, see Oct 1, 2005)

September 6 Peace Love Art Activism

Terry Jones

September 6, 2010:  an Afghan imam in Kabul convened a demonstration in which protesters burn an effigy of Jones and chant “Death to America.” (see Sept 7)

September 6 Peace Love Art Activism

Stop and Frisk Policy

September 6, 2011: a day after being stopped and detained by the NYPD, City Councilman Jumaane Williams and others urge for reforms to the stop-and-frisk policy. (see Oct 19)

September 6 Peace Love Art Activism
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Eric Burdon Animals House Rising Sun

Eric Burdon Animals House Rising Sun

One of the aims of my tours at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts’ Museum is to more accurately present the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.

A common misconceptions is that the crowd of 400,000 consisted of a bunch of hippies. Using a picture I took the Saturday of the festival, I half-kiddingly point out that the majority of young people there were “white kids getting sunburned.”

Eric Burdon Animals House Rising Sun
photo by J Shelley

Guests typically chuckle and I add, “Look at the rest of the pictures and find the hippies. Find tie-dyed clothing.” Picture perusal yields little of either.

Eric Burdon Animals House Rising Sun

#1

On September 5, 1964 “House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. They had recorded it on May 18 and released it in the UK in June and in the US in August. At 2:58, the song barely made it under the AM radio de rigueur  3 minute limit.

Animals House of the Rising Sun

Eric Burdon Animals House Rising Sun

British Blues Invasion

When songs by British invaders like the Rolling Stones and the Animals started playing on American radio airwaves, many teenagers loved their gritty soulful feel. Little did we innocent and naive white segregated American teenagers realize, as the Stones and Animals did, that the songs were American.

Animals House of the Rising Sun

Eric Burdon Animals House Rising Sun

Not Hello Dolly

“House of the Rising Sun” is such an example. The song’s origins may go as far back as the 1700s. The classic American bluesman, Leadbelly, recorded two versions in the mid-1940s. As with many musical genres, the Animals adapted the song’s story to their own way by changing the viewpoint from that of a woman to that of a son whose father is satisfied only when he is drunk.

This was not She Loves You, Hello Dolly, Everybody Loves Somebody, or any of the other #1 songs of 1964. Its intensity and darkness set it apart.

You can find more about the song’s history via a American Blues Scene link.

Eric Burdon Animals House Rising Sun

Animals House of the Rising Sun, Animals House of the Rising Sun, Animals House of the Rising Sun, 

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