August 16 is a date like any other date, except when it comes to music. Several events on this date have had a massive impact on the music industry. In fact in musical terms it just doesn’t get bigger than this .
August 16-1915 The birth of Al Hibbler
Nowadays the name Al Hibbler will mean very little to most.But if I will mention the song ‘Unchained Melody’ it will trigger a lot of memories to many, especially the pottery scene in the movie ‘Ghost’ the version of the song was by ‘the Righteous Brothers” and a great number of people may think theirs was the original but it was Al Hibbler who brought the song to the number 1 spot of the charts for the first time in 1955.It was composed by by Alex North and lyrics by Hy Zaret.
In the late 1950s and 1960s, was involved in the civil rights movement. He got arrested in 1959 in New Jersey and in 1963 in Alabama partaking in protest marches with .This didn’t make him very popular with major record labels notoriety and they did not carry his work, but Frank Sinatra supported him and signed him to a contract with his label.
August 16-1938 the death of Robert Johnson
Robert Elroy Johnson is without a doubt the undisputed King of the blues. Legend has it that he made a deal with the devil for his talents.
As a young man living on a plantation in rural Mississippi, he had a burning desire to become the greatest blues musician. He was instructed to take his guitar to a crossroad near Dockery Plantation at midnight. There he was met by allegedly the devil who took the guitar and tuned it. The devil played a few songs and then returned the guitar to Johnson, giving him virtuosity of the instrument.All Robert had to give in exchange was his soul.
That soul was taken on August 16,1938 when he was aged 27, which also makes one of the first musicians to make it to the list of the the club of 27, the cause of his death has never really been solved. Popular believe is that he was poisoned during an altercation in a bar with the jealous husband of a woman with whom he had flirted. It is said he was given a given a poisoned bottle of Whiskey after another bottle was knocked out of his hand.
He only recorded 29 songs but there is yet another legend about a 30th song never recorded. This ‘missing’ song is the plot line of the 1986 movie ‘Crossroads’ in all honesty the movie isn’t great but the music is fantastic, especially the guitar duel between Ry Cooder and Steve Vai is something else.
August 16-1958 the Birth of Madonna
Love her or loathe her there is no denying Madonna’s place in musical History, she is without a doubt the most influential female artist in decades.
Born Madonna Louise Ciccone on August 16, 1958 she became the leading female singer in the 80’s,90’s, and early 21st century. Although her acting and directing careers both turned out to be fiasco’s, when it comes to music there is no other like her. Staring off with poppy songs like ‘Borderline’ or ‘Like a Virgin’ she constantly reinvented herself and did not shy away from controversies.
She herself was influenced by 2 other strong female performers,Debbie Harry and Chrissie Hynde.
August 16-1962 the sacking of the Beatle, Pete Best.
The Beatles have been and still are one of the most influential bands ever, Their fame did not diminish after they split up. Kids nowadays still know them, and if you were to ask ,anyone to name the 4 band members people would say”John Lennon,Paul McCartney,George Harrison and Ringo Starr” however as the picture above indicates this wasn’t the original line up.
The original drummer was Pete Best but he was replaced by Ringo Starr on August 16,1962. There was no official reason given why he was sacked but according to Brian Epstein, the Beatles’ manager,Lennon, McCartney and Harrison thought that Best was “too conventional to be a Beatle” and added that “though he was friendly with John, he was not liked by George and Paul”
Originally the Beatles had been a 5 piece band, the original bass player Stuart Sutcliffe died in 1961, in Hamburg.
August 16-1977 the death of the King of Rock N Roll,Elvis.
I am not going to say too much about the King, because I don’t think there is anybody on the planet who hasn’t heard of them.
This is my personal memory of the day he died on August 16,1977.
I came home from school that day and my mother sat at the kitchen table, and she asked me “Guess who died today?” I replied “I don’t know, just tell me” She said ‘Elvis’. I was 9 at the time and pretended not to care. But I went up to my room and cried my eyes out, it felt I had just lost my best friend.
August 16 -2008 Ronnie Drew, Irish singer (The Dubliners), dies at 73
In September 2006, Drew was reported to be in ill health after being admitted to St. Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin, to undergo tests for suspected cancer. The Evening Herald reported that his apparent illness was due to years of heavy drinking. However, according to a fan site dedicated to The Dubliners, it was reported that he was undergoing treatment for throat cancer. Drew had been a teetotaler for a number of years, with an occasional relapse, but he remained a regular smoker.
He appeared on Ireland’s The Late Late Show on 15 December 2006 along with Phil Coulter, where he discussed his recent health scares.
Despite his failing health, he was featured on an album entitled Pearls—produced by Niall Austin—with work he did with Jah Wobble.
His wife of more than 40 years, Deirdre Drew (née McCartan, daughter of Patrick McCartan) died on 7 June 2007 at St Vincent’s Hospital, just one day before he was scheduled to return to performing live at the Legends of Irish Folk concert, which also featured Johnny McEvoy, Ralph McTell and Finbar Furey.
On 25 October 2007, Drew—now bald and beardless—appeared on Ryan Confidential on RTÉ 1 to give an interview about his role in The Dubliners, his life since leaving the band and being diagnosed with throat cancer. Later in 2007, he again appeared on The Late Late Show, where he spoke some more about the death of his wife and his ongoing treatment for cancer.
Drew died in St. Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin on 16 August 2008, following his long illness. He was buried three days later in Redford Cemetery in Greystones.
August 16,2018 Aretha Franklin, American singer-songwriter
Known as “The Queen of Soul” (Respect) and first female performer inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1987), dies of pancreatic cancer at 76
On August 13, 2018, Franklin was reported to be gravely ill at her home in Riverfront Towers, Detroit. She was under hospice care and surrounded by friends and family. Stevie Wonder, Jesse Jackson and former husband Glynn Turman visited her on her deathbed. Franklin died at her home on August 16, 2018, without a will. The cause of death was a malignant pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor which is distinct from the most common form of pancreatic cancer.
Leaving you with one of my favourite Elvis songs.
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