Tag Archives: Jamaica

Almanac – May 10

1768 – John Wilkes,  English radical, journalist, and politician, was imprisoned for writing an article for The North Briton severely criticizing King George III. This action provoked rioting in London.

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1916 – Milton Babbitt born. American composer, music theorist, and teacher, particularly noted for his serial and electronic music.

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1920 – Bert Weedon born. English guitarist whose style of guitar playing was popular and influential during the 1950s and 1960s.

He was the first British guitarist to have a hit record in the UK Singles Chart, in 1959, and his best-selling tutorial guides, Play in a Day, were a major influence on many leading British musicians, such as Eric Clapton, Brian May, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon, Dave Davies, Keith Richards, Pete Townshend, Tony Iommi and Jimmy Page.

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1952 – Lee Brilleaux born.  English rhythm-and-blues singer and musician with  Dr Feelgood.

He co-founded Dr Feelgood with Wilko Johnson in 1971 and was the band’s lead singer, harmonica player and occasional guitarist.

According to one obituary: “Brilleaux and Johnson developed a frantic act, often charismatically dressed in dark suits and loose ties, shabby rather than smart. The rough, and almost ruthless, edge which ran through his vocal and harmonica style reflected the character and philosophy of the band.”

In 1976, Brilleaux helped found Stiff Records, one of the driving forces of Punk, with a loan.

In 2011, contemporary artist and Dr. Feelgood fan Scott King announced his intention to commemorate  Brilleaux by erecting a 300 ft gold-plated statue of the musician on the foreshore in Southend-on-Sea close to the legendary Kursaal where the band played some of their most important gigs. An e-petition was launched to collect signatures in support of the project.

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1952 – Sly Dunbar born. Jamaican  drummer, best known as one-half of the prolific  rhythm section and reggae production duo Sly and Robbie.

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1954 – Bill Haley & His Comets released “Rock Around the Clock”, the first rock and roll record to reach number one on the Billboard charts.

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Almanac – March 13

1911 – L. Ron Hubbard born. American pulp fiction author and the founder of the Church of Scientology.

After establishing a career as a writer, becoming best known for his science fiction and fantasy stories, he developed a self-help system called Dianetics which was first published in May 1950.

He subsequently developed his ideas into a wide-ranging set of doctrines and rituals as part of a new religious movement that he called Scientology.

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1998 – Judge Dread died. English reggae and ska musician. He was the first white recording artist to have a reggae hit in Jamaica, and the BBC has banned more of his songs than any other recording artist due to his frequent use of sexual innuendo and double entendres.

After a brief spell as a professional wrestler (performing under the name “The Masked Executioner”), and as a debt collector for Trojan Records, he worked as a DJ on local radio and ran his own sound system.

When Prince Buster had a big underground hit in 1969 with “Big 5”,  Dread capitalized on it with the recording of his own “Big Six”, based on Verne & Son‘s “Little Boy Blue“, which was picked up by Trojan boss Lee Gopthal, and released on Trojan’s ‘Big Shot’ record label under the  name Judge Dread, the name taken from another of Prince Buster’s songs.

“Big Six” reached #11 in the UK Singles Chart in 1972, selling over 300,000 copies and spending six months on the chart, despite getting no radio airplay due to its lyrics.

Further hit singles followed with “Big Seven” (co-written by Rupie Edwards) and “Big Eight” — both following the pattern of lewd versions of nursery rhymes over a reggae backing.

Dread had 11 UK chart hits in the 1970s, which was more than any other reggae artist (including Bob Marley). The Guinness Book of World Records credits Judge Dread for having the highest number of banned songs of all time, 11.

He died from a heart attack as he walked off stage after performing at The Penny Theatre in Canterbury.

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Almanac – February 06

1748 – Adam Weishaupt born.  German philosopher and founder of the Order of Illuminati, a secret society with origins in Bavaria.

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1945 – Bob Marley born. Jamaican singer-songwriter and musician. He was the rhythm guitarist and lead singer for the ska, rocksteady and reggae bands The Wailers (1963-1974) and Bob Marley & The Wailers (1974–1981). Marley remains the most widely known and revered performer of reggae music, and is credited with helping spread both Jamaican music and the Rastafari movement to a worldwide audience.

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1989 – Osbourne ‘King Tubby‘ Ruddock died. Jamaican electronics and sound engineer, known primarily for his influence on the development of dub in the 1960s and 1970s.
He was shot and killed outside his home in Duhaney Park, Kingston, upon returning from a session at his Waterhouse studio.

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Almanac – January 26

1788 – The birth of Thomas Whittle, son of Thomas Whittle snr, of the Royal Marines and, er, Mrs. Whittle.
He was effectively the first white Austrailian, born as the ship carrying his parents entered what was to become Sydney harbour.

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1908 – Stéphane Grappelli born. French jazz violinist who founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France with guitarist Django Reinhardt in 1934 – one of the first all-string jazz bands. He has been called “the grandfather of jazz violinists“.

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1920 – Hans Holzer born. Austrian-born, American pioneering paranormal researcher and author. He wrote well over 100 books on supernatural and occult subjects for the popular market as well as several plays, musicals, films, and documentaries, and hosted a television show, “Ghost Hunter“.

Holzer’s most famous investigation was into The Amityville Horror case. In January 1977, Holzer and spiritual medium Ethel Meyers entered 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York.

Meyers claimed that the house had been built over an ancient Native American burial ground and the angry spirit of a Shinnecock Indian Chief – “Rolling Thunder” – had possessed the previous occupant, Ronald Defeo Jr., driving him to murder his family. Photographs taken at the scene revealed curious anomalies such as the halos which appeared in the supposed images of bullet marks made in the original 1974 murders.

Holzer’s claim that the house was built on Indian sacred land was, however, denied by the local Amityville Historical Society and it was pointed out that it was the Montaukett Indians, and not the Shinnecocks, who had been the original settlers in the area.

However, Indian burial sites have been found all over Long Island, including Amityville, so no one has been able to confirm or deny the burial of an Indian chief on or near the 112 Ocean Avenue property. Holzer went on to write several books about the subject, both fiction and non-fiction.

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1932 – Coxsone Dodd born – Clement Seymour “Sir Coxsone” Dodd,   Jamaican record producer who was influential in the development of ska and reggae in the 1950s, 1960s and beyond. He received his nickname “Coxsone” at school: because of his teenage talent as a cricketer, his friends compared him to Alec Coxon, a member of the 1940s Yorkshire County Cricket Club team.

In 1954  he set up the Downbeat Sound System, being the owner of an amplifier, a turntable, and some US records, which he would import from New Orleans and Miami. With the success of his sound system, and in a competitive environment, Dodd opened five different sound systems, each playing every night. To run his sound systems, Dodd appointed people such as Lee “Scratch” Perry, who was Dodd’s right hand man during his early career, U-Roy and Prince Buster.

In 1963 he opened Studio One on Brentford Road, Kingston,  the first black-owned recording studio in Jamaica. During the late 1960s and 1970s, the ‘Studio One sound‘ was synonymous with the sound of ska, rocksteady and reggae, and Dodd attracted some of the best of Jamaican talent to his stable during this time, including Burning Spear, Ras Michael, Delroy Wilson, Horace Andy and Sugar Minott.

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Almanac – November 22

1718 – Off the coast of North Carolina, British pirate Edward Teach (best known as “Blackbeard“) was killed in battle with a boarding party led by Royal Navy Lieutenant Robert Maynard.

A shrewd and calculating leader, Teach spurned the use of force, relying instead on his fearsome image to elicit the response he desired from those he robbed. Contrary to the modern-day picture of the traditional tyrannical pirate, he commanded his vessels with the permission of their crews and there is no known account of his ever having harmed or murdered those he held captive.

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1869 – In Dumbarton, Scotland, the clipper Cutty Sark was launched – one of the last clippers ever built, and the only one still surviving today.

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1946 – Aston  ‘Family Man’  Barrett born. Jamaican bass player and Rastafarian.  Played with Bob Marley and The Wailers, The Hippy Boys, and  The Upsetters. It has been stated that he  was the ‘leader’ of the backing band and responsible for many, if not all bass lines on Bob Marley’s greatest hits, as well as having been active in co-producing Marley’s albums and responsible for most overall song arrangements. He was also  the mentor of Robbie Shakespeare of the duo Sly & Robbie, and is considered one of the elder statesmen of reggae bass guitar playing.

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1963 – In Dallas, Texas, US President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and Texas Governor John B. Connally  seriously wounded. Suspect Lee Harvey Oswald is later captured and charged with the murder of both the President and police officer J. D. Tippit.

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1963 – Aldous Huxley died. English writer best known for his novels including Brave New World.  A humanist, pacifist, and satirist,  he was latterly interested in spiritual subjects such as parapsychology and philosophical mysticism. He is also well known for advocating and taking psychedelics.

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1963 – C. S. Lewis died. Irish novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, and Christian apologist.  He is known for both his fictional work, especially The Screwtape Letters, and  The Chronicles of Narnia,  and his non-fiction, such as Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain.

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Almanac – October 17

1091 – London Tornado of 1091, reckoned by modern assessment of the reports as possibly a T8 tornado (roughly equal to an F4 tornado) which  is Britain’s earliest reported tornado,  killing two. The wooden London Bridge was demolished, and the church of St. Mary-le-Bow in the city of London was badly damaged; four rafters 26 feet (7.9 m) long were driven into the ground with such force that only 4 feet (1.2 m) protruded above the surface. Other churches in the area were demolished, as were over 600 (mostly wooden) houses.

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1814 – London Beer Flood. At the Meux and Company Brewery on Tottenham Court Road, a huge vat containing over 135,000 imperial gallons (610,000 L) of beer ruptured, causing other vats in the same building to succumb in a domino effect.

As a result, more than 323,000 imperial gallons (1,470,000 L) of beer burst out and gushed into the streets. The wave of beer destroyed two homes and crumbled the wall of the Tavistock Arms Pub.

The brewery was located among the poor houses and tenements of the St Giles Rookery, where whole families lived in basement rooms that quickly filled with beer. Eight people died in the flood (some drowned, some died from injuries, and one succumbed to alcohol poisoning).
The brewery was eventually taken to court over the accident, but the disaster was ruled to be an Act of God by the judge and jury, leaving no one responsible.

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1934 – Rico Rodriguez born  – in Cuba, but moved with his family to Jamaica at an early age.  Ska and reggae trombonist.

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2008 – Levi Stubbs died.  American baritone singer, best known as the lead vocalist of the Motown R&B group Four Tops. He was also a voice artist, portraying villainous characters in films and animated television series, most famously having provided the voice of the alien plant Audrey II in the musical horror film Little Shop of Horrors, and Mother Brain in Captain N: The Game Master.

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Almanac – October 12

1216 – King John of England loses his crown jewels in The Wash.
According to contemporary reports, John travelled from Spalding in Lincolnshire to Bishop’s Lynn, in Norfolk, was taken ill and decided to return. While he took the longer route by way of Wisbech, he sent his baggage train, including his crown jewels, along the causeway and ford across the mouth of the Wellstream.
 This route was usable only at low tide. The horse-drawn wagons moved too slowly for the incoming tide, and many were lost.The location of the accident is usually supposed to be somewhere near Sutton Bridge, on the River Nene.

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Astronomical study, however, permits a reconstruction of the tide table for the relevant day and it seems most likely, given travel in the usual daylight hours, that the loss would have been incurred in crossing the Welland Estuary at Fosdyke.
There is also a suspicion that John left his jewels in Lynn as security for a loan and arranged for their “loss”.

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1692 – The Salem witch trials were ended by a letter from Massachusetts Governor William Phips.

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Consequently, October 12th is Freethought Day , the annual observance by freethinkers and secularists of the anniversary of the effective end of the Salem Witch Trials.

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1773 – America’s first insane asylum opens for ‘Persons of Insane and Disordered Minds’ in Virginia

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1872 – Ralph Vaughan Williams born. English composer of symphonies, chamber music, opera, choral music, and film scores. He was also a collector of English folk music and song: this activity both influenced his editorial approach to the English Hymnal, beginning in 1904, in which he included many folk song arrangements set as hymn tunes, and also influenced several of his own original compositions.

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1875 – Aleister Crowley born.  English occultist, mystic, ceremonial magician, poet and mountaineer, who was responsible for founding the religious philosophy of Thelema. In his role as the founder of the Thelemite philosophy, he came to see himself as the prophet who was entrusted with informing humanity that it was entering the new Aeon of Horus in the early 20th century.

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1945 – Desmond Doss became  the first conscientious objector to receive the U.S. Medal of Honor. He refused to kill, or carry a weapon into combat, because of his personal beliefs as a Seventh-day Adventist. He thus became a medic, and his Medal of Honor was earned by the risks he took to save the lives of many comrades.

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1954 – Linval Thompson born. Jamaican reggae and dub musician and record producer.

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1964 – The Soviet Union launched Voskhod 1 into Earth orbit as the first spacecraft with a multi-person crew and the first flight without space suits.

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1971 – Gene Vincent died. American Rock & Roll and Rockabilly musician. Died of a ruptured stomach ulcer.

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1979 – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams was published.

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1984 – Brighton hotel bombing: The Provisional Irish Republican Army attempted to assassinate Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet. Thatcher escaped but the bomb killed five people and wounded 31.

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Almanac – October 06

1854 –  The Great fire of Newcastle and Gateshead started shortly after midnight, leading to 53 deaths and hundreds injured.

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1914 – Thor Heyerdahl born. Norwegian ethnographer and adventurer with a background in zoology and geography. He’s best known  for his Kon-Tiki expedition, in which he sailed 8,000 km (5,000 mi) across the Pacific Ocean in a self-built raft from South America to the Tuamotu Islands in 1947. The expedition was designed to demonstrate that ancient people could have made long sea voyages, creating contacts between apparently separate cultures.

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1946 – Millie Small born.  Jamaican singer-songwriter, probably best known for her 1964 cover version of “My Boy Lollipop”, (originally  by Barbie Gaye in late 1956.) Released in March 1964,  Small’s cover was a massive hit, reaching number two both in the UK  and US Singles Charts.

“My Boy Lollipop” was doubly significant in British pop music history, as it was the first major hit for Island Records, although it was actually released via Fontana Records because Chris Blackwell, Island’s owner, did not want to overextend the label’s then-meagre resources; and Small was the first artist to have a UK hit that was recorded in the bluebeat style. 

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1962 – Tod Browning died. American motion picture actor, director and screenwriter, his  career spanned the silent and talkie eras. Best known as the director of the now- lost early vampire film London After Midnight (1927),  Dracula (1931), the cult classic Freaks (1932), and classic silent film collaborations with Lon Chaney, Browning directed many movies in a wide range of genres. His  final film was the murder mystery Miracles For Sale (1939).

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Almanac – September 15

1907 – Fay Wray born. Canadian-American actress most noted for playing the female lead in King Kong. Through an acting career that spanned 57 years, Wray attained international renown as an actress in horror movie roles, leading to many considering her as the first “scream queen”.

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1928 – Julian “Cannonball” Adderley born. Jazz alto saxophonist of the hard bop era of the 1950s and 1960s,  remembered for his 1966 single “Mercy Mercy Mercy”, a crossover hit on the pop charts, and for his work with trumpeter Miles Davis, including on the epochal album Kind of Blue (1959).

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1963 – The 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama was bombed on Sunday, September 15, 1963 as an act of racially motivated terrorism. The explosion at the African-American church, which killed four girls, marked a turning point in the U.S. 1960s Civil Rights Movement and contributed to support for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

 Bobby Frank Cherry, Thomas Blanton, Herman Frank Cash, and Robert Chambliss – members of United Klans of America, a Ku Klux Klan group – planted a box of dynamite with a time delay under the steps of the church, near the basement. At about 10:22 a.m., twenty-six children were walking into the basement assembly room to prepare for the sermon entitled “The Love That Forgives,” when the bomb exploded. Four girls, Addie Mae Collins (age 14), Denise McNair (age 11), Carole Robertson (age 14), and Cynthia Wesley (age 14), were killed in the attack, and 22 additional people were injured.The explosion blew a hole in the church’s rear wall, destroyed the back steps and all but one stained-glass window, which showed Christ leading a group of little children.

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1968 – The Soviet Zond 5  spaceship  launched. It was to become the first spacecraft to fly around the Moon and re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere.

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1983 – Prince Far I  died. Jamaican reggae deejay, producer and a Rastafarian. He was shot at his home in Kingston, Jamaica, during a robbery and died later in hospital.

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Almanac – August 6

Hiroshima Day

On this day in 1945, the USA dropped the first atom bomb, on Hiroshima, Japan, via the B-29 bomber Enola Gay.
Approximately 150,000 people were killed or wounded as a result. 75% of the city’s buildings were destroyed or severely damaged.

1806 – Francis II, the last Holy Roman Emperor, abdicated,  ending the Holy Roman Empire.

1874 – Charles Fort born.   American writer and researcher into anomalous phenomena. Today, the terms Fortean and Forteana are used to characterize various such phenomena. Fort’s books sold well and are still in print today.

1890 – William Kemmler, a convicted murderer, became the first person to be executed by electric chair, at Auburn State Prison, New York.

1928 – Andy Warhol born.  American artist who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explored the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s.  The Andy Warhol Museum in his native city, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, holds an extensive permanent collection of art and archives and is the largest museum in the United States of America dedicated to a single artist.

1962 – Jamaica gained full independence within the British Commonwealth.

1964 – Prometheus, a bristlecone pine and the world’s oldest tree,  was cut down. Growing near the tree line on Wheeler Peak in eastern Nevada, United States, the tree, which was at least 4862 years old and possibly more than 5000 years, was cut down  by a graduate student and United States Forest Service personnel for research purposes, though the people involved did not know of its world-record age before felling. However, the circumstances and decision-making process leading to the felling of the tree remain controversial.

1991 – Tim Berners-Lee released files describing his idea for the World Wide Web. WWW debuts as a publicly available service on the Internet.

Mr. Frankenstein

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