Tag Archives: Rockabilly

Almanac – April 25

1599 – Oliver Cromwell born. English military and political leader and later Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.

He entered the English Civil War on the side of the Parliamentarians. Nicknamed “Old Ironsides”, he was quickly promoted from leading a single cavalry troop to become one of the principal commanders of the New Model Army, playing an important role in the defeat of the royalist forces.

Cromwell was one of the signatories of King Charles I’s death warrant in 1649, and as a member of the Rump Parliament (1649–53) he dominated the short-lived Commonwealth of England.

Cromwell is one of the most controversial figures in the history of the British Isles, considered a regicidal dictator by historians such as David Hume,  but a hero of liberty by others . In a 2002 BBC poll in Britain, Cromwell was selected as one of the ten greatest Britons of all time.

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2005 – Hasil Adkins died. American country, rock and roll, and blues musician, though he was frequently considered rockabilly and sometimes primitive jazz. He generally performed as a one-man band, playing guitar and drums at the same time.

With his 45 recordings of “Chicken Walk” appearing on Air Records in 1962 and “She Said” on Jody Records in 1966, his  original, frenetic sound meshed with demented lyrics ushered in the genre known as psychobilly.

Recurring themes in his  work include love, heartbreak, police, death, decapitation, hot dogs, aliens, and chicken. He often noted in interviews that his primary heroes and influences were Hank Williams Sr., Jimmie Rodgers, Little Richard, and Col. Harlan Sanders, the inventor of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Adkins had a strong influence on The Cramps,  and his cult status is kept alive  by the growing appreciation of, and demand for, outsider music and primitive rock and roll.

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2008 – Humphrey Lyttelton died English jazz musician and broadcaster, and chairman of the BBC radio comedy programme I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue.

 As a performer, he is perhaps best-remembered for the hit single “Bad Penny Blues” ,  the first British jazz record to get into the Top Twenty, and which  stayed there for six weeks.

Its success was very much due to the very catchy piano riff, played by Johnny Parker and brought to the front by the producer, the legendary  Joe Meek.

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Almanac – April 17

1397 – Geoffrey Chaucer told the Canterbury Tales for the first time at the court of Richard II.

Chaucer scholars have also identified this as the  date (in 1387) as the start of the book’s pilgrimage to Canterbury.

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1891 – George Adamski born.  Polish-born American citizen who became widely known in ufology circles, and to some degree in popular culture, after he claimed to have photographed ships from other planets, met with friendly Nordic alien Space Brothers, and to have taken flights with them.

The first of the so-called contactees of the 1950s, he was called a “philosopher, teacher, student and saucer researcher”, though his claims were met with skepticism.

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1897 – The Aurora, Texas UFO incident. During the 1896–1897 timeframe, numerous sightings of a cigar-shaped mystery airship were reported across the United States.

One of these accounts appeared in the April 19, 1897, edition of the Dallas Morning News. Written by Aurora resident S.E. Haydon, the alleged UFO is said to have hit a windmill on the property of a Judge J.S. Proctor two days earlier at around 6am local (Central) time, resulting in its crash.

The pilot (who was reported to be “not of this world“, and a “Martian” according to a reported Army officer from nearby Fort Worth) did not survive the crash, and was buried “with Christian rites” at the nearby Aurora Cemetery.

Reportedly, wreckage from the crash site was dumped into a nearby well located under the damaged windmill, while some ended up with the alien in the grave.

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1960 – Eddie Cochran died.  American rock and roll pioneer who, in his brief career, had a lasting influence on rock music.

Cochran’s rockabilly songs, such as “C’mon Everybody”, “Somethin’ Else“, and “Summertime Blues”, captured teenage frustration and desire in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

 He experimented with multitrack recording and overdubbing even on his earliest singles, and was also able to play piano, bass and drums.His image as a sharply dressed, rugged but good-looking young man with a rebellious attitude epitomized the stance of the 50s rocker, and in death he achieved an iconic status.

Cochran died aged 21 after a road accident in the town of Chippenham, Wiltshire, during his British tour.

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1961 – Bay of Pigs Invasion. An unsuccessful military invasion of Cuba undertaken by the paramilitary group Brigade 2506 , counter-revolutionary military trained and funded by the United States government’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Launched from Guatemala, the invading force was defeated by the Cuban armed forces, under the command of Prime Minister Fidel Castro, within three days.

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Almanac – February 26

1564 – Christopher Marlowe born. English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era. Marlowe was the foremost Elizabethan tragedian of his day, and greatly influenced William Shakespeare.  Marlowe’s plays are known for the use of blank verse, and their overreaching protagonists.

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1917 – The Original Dixieland Jass Band records the first jazz record – “Livery Stable Blues”  – for the Victor Talking Machine Company in New York.

 A New Orleans Dixieland jazz band, the group composed and made the first recordings of many jazz standards, the most famous being “Tiger Rag”. In late 1917 the spelling of the band’s name was changed to Original Dixieland Jazz Band.

ODJB billed itself as the Creators of Jazz, because it was the first band to record jazz commercially and to have hit recordings in the new genre. Band leader and trumpeter Nick LaRocca argued that ODJB deserved recognition as the first band to record jazz commercially and the first band to establish jazz as a musical idiom or genre.

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1920 – The first German Expressionist film , Robert Wiene‘s  The Cabinet Of Doctor Caligari premièred in Berlin.  It was one of the most influential of German Expressionist films and is often considered one of the greatest horror movies of the silent era.

The film used stylized sets, with abstract, jagged buildings painted on canvas backdrops and flats. To add to this strange style, the actors used an unrealistic technique that exhibited jerky and dancelike movements.

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1932 – Johnny Cash born. American singer-songwriter, actor, and author  who was considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Although he is primarily remembered as a country music icon, his songs and sound spanned other genres including rockabilly and rock and roll—especially early in his career—and blues, folk, and gospel.

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1946 – Finnish observers reported the first of many thousands of sightings of ghost rockets –  rocket- or missile-shaped unidentified flying objects sighted mostly in Sweden and nearby countries.

About 2,000 sightings were logged between May and December 1946, with peaks on 9 and 11 August 1946. Two hundred sightings were verified with radar returns, and authorities recovered physical fragments which were attributed to ghost rockets.

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Almanac – October 20

1854 – Arthur Rimbaud born.  French poet. Born in Charleville, Ardennes, he produced his works while still in his late teens—Victor Hugo described him at the time as “an infant Shakespeare”—and he gave up creative writing altogether before the age of 20. As part of the decadent movement, Rimbaud influenced modern literature, music, and arts, and prefigured surrealism.

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1882 – Bela Lugosi born.  Hungarian actor, who is best known for playing the character “Dracula” in the 1931 film and for his roles in various other horror films. Through the 1930s, he occupied an important niche in popular horror films, with their East European setting, but his Hungarian accent limited his repertoire, and he tried unsuccessfully to avoid typecasting.

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1937 – Wanda Jackson born. American singer, songwriter, pianist and guitarist who had success in the mid-1950s and 1960s as one of the first popular female rockabilly singers and a pioneering rock and roll artist. She is known to many as the Queen (or First Lady) of Rockabilly.

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1947 – The House Un-American Activities Committee begins its investigation into Communist infiltration of Hollywood, resulting in a blacklist that prevents some from working in the industry for years.

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1967 – A purported Bigfoot is filmed by Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin in the Six Rivers National Forest outside of Crescent City, California.

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