Tag Archives: Rocket 88

Almanac – March 03

1756 – William Godwin born. English journalist, political philosopher and novelist. He is considered one of the first exponents of utilitarianism, and the first modern proponent of anarchism.

 Godwin is most famous for two books that he published within the space of a year: An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, an attack on political institutions, and Things as They Are; or, The Adventures of Caleb Williams, which attacks aristocratic privilege, but also is the first mystery novel. Based on the success of both, Godwin featured prominently in the radical circles of London in the 1790s.

 In the ensuing conservative reaction to British radicalism, Godwin was attacked, in part because of his marriage to the pioneering feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft in 1797 and his candid biography of her after her death.

Their daughter, Mary Godwin (later Mary Shelley) would go on to write Frankenstein and marry the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.

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1765 – William Stukeley died. English antiquarian who pioneered the archaeological investigation of the prehistoric monuments of Stonehenge and Avebury, work for which he has been remembered as “probably… the most important of the early forerunners of the discipline of archaeology”.

Becoming involved in the newly fashionable organisation of Freemasonry, he also began to describe himself as a “druid“, and incorrectly believed that the prehistoric megalithic monuments were a part of the druidic religion. However, despite this he has been noted as being a significant figure in the early development of the modern movement known as Neo-druidry.

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1863 – Arthur Machen born.  Welsh author and mystic of the 1890s and early 20th century. He is best known for his influential supernatural, fantasy, and horror fiction. His novella “The Great God Pan” (1890; 1894) has garnered a reputation as a classic of horror (Stephen King has called it “Maybe the best [horror story] in the English language”). He is also well known for his leading role in creating the legend of the Angels of Mons.

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1951 – Jackie Brenston, with Ike Turner and his band, recorded “Rocket 88″, often cited as the first rock and roll record, at Sam Phillips‘ recording studios in Memphis, Tennessee.

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2006 – Ivor Cutler died. Scottish poet, songwriter and humorist. He became known for his regular performances on BBC radio, and in particular his numerous sessions recorded for John Peel‘s influential radio programme, and later for Andy Kershaw‘s programme. He appeared in The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour film in 1967 and on Neil Innes‘ television programmes.

The hallmarks of Cutler’s work are surreal, bizarre juxtapositions and close attention to small details of existence, all described in seemingly naive language. In performance his delivery was frail, halting and minimally inflected. His writing sometimes edged into whimsy or the macabre. Many of his poems and songs are in the form of conversations delivered as a monologue

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Almanac – December 12

1098 – First Crusade: Massacre of Ma’arrat al-Numan – Crusaders breached the town’s walls and massacred about 20,000 inhabitants – despite having  promised them safe conduct if they surrendered.

After finding themselves with insufficient food, some  Crusaders reportedly resorted to cannibalism, feeding on the dead bodies of Muslims.

A chronicler, Radulph of Caen wrote:

    “Some people said that, constrained by the lack of food, they boiled pagan adults in cooking-pots, impaled children on spits and devoured them grilled.”

These events were also chronicled by Fulcher of Chartres, who wrote:

    “I shudder to tell that many of our people, harassed by the madness of excessive hunger, cut pieces from the buttocks of the Saracens already dead there, which they cooked, but when it was not yet roasted enough by the fire, they devoured it with savage mouth.”

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1948 – The Batang Kali massacre –  the alleged killing of 24 unarmed villagers by British troops on 12 December 1948 during the Malayan Emergency. The incident happened during counter-insurgency operations against Malay and Chinese communists in Malaya – then a colony of the British Crown. It is sometimes described as “Britain’s My Lai”.

Despite several investigations by the British government since the 1950s, as well as, a re-examination of the evidence by the Royal Malaysia Police between 1993 and 1997, no charges have ever been brought against any of the alleged perpetrators.

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1987 – Clifton Chenier died. Louisa born musician, known as the King of Zydeco.

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2007 – Ike Turner died.  American musician, bandleader, songwriter, arranger, talent scout, and record producer. In a career that lasted more than half a century, his repertoire included blues, soul, rock, and funk. He is most popularly known for his 1960s work with his then wife Tina Turner in the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, but  his first recording, “Rocket 88” with the Kings of Rhythm credited as Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats, in 1951, is considered a possible contender for “first rock and roll song

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Almanac – November 05

GUY FAWKES NIGHT / BONFIRE NIGHT

1605 – Gunpowder Plot: A conspiracy led by Robert Catesby to blow up the English Houses of Parliament was thwarted when Sir Thomas Knyvet, a justice of the peace, found Guy Fawkes in a cellar below the House of Lords.

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1855 – Eugene Debs born. American union leader, one of the founding members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or the Wobblies), and several times the candidate of the Socialist Party of America for President of the United States.

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1916 – The Everett Massacre took place in Everett, Washington as political differences led to a shoot-out between the Industrial Workers of the World organizers and local police.

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1931 – Ike Turner born.  American musician, bandleader, songwriter, arranger, talent scout, and record producer. In a career that lasted more than half a century, his repertoire included blues, soul, rock, and funk. He is most popularly known for his 1960s work with his then wife Tina Turner in the Ike & Tina Turner Revue.

 His first recording, “Rocket 88” with the Kings of Rhythm credited as “Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats”, in 1951, is considered a possible contender for “first rock and roll song”.

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2005 – Link Wray died.  American rock and roll guitarist, songwriter and occasional singer. Building on the overdriven, distorted electric guitar sound of early electric blues records, his 1958 instrumental hit “Rumble” by Link Wray and his Ray Men introduced “the power chord, the major modus operandi of modern rock guitarists,”  making possible “punk and heavy rock.” Rolling Stone placed Wray at number 45 of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

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