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October 16, a consequential day in music

Oct 16 was a very important day in music.

Friday October 16, the day I am writing this blog,  was a consequential day following a  consequential week.  No, I am not referring to the debates or the elections, but to music.

On my radio show last Friday, as I began my interview with LA rocker Eric Zayne we noticed that on that day in 2014 he had won the John Lennon Song Writing Contest.  I said “began” my interview because the connections between LA, Mexico and where ever’s servers hum away, he got lost in the interwebs, so we had to pick up where we left off on today’s show. And as we talked about the John Lennon date coincidence, I started thinking about what happened this week and on  this day in musical history. Turns out a lot.

On Oct 16, 1951, 18-year-old Richard Penniman walked into the studios of Atlanta radio station WGST and made his first recordings for RCA, which were released under the name of Little Richard.  Even if you are only 20 years old, you probably know that this was one of the most consequential events in the birth of rock and roll and the foundation for rhythm and blues and soul and even influenced rap and hip hop, partially because he never stopped playing his music, right up until his death this past May.

Moving ahead the Eurhythmics debut album, In the Garden, was released October 16,  in 1981. The album did OK, but, as we all know, what it really did was launch the careers of David Stewart and the incomparable Annie Lennox.  Seems like only yesterday that we were bopping out to “Sweet Dreams are Made of This”.  Actually, we are still bopping out to it as it has over 600 million streams on Spotify and no end in sight.  And of course, her daughter Lola released “Back at Wrong” last week, which is now pushing 100,000 streams on Spotify in only one week.

Other female stars made history on this day.  On Oct. 16, 2007 Madonna signed a recording and touring contract with Live Nation, becoming the first major star to break from the model of a traditional recording deal and go for an all-in-one, multi-year recording, touring, film, merch contract. The deal was estimated at $120 million over 10 years, making her the first woman to break $100 million in a music agreement (Mariah Carey’s ill-fated Virgin Records debacle was reportedly for slightly under a $S100 million and never paid off).

Patsy Cline released “Crazy” on this day in 1961.  Composed by Willie Nelson, it rose to the No.2 spot in country music the following year, spending 21 weeks on the charts and eventually became one of her signature tunes as well as a major launch of Nelson’s career as a songwriter as well as performer.

It was also today in 1965 that the Beatles recorded “Day Tripper” at the Abbey Road studios in  London – all  in one day, starting with vocals and overdubs in the morning  and finishing up at the end of the day after only three takes. That was a day well spent!

And how could we forget that it was on this day in 2001 that Bob Dylan was denied entry into his own concert because he did not a backstage pass with him.  The two security guards who blocked him were fired.

The road to rap and hip hop and fusion and electronica and dance and house and all the other music forms and genres and sub-genres and offshoots and non-genres we love today has been long and curvy and fun, and some of it started on October 16.

Patrick O’Heffernan



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About Patrick O'Heffernan, Music Sin Fronteras (427 Articles)
Patrick O’Heffernan, PhD., is a music journalist based in Mexico, with a global following. He focuses on music in English and Spanish that combines rock and rap, blues and jazz and pop with music from Latin America, especially Mexico like cumbia, banda, son jarocho, and mariachi. He is also edits a local news website and is a subeditor of a local Spanish language newspaper. Check out his weekly column Music Sin Frontera on Sunday nights.

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