Today In Music, July 9th

From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Wednesday 9th July):

Birth

1916. R&B pianist Joe Liggins (The Honeydrippers) born in Guthrie, Oklahoma.

In Politics

1992. At the Democratic Party Convention in New York, Bill Clinton announces Al Gore will be his running mate. Frank Zappa, Luther Campbell (2 Live Crew) and Joey Ramone are among the musicians to condemn the appointment. In the main, the protests are not about Gore himself but his wife, Tipper, who founded the Parents Music Resource Centre which forced labels to put warning stickers on albums with content unsuitable for minors. Zappa, who crossed swords with Al Gore at a Congressional Hearing on Record Labeling in 1985 said, “I’ve been a registered Democrat my whole life, but I just can’t endorse this ticket”.

Meanwhile, Carter USM try and hi-jack the convention in their own way with billboards across New York carrying a smiling picture of ex-President Jimmy Carter and the wording, “The Unstoppable Sex Machine Coming Any Moment”. As if that wasn’t enough, Fruitbat and Jim Bob hand out postcards outside the convention hall in the hope they might actually meet that “other” Carter.

In Court

1999. After a 12 minute hearing at the High Court in London, Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall’s lawyers issue a joint statement announcing that they have “amicably and formally agreed to separate after more than two decades as a couple and seek an annulment”. Although it was thought there would be a long and drawn-out divorce case, Jagger’s lawyers had contested that their 1991 Hindu wedding in Bali was not legally binding in Britain. Jerry Hall’s solicitors had been quite happy to fight the case believing that even if the marriage was declared invalid, after such a long period their client would be entitled to the same settlement as a wife. Hall had been seeking a settlement in the region of £ 30 million. Although the actual amount agreed has not been divulged, her solicitors, Mishcon de Reya, described it as a “mutually acceptable legal and financial settlement”. After the settlement was announced Jagger and Hall flew to their French Chateau for a family holiday.

In Hospital

1969. Marianne Faithfull collapses in her suite at the Chevron Hotel in Sydney, Australia. She’s admitted to the intensive care unit of the city’s St. Vincent’s Hospital in a coma. Mick Jagger, who’s in Australia filming in the title role of “Ned Kelly”, told a press conference at the hotel that his girlfriend had not taken an overdose. He said, “Marianne is not seriously ill. She’s a delicate woman. The trip was hard for her. She’s a lot of work to do and we want to make sure she’s alright”. According to the hospital, she is under observation and will remain at least overnight.

Despite local reports that officers from the local drug squad were waiting to question Faithfull, a police spokesman said no action would be taken unless hospital authorities told them it had been an overdose. They confirmed that two containers had been removed from Marianne’s room but refused to say what they contained. After interviewing Mick, police removed a further two containers and several capsules from his room. A spokesman for Jagger said the singer would be travelling to Melbourne for the filming of the hanging scenes at Pentride Jail. These have to be shot now as the Victoria State Government has only made the jail available for a limited period.

On Television

2001. Late Show With David Letterman (CBS, U.S.A.) Show #1636. Musical guest: Jonatha Brooke with “Linger”.

Death

1993. R&B saxophonist Red Prysock (born Wilbert Prysock) dies in Chicago, Illinois from a Heart attack.

Babble

On Saturday night I was at a 1973 party watching a video of Roland Petit’s Pink Floyd Ballet and last night I found myself in Forfar watching Scottish Ballet dancing to Radiohead. It’s strange how little things change. 35 years and yet ballet companies still find inspiration in the work of rock musicians. Back in 1972, when Petit’s ballet was first performed, the music still had the air of the avant-garde about it and in many ways little has changed. Last night’s venue was a public hall in Forfar, that seemed locked in a time-warp of some bygone gang-show age. Probably less than half full, the audience looked to have drawn every young girl from every dance class in the area, along with their mums. The first half of the programme was a lavishly costumed production of Othello set to Franz List: a real crowd-pleaser in the traditional classical ballet idiom.

The interval provided a breathing space that would have been far too difficult to bridge without a break. The house lights went down and the lights came up on a stark, empty stage bathed in an eery glow. The dancers had eschewed their tights and shoes and their steps had taken on a visceral connection to the music. We were treated to two excerpts from “Ride the Beast”, which debuted to critical acclaim at last year’s Edinburgh Festival – “Fitter Happier” and “Creep”. The elderly ladies who had spent their interval marveling at the mastery of the first half could almost be heard wincing behind me.

Choreography suffers from a limited vocabulary of movement, much as music is limited to a finite number of notes. Many of the moves were the same and yet the combination of music, lighting and lack of costume had turned it into an avant-garde experience that shocked as much as it challenged. At the end of the evening, the ladies behind me were still buzzing about the first half, and planning their next trip, to see “Sleeping Beauty” in all its classical splendour. Maybe for them, the music of Radiohead had fallen on deaf ears but there were many who whooped and cheered this young company taking their art out of the great venues and into the towns around Scotland. The dancers, who had gathered for their bus by the time I’d left the venue, have much to be proud of.

 

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