March 19th 1962, Bob Dylan's debut album Bob Dylan was released in the Untied States. Initially poor sales led the record to be known around Columbia Records as ‘Hammond's Folly’ (John Hammond was producer of Dylan’s early recordings and the man responsible for signing Dylan). The album was praised by the New York City weekly newspaper Village Voice as an ‘explosive country blues debut’, but featured only two Dylan original compositions, Talkin' New York and Song To Woody, the rest being old folk standards.
19th March 1976, Paul Kossof guitarist with Free and Back Street Crawler died aged 25, of heart failure during a flight from Los Angeles to New York, Kossof had a long history of drug abuse. Free had the 1970 UK No.2 & US No.4 single 'All Right Now'. His first band was Black Cat Bones alongside drummer Simon Kirke, (later of Free), formed Back Street Crawler after leaving Free.
Chuck Berry, a Founding Father of Rock 'n' Roll, Dies at 90
Artist Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
As the leader of Genesis in the early '70s, Peter Gabriel helped move progressive rock to new levels of theatricality. He was no less ambitious as a solo artist, but he was more subtle in his methods. With his first eponymous solo album in 1977, he began exploring darker, more cerebral territory, incorporating avant-garde, electronic, and worldbeat influences into his music. The record, as well as its two similarly titled successors, established Gabriel as a critically acclaimed cult artist, and with 1982's Security, he began to move into the mainstream; "Shock the Monkey" became his first Top 40 hit, paving the way for his multi-platinum breakthrough So in 1986. Accompanied by a series of groundbreaking videos and the number one single "Sledgehammer," So became a multi-platinum hit, and Gabriel became an international star. Instead of capitalizing on his sudden success, he began to explore other interests, including recording soundtracks and running his company Real World. By the time he returned to pop with 1992's Us, his mass audience had faded away and he spent the remainder of the '90s working on multimedia projects for Real World.
Following his departure from Genesis in 1976, Peter Gabriel began work on the first of three consecutive eponymously titled albums; each record was named Peter Gabriel, he said, as if they were editions of the same magazine. In 1977, his first solo album appeared and became a moderate success due to the single "Solsbury Hill." Another self-titled record followed in 1978, yet received comparatively weaker reviews. Gabriel's third eponymous album proved to be his artistic breakthrough, however. Produced by Steve Lillywhite and released in 1980, the album established Gabriel as one of rock's most ambitious, innovative musicians, as well as one of its most political -- "Biko," a song about a murdered anti-apartheid activist, became one of the biggest protest anthems of the '80s. "Games Without Frontiers," with its eerie chorus, nearly reached the Top 40.
In 1982, Gabriel released Security, which was an even bigger success, earning positive reviews and going gold on the strength of the startling video for "Shock the Monkey." Just as his solo career was taking off, Gabriel participated in a one-shot Genesis reunion in order to finance his WOMAD -- World of Music, Arts and Dance -- Festival. WOMAD was designed to bring various world musics and customs to a Western audience, and it soon turned into an annual event, and a live double album was released that year to commemorate the event. As Gabriel worked on his fifth album, he contributed the soundtrack to Alan Parker's 1984 film Birdy. His score was highly praised and it won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes that year. After founding Real World, Inc. -- a corporation devoted to developing bridges between technology and multi-ethnic arts -- in 1985, he completed his fifth album, So.
Released in 1986, So became Gabriel's commercial breakthrough, largely because his Stax homage "Sledgehammer" was blessed with an innovative video that combined stop-action animation with live action. So climbed to number two as "Sledgehammer" hit number one, with "Big Time" -- featuring a video very similar to "Sledgehammer" -- reaching the Top Ten and "In Your Eyes" hitting the Top 30. As So was riding high on the American and British charts, Gabriel co-headlined the first benefit tour for Amnesty International in 1986 with Sting and U2. Another Amnesty International Tour followed in 1988, and the following year, Gabriel released Passion: Music for The Last Temptation of Christ, a collection of instrumentals used in Martin Scorsese's film. Passion was the furthest Gabriel delved into worldbeat, and the album was widely acclaimed, winning the Grammy Award in 1989 for Best New Age Performance. In 1990, he released the hits compilation Shaking the Tree.
Gabriel labored long on the pop music follow-up to So, finally releasing Us in the spring of 1992. During the recording of Us, Gabriel went through a number of personal upheavals, including a painful divorce, and those tensions manifested themselves on Us, a much darker record than So. For various reasons, not the least of which was the fact that it was released six years after its predecessor, Us wasn't as commercially successful as So, despite positive reviews. Only one single, the "Sledgehammer" knockoff "Steam," reached the Top 40, and the album stalled at platinum sales. In 1993, Gabriel embarked on the most ambitious WOMAD tour to date, touring the United States with a roster including Crowded House, James, and Sinéad O'Connor, with whom he had an on-off romantic relationship. The following year, he released the double-disc Secret World Live, which went gold. Later in 1994, he released the CD-ROM Xplora, one of many projects he developed with Real World. For the rest of the decade, Gabriel concentrated on developing more multimedia projects for the company and working on a new studio album.
Up was released in 2002, a full decade after Gabriel's last studio effort. Dense, cerebral, and often difficult, the record peaked at number nine but failed to sell well in America. It fared slightly better in Canada, where it went gold. He then turned his attention to a host of different projects, although the release of Big Blue Ball -- a compilation of collaborative performances recorded at Real World Studios during the '90s -- helped placate fans while Gabriel focused his energies elsewhere. He eventually returned to the studio for another album, 2010's Scratch My Back, which featured orchestral covers of songs originally performed by Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Paul Simon, David Bowie, and others. Gabriel uncharacteristically delivered the sequel to Scratch My Back quickly, releasing New Blood -- a collection of orchestral reinterpretations of his own songs -- in the fall of 2011. The following year, Gabriel held a lavish celebration of the 25th anniversary of So, releasing several deluxe editions of the record -- the largest being a four-CD, two-DVD, two-vinyl box -- and launching the Back to Front tour, where he played So in its entirety. In 2014, Gabriel was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a solo act, joining Genesis, which had been inducted four years earlier.(AllMusic)
Artist Biography by Jason Ankeny
While his tenure as the frontman for the legendary Roxy Music remained his towering achievement, singer Bryan Ferry also carved out a successful solo career that continued in the lush, sophisticated manner perfected on the group's final records. Born September 26, 1945, in Washington, England, Ferry, the son of a coal miner, began his musical career as a singer with the rock outfit the Banshees while studying art at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne under pop conceptualist Richard Hamilton. He later joined the Gas Board, a soul group featuring bassist Graham Simpson; in 1970, Ferry and Simpson formed Roxy Music.
Within a few years, Roxy Music had become phenomenally successful, affording Ferry the opportunity to cut his first solo LP in 1973. Far removed from the group's arty glam rock, These Foolish Things established the path that all of Ferry's solo work -- as well as the final Roxy Music records -- would take, focusing on elegant synth pop interpretations of '60s hits like Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall," the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil," and the Beatles' "You Won't See Me," all rendered in the singer's distinct, coolly dramatic manner.
Roxy Music remained Ferry's primary focus, but in 1974 he returned with a second solo effort, Another Time, Another Place, another collection of covers ranging from "You Are My Sunshine" to "It Ain't Me, Babe" to "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." His third venture, 1976's Let's Stick Together, featured remixed, remade, and remodeled versions of Roxy Music hits as well as the usual assortment of covers. Released in 1977, In Your Mind was Ferry's first collection of completely original material; the following year's The Bride Stripped Bare, a work inspired by his broken romance with model Jerry Hall, split evenly between new songs and covers.
Ferry did not record another solo album until 1985's Boys and Girls, a sleek, seamless effort that was his first "official" solo release following the Roxy breakup. For 1987's Bete Noire, he was joined by former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr on the shimmering "The Right Stuff," and notched his only U.S. Top 40 hit with "Kiss and Tell." Another covers collection, Taxi, followed in 1993; Mamouna, an LP of originals, appeared a year later, and in 1999 Ferry returned with a collection of standards, As Time Goes By. After a brief tour in support of As Time Goes By, there were rumors of a Roxy Music reunion. The next summer, the practically unimaginable came true when Ferry joined Andy Mackay and Phil Manzanera for a tour of Europe and the U.S. It was a celebration of hits, and the band's first jaunt out in more than a decade.
In summer 2002, Ferry returned to his solo career for the electrifying Frantic. Dylanesque, a set of Bob Dylan covers, followed in 2007, featuring assistance from several longtime associates (including Brian Eno, Chris Spedding, Paul Carrack, and Robin Trower). Ferry signed with the Astralwerks imprint for the release of 2010's Olympia. In 2012, he assembled the Bryan Ferry Orchestra and recorded The Jazz Age. This completely instrumental album featured his band re-recording some of his biggest hits in a 1920s jazz style. Ferry returned to the studio in 2014 to record his 14th studio album with longtime collaborator Rhett Davies. The resulting Avonmore -- which included guest spots from Johnny Marr, Nile Rodgers, and Marcus Miller and revived Ferry's mid-'80s sound -- appeared in November.(AllMusic)
March 18th 1972, Neil Young started a three week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Heart Of Gold'. His only Top 20 hit as a solo artist reached No.10 on the UK chart.
March 18th 1941, Born on this day, Wilson Pickett, US soul singer, (1965 UK No.12 & US No. 21 single 'In The Midnight Hour' plus 15 other US Top 40 singles). Pickett died of a heart attack on 19th Jan 2006 aged 64.
March 18th 1967, The Beatles scored their 13th US No.1 single with 'Penny Lane / Strawberry Fields Forever'. The song's title is derived from the name of a street near Lennon's house, in Liverpool. McCartney and Lennon would meet at Penny Lane junction in the Mossley Hill area to catch a bus into the centre of the city.
18th March 2001, American singer, guitarist, and songwriter John Phillips of Mamas and The Papas died of heart failure aged 65. His first band, The Journeymen, were a folk trio, Mamas and The Papas had the US No.1 'Monday, Monday'. Phillips was married to Michelle Gilliam, they had one child together, Chynna Phillips, vocalist of the 1990's pop trio Wilson Phillips. His second solo album was released on Rolling Stones records and featured Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Mick Taylor and Ronnie Wood.
March 17th 1957, Elvis Presley bought the Graceland mansion from Mrs Ruth Brown-Moore for $102,500. (£60,295). The 23 room, 10,000 square foot home, on 13.8 acres of land, would be expanded to 17,552 square feet of living space before the king moved in a few weeks later. The original building had at one time been a place of worship, used by the Graceland Christian Church and was named after the builder's daughter, Grace Toof.
March 17th 1919, Born on this day, Nat King Cole, singer, (1955 US No.2 single 'A Blossom Fell', 1957 UK No.2 single 'When I Fall In Love' plus over 20 other US & UK Top 40 singles). Father of singer Natalie Cole. Cole died of lung cancer on February 15th 1965.