Saturday, July 11, 2009

JULY 11, 2009

1947 - Jeff Hanna, guitarist and lead vocalist ("Mr. Bojangles") for the United Artists and Capitol Records group The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, is born in Detroit, Michigan

1950 - George Gard "Buddy" DeSylva, lyricist, librettist, music publisher, Broadway and motion picture producer, and co-founder of Capitol Records with Johnny Mercer and Glenn Wallichs, who put up $25,000 of his own money to start the company, dies of heart failure in Hollywood, California at age 55
1953 - Les Baxter and His Orchestra's Capitol Records single "April In Portugal is #4 down from #3 on Billboard's Best Selling Retail Records chart, Les Paul and Mary Ford's Capitol Records single "Vaya Con Dios" is #5 up from #6, Kay Starr (with orchestra conducted by Harold Mooney)'s Capitol Records single "Half A Photograph" is #12 up from #17, Les Baxter and His Orchestra's Capitol Records single "Ruby" is still #15, and Kay Starr (with orchestra conducted by Harold Mooney)'s Capitol Records single "Allez-Vous-En" (the flip side of "Half A Photograh) is #17 up from #18
1960 - Time Magazine runs an article about Capitol Records artists The Kingston Trio and the success of their album "Sold Out"
1963 - Buck Owens records the track "Love's Gonna Live Here Again" which Capitol Records will release as a single on August 19, 1963 with "Getting Used To Losing You" on the flip side. The track will go to #1 on the U.S. Country singles chart.
45 Years Ago Today In 1964 - Billboard Magazine runs an article "Beatles' LP: 4 Days That Shake The Industry" about how the soundtrack to "A Hard Day's Night" sold 1 million copies in 4 days, becoming one of the fastest selling albums in recording history
1966 - The Beach Boys' Capitol Records single "Wouldn't It Be Nice", with "God Only Knows" on the flip side, peaks at #8 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart
1972 - Merle Haggard records the track "It's Not Love, But It's Not Bad" which Capitol Records will release as a single with "My Woman Keeps Lovin' Her Man" on the flip side in August 1972
1987- Heart's Capitol Records single "Alone", with "Barracuda" (live version recorded at NHK Hall, Tokyo, Japan, June 1986), on the flip side, hits #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart
10 Years Ago Today In 1999 - Helen Forrest (born Helen Fogel), singer with the bands of Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Harry James, and the Sam Donahue led Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, radio performer (on "The Dick Haymes Show"), motion picture actress (including "Bathing Beauty" and "Two Girls And A Sailor"), and Capitol Records artist (1955 album "Voice Of The Name Bands"), dies of congestive heart failure at the Motion Picture Country Home and Hospital in Woodland Hills at 82 and is later laid to rest in Mount Sinai Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California
2000 - Capitol Records releases Everclear's album "Learning How To Smile, An American Movie, Volume I". I designed the "frowny face", an adaption of Harvey R. Ball's "smiley face" image, that was used as the main packaging graphic for the album's first single "Wonderful".
2006 - Bill Miller, long time musical director, accompanist, and friend of Frank Sinatra, dies at Montreal General Hospital in Canada at age 91. His daughter Meredith was with him at the hospital when he passed. He had been working at a month long gig that started June 28 with Frank Sinatra, Jr. at Le Cabaret du Casino, 1 Avenue du Casino, Montreal. Army Archerd's blog has an article giving the specifics and reactions from the Sinatra family.
In private life, Bill was a kind, quiet, and patient man whose unquestioning loyalty to friends, and love of his family, was remarkable. Professionally, it was all about the music and the craft, modestly giving every session an extra something that even he couldn't put into words but you could always hear. He had an amazing ear for the well done, and would only become annoyed or, on a rare occasion, angered when faced with the uncaring or sloppy. I was fortunate to be able to talk to Mr. Miller at his home on June 4, 2006. Bill was inside watching the ball games, which he said he only really took interest in during the playoffs. After introductions, and him finding out about my interest in Capitol, he turned down the TV and we talked for a little while. His memory was very much intact, but after being caught in a mudslide in the '60s that also killed his wife, he had some hearing problems. I told him about meeting Vernise Pelzel and Louise Yocum, the daughter and wife, respectively, of Sinatra's music coordinator and copiest Vern Yocum, the previous weekend and he said that he remembered Vern very well and how much Vern would do anything to help Nelson Riddle meet his deadlines. I told him about meeting the curator of the Nelson Riddle collection at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and how he was able to tell how much Vern had done by looking at the handwriting on the charts. Bill said that he remembered how prouc Vern was proud of his body building son and would show him photos of Ray Yokum all the time. I asked Bill if he could help identify some of the players at Sinatra's "Tone Poems Of Colors" sessions. He suggested looking at listings of the session players before and after the "Tone Poem" sessions to get an idea on who was working on those session, as it was normal to get the same people together. We talked about some of the producers who worked with Sinatra, he remembered how Voyle Gilmore was the serious one of the crowd that included Dave Cavanaugh and Lee Gillette. He talked about Sinatra starting out at the Capitol Studios on Melrose and how the first singles with Axel didn't go well. He felt the first real recordings for Capitol started when Nelson Riddle started arranging for Frank for "I've Got The World On A String". He said he had been back in Studio B in the Tower last year working with Frank Jr. on tracks. I told him about the live recording of Sinatra that Capitol released last year as part of the Las Vegas Centennial tribute and Bill said that Capitol recorded a lot of the shows be he didn't know what they had done with the tapes. He hadn't heard about the release of the Las Vegas CD (a few weeks later, after he had left for Montreal, I dropped off a copy of the disc I had bought for him). We talked about people who were still around like Jo Stafford and Martha Tilton and I told him how Stafford and Weston's papers were joining those of Nelson and Vern's at The University of Arizona Tucson's School Of Music. I told him that Nellie Lutcher was still alive in L.A. though no longer performing. He was surprised at that, saying that she must be at least as old as he is, if not more. We talked about Freddie Slack. Bill said he wasn't a big fan of but that was probably because he was jealous that he couldn't play the piano like Freddie. A call from his daughter Meredith in Berkeley ended the conversation. Later, I would thank him for his time and I was invited back after he came back from Montreal. I'm just glad for the time I had.
2006 - The 30th anniversary release of The Steve Miller Band's album is rescheduled to Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

1931 - Thurston Harris, singer with the groups The Lamplighters, The Tenderfoots, and The Sharps, and a solo Aladdin Records artist (best known for the track "Little Bitty Pretty One"), is born in Indianapolis, Indiana. I designed the album packaging for Harris' EMI America's 1986 greatest hits compliation with art director Henry Marquez.
1946 - At his first recording session, Dean Martin records the tracks “Which Way Did My Heart Go?”, “All of Me”, “I Got the Sun in the Morning” and “The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi” for Diamond Records whose offices were located in The Brill Building in New York City
1937 - George Gershwin, composer (who worked with future Capitol Records co-founder Buddy DeSylva on songs such as "Stairway To Heaven" as well as with his brother Ira Gershwin, dies in Beverly Hills, California at age 38 from an inoperable brain tumor. Many Capitol Records artists have covered songs written by Gershwin and his compositions were featured as part of the "Capitol Sings" series on the CD "Fascinatin' Rhythm: Capitol Sings George Gershwin".
1960 - Fats Domino's Imperial Records single "Walking To New Orleans" is #21 up from #31 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart, The Fleetwoods' Dolton Records single "Runaround" is #23 up from #25, and Don Costa and His Orchestra's United Artists Records single "Theme From 'The Unforgiven'" is still #27. Imperial, Dolton and United Artists Records' catalogs are currently owned by EMI Music Group, Capitol Music Group's parent company.
1968 - The Jazz Crusaders (Wayne Henderson on trombone, Wilton Felder on tenor saxophone, Joe Sample on piano, Buster Williams on bass, and Stix Hooper on drums) record the tracks "Fancy Dance", "Upstairs", and "Sting Ray" at the Pacific Jazz Studios in Los Angeles, California with producer Richard Bock and recording engineer Thorne Nogar for their Pacific Jazz album "Powerhouse". Capitol Records now owns the Pacific Jazz catalog
1976 - Frank Sinatra marries Barbara Marx in Palm Springs, California
2006 - Nelson Riddle's Capitol Records album "Sing a Song With Riddle" is re-released on CD with the never released "Hey Diddle Riddle" album as a 2 disc set by DRG Records thanks to DRG's president Hugh Fordin being able to convince Capitol to license him the material. Unfortunately, according to someone who was involved with another record company that was trying to release the album itself last year, DRG's incomplete research has led to them leaving off 1 track from the album and an additional 2 tracks that were supposed to be released as a 45 single to coincide with the album's original release are also not on DRG's release.

20 Years Ago Today In 1989 - Sir Laurence Olivier dies in Steyning, West Sussex, England, from complications of a neuromuscular disorder and cancer at the age of 82, and is interred in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey, London.

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