1955 – Little Richard enters a New Orleans studio to begin two days of recording. The sessions don’t start well, but they end fantastically. During a break, he and his producer Bumps Blackwell go to the Dew Drop Inn for lunch. Richard starts wildly playing the piano in the bar, singing a loud and lewd version of “Tutti Frutti.” With only fifteen minutes left in the session, Richard records this version of the song with the phrase, “a-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-lop-bam-boom.”
1923 – A fourteen-year-old clarinet player named Benny Goodman lands his first professional gig, playing for a cruise ship operating on Lake Michigan near Chicago.
1952 – When his original guitarist has a stroke just before a New Year’s Eve gig, popular St. Louis boogie-woogie pianist Johnnie Johnson hires a 26-year-old hairdresser named Chuck Berry.
1942 – In response to what it sees as a threat from a new fad, phonograph records, the American Federation of Musicians goes on a recording strike (but not live gigs).
MTV launched this day back in 1981 with the airing of The Buggles’ “Video Killed The Radio Star”. One of the original VJ’s was Mark Goodman, who was on WMMR in the Seventies, before he moved to New York to take a job at WPLJ, which led to his becoming a part of the original on-air team. A nice batch of Philly bands showed up in the playlist of MTV’s golden era; watch six of our most favorite selections from local artists below. Gosh, some of these videos were really cheesy in a good way.
They don’t call it “The Legendary Dobbs” for nothing; back in the day, the South Street haunt JC Dobbs was the place to see live music in town, and Robert Hazard and the Heroes filmed their 1983 video “Change Reaction” there. Note the framed 8×10 glossies all over the wood-panel walls, and the way they make the matchbook-sized club look massive.
Okay, technically it’s Chester County, but we’ll forgive The Hooters for going outside city limits. The “And We Danced” video is delightfully retro-50s, with convertible muscle cars pulling up to a party at the Exton Drive-In.
Thirty years ago today MTV signed on after videos of the Apollo and space shuttle launch with the words “Ladies and Gentlemen, Rock and Roll.” The first video was “Video Killed The Radio Star” by The Buggles. Rockers and MTV VJ’s boldly delcared we’d “never look at music the same way again,” and they were right. The first hour (viewed below in five parts) included videos by Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, The Who, REO Speedwagon, Split Enz, Iron, Maiden, Todd Rundgren and more. One of the five original VJ’s was Philadelphian Mark Goodman, who I remember prior to that as being one of my favorite DJ’s back in the day on WMMR circa 1978. He moved to New York in 1980 to work at WPLJ and in 1981 he got the VJ job along with Martha Quinn, Nina Blackwood, Alan Hunter and J.J. Jackson (pictured above).