Musings On Music History: The Dynamic Duo Take Over Central Park, A Genius Is Born, and Bonzo Leaves Us Far Too Soon

09.19: On this day in 1981, Simon and Garfunkel reunited for a concert in New York’s Central Park. It was their first appearance together on stage in 11 years. Just in case you weren’t there, don’t remember, or have no clue as to exactly how popular these guys were, 750,000 people attended this concert. Three quarters of a million people! Listening to “Mrs. Robinson,” “Slip Slidin’ Away,” and “The Sounds of Silence”! What a strange, strange world we do inhabit.

09.20: On this day in 1973, Jim Croce died in a plane crash, another young casualty on the road of fallen musicians. Croce’s working man storyteller style hit a chord in the early ’70s, along with his smooth, honest voice, driving “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” and, posthumously, “Time In A Bottle” to the top of the charts. [more]

09.21: Liam Gallagher, the somewhat snotty, extremely opinionated, and oft-drunken lead singer for Oasis, came to officially be on this day in 1972.

09.22: On this day in 1951, David “Mrs. Tawny Kitaen” Coverdale was born. It began his journey down the only road he’s ever known. Oh, glorious hair metal, how we miss the ’80s. (Yes, we didn’t mean that, but we actually really do love, love, love “Here I Go Again.”)

09.22: On this day in 1960, Joan Jett was born. In case you don’t know, she loves rock ‘n’ roll and dirty deeds done dirt cheap, and she hates herself for loving you. And she’s totally awesome and would kick our ass in a back alley fight any day of the week. Then she’d sing “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll” quietly, yet forcefully, into our ear and everything would be alright. Believe it.

09.23: On this day in 1930, Ray Charles was born. This baby would become the man who would propel R&B into the future, melding gospel with juke joint lyrics and jazz rhythms, as well as taking pieces of country, rock, and blues along for the ride. A singular, monumental talent, if you only know Ray from the biopic of the same name, then you need to delve further into his catalog, need to experience the albums that defined this man. We’ve rattled ’em off before, but just pick up The Genius Hits The Road (from whence “Geogia On My Mind” came) or his masterpiece Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music and you’ll understand the talent in his arrangements, production, playing and voice. Happy birthday, Ray! We miss you, sir.

09.23: On this day in 1949, Bruce Springsteen was born. ‘Nuff said. If you don’t know this man, you don’t know rock, so just give it up. Happy birthday, Bruuuuuuuuce! You still rock harder and put on a better show than 99.99% of anyone out there.

09.24: This day in 1988 saw a song with absolutely no musical instruments top the Billboard Hot 100 music charts. Quick, name that tune! If you said “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin you get a cookie. That cookie, however, won’t help you get the tune out of your head. You’re welcome.

09.25: On this day in 1968, The Fresh Prince, Will Smith, was born and his parents, by the way, did understand. Remember when Will Smith was a rapper? Yeah, it’s just weird to think of him like that now, even with the lilting chorus of “Summertime” rolling through our head.

09.25: On this day in 1980, a monster behind the kit, Zeppelin drummer John Bonham died. The Led Zeppelin legend died at Jimmy Page’s house after a night of drinking, as many have done before and since, and choking on his own vomit as he slept. Rather than soldier on without him, the other members of the band decided to close the curtain on one of the greatest chapters in rock ‘n’ roll history. John Bonham was only 32. So young and so talented and so missed. Can you imagine if he’d lived, if Zeppelin had gone on to record and perform through the ’80s, ’90s, and into the present? It could’ve been amazing or it could’ve been awkward. We’ll never know, but it’s fun to think about sometimes.

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