One of the most famous record company logos ever was registered today in 1900. It started as a painting by British artist Francis Barraud, who’d inherited a Fox Terrier, “Nipper“, and a gramophone from his deceased brother Mark. Several of the cylinders that came with the player were recordings of Mark’s voice, and Francis had noticed how the dog’s ears perked up when he’d play them and decided to commit the scene to canvas. He applied for a copyright to the painting he called “Dog looking at and listening to a phonograph” and tried sell it to a manufacturer in 1899. At the suggestion of gramophone inventor Emile Berliner, the Victor Talking Machine Company bought the rights and ran a contest to rename the artwork, with the winner choosing “His Master’s Voice“, and they would continue to use it after being acquired by the Radio Corporation of America, who would become well known to music fans as RCA Victor.
Eric Clapton had developed a reputation as one of England’s premier blues guitarists for his work in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and The Yardbirds, but was mostly unknown in the U.S. when he started a new band today in 1966 with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce, who were feeling creatively stifled in The Graham Bond Organization. The three were widely considered “the cream of the crop” on their respective instruments, and decided to go with The Cream as a band name, later dropping the “The” from the name, and though the band would last only two years, Clapton would gain a reputation as a guitar god world-wide.
The Beatles were at Abbey Road studios today in 1969, recording two George Harrison songs. He wrote Here Comes The Sun after strolling the garden of his by now quite wealthy friend Eric Clapton, while Something was inspired by a similar but unrelated song by Apple Records signee James Taylor. George’s wife Pattie said he’d told her he’d written it for her, which George later denied. It was the first Harrison song released by the Beatles as an “A” side single, was the only song of his to top the charts while he was in the band, and would be covered by many, including Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, The Miracles, Andy Williams, James Brown, and Frank Sinatra, who had been critical of The Beatles and rock and roll in general, but later called it “the most beautiful love song ever written”. George’s favorite version was the one by James Brown, and he kept a copy in his personal jukebox at home.
Folk-rock singer songwriter Harry Chapin, who’d had hits with Taxi, W-O-L-D, and Cat’s in the Cradle, was driving to a show in Long Island New York today in 1981 when he apparently suffered a heart attack in the left lane, turned on his emergency flashers and started moving to the right lane when his car was rear-ended by a Semi truck rupturing his cars gas tank causing it to burst into flames and killing him instantly at age 38. Surprisingly the car was not a Ford Pinto, but a ’75 Volkswagen Rabbit.
Deep Purple keyboard player Jon Lord died of cancer today in 2012 at age 71. His band had been nominated to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that year, but weren’t voted in, so the stupid, stupid supposed curators of the shrine to America’s greatest musical gift to the world in Cleveland Ohio missed their chance for a full reunion performance. Idiots.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Jamaican singer Desmond Dekker of The Aces would be 75 if he hadn’t passed in 2006. His 1968 song The Israelites would be a huge hit in England, which unlike the U.S. went crazy for the Reggae sound.
Stewart Copeland is 64. He was the drummer for The Police, who were hugely influenced by Desmond Dekker and The Aces, and also released records under the pseudonym Klark Kent, and later filled in for The Doors reunion tour for John Densmore, who was suing Ray Manzarek and Robbie Kreiger over use of the name.