This week in music: A legend dies. Neil Young has a new species of spider named after him, Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi. Some rock stars from the 60s do some naughty things at Abraham Lincoln’s desk at the White House, and a classic hit song is born by accident. Keith Richards escapes death yet again after falling out of a coconut tree and rings his bell, resulting in emergency brain surgery. And a not so lucky rock star meets death by electric guitar!
This Week in Music Over the Years (May 8- 14)
May 8, 2006 – The Rolling Stones called off their forthcoming European tour after guitarist Keith Richards underwent emergency brain surgery. The 62 year-old guitarist suffered “mild concussion” when he fell out of a coconut tree on holiday in Fiji.
May 9, 1970 – The band Guess Who started a three-week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘American Woman’, it was the group’s sixth Top 30 hit and only chart topper. The song was born by accident when guitarist Randy Bachman was playing a heavy riff on stage after he had broken a string, the other members joined in on the jam. A fan in the audience who had recorded the gig on tape presented it to the group after the show and they developed it into a full song.
May 10, 1969 – The Turtles gave a special performance at the White House as guests of Trica Nixon. Stories circulate concerning members of the group allegedly snorted cocaine on Abraham Lincon’s desk.
May 11, 1981 – Jamaican singer-songwriter Bob Marley died of lung cancer and a brain tumour aged 36. Had the 1981 single ‘No Woman No Cry’, plus over ten other UK Top 40 singles. In 1990, the 6th February was proclaimed a national holiday in Jamaica to commemorate his birth. The compilation album, Legend, released in 1984, is the best-selling reggae album ever with sales of more than 20 million copies. Time magazine chose Bob Marley & The Wailers’ Exodus as the greatest album of the 20th century.
May 12, 2008 – Singer-songwriter Neil Young had a spider named after him. US university biologist Jason Bond discovered a new species of trapdoor spider and decided to name it after his favourite musician. Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi was found in Jefferson County, Alabama, in 2007.
May 13, 2002 – Dionne Warwick was arrested at Miami International Airport for possession of marijuana after authorities found 11 joints in a lipstick case in the singer’s hand luggage. The charges were dropped after she completed a drug program and made a contribution to charity.
May 14, 1976 – 33 year old Keith Relf, former lead singer for The Yardbirds, was electrocuted while tuning a guitar which was not properly earthed. The accident happened in his West London home where he was found by his eight year old son, still holding the plugged-in electric guitar. The Yardbirds had the hits ‘For Your Love’, ‘Heart Full of Soul’, and ‘Shapes of Things’.