On the sixstr stories calendar of historic days in music, no month has as many dates commemorating individual pieces of music than September.
Here’s the list! (Happy listening!)
On this date in 1962, The Beatles – 21-year-old John Lennon; 20-year-old Paul McCartney; 19-year-old George Harrison; and 22-year-old Ringo Starr – entered Abbey Road Studios in London, England to record the songs for their first single for EMI/Parlophone Records. Under the direction of producer George Martin, the quartet recorded “How Do You Do It?,” a song by English songwriter Mitch Murray, and “Love Me Do,” a Lennon & McCartney original.
The September 4th recording of “Love Me Do” – with John Lennon on vocals & harmonica; Paul McCartney on vocals & bass guitar; George Harrison on acoustic guitar; and Ringo Starr on drums – would be released on October 5, 1962 in the United Kingdom as the A-side of the first run of The Beatles’ first 7-inch, 45-rpm record. (Another Lennon & McCartney song, “P.S. I Love You” was on the B-side.)
The September 4th recording of “Love Me Do” would not be released on an album until March 2, 1980. On that day it was featured as the first track on The Beatles’ Capitol Records LP Rarities. These days, the Ringo-on-drums/September 4, 1962 recording of “Love Me Do” is available on The Beatles’ Past Masters, Volume 1 CD.
On this date in 1933, the American Southern Appalachian duo, Ashley & Foster – 37-year-old Clarence Ashley on guitar & vocals and 30-year-old Gwen Foster on guitar & harmonica – recorded “Rising Sun Blues” for Vocalion Records in New York, NY.
This would be the first commercial recording of the song that would one day be known as “The House Of The Rising Sun.”
On this date in 1847, a small troupe of singers under the direction of Mr. Nelson Kneass – an actor, singer, pianist & banjo player – gave the first public performance of “Oh! Susanna” at the Eagle Ice Cream Saloon in Pittsburgh, PA. “Oh! Susanna” was the latest song by the up-and-coming, 21-year-old songwriter, Stephen Foster.
Here’s one of my favorites: James Taylor’s take on “Oh! Susanna” from his 1970 album, Sweet Baby James.
On September 11, 1962, The Beatles returned to Abbey Road Studios. At the suggestion of producer Martin, the group re-recorded “Love Me Do” with Andy White, a well-respected London recording session musician on drums instead of Ringo Starr. Ringo was relegated to playing the tambourine.
The September 11 recording of “Love Me Do” replaced the September 4th recording on all pressings of The Beatles’ Parlophone single sometime in early-1963. This is the recording of “Love Me Do” that is on Please, Please Me, The Beatles’ first album released in the UK on March 22, 1963. It is also the recording of “Love Me Do” that was released in the United States by Capitol Records as a single on April 27, 1964.
On this date in 1947, 37-year-old American Blues singer & electric guitarist Aaron “T-Bone” Walker recorded his original song, “Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just As Bad)” for Black & White Records in Hollywood, California.
Accompanying T-Bone on the session were pianist Lloyd Glenn, bassist Arthur Edwards, drummer Oscar Lee Bradley, trumpeter John Bruckner and tenor saxophone player Hubert “Bumps” Myers.
On this date in 1926, 35-year-old New Orleans Jazz pianist and composer Ferdinand Joseph “Jelly Roll Morton” LaMothe and his band, His Red Hot Peppers, recorded Mr. LaMothe’s composition, “Black Bottom Stomp” for Victor Records at the Webster Hotel in Chicago, Illinois.
The members of Jelly Roll Morton and His Red Hot Peppers on “Black Bottom Stomp” were: Jelly Roll Morton, piano; George Mitchell, cornet; Kid Ory, trombone; Omer Simeon, clarinet; Johnny St. Cyr, banjo; John Lindsay, bass; and Andrew Hilaire, drums.
On September 15, 1937, Library of Congress song collector Alan Lomax recorded 16-year-old Georgia Turner singing her favorite song, “Rising Sun Blues,” in Middlesboro, Kentucky.
Lomax collected two other renditions of “Rising Sun Blues” on the same trip through Kentucky, one by Bert Martin and another by Daw Henson. Lomax drew from all three recordings to create a transcription of “Rising Sun Blues” that he published in the 1941 songbook, Our Singing Country.
Georgia Turner’s recording of “Rising Sun Blues” was not released commercially until Rounder Records included it on the 2003 CD Alan Lomax: Popular Songbook.
If you’ve made it this far and you’re so inclined, you can find more of my posts on September’s Songs in the blog archives for September 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Writing this post reminded me of the quote from Jelly Roll Morton that I appropriated as the sixstr stories motto: “Good music doesn’t get old.”