Beatles, Elvis, Dylan & Johnny Cash ► A Mega Monday Musical Appreciation.

When it’s Monday Musical Appreciation time, I consult several Day in Musical History sites, choose a topic, and write the post — all before most of my readers are awake.

I take pride in choosing a topic that morning, researching it, choosing tunes and pics that best illustrate that research, and then writing it up. It makes me feel like I’m back in the Citytv Newsroom and given an assignment to write. I like the pressure of it.

All of that is preface to say: I couldn’t choose a single event, person, or band today. Any one of the following could sustain its own stand-alone post. Additionally, the more I researched the date, the more I began to see points of synchronicity. That’s when I decided to wrap it all up in one big bow.

The following all occurred on May 1st:

Johnny Cash

On this day in 1956 Johnny Cash released “I Walk The Line”, his most recognizable tune. Thirteen years later — when he was a big star with his own tee vee show — he hosted Bob Dylan who sang 2 tunes and then a duet with Johnny Cash on “Girl From the North Country”, a song originally on the LP The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. The duet became the lead off track of Dylan’s Nashville Skyline LP.

On a personal note: This televised performance happened on my birthday and was my entry into Country music. If Dylan could cozy up to Johnny Cash, maybe there is something I was missing. I went out and bought the relatively recent Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison, which I fell in love with. I’ve been a Johnny Cash fan ever since.


Elvis Presley

Elvis was already an up-and-comer when, on this date in 1957, he appeared on the cover of the first issue of 16 Magazine. Many magazine covers would follow.

Ten years later, to the day, he wed 21-year old Priscilla Beaulieu — who he had met while in the Army almost 8 years earlier — in his suite at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. He was 11 years her senior.

The next year, on the same day, Elvis would release “Speedway”, the soundtrack album his latest boring movie of the same name, despite the appearance of Nancy Sinatra. The LP never went any higher than #82 on the Billboard LP charts.

Elvis would only make 4 more movies, none any better.

The Beatles

On this date in 1962, The Beatles began a month long stand at The Star Club, Hamburg, Germany. The Beatles have always pointed to the pressure of having to MAK SHOW under the relentless pressure of playing set after set, night after night, as when they solidified as a band. Listen to how tight they were before Beatlemania struck.

After they hit it big, The Beatles were offered money for licensing rights to everything from Beatles’ Wigs to lunchboxes. On this day in 1964, manager Brian Epstein accepted $140,000 from a bubble gum company to have their pictures inserted into the packages sold in ‘Merka.

Two years later, on this date in 1966, The Beatles gave their last last British at Empire Pool in Wembley, appearing as New Musical Express poll winners. Their performance consisted of  “I Feel Fine”, “Nowhere Man”, “Day Tripper”, “If I Needed Someone”, and “I’m Down”.

Who else appeared on this bill? If you were lucky enough to have gotten a ticket, you would have seen The Spencer Davis Group, The Fortunes, Herman’s Hermits, Roy Orbison, The Rolling Stones, The Seekers, The Small Faces, Dusty Springfield, The Walker Brothers, The Who and The Yardbirds.

1968 Paul McCartney and John Lennon watch Bill Haley play Royal Albert Hall in London.

Other items I would have included had I wanted to turn this post into an epic:

In 1930: Little Walter was born.

In 1955 Chuck Berry was signed to Chess Records.

In 1965 Spike Jones dies.

In 1967, Carl Wilson, of The Beach Boys’ is arrested by the F.B.I. for draft evasion.

In 1969, Jimi Hendrix was arrested at Toronto International Airport for drugs and was released on $10,000 bail.

May 1st was an epic day in music.

About Headly Westerfield

Calling himself “A liberally progressive, sarcastically cynical, iconoclastic polymath,” Headly Westerfield has been a professional writer all his adult life.