Today In Oldies Music History: May 17--
Births1921: Bob Merrill
1925: Red Smiley (Reno and Smiley)
1941: Malcolm Hale (Spanky and Our Gang)
1942: Taj Mahal
1944: Jesse Winchester
1949: Bill Bruford (Yes, King Crimson)
1953: George Johnson (Brothers Johnson)
Deaths1989: Wet Willie
1992: Lawrence Welk
1996: Johnny "Guitar" Watson
2002: Little Johnny Taylor
Events1933: Jimmie Rodgers, already terminally ill with tuberculosis, begins recording his last two dozen songs for RCA Victor in Nashville.
1958: The Killer's hometown of Ferriday, LA, holds its first annual "Jerry Lee Lewis Day."
1963: The first annual Monterey Folk Festival opens with musical performances by, among others, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Peter Paul and Mary, and Joan Baez.
1964: Bob Dylan makes his first major UK appearance onstage at London's Royal Festival Hall.
1966: Bob Dylan, who had recently "gone electric" and added rock and roll instruments to his folk music, appears at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, England; just before he begins a version of his latest hit, "Like A Rolling Stone," a member of the audience, a folk purist angry at the move to rock, shouts out, "Judas!" Dylan responds with "I don't believe you," adding, "You're a liar!" Then proceeds to tell the band to play the song "f****** loud."
1967: Bob Dylan's legendary documentary Don't Look Back, which features the "Judas incident," debuts at the Presidio Theatre in San Francisco.
1968: Steve Binder is hired as director for Elvis Presley's upcoming NBC Christmas special; his credits include the legendary 1964 all-star rock broadcast The T.A.M.I. Show, the weekly rock revue Hullabaloo, and the infamous 1968 Petula Clark TV special Petula, which featured the white Clark touching the arm of the black Harry Belafonte, to the outrage of Chrysler, the show's sponsor.
1970: On the same afternoon, with the same band, and at the same session, Jean Knight records "Mr. Big Stuff" and King Floyd records "Groove Me" at the Malaco Studios in Jackson, MS.
1971: The Christian musical Godspell opens at the New York's Cherry Lane Theatre. It would become the third-longest-running off-Broadway production of its day.
1974: The Elton John TV special Say Goodbye To Norma Jean And Other Things airs on ABC.
1974: NBC-TV's The Midnight Special offers another salute to Fifties and Sixties rock and roll, with Frankie Avalon as host and performances by Sam and Dave, Lou Christie, Frankie Ford, The Fleetwoods, Shirley and Lee, and Fabian.
1975: An angry Mick Jagger thrusts his hand through the plate-glass window of a restaurant in Montauk, NY, requiring 20 stitches.
1978: The TV special The Carpenters: Space Encounters airs on ABC.
1978: The disco film Thank God It's Friday, starring Donna Summer, premieres in Los Angeles.
1980: After Gene Simmons' girlfriend, Diana Ross, tells KISS drummer Peter Criss he's too talented for the band, the drummer quits, to be replaced by Eric Carr.
1980: Just weeks after his harrowing incarceration in Tokyo, Paul McCartney appears (with wife Linda) as the musical guests on NBC-TV's Saturday Night Live.
1987: Tom Petty's home in Encino, CA, is ravaged by fire, causing over a million dollars' worth of damage.
1989: Rolling Stone ex-bassist Bill Wyman opens the first of his Stones-themed restaurants, Sticky Fingers, in London.
1993: Barry Manilow is the guest star (playing himself) on the "One" episode of CBS-TV's Murphy Brown.
1995: Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, and Little Richard share the stage for the first time ever at a concert in Sheffield, England.
2003: June Carter Cash's funeral is held in her hometown of Henderson, TN, with two thousand mourners attending, including her husband Johnny Cash as well as Kris Kristofferson and Hank Willams, Jr. Emmylou Harris, the Oak Ridge Boys, and Sheryl Crow all perform tributes.
2008: The Brothers Four's Bob Flick marries his third wife, actress Loni Anderson.
Releases1969: Chicago, Chicago Transit Authority
Recording1967: The Beatles: "You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)"
1970: Jean Knight, "Mr. Big Stuff"
1970: King Floyd, "Groove Me"
Charts1948: Nat King Cole's "Nature Boy" hits #1
1952: Georgia Gibbs' "Kiss Of Fire" hits #1
1975: Earth Wind and Fire's LP That's The Way Of The World hits #1