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Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

This Week in Music History | Oct. 16-22

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On Oct. 16, 1968, The Jimi Hendrix Experience dropped the gravity-defying album Electric Ladyland. This would be the band’s most successful release, and it was also their only No.1 album. This would be their third and final studio album, and it was actually produced by Hendrix. 

The album peaked at No. 1 on the U.S. charts for two weeks, and it reached No. 6 on the U.K. charts, remaining there for about 12 weeks. This was a double album which also featured live recordings and improvisations from the man himself.

Electric Ladyland’s leading song was Hendrix’s cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower,” which reached the No. 6 spot in the U.K. and No. 20 in the US. This is widely considered to be one of his best works; critics and fans alike agree that this song shatters Dylan’s original version.

Another notable song was “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” which blew every guitar enthusiast’s mind at the time and left musicians scrambling to figure out what Hendrix was doing and how to mimic him.  

Hendrix is among the greatest musicians of all time, and is widely considered to be the greatest guitarist of all time. There are countless musicians that have successfully left their mark upon music, but there are only a handful who completely changed the face of music and culture. This is what he did, and his works will go on as legendary installments in our culture for a long, long time. 

Electric Ladyland is by far my favorite Hendrix record, as it has uplifting and crushing emotions and ideas flowing throughout. It has something to offer everyone, and should be an essential part of anyone’s thirst for expanding their musical palette. 

~ Ian Randall

 

On Oct. 19, 1984, Talking Heads released their seminal concert film, Stop Making Sense. Directed by Jonathan Demme, filming took place on four consecutive nights between Dec. 13-16, 1983, at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles. These four shows included material from the band’s first five albums, as well as David Byrne’s solo career and Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth’s band, Tom Tom Club. 

Outside the four Talking Heads members, backing singers Ednah Holt and Lynn Mabry, percussionist Steve Scales, guitarist Alex Weir and keyboardist Bernie Worrell were part of the shows’ lineup. The film starts with Byrne on a bare stage singing “Psycho Killer,” but with each additional song, more members join. As the film progresses, it becomes increasingly grand.

Stop Making Sense is perhaps best known for its elaborate staging and performances, which made it a cult classic. For instance, Byrne wore a comically large suit during “Girlfriend Is Better,” which perfectly captured his unique stage presence and, as a result, is possibly his most well-known look. The film is also singled out for being digitally edited and mixed instead of being released as analog recordings, which was uncommon at the time.

This year, A24 premiered a new restoration of the film on IMAX at the Toronto International Film Festival. It was followed by Talking Heads’ first reunion since their 2002 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction. The restoration has been in theaters worldwide since Sept. 29, 2023. Hopefully, more people will discover Stop Making Sense’s genius: It is absolutely essential for any Talking Heads fan.

~ Jack Domenicucci

 

Lynyrd Skynyrd is widely known for their smash hit “Sweet Home Alabama,” although many might not realize their impact on music as a whole. An event that greatly impacted that legacy was the plane crash that the band suffered. On Oct. 20, 1977, Lynyrd Skynyrd boarded a plane set to make its way to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, having just finished playing a show in Greenville, South Carolina the night before.

All was well until the plane’s pilots  found out that there was insufficient fuel to make the full trip. The pilots tried to make a stop at McComb Airport in Mississippi, but they ran out of fuel before making it. In a last-ditch effort, the crew attempted an emergency landing in an open field that would lead to the plane crashing into trees and falling to pieces. Those lost in the plane crash included lead vocalist Ronnie Van Zandt, guitarist and vocalist Steve Gaines, backing vocalist Cassie Gaines and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick. 

Following the crash, drummer Artimus Pyle was able to make his way through a creek to look for help, eventually ending up at a farmhouse where the owner was alarmed by his bloodied appearance. The farmer fired a warning shot in the air, as he thought Pyle could have been a criminal, but eventually helped him, as Pyle explained there had been a plane crash.

After this tragedy, Lynyrd Skynyrd disbanded. Ten years later, in 1987, the group reformed with Ronnie Van Zandt’s younger brother, Johnny Van Zandt, as the lead singer. Johnny Van Zandt would continue the legacy that his brother and all the members lost in the crash had started years before.

Johnny Van Zandt and the remaining members of Lynyrd Skynyrd have been touring for years, with some line-up changes along the way. In 2023, the band confirmed they would continue touring throughout the year and finish their farewell tour, even in the wake of founding member Gary Rossington’s death.

I write this piece in remembrance and to show how large of an impact the band had on rock as a whole. Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote some of the most influential Southern rock music of all time, with such tracks as “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Free Bird” and “Simple Man.” The group’s music has stood the test of time, influencing bands like Metallica, who even snuck one of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s riffs into their iconic song “The Four Horsemen.” Lynyrd Skynyrd’s legacy still lives on to this day, even through the catastrophe the group suffered. From musicians still inspired by the band’s music to people yelling “play ‘Free Bird’” at concerts, their impact will never be forgotten.

~ Alex Jimenez-Vega

 

On Oct. 22, 1966, legendary Motown group The Supremes became the first all-female group to top the Billboard 200 chart with their album The Supremes A’ Go-Go. The pop and soul group from Detroit — composed of lead singer Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson — were known for their style, elegance and signature performances.

During their peak in the mid-1960s, their worldwide popularity rivaled that of British gods, The Beatles, and on this day in music history, they dethroned The Beatles’ Revolver to claim No. 1 album in the U.S. The album includes No. 1 hit single “You Can’t Hurry Love” and No. 9 hit single “Love Is Like an Itching in My Heart.”

The Supremes disbanded in 1977, but their commercial success paved the way for other African American groups to thrive in the music industry.

~ Gabby Nelson

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About the Contributors
Ian Randall, Writer
Ian Randall (He/Him) is an advertising management major at Michigan State. In his free time, he can be found bent over his guitar or playing Red Dead Redemption II. His favorite films are Top Gun and Napoleon Dynamite, and he frequently listens to Megadeth, Smashing Pumpkins, Van Halen and Tame Impala.  “A tout le monde, a tout mes amis, je vous aime, je dois partir.” - Megadeth
Gabby Nelson, Entertainment Editorial Assistant
Gabby (she/her/hers) is a senior studying journalism and the entertainment editorial assistant here at the Impact. Gabby enjoys reading, eating sushi and doing yoga. She loves jamming to E.L.O., Wallows, Pearl Jam, push baby and Stray Kids. You can reach her at [email protected].

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