YES! Weekly’s ten best rock ‘n roll moments from this week in history

by Amy Kingsley

March 7, 1966

The Brian Wilson single “Caroline, No” cracked the Billboard Top 40. It would be followed, weeks later, by the songs “Sloop John B” and “Wouldn’t It be Nice” – which hit number one – all from the seminal Beach Boys album Pet Sounds. Upon release the album enjoyed critical, but not commercial, success. Its influence continues to this day and can be heard in the works of such popular indie rockers as Sufjan Stevens and Wilco.

March 8, 1968

Promoter Bill Graham opened the Fillmore East in New York’s East Village, with the intention of catching the tailwind of the Summer of Love that had blossomed on the left coast a year earlier. During that first week Graham booked Big Brother and the Holding Company, helmed by east Texan Janis Joplin with Tim Buckley and Albert King.

March 8, 2003                            

It’s well known that Canadian crooner Bryan Adams is handy with a double entendre. But how many folks knew that while Adams was belting “Summer of ’69,” he was also doubling as a professional photographer? Apparently he’s pretty legit – he’s had prints up in the Saatchi Gallery (I’m picturing slices of Americana hung next to livestock diced and embalmed courtesy of Damien Hirst). Oh, and on March 8, 2003, a girl who’d been in a coma for seven years started waking up at a Bryan Adams concert in Germany. Also, he’s vegan.

March 9, 2001

Record company executives officially started shaking in their boots on March 9, 2001 when they tallied up the number of albums illegally bootlegged off the internet and crowned Led Zeppelin as online’s most popular. Things have changed a lot since then. Other bands may have eclipsed ole Zep, or perhaps they’re still holding strong. Either way, I doubt the revenues lost to scurvy computer pirates has done much to dent the surviving members’ retirement lifestyles.

March 10, 1988

Andy Gibb, younger brother of the BeeGees’ Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb, perished on March 10, 1988 – just five days after his 30th birthday – of an inflammatory heart virus thought to be the result of prodigious cocaine use. For three years in the late 1970s, Andy Gibbs’ recording career was white hot. When it cooled off, he joined the cast of the television show “Solid Gold” as a host, and then turned to acting. Sadly, he never again experienced fame at the level he enjoyed in his early twenties.

March 11, 1976

The single “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” from Paul Simon’s third post-Garfunkel release earned the singer a gold record. The album, Still Crazy After All these Years, was darker and, frankly, weaker than Simon’s previous solo efforts. But the gilded single did indeed demonstrate that Simon could mine gallows humor as well as youthful exuberance.

March 11, 1997

Paul McCartney became Sir Paul McCartney on this date courtesy of Queen Elizabeth II. The citation accompanying this honorific enumerated his influence in the realm of popular music, much of which stemmed from the work he’d done with seminal seventies band Wings, natch.

March 12, 1948

James Taylor, possibly the most famous troubadour ever to have name-checked North Carolina in song, was born on this day in Boston. His family moved south three years later when Taylor’s father was appointed dean of the medical school in Chapel Hill. He wrote “Carolina On My Mind” during a period marked by drug addiction and depression, and the song itself harkens back to a simpler, more peaceful time.

March 12, 1955

Jazz legend Charlie Parker died on this day at age 34 of a host of ailments including pneumonia, heart failure and cirrhosis of the liver. Parker, one of the greatest saxophone players of all time, lived large and hard. A legendary figure during his lifetime, his stature has actually increased since his death and he is widely considered to have indelibly changed the American musical landscape.

March 13, 1983

U2 hit the top of the UK albums chart with War, their third full-length. Radio-friendly singles “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “New Year’s Day” propelled this album to the top in Great Britain. The band’s first number one single in the US, “With or Without You,” would come exactly four years later.