Music Historian Jaime Weatherford from Rock Candy Tours is back this month with more coverage of all things related to Macon Music! Here is the most significant dates in the month of January to celebrate Macon's rich music heritage....
January 4, 1964: Otis Redding’s “Pain in my Heart” is Released – Otis Redding’s first full length album, “Pain in my Heart” contained four successful singles: “These Arms of Mine,” “That’s What My Heart Needs,” “Security,” and the title track “Pain in my Heart.” Peaking at #20 on Billboard’s R&B chart and #85 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, “Pain in my Heart” was a solid introduction of Otis Redding to music fans throughout the U.S., solidified Otis’ standing at STAX Records as potentially their “break-out star,” and brought much needed legitimacy and financial gain to Otis’ business with the Walden brothers, Phil Walden & Associates / RedWal. It served as the cornerstone to everything Redding and the Walden brothers would accomplish for the rest of their careers.
January 8, 1967: Otis Redding’s (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay is Released - Mostly written on a houseboat in Sausalito, Ca. a few months after his extremely successful performance at the Monterey Pop Festival, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” represented to many people an oncoming shift in both Redding’s songwriting and audience. Sadly, Redding never got to see the song’s phenomenal success as he passed away in a plane crash less than a month before it was released; making “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” the first posthumously released #1 single EVER.
January 11, 1940: Phil Walden’s Birthday - Music impresario Phil Walden was born in Greenville, SC before his family moved to Macon three years later. Had Walden not passed away in 2006 at the age of 66, today he would be celebrating is 78th birthday. His contributions to music, particularly music made in the South, are too great to recount here but a few of his highlights: Phil Walden befriended and managed the careers of some of southern souls greatest performers, including but not limited to Otis Redding, Clarence Carter, Sam & Dave, and Percy Sledge. Phil Walden created one of the most important independent record labels in the history of the music industry in Capricorn Records. Phil Walden helped establish a completely new and different style of music now referred to as Southern Rock and in the process made Macon, Ga. a city known around the world. Phil Walden launched the careers of many of the most important executives in the music industry today. For heavens sake, he even helped put a man in the White House! His accomplishments are astounding.
January 15, 1948: Ronnie van Zant’s Birthday – The lead singer of Lynyrd Skynyrd was born in Jacksonville, Fla. which is where ultimately the band that best rivaled the Allman Brothers Band was born. But it was in Macon, Ga. in a house on Walnut St. where Alan Walden, after leaving Capricorn Records shortly after it’s inception, was able to manage and guide the careers of Ronnie van Zant and Lynyrd Skynyrd through his own company, Hustlers, Inc. Alan and the band parted ways in 1974 but not before Alan could land them a recording contract (at the time, against all odds) and an opening slot for the Who’s “Quadrophenia Tour,” which would help launch the band into superstardom. Had van Zant not passed away along with other members of Lynyrd Skynyrd in a plane crash on October 20, 1977, he would be celebrating his 70th birthday today.
January 28: National Kazoo Day – The kazoo was reportedly invented by an African-American named Alabama Vest and first constructed by clock-maker Thaddeus von Clegg in Macon, Ga. Initially called the “Down-South Submarine,” the kazoo was first exhibited at the 1852 Georgia State Fair. While efforts have been made in the past by The 11th Hour to break the Largest Kazoo Ensemble World Record in Macon, according to the Guinness Book of World Records the largest kazoo ensemble is 5,190 participants and was achieved as part of "Big Red Nose Show" at the Royal Albert Hall in London, UK, on 14 March 2011. Is it time to bring that distinction home?