Today in Music History: Remembering Bernie Worrell on his birthday

Bernie Worrell
Bernie Worrell performs at the Black Rock Coalition Presents: All The Woo In The World - An All-Star Celebration benefit concert on April 4 in New York City. (Al Pereira/WireImage)

History Highlight:

Bernie Worrell, keyboardist and founding member of Parliament-Funkadelic, was born today in 1944. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelic, and while Worrell wasn't an official member of Talking Heads, he performed with them throughout the '80s when Parliament-Funkadelic took a hiatus from touring. He died from multiple forms of cancer in June of 2016 at the age of 72.

Also, Today In:

1978 - Arista Records released the Patti Smith single, "Because The Night." A track that Bruce Springsteen left off of Darkness At The Edge Of Town, Smith somehow got a copy, changed some of the words and took a co-writing credit with Springsteen. It would be her only charting single, reaching No. 13 later in the year.

1980 - Blondie hits No. 1 in the U.S. with "Call Me," which is featured in the Richard Gere movie American Gigolo.

1982 - Simon & Garfunkel, who had made a big splash with their New York Central Park concert the year before, reunited for a European tour. The U.S. leg never materialized because of continued friction between the two.

1988 - Sonny Bono (of Sonny & Cher) was inaugurated as mayor of Palm Springs, California.

1994 - Nas released the seminal rap album Illmatic. He said the title meant "Realness — the epitome of ill."

1999 - Although the Madison Square Garden marquee in New York read "Bob Dylan, Tonight At 8pm", Neil Young was actually slated to perform. Following one number during the show, Neil quipped, "That was Bob playing guitar with me on the last song."

2003 - Loretta Lynn was joined onstage in New York for three songs by The White Stripes.

2004 - A stage musical version of the Elvis Presley film Jailhouse Rock opened in London.

2012 - Levon Helm died of throat cancer aged 71. A drummer, singer and multi-instrumentalist, Helm formed his own high school band, the Jungle Bush Beaters, at 17, and he later joined The Hawks (who became Bob Dylan's backing group) who then became known as The Band. He sang on The Band classics like "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", "Up on Cripple Creek", "Rag Mama Rag", and "The Weight".

2012 - Greg Ham, multi-instrumentalist with the band Men At Work, best known for playing the saxophone on "Overkill" and "Who Can It Be Now", and the flute on "Down Under", was found dead at his home in Melbourne, Australia, having suffered a fatal heart attack. He was 58 years old. In January 1983, Men At Work were the first Australian artists to have a simultaneous No. 1 album, Business as Usual and No. 1 single, "Down Under," in the U.S. Billboard charts. Following his time with Men At Work, Ham taught guitar at a primary school in Melbourne and he worked with high school music students on their assessment exams.

2014 - The White House refused to comment on a campaign to deport Justin Bieber from the U.S. Around 275,000 people had signed a petition on the campaign's website calling for the Canadian singer to be removed from the country. The campaign had been set up in January 2014 when the 20-year-old was arrested on suspicion of drunk/high-driving and illegal drag racing.


Alexis Korner, the godfather of British blues, was born today in 1928.

South African producer and engineer Eddie Kramer is 79. He worked with many artists including The Beatles, (Magical Mystery Tour), David Bowie, (Young Americans), Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, The Kinks, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and Carlos Santana. Kramer and his crew attended the 1969 Woodstock Festival where they recorded the entire festival.

Alan Price of The Animals is 79.

Mark Volman of The Turtles is 74.

Tony Martin of Black Sabbath is 64.

Highlights for Today in Music History are gathered from This Day in Music, Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, Song Facts and Wikipedia.

comments powered by Disqus