This week in music history we’re throwing back to the first Farm Aid, celebrating “Aja” and “The Band”, and remembering John Bonham. Here’s everything you need to know about what went down this week in music history.
1969 – September 22nd, The Band released their self-titled album.
It is also known as The Brown Album.
It included the tracks; ‘Rag Mama Rag’, ‘Up on Cripple Creek’ and ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’.
The album was recorded in a home in Hollywood Hills, formerly belonging to both Judy Garland & Sammy Davis Jr.
In 2009, the album was preserved into the National Recording Registry because the album was ‘culturally, historically, or aesthetically important, and reflects life in the United States.’
1977 – September 23rd, Steely Dan released their sixth album, Aja.
Pronounced “Asia,” it’s a collection of meticulous and mysterious songs.
It’s described as “a smoother, awesomely clean and calculated mutation of various rock, pop and jazz idioms”.
It spawned a number of hit singles, including “Peg”, “Deacon Blues”, and “Josie”.
The album peaked at #3 on the US charts, becoming Steely Dan’s most commercially successful LP.
Aja is considered a must own for audiophiles, winning the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Recording.
Aja was one of the first albums ever to be certified platinum.
1980 – September 25th, John Bonham, drummer with Led Zeppelin, died aged 32.
‘Bonzo’ was found dead at Jimmy Page’s house after excessive vodka consumption.
It is said that he took 40 shots of vodka in 4 hours.
Bonham is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential rock drummers in history.
In 2016, Rolling Stone ranked him first in its list of the “100 Greatest Drummers of All Time”.
1985 – September 22nd, The first Farm Aid benefit concert took place
It was held before a crowd of 80,000 people at the Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois.
The festival was organized by Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young.
It had been spurred on by Bob Dylan’s comments at Live Aid that he hoped some of the money would help farmers.
The line-up included: Johnny Cash, Charlie Daniels Band, John Denver, Bob Dylan, and John Fogerty.
Farm Aid and AXS TV have partnered to broadcast the festival since 2014
1987 – September 26th, Michael Jackson started a six-week run at #1 on the US album chart with Bad.
Bad was released nearly five years after Jackson’s previous studio album, Thriller.
Lyrical themes include media bias, paranoia, racial profiling, romance, self-improvement, and world peace.
With sales of over 35 million copies sold worldwide, Bad is one of the best-selling albums of all time.
The album produced five US #1’s, becoming the first album to do so.
1991 – September 24th, Nirvana’s album Nevermind was released in America.
It was Nirvana’s first album to feature drummer Dave Grohl.
The album cover with the baby in the water is one of the most famous album covers in popular music.
Some of the hits included “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, “Come as You Are”, “Lithium”, and “In Bloom”.
1991 – September 24th, The Red Hot Chili Peppers release Blood Sugar Sex Magik in the US.
The album propelled the Red Hot Chili Peppers into worldwide popularity and critical acclaim.
Produced by Rick Rubin, its musical style differed notably from the band’s previous album Mother’s Milk.
It reduced the use of heavy metal guitar riffs and accentuated melodic songwriting.
The album contains the hits “Under the Bridge”, “Give It Away”, “Suck My Kiss”, and “Breaking the Girl”.
It sold over 10 million copies worldwide and made the group bona-fide headliners.