ON THIS DAY IN BLACK MUSIC HISTORY: OCTOBER 31

#1 Song 1964:  “Baby Love,” the Supremes

Born:  Ethel Waters, 1896; Illinois Jacquet, 1922; Julia Lee, 1902; Otis Williams (The Temptations), 1941; Bernard Edwards (Chic), 1952

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1953   Perhaps the perfect R&B vocaal group single ever issued, the Flamingos’ third 45, “Golden Teardrops” ($1,200) was released.

1959   Bo Diddley had his biggest pop hit when “Say Man” reached #20 (#3 R&B) today. Diddley (actually Otha Ellas Bates) was nicknamed after a one stringed African guitar called a “Bo Diddley.” He decided to be a bluesman afer hearing “Boogie Chillen” by John Lee Hooker.

1960   Gary “U.S.” Bonds charted with his debut 45, “New Orleans,” which went on to #5 R&B and #6 pop. Gary’s producer decided to change his name from Gary Anderson to “U.S.” Bonds because of the government’s successful and highly publicized campaign for people to “Buy U.S. Bonds.” Gary himself did not find out about the name change until he heard his recording on the radio. Why should anyone tell him? He was the only artist!

1960   The Blue Notes, a doo-wop group from Philadelphia, charted with “My Hero,” reaching #19 R&B and #78 pop. The group would go on to become Harold Melvin & the Bluenotes, featuring Teddy Pendergrass.

1964   Ray Charles was arrested by customs agents afer arriving at Logan Airport in Boston for a show at the Back Bay Theatre. He was charged with possession of narcotics after a hypodermic needle, a small amount of marijuana, heroin, and a spoon were found in his possession.

1992   Thirty years after it charted in America, Jon Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom” peaked at #116 in Britain, his highest of four chart singles there. Patience must be a virtue:  he was seventy-five at the time.

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