Chet Atkins, inventor of the "Nashville Sound," was born on this day in 1924

Mr. Guitar leads today's rock history roundup.


Today in rock history: On this date in 1924, guitar great Chet Atkins was born in Luttrell, Tennessee. Nicknamed “Mr. Guitar” throughout his long career, Atkins is credited with making country music more commercial and accessible and for helping create what was referred to as “the Nashville Sound.” Besides being a gifted guitarist, Atkins was also proficient in other instruments like the mandolin, ukulele, banjo and the fiddle. His talents also helped him become an in-demand record producer as well. Atkins is credited with producing scores of albums for artists like Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, The Everly Brothers, Jerry Reed and Waylon Jennings, to name a few. One of the few artists to be inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well as the Country Music Hall of Fame, Atkins was also the recipient of 14 Grammy awards throughout his career as well as a Lifetime Achievement Grammy. Ranked as one of the most influential and gifted instrumentalists in music history, Atkins passed away at the age of 77 in 2001 but left behind a wealth of music behind in his wake.

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Album Review: Out of the blue and into the black — Neil Young’s Hitchhiker is a revelation

Today in rock history: On this date in 1975, Canadian rocker Neil Young released his sixth album, the highly regarded Tonight’s The Night. Consisting of songs written and recorded in the early 1970s, the release of this fine record was delayed by two years. A somewhat somber and dark record, Young had experienced loss while creating the music that would appear on the record; his longtime guitarist with his backing band Crazy Horse, Danny Whitten, had recently passed away prior to the songs for the record being written, as had one of his roadies, Bruce Berry. Highlights from the album include its title track, “Roll Another Number (For the Road),” and a live recording of “Come On Baby Let’s Go Downtown” which was co-written by Whitten. While the record wasn’t a huge commercial success (it peaked at No. 25 on Billboard’s pop albums chart), it is widely considered to be a fan favorite among Neil’s most devoted followers. Predominantly backed by a band Young assembled and called The Santa Monica Flyers, the record features the talents of Nils Lofgren, formerly of rock band Grin and later a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, who sings, plays guitar and piano throughout this highly overlooked yet impressive album.


Today in rock history: On this date in 2000, up and coming two-piece blues-influenced rock outfit, The White Stripes, released its second album, De Stijl. Named after a Dutch art movement of which lead singer Jack White was a fan, the record kicked off the first wave of attention and accolades the band would receive. Released on American independent label Sympathy For the Record Industry, the album received impressive reviews and dented Billboard’s independent albums chart. Besides a slew of fiery Jack White compositions, the record also features the group’s unique take on blues classics like Blind Willie McTell’s “Your Southern Can is Mine” and “Death Letter,” originally composed by Son House. White’s “Hello Operator” was issued as a single from the record and remains one of the band’s earliest recognizable songs before it would become incredibly successful and popular around the world. Jack White closed his Detroit upholstery shop when a tour was booked to promote the album.


Today in rock history: On this date in 1980, The Rolling Stones released their 17th studio album, Emotional Rescue. As the follow-up to the band’s incredibly successful 1978 effort, Some Girls, some fans felt that Emotional Rescue was a bit of a letdown. The rawness of its predecessor was replaced with slicker, sleeker sounds, but the record was a major hit nonetheless. Emotional Rescue was a No. 1 album in both America and England and produced two hit singles. Among them was the pseudo-disco title track that features some of lead singer Mick Jagger’s finest falsetto vocals, and “She’s So Cold,” a bawdy, unapologetic rocker that is one of the many highlights on the record. Toying with funk and reggae throughout the album, it's notable that reggae superstar Max Romeo lends backing vocals to the album’s opening cut, “Dance (Pt. 1).” “Emotional Rescue” was the band’s first No. 1 album in its native England after a seven-year drought (the last Stones album to top the charts there was 1973’s Goats Head Soup). Original pressings of the album were packaged with a massive, wrap-around, multi-paneled poster made up of colorful thermographic images of band members.


Today in rock history: On this date in 1988, Paul Weller’s post-Jam outfit, The Style Council, released its fourth album, the grossly overlooked but masterful Confessions of a Pop Group. The band’s prior release, 1987’s The Cost of Loving, was a commercial disappointment, so hopes were high for its follow-up. The always-inventive and daring Weller decided to split Confessions of a Pop Group into two distinct sides that captured different moods. The first side of the record consisted of quieter, more introspective piano-based ballads that dabbled in classical and jazz styles; the second side was considerably more upbeat and explored the band’s soul/R&B influenced sound. Unfortunately, Confessions of a Pop Group wasn’t a huge commercial success either. It peaked at No. 15 on British sales charts — considerably lower than how the band’s first two efforts charted. A number of critics hailed the album as an artistic landmark, but there were just as many who referred to it as bloated and self-indulgent. As is the case with many of The Style Council’s efforts, this album has aged well and shows a considerable growth and maturity in Paul Weller’s songwriting and vocal delivery. Often referred to as Weller’s lost masterpiece, Confessions of a Pop Group contains forgotten Weller compositions like "How She Threw It All Away" and "Why I Went Missing" which rank among the best compositions of his long and illustrious career. Three decades after its original release date, this stellar album deserves another listen by those who might have cast it off upon its arrival.

About The Author

Gabe Echazabal

I was born on a Sunday Morning.I soon received The Gift of loving music.Through music, I Found A Reason for living.It was when I discovered rock and roll that I Was Beginning To See The Light.Because through music, I'm Set Free.It's always helped me keep my Head Held High.When I started dancing to that fine, fine...
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