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Tommy’s Coffee Break Calendar for March 17th

First time for a Beatle recording… — First time for a Van Halen recording… — Remembering a San Francisco psychedelic pioneer

Cover of Jefferson Airplane's second album, "Surrealistic Pillow", released Feb. 1, 1967. (Courtesy of RCA Records)
Cover of Jefferson Airplane’s second album, “Surrealistic Pillow”, released Feb. 1, 1967. (Courtesy of RCA Records)

3/17/1967 (50 years ago today) –  At London’s Abbey Road studios, The Beatles finish up work on a new Paul McCartney song, the forthcoming “Sgt. Pepper” track “She’s Leaving Home” –The harp parts were played by Sheila Bromberg, the first female musician to play on a Beatles record — Incidental factoids: Ringo and George aren’t on the song at all(!); Paul wrote and sang the verse, with John on the chorus, and all the music was provided by a small string orchestra, making this one a rarity in The Beatles catalog: not one of The Fab Four played any instruments on the recording!

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3/17/1984 (33 years ago today) – It’s their one and only chart-topping single: after being released back in December as the first featured track from the “1984” album, Van Halen hit the No. 1 spot with “Jump”. True or false: David Lee Roth says the lyrics are about a news story he saw on TV where a man was going to commit suicide by jumping off a high rise. Answer: nobody actually knows…

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3/17/1941 – Born on this day, Jefferson Airplane founder-songwriter-guitarist-and-occasional-vocalist Paul Kantner. There was no doubt about it at the time — it was Paul who led the band through their most successful and influential late 1960’s period, most notably on the trio of classic Airplane records that defined San Francisco’s psychedelic scene: the still-sounds-sublime masterpiece “Surrealistic Pillow”, the mysterious and (slightly) more raucous “After Bathing At Baxter’s” (amazingly, both done in 1967!), and the nightmarish “Crown Of Creation” (1968). Get those three and you’re good-to-go. Paul died on January 28, 2016 at age 74, after suffering a heart attack and multiple organ failure; in a bizarre “Twilight Zone”-like coincidence, original Airplane co-founder/singer Signe Toly Anderson passed away on that very same day.

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Share your meanderings on the Calendar here on our web site and on the WBLM Facebook and Twitter pages with the hashtag #TommysCoffeeBreak.

“Life is change/How it differs from the rocks…”, xoxo!

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