Head shot of model wearing strippy pink plastic sunglasses by Sea & Ski; her makeup is light with a silvery powder, Frosty White, by Revlon, and Pussycat Pink lipstick. (Photo by John Rawlings).
House and Garden , April 1965
“They say I’m shy, sometimes, in the papers, but it’s not true in the least. It just depends on when I don’t want to talk to somebody.” - George Harrison, February 1965, quoted in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 30 April 1965
On this day in music history: March 13, 1965 - “Shotgun” by Jr. Walker & The All-Stars hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 4 weeks, also peaking at #4 on the Hot 100 on April 3, 1965. Written by Autry DeWalt, Jr. (aka Jr. Walker), it is the biggest hit for the saxophonist from Blytheville, AR. Walker cuts the song in Motown’s Studio A in late 1964 with his own band members Willie Woods and Victor Thomas along with Funk Brothers bassist James Jamerson, drummer Benny Benjamin, percussionist Jack Ashford, keyboardist Earl Van Dyke and guitarist Eddie Willis. Willis kicks off the song, literally when he kicks the reverb unit on his guitar amplifier, providing the “shotgun” blast sound effect heard during the intro of the record. During the session, Walker records what he thinks is just a scratch vocal, intending to come back and re-record it when he returns home to Detroit from a tour. Berry Gordy likes Jr’s rough vocal so much that he releases it as is on January 14, 1965. Walker only discovers the record is out, when he hears it on the radio one day. Over the years, “Shotgun” is featured in a number of films including “Malcolm X”, “How Stella Got Her Groove Back”, and “Misery”. “Shotgun” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2002.
I missed by a couple of weeks, but this April 3rd Nazia Hassan would have turned 50. For those of you who don’t know her, she was an incredibly popular Pakistani pop singer. Her career started when at the age of 15 (!) she sang Aap Jaisa Koi for a Bollywood film. She instantly rose to stardom in the subcontinent, becoming the youngest ever winner at the Indian Filmfare Awards (and the first Pakistani, something which in the 60 total years of the awards’ history has been managed by only three other Pakistanis).
When she released her Disco Deewane album the next year, it broke records, with more than 100,000 sold just in Mumbai in the first DAY. It charted in several other countries, including becoming the first South Asian pop album to top the charts in Brazil. She contributed massively to changing the entire music industry in the subcontinent, showing that pop could compete with the film soundtracks that had previously dominated.
She also obtained a law degree and after hosting a music show that helped discover and boost the popularity of many of Pakistan’s future pop stars, retired from the music business and worked for the UN. She supported lots of philanthropic and social causes and started an anti-drug group.
In 2000, she passed away from lung cancer at the age of 35 but remains an enduring beloved desi icon.