Musings On Music History: Tom Waits Takes Chips To Court, Sid’s Short Life Gets Underway, And We Lose A Legend
05.08: On this day in 1990, a Los Angeles court awarded singer/songwriter Tom Waits $2.5 million, upholding his claim the Frito-Lay corporation unlawfully used a Tom Waits sound-alike in promotions for their Salsa Rio Doritos Chips. What advertising company in its right mind uses a Tom Waits sound-alike to hock anything? Don’t get us wrong, we adore Tom Waits, but his voice isn’t for everyone. Actually, his voice is something only a mother or true fan could love. It is distinct and gritty and awesome. It’s just not the most natural voiceover when you’re trying to sell bags of chips. A pack of smokes, maybe. A bottle of bourbon, for sure. But chips? Really, Frito-Lay?
05.09: On this day in 1949 the Piano Man, Billy Joel, was born. We heard he came out playing a piano, that’s how destined he was to be The Piano Man. We’re not sure if that story is true or if we just made it up right now.
05.10: On this day in 1957 punk rock legend Sid Vicious (John Beverly) was born. Living to the tender old age of 21, Sid’s candle burned so very bright for such a short time. The Sex Pistols built their legend on the back of the exploding punk scene and one album, Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols. Sid joined the band only a year before they broke up, so he wasn’t responsible for any of their music, but his face became a symbol of their popularity and his oft-photographed bloody visage became the thing people across the U.K. and the U.S.A. rallied against when The Sex Pistols went on tour. The American tour did them in, and Sid’s life spiraled quickly into tabloid fodder, ending with his own death from a heroin overdose (after the mysterious death of his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen).
05.10: On this day in 1960, Bono was born. Leader of one of the biggest rock groups ever (can you name the group?), Mr. Bono is and will always be a shining light for us. We dig him. Born Paul David Hewson in Dublin, Bono got his nickname from school friends. Derived from the Latin bonovox, meaning “good voice,” Bono didn’t initially care for it, probably because he didn’t know what it meant. Once he figured it out, though, he was all about that name. It’s not one of those instances, where he just uses it on stage. His family and friends, even his wife, call him Bono. We wish we could call him Bono. That’d be awesome.
05.11: On this day in 1981 the world’s most famous Rastafarian, Bob Marley, passed away after a battle with cancer. What a monumental talent. Helping to bring reggae to the world, Bob’s life took many twists and turns, taking him from the early ska and rocksteady days of Kingston in the ’60s to the world stage with roots reggae in the ’70s. Shining a light on Jamaica for all the world to see, Bob was the first international superstar from the island, sharing its history, stories, and spirituality with the world. There are places in the world that are instantly identifiable with the music that emerged from its environs, but perhaps none are as deeply known as reggae, Jamaica, and Bob Marley. He loved his country, fighting for it on record and in the flesh. R.I.P., Robert Nesta Marley.
05.12: On this day in 1983 Meatloaf filed for bankruptcy. Thus putting to rest the rumor that Meatloaf would do anything for love, but he won’t file for bankruptcy.