BACK IN THE DAY: BROOKLYN MUSIC MILESTONES – MARCH 2016
March 4, 2002: Work begins on a multimillion-dollar restoration of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s facade. It is the first significant work on the building’s exterior since it was built in 1908.
March 11, 1972: Bushwick native Harry Nilsson’s only chart-topping single, “Without You,” begins its fourth and final week at number one. Ironically it’s not one of the oft-covered songwriter’s originals, but rather a cover of a song by Britain’s Badfinger. The following March, “Without You” earns Nilsson a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance.
March 18, 2003: After a five-year hiatus, feminist rap pioneer MC Lyte releases her seventh studio album, Da Underground Heat, Vol. 1. With guests such a Jamie Foxx, Janet Jackson, Biz Markie, Queen Latifah and Naughty by Nature, the album peaks at 95 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and yields the Grammy-nominated single, “Ride Wit Me.”
March 19, 1976: Written by Brooklyn Heights singer-composer Harry Chapin, his wife Sandy and Brooklyn playwright Brother Jonathan, The Zinger, an off-Broadway rock musical set in the early 21st century, begins its four-week run. Co-produced by Harry’s brother Steve, it stars Tony Award-winner Ben Vereen and such stars-to-be as Beverly d’Angelo, Christine Lahti and Greenpoint native Pat Benatar (more about her later).
March 19-21, 2004: Northsix, on the site of what would become the Music Hall of Williamsburg, hosts the first No Fun Fest, an extravaganza of avant-garde, free-form and extreme music collectively known as “noise.” The event becomes an annual one the following March, relocating to Red Hook where it runs for several more years.
March 29, 1978: With a number or record company executives in the audience, Pat Benatar begins a three-night gig headlining at Manhattan’s Tramps nightclub. Shortly thereafter she signs with Chrysalis Records and begins working on her debut album, In the Heat of the Night.
March, 31, 1963: A few weeks shy of her 17th birthday, Lesley Gore records her breakthrough hit, “It’s My Party,” with producer Quincy Jones. Two of the song’s writers, Wally Gold and Seymour Gottlieb, were born in Brooklyn. The opening line was taken from an argument in the Gottlieb’s Midwood home concerning the upcoming Sweet 16 celebration for his daughter, during which she bawled, “It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to.” Her name was Judy — the name given to the Gore’s rival in the song.