BACK IN THE DAY: BROOKLYN MUSIC MILESTONES – MAY 2016
May 7, 1996: Twenty-three years after his only other album as a performer, songwriter Gerry Goffin releases Back Room Blood. Helping the Brooklyn Tech grad out is Bob Dylan, who co-wrote and played on two tracks: “Masquerade” and “Tragedy of the Trade.”
May 9, 1960: After a slow but steady climb, TV star Connie Stevens‘s “Sixteen Reasons” peaks at number three on the Billboard Hot 100. It would prove to be the biggest seller of the Bushwick native’s three charted singles.
May 15, 1974: Daily Variety ‘s review of Barry Manilow’s May 8 show at The Bottom Line concludes that, “It’s perhaps the most auspicious debut in several years and warranted the standing ovation it got.”
May 15, 2008: Neil Diamond tops the Billboard album chart for the first time in his career with Home Before Dark. The feat also makes him the oldest artist ever to have a U.S. number one. Diamond’s previous high was the soundtrack to the film Jonathan Livingston Seagull, which peaked at number two.
May 16, 1978: WNEW-FM listeners are treated to a live performance by Sheepshead Bay’s Garland Jeffreys during the second of the singer-songwriter’s two nights at The Bottom Line. The show includes “Wild in the Streets” and “35 Millimeter Dreams,” two songs that received frequent airplay on the progressive rock station.
May 16, 2007: Norah Jones makes her film debut when Wong Kar Wai’s My Blueberry Nights debuts at the Cannes Film Festival. In the lead role of Elizabeth, Jones, who also sings her own composition, “The Story,” over the opening credits, plays opposite the likes of Jude Law, David Strathairn, Rachel Weisz and Natalie Portman.
May 19 1973: Arlo Guthrie’s Last of the Brooklyn Cowboys cracks the Billboard 100, coming at 95. The album would peak at 87 two weeks later. The title hints at both the genre of the album’s musical content and Guthrie’s Coney Island roots.
May 31, 1966: Filming begins on The Monkees TV series. Co-created by Flatbush-born Brooklyn College alumnus Paul Mazursky, the series and its namesake made-for-TV band series would feature a great number of songs by a who’s-who of Brooklyn’s most illustrious songwriters,including Neil Diamond, Neil Sedaka, Harry Nilsson , as well as the teams of Gerry Goffin & Carole King and Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil.