Music History 104

We’ve finally come to the end of our Music History lesson.  In a way it’s kind of sad, because I’ve had a lot of fun with these posts, and there is so much more great music out there, you know? But we’ve got to move on to the link between Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen and architect Frank Gehry (which has a lot to do with music, BTW…..but I’m getting ahead of myself….)


So…..for now we’ll finish  up Music History with a few artists who are truly in a league of their own…..

The Blues…..

Muddy Waters—   1960 Montreaux festival with Buddy Guy on Guitar  (Hoochie Coochie Man). 


The Blues had a baby, and they called it “rock n roll.” (Muddy Waters). 

McKinley Morganfield (April 4, 1915 to April 30th 1983), the “father of Chicago Blues,” better known as Muddy Waters, was one of the greatest blues artists of all time.  His music had a profound impact on the music that followed, especially rock n roll.  In 2004, Rolling Stones magazine listed him as #17 of the 100 greatest artists of all time.

 Mick Jagger’s Rolling Stones named their band after one of Muddy Waters’ songs, “Rollin’ Stone.”   See… (1960 Muddy Waters’ song, Rollin’ Stone), and in 1981 at the Checkerboard Lounge in Chicago, Mick Jagger and the Stones performed onstage with Muddy Waters himself.  Watch this video of Hoochie Coochie Man….  

( Jet Magazine, Oct. 1997;;; )

Link to Paul Allen:

There are several links between Muddy Waters and Paul Allen, including a link through  Allen’s friend, Robbie Robertson (1)…………who performed with Waters (2) at The Band’s farewell concert in 1976. The concert was filmed by Allen’s friend,  Martin Scorsese (1)…………who turned the video of the concert into a movie entitled “The Last Waltz.” (See Music History 103). 

 The Blues Brothers 

“Soul Man”  


The Blues Brothers’ Soul Man was first performed on an episode of Saturday Night Live in 1978. The song would soon be released as a single, reaching the top twenty in March of 1979. (From Wikipedia ).  Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi expanded their Blues Brothers comedy routine to include an album entitled “Briefcase Full of Blues” in 1978, (   and later made a movie together called “The Blues Brothers” in 1980.

Only two years later, tragedy struck. “Jake Blues'” John Belushi died, devastating his partner and good friend, Dan Aykroyd. With help from friends and the beautiful Donna Dixon, an actress who would later become his wife, Aykroyd recovered, and the Blues Brothers eventually regrouped. Several years later Aykroyd wrote a sequel to the original movie entitled  “The Blues Brothers 2000.”

In 1992, Aykroyd teamed up with Isaac Tigrett, founder of the Hard Rock Café, to open up the first House of Blues in Harvard Square.  Soon the business expanded to include a chain of restaurants located in several major cities in the U.S.  The most recent House of Blues opened up a few weeks ago in Dallas. Dan Aykroyd himself performed at the grand opening—and was also present at the earlier groundbreaking ceremony where he mixed real Mississippi mud into the building’s foundation to symbolize the restaurant’s connection with the heart and soul of Southern Blues music.*1    HOB Dallas    Groundbreaking for the Dallas House of Blues 

 Link to Paul Allen: 

“Elwood Blues” Dan Aykroyd and Paul Allen are good friends.  In fact, Allen’s 50th birthday party was held at Aykroyd’s Sunset Strip House of Blues on January 24 th, 2003.** The date was especially poignant, as January 24th was the late Blues Brother John Belushi’s actual birthday (Allen’s is the 21st). But Allen was the man of the hour that evening. The birthday party was low key despite the number of celebrity friends in attendance like Gina Gershon and Martin Scorsese, and the celebration included a video montage of Allen’s friends and associates, who shared memories and expressed their good wishes towards Allen.  

There is also a music link between Dan Aykroyd and Paul Allen. To begin with, Aykroyd and Allen have performed together onstage several times.  See…

Additionally, Allen and his band, Grown Men, have performed at the grand opening of several of  Aykroyd’s House of Blues, including the restaurant that opened in
Las Vegas in 1999. See… ( & (,

In fact, just a few weeks ago at the opening of the Dallas House of Blues, a guy billed as “Northwest Guitar-Slinger, Paul Allen,” performed opening night with “Terry Davidson and the Octopus Show Band.”   The “Guitar-Slinger” was none other than Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen!  Terry Davidson, who lead the band that performed with Allen that night, is one of the original “Grown Men,” and, as the name implies, he and the rest of the band have the enviable task of hanging out on Paul Allen’s 414 ft. megayacht “Octopus” to jam with Allen aboard ship (and practice for those public performances). Keep a look out for Allen and his guitar—let me know if you see The “Northwest Guitar-Slinger ” strike somewhere else, o.k.? 🙂


Rock N’ Roll


 Here is a group that just keeps getting better as time goes on…. 

U2 from the 80’s

Trip Through Your Wires

90’s =

Mysterious Ways

And the 2000’s =



From Wikipedia: U2  is a rock band from Dublin, Ireland. Formed in 1976, the band consists of Bono (vocals and guitar), The Edge (vocals and guitar), Adam Clayton (bass guitar) and Larry Mullen Jr. (drums and percussion). U2 has consistently been one of the most popular rock groups in the world since the mid-80’s, selling upwards of 170 million albums worldwide. The artists have won 22 Grammys–more than any other rock group. (

Here’s a terrific bio of U2’s Bono:

 Link to Paul Allen: 

Allen was the one who introduced U2’s Bono to his friend Bill Gates, years before Bono and the Gates’ shared the cover of Time as Persons of the Year in 2005. See….,9171,1140301,00.html    And U2 has been a frequent visitor aboard Allen’s yacht, Octopus… See..  

Here are Allen and Bono at the 20th Annual Rock n Roll Induction Ceremony: —————————————————————  

Finally, there is the incomparable Jimi Hendrix *4 …

Hendrix’ Voodoo Chile (Short improvisation that actually sounds more like Voodoo Child (Slight Return) performed by guitar master, Buddy Guy) &search = 


Voodoo Chile” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, is from the album, Electric Ladyland.  The song was recorded on May 2, 1968, and performers included Mitch Mitchell, Steve Winwood of Traffic and Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane.   From Wikipedia; “The song, basically a 15-minute blues jam, evolved into the final product over the course of an hour. After many of the late night Electric Ladyland recording sessions, Hendrix and the band went to one of the New York City clubs to jam with whoever was there. One such jam at The Scene Club included Steve Winwood and Jack Casady.  Noel Redding was not present as he had stormed out of the Record Plant studio earlier that evening. They spent the night playing “Voodoo Chile”, and when the club closed, Hendrix invited everyone back to the studio. At about 7 a.m . the next morning they began to formally record “Voodoo Chile”. It took only three takes and the final 15 minute version was Hendrix’s longest studio recording. The second take failed since one guitar string snapped.”  (Excerpt taken from Wikipedia             

Link to Paul Allen: 

On November 24th, 2002, the night of Jimi Hendrix’ 60th Anniversary party, Buddy Guy, Buddy Miles, Billy Cox, Kenny Olson from Kid Rock and a number of celebrated musicians played Hendrix songs to a packed house in Seattle. During the concert, Paul Allen was invited to come up on stage to perform with the group.  The musicians, including Allen, then embarked on a musical jam session that meandered improvisationally between Hendrix’ Voodoo Chile and Voodoo Child (Slight Return).   

Purple Haze  (Jimi Hendrix)  

Listed as #14 of the 40 songs that changed the world in the most recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine, Purple Haze was recorded in August of 1967 by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. The song appeared on Hendrix’ 1967 album, “Are You Experienced?”          Jimi Hendrix, who performed the song, is widely considered to be one of the greatest guitarists of all time.  

From Rolling Stone Magazine*2::      “The electric guitar demanded a Picasso of its own…..More than thirty five years after his death, Hendrix is still the high-water mark of rock guitarists. And if the Beatles’ take on psychedelia was about an enhanced understanding of the world, Hendrix’ version was about exploring his stoned and beautiful internal landscape with playing that was more eloquent than words could be.”*  


 “Purple Haze is often cited as one of Jimi Hendrix’s greatest songs, and first international hit. For many, it is his signature work. Purple Haze became Hendrix’ second single after his manager Chas Chandler heard him playing the riff backstage and quickly arranged for him to record and release the song……….The Rolling Stone magazine placed the song at No. 17 in their “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”…..

 There are several theories about the origin of the name of the song, “Purple Haze.” One theory, according to Wikipedia, is that the song refers to Hendrix’ experiences with LSD.  But Hendrix himself denied that the song was about drugs. Instead he said that it was drawn from a dream he had where he was walking under the ocean, surrounded by a purple haze.  At another point, Hendrix said he took the phrase “purple haze” from a science fiction novel written by Philip Jos Farmer called “Night of Light.” (The phrase that appears in Farmer’s book is “purplish haze.”) Hendrix also told fans that the song was about love, and said that the line “whatever it is, that girl put a spell on me” was the key to the meaning of the lyrics. (Excerpts and information taken from Wikipedia   

Link to Paul Allen:   

 It was rumored that Allen played a “spectacular cover of Jimi Hendrix’s ” Purple Haze,'” during the party he threw at his Beverly Hills home in March of this year on behalf of the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games, a group that wants to bring the 2016 Olympics to L.A.*4  That was one of his most recent links to the song, but it was not the first. When Allen was about thirteen, his parents went away for a vacation and he and his sister stayed with a girl whose mother lived up the street. When she put on the Hendrix album, Allen, who was used to his parents classical and jazz records, was immediately touched. “It was like listening to music from another planet,” he told Jeff Goodell of Rolling Stones Magazine in a 2000 interview.  

Allen’s love of Hendrix’ music has lasted a lifetime.  In fact, it sparked a fast friendship in the 1990’s with another avid Hendrix fan, tennis star Monica Seles.   Allen and Seles became very close friends in the mid-90’s in part because of their shared passion for Hendrix. Allen went to Seles’ tennis matches and Seles sat next to him at Blazer games.   There were even rumors of a serious romance between the two for a time—Seles was Allen’s date at the masked ball in Venice in 1997, dressed as Marie Antoinette..

  Jimi Hendrix was much more than a musician to Monica Seles.  The young tennis phenomenon had been viciously attacked—stabbed on the court by a fan of her opponent, Stefi Graff, and the assault left Seles physically and emotionally scarred.   (The inspiring story of her comeback can be found in her 1996 autobiography, “From Fear to Victory.”)  Seles told fans that it was Jimi Hendrix’ music that had consoled and inspired her through her recovery. In fact, she was so moved by his music that while she was Nike’s spokesperson she named a line of tennis shoes “Air Haze” after Hendrix’ song, Purple Haze. The shoes had a guitar outline in the outsole and grooves in the midsole representing guitar picks.*3  

Paul Allen was moved by Hendrix’ music as well, to the point that it inspired him to build a place that Hendrix dreamed about— a gathering place where people of all ages, interests and backgrounds could come together to experience music. What is that place?  It is the answer to the one degree link between Frank Gehry and Paul Allen—the place where architecture is frozen music, the place that links nearly everyone whom we’ve talked about on this blog since May 1st to Paul Allen, mostly within one degree…..  

Stay tuned……


*1,+06:00+PM  opening of HOB

** 2003 was also officially “The Year of the Blues.” see..   *2 Rolling Stones Magazine, The Fortieth Anniversary issue May 3-17th, 2007     *3 Without hoopla, Seles gains final.(Sports)
Source: The Washington Times
Date: 9/7/1996
Author: Young, Josh
 *4 Going for the Gold, Variety March 2007

*4 See the official Jimi Hendrix website for some great concerts, Hendrix history and interviews …