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Week in Rock History: David Bowie and Bing Crosby Share a Strange Duet

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November 29, 2001: George Harrison dies
The quiet Beatle’s widow, Olivia, recently explained in the Martin Scorcese documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World that Harrison had been preparing for his death for much of his life. He placed great spiritual importance on the moment when the soul left the body, and little upset him as much as when people were robbed of that peaceful passage (as John Lennon had been). When Harrison passed away from lung cancer at age 58, it was quietly in Los Angeles with family at his side.

Harrison, the private singer-guitarist behind many of the Beatles’ greatest songs ("Something," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps") branched out from the globe-conquering Fab Four into a successful and inquisitive solo career: his first proper solo record, the triple-album All Things Must Pass, was groundbreaking for pop music in its overt spirituality and Eastern influences (which Harrison had come to embrace while studying Hinduism and Indian culture in the 1960s).

Harrison also performed in the rock supergroup the Traveling Wilburys with Bob Dylan and Tom Petty, produced movies and was an active philanthropist. He helped organize the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh, the first large-scale benefit concert that went on to inspire countless more.

November 30, 2003: The New York block near CBGBs is renamed Joey Ramone Place
The Ramones and the punk club CBGBs were inextricably tied; both made the 1970s-1980s New York punk scene much greater than the sum of its parts. No lead singer commanded the stage with as much incendiary authority of Joey Ramone, so it was only fitting that after he died, Ramone received a permanent honor at the center of the punk universe.

In 2003, two years after Ramone passed away from cancer at age 49, New York officials unveiled a sign proclaiming Joey Ramone Place at the intersection of 2nd Street and the Bowery – the northern end of the block that housed CBGBs, and the site of his former apartment. It was also nearby the famous CBGBs brick wall, as seen on the cover of the Ramones’ third album, Rocket to Russia.

Unfortunately, CBGBs closed in 2006, but Joey Ramone Place lives on in New York.



LAST WEEK: Mick Jagger Marries Jerry Hall

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Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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