Squeeze the Day for 10/4

click to enlarge Pieta Brown
Pieta Brown

Music Tonight: Acclaimed British singer/songwriter/guitarist Richard Thompson performs at Oakley's 20th Century Theater. Thompson (fun fact: his first band was with a high school classmate — Hugh Cornwell of Punk group The Stranglers) was a driving force behind early albums by BritFolk icons Fairport Convention and legendary ones with wife Linda Thompson, including Shoot Out the Lights, not to mention his extensive solo catalog. Opening the show at 8 p.m. is Iowa native Pieta Brown (pictured), a "songwriter's songwriter" who has performed with John Prine, Mark Knopfler, Amos Lee and many other famous fans/friends. Brown (daughter of famed Folk musician Greg Brown) added to her string of critically-beloved recording efforts just last week with the Red House Records' release, Mercury. Below, enjoy a clip of Brown performing the tune "Faller" off of her last album, One and All. Tonight's show is a seated affair; tickets are $30-$40 (depending on your section). —-

• Almost every band name is silly, but Bang Tango has the kind of name that makes the Metal group an easy target. It just sounds funny — like the words "sherbet" or "goombah." And when searching for something to dismiss the entire ’80s Metal scene, haters no doubt find the band's moniker useful — "Oh yeah, late ’80s Metal — Bang Tango, dude!" But, truth be told, Bang Tango were one of the more interesting Metal bands to have a moderate hit (see below) in that era — with their gloomy, deep vocals (sorta Iggy-esque) and more atmospheric sound, you could say they were precursors to creative heavy acts like Deftones. The Bang boys are still kicking, playing Dirty Jack's in Elmwood Place tonight with local support from Chiva Kneievel, Of No Value and Sorrow Lasts. Check out BT playing Dirty Jack's in June of this year below, followed by the original clip for their big hit, "Someone Like You."

(Leave your suggestions/promote yourself or your favorites by telling everyone about your favorite music event recommendations for the day in the comments below.)  

Momentous Happenings in Music History for October 4
On this day in 1970, the greatest female vocalist in Rock & Roll history, Janis Joplin, died after an extensive battle with drugs. Just 27, Joplin died after a fatal dose of heroin in a Hollywood hotel (speculation suggests she had been given stronger dope than usual, after several other customers of her dealer's died the same week). Joplin's Pearl album came out the following year and was a smash hit, fueled partly by the chart-topping single, "Me and Bobby McGee" (written by singer/songwriter/actor Kris Kristofferson).

Joplin's last recordings were made on Oct. 1, 1970. Joplin recorded  a birthday salute to John Lennon, her version of "Happy Trails" (in an interview with Dick Cavett, Lennon said he received the taped message after her death), as well as "Mercedes Benz," which, sadly, has been used in several commercials since, mostly for Mercedes-Benz (duh). The song has been widely covered the world over — versions of the song include ones by Taj Mahal, Jackyl and Japanese porn star Miki Sawaguchi. But nothing beats the original, which was recorded in one take and without any musical backing. Below are clips featuring both of Joplin's final recordings.

Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers sharing a Oct. 4 birthday include: Singer Nona Hendryx (1944); Pet Shop Boy Chris Lowe (1959); Sawyer Brown's Greg Hubbard (1960); Pop singer Jon Secada (1961); and Hip Hop entrepreneur/author/activist/fashion designer/reality show star/all-’round-rich-guy Russell Simmons (1957).

In the Hip Hop Hall of Fame, non-performer branch, Russell Simmons would necessitate a first-ballot induction, thanks to his help popularizing the music and pushing the careers of Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, LL Cool J and Run D.M.C. with Def Jam Records, which he co-founded in 1984 with super-producer Rick Rubin (well, Rubin had it up and running before Simmons climbed aboard, but Russell was crucial to the company's success). Simmons has already been pretty richly rewarded for his place in Hip Hop history — his net worth is currently estimated at $325 million.

So "Happy 54th Birthday," Mr. Simmons. Feel free to send a couple mill my way, you handsome, brilliant young man. The first Def Jam release was T La Rock and Jazzy Jay's "It's Yours," followed by the first to actually be given catalog numbers, LL's "I Need a Beat" and Beastie Boys' AC/DC-riff-rippin' "Rock Hard." Enjoy all three:

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