Guess Who Performed in Evansville: Part 9

*Post written by James Wethington, senior library assistant at the University Archives and Special Collections.

This is the final stretch on Guess Who Performed in Evansville. Today, we are going back to the country music scene with this band. They are best known for their fiddle playing vocalist. As before, if you don’t know who this band is, here are three clues:

  1. The namesake of the band wrote the song, “It Hurts Me” and is sung by Elvis Presley.
  2. Along with several other bands and singers, they performed at the “Bridging Generations” pre-game show for Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005.
  3. They are best known for their 1979 #1 hit song, “Devil Went Down to Georgia”.
Can you guess who the musician is?

The band is the Charlie Daniels Band.

Charlie Daniels, the namesake of the band, was born on October 28, 1936 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Daniels played for two bands, the Misty Mountain Boys and the Jaguars. He went back and forth in different music genres, between R&B, bluegrass, country, and rock. His career moved forward when he moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1967. By 1970, he recorded his first solo album, “Charlie Daniels” and two years later, Daniels formed his band, the Charlie Daniels Band. He struck successful with his third album, “Honey in the Rock”, with Uneasy Rider reaching #9 on the Billboard Charts in 1973.

Charlie Daniels playing guitar during concert, 1977. Source: UASC, Gregory T. Smith collection, MSS 034-1404.

Daniels and his band continued releasing albums; but it wasn’t until 1979, they struck gold! Their song, “Devil Went Down to Georgia”, charted #1 on the Billboard Charts and won them a Grammy for Best Country Vocal. Less than a year later, the band appeared the film, “Urban Cowboy”. The band continued to succeed in the 1980’s and by 1990, Daniels was in the limelight for his song and album, “Simple Song”. The reason is because his thoughts of punishing drug dealers by different methods of dying, proving to be controversial. By 1994, Daniels went in a different musical decision. He released his first Christian music album (which helped him win the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Award for Best Country Album) and in 1997, Daniels released his first children’s album, “By the Light of the Moon: Campfire Songs and Cowboy Tunes”.

Charlie Daniels playing the fiddle at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Coliseum, 1977.
Charlie Daniels playing the fiddle at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Coliseum, 1977. Source: UASC, Gregory T. Smith Collection, MSS 034-1401.

The Charlie Daniels band continued roaring into the 2000’s in different ways to stay in American culture. The band performed at the pre-game show for Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005, played alongside Hank Williams, Jr. in Monday Night Football’s theme, and the National Anthem at the Outback Bowl in 2007. Finally, in 2008, the Charlie Daniels Band received their highest honor: they were inducted in the Grand Ole Opry and were inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.

The Charlie Daniels Band, just like Boston, performed at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Coliseum. They performed on January 16, 1977. There was no high expectation for the band since they were unknown, but their concert was a success and the fans were impressed with their performance. Charlie Daniels and his band played songs from two of their albums: “Saddletramp” and “High Lonesome”. Daniels showed up his skills with his violin with the song, “The South’s Gonna Do It Again”. At the end of the concert, Charlie Daniels had a smile on his face, he enjoyed the Evansville audience (Young, 1977).

Charlie Daniels Band in concert at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Coliseum, 1977.
Charlie Daniels Band in concert at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Coliseum, 1977. Source: UASC, Gregory T. Smith collection, MSS 034-1409.

For more information, the Greg Smith collection at the University Archives and Special Collections at the David L. Rice Library at the University of Southern Indiana has over 1,500 photographs of Evansville history available online. Take a moment to explore his photographs of athletic events, local businesses, and many more. Stay tuned for our next addition of Guess Who Performed in Evansville.

References Consulted

Bernhardt, J. (n.d.). Charlie Daniels. https://countrymusichalloffame.org/artist/charlie-daniels/

Daniels, C. (2016). Bio. https://www.charliedaniels.com/bio

Daniels, C. (2016). Chronology. https://www.charliedaniels.com/chronology

Young, T. (1977, January 17). Daniels band is a hit. The Evansville Press. https://bit.ly/3abbN6D

Posted in Evansville, Indiana, Guess Who Performed in Evansville, Local history, music | Leave a comment

Guess Who Performed in Evansville: Part 7

*Post written by James Wethington, senior library assistant at the University Archives and Special Collections.

Can you believe we are over halfway through Guess Who Performed in Evansville? We have a few singers and bands who held concerts in Evansville. This singer needs no introduction; but, we got your three clues. Do you know who he is?

  1. He originally started his music career in England until moving to the United States in the late 1960’s.
  2. He regularly performed in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace and the Flamingo.
  3. His best-known songs are “Thunderball”, “It’s Not Unusual”, and “What’s New, Pussycat?”.
Can you guess who the musician is?

The correct answer is Tom Jones.

Jones, born as Thomas John Woodward, on June 7, 1940, in Pontypridd, Wales, England. He quit school when he was 15 and began singing when he was a child, performing for family functions and clubs. Jones got married when he was 17, to his first wife, Linda. By 1967, Jones went by the stage name, Tommy Scott, and performed with the Senators, a Welsh band. Shortly after, Jones met his future manager, Gordon Mills. Mills persuaded Jones to join him, change his stage name again (this time to Tom Jones), and sign a record deal with Decca Records. His first single was released in 1964 with no success; however, Jones’ first successful single, “It’s Not Unusual” was released 1965. Jones’ career skyrocketed later that year with the releases of two movie theme songs: “What’s New, Pussycat?” and “Thunderball” in 1965. By 1966, he won a Grammy for Best New Artist. By the end of 1960’s, Jones garnered a bad reputation by the press for his vulgar behavior on stage.

Jones continued performing in England; however, he and his wife, Linda, left England and moved to the United States where he could start performing in Las Vegas in 1971. His reputation continued to grow in Las Vegas: Jones was considered a “ladies’ man” because female fans would throw their underwear to him on stage. He continued to perform in Las Vegas his entire career. Jones’ continued to release albums for three decades, but they weren’t successful. In 1986, Jones suffered a setback: his longtime manager, Gordon Mills passed away; however, his son, Mark, would become his new manager. It wasn’t until 1999 when Jones saw his album, Reload, sell over 5 million (his biggest selling album in his career). As the new century approached, Jones would experience a career renaissance.

Jones released more two more albums in the 2000’s with relative success because his songs went back through his career and life. In 2006, Jones received the highest honor in England: he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. By the 2010’s, he continued working on his music by collaborating with singer Peter Gabriel, guitarist/producer Ethan Jones and numerous famous songwriters such as Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, and Leonard Cohen. In 2015, Jones became a voice coach on the hit television show, The Voice UK for two seasons until taking a leave of absence after his wife of fifty-nine years, Linda, passed away in 2016. By 2017, Jones rebounded and continuing touring and returned to The Voice UK.

Jones made a concert stop at Roberts Stadium on May 24, 1979 in front of a packed crowd of 4,115. Due to his popularity amongst the ladies, the Evansville Courier newspaper dubbed his concert as “Ladies Night”; however, Jones cracked a joke at the beginning of his performance by thanking all the gentleman who came up because there were hardly no men there. His songs were a hit with the crowd because fans were constantly screaming for you and giving him gifts such as flowers and handkerchiefs. Jones sang ten songs, including “What’s New, Pussycat?”, “Say You’ll Stay Until Tomorrow”, “Love Me Tonight”, “Delilah”, and “Old Fashioned Love” (Guinn, 1979).

For more information, the Greg Smith collection at the University Archives and Special Collections at the David L. Rice Library at the University of Southern Indiana has over 1,500 photographs of Evansville history available online. Take a moment to explore his photographs of athletic events, local businesses, and many more. Stay tuned for our next addition of Guess Who Performed in Evansville.

References Consulted

Blumberg, N. (2020, April 8). Tom Jones. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Tom-Jones

Guinn, K. (1979, May 25). Tom Jones concert means ladies night at stadium. The Evansville Press. https://bit.ly/3cmqcP2

Biography. (n.d.). Tom Jones: Biography. Retrieved April 17, 2020, from https://www.tomjones.com/bio

Posted in Evansville, Indiana, Guess Who Performed in Evansville, Local history, music | Leave a comment

Guess Who Performed in Evansville: Part 8

*Post written by James Wethington, senior library assistant at the University Archives and Special Collections.

Folks, we have another exciting musician for this week’s edition of Guess Who Performed in Evansville. His music was different and had a unique sound for some people’s taste. Here are the three clues on this musician. Can you guess who he is?

  1. His birth name is Vincent Damon Furnier and allegedly came up with his stage name after a session with a Ouija board.
  2. Outside of his music career, he has appeared in movies (i.e.: Prince of Darkness and Wayne’s World) and television (i.e.: That ‘70’s Show and Jesus Christ Superstar).
  3. His best-known song is “School’s Out”, “Welcome to My Nightmare”, and “Poison”.
Can you guess who the musician is?

The answer is Alice Cooper.

Vincent Damon Furnier was born on February 4, 1948 in Detroit, Michigan. When he was a teenager, his family moved to Phoenix, Arizona. Along with some of his classmates, they formed the Earwigs. They formed for a school talent show performing Beatles songs. The band would change their name to the Spiders and become a local hit. After they graduated high school, they moved to Los Angeles and Furnier created his stage name which became his persona, Alice Cooper. They released four albums from 1969 to 1972 before he achieved his first Top Ten hit, “School’s Out”. By 1973, Alice Cooper would pursue a solo career.

Alice Cooper with boa snake during his concert in Evansville in February 1979.
Alice Cooper with a boa snake around his neck during his concert on February 18, 1979. Source: UASC, Gregory T. Smith collection, MSS 034-2803.

Before the release of his first solo album, “Welcome to My Nightmare”, Furnier legally changed his name to Alice Cooper. The next three albums were unsuccessful, and Cooper’s career took a turn for the worse. With the failure of his albums, Cooper’s addiction to alcohol and cocaine pushed him over the edge. He went to rehab, which was successful, gained sobriety and relaunched his music career. His album, “Trash”, marked Cooper’s return to the top of the charts; however, he would venture over into movies and television. He made cameo appearances in Wayne’s World (1992) and Dark Shadows (2012). In 2011, Cooper and his band, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Cooper released his latest album, Paranormal, in 2017. He also appeared as Herod in NBC broadcast of Jesus Christ Superstar.

	
The Cyclops character represented the doctor in Alice Cooper's Madhouse Rock concert, meant to depict his recent alcohol detoxification treatment, 1979.
The Cyclops character represented the doctor in Cooper’s Madhouse Rock concert, meant to depict his alcohol detoxification treatment, 1979. Source: UASC, Gregory T. Smith collection, MSS 034-2851.

Unlike our previous musicians and bands, Cooper had a large crowd at his concert. The official count was 8,359 people attended at Roberts Stadium to see Cooper live. He performed on February 18, 1979. This wasn’t his first time performing in town. As popular as Cooper has, some people thought Cooper didn’t give a good concert for Evansville. Cooper’s performance was entitled, “From the Inside” (Swank, 1979). According to the concert reporter, the music was loud, didn’t have much heart, and was too trashy for their taste. The backdrop of his concert looked like an asylum and littered with alcohol bottles (a symbolism to Cooper’s public battle with alcoholism and recently released autobiography). Even his dancers were dressed up like whiskey bottles. He performed numerous songs from “No More Mr. Nice Guy”, “Eighteen”, and “Welcome to My Nightmare” (Spaw, 1979).

Alice Cooper on stage during his concert, 1979.
Alice Cooper on stage during his concert, 1979. Source: UASC, Gregory T. Smith collection, MSS 034-2819.

For more information, the Greg Smith collection at the University Archives and Special Collections at the David L. Rice Library at the University of Southern Indiana has over 1,500 photographs of Evansville history available online. Take a moment to explore his photographs of athletic events, local businesses, and many more. Stay tuned for our next addition of Guess Who Performed in Evansville.

References Consulted

AP News. (2019, February 5). Five interesting facts about Alice Cooper. Retrieved April 16, 2020, from https://apnews.com/f3a17450a69b49f2b0b98a8567d51fc3

Biography.com Staff. (2018, March 30). Alice Cooper. Retrieved April 16, 2020, from https://www.biography.com/musician/alice-cooper

Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. (2020, March 19). Alice Cooper. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Alice-Cooper-American-rock-band

Swank, K. (1979, February 19). Alice returns. The Evansville Courier. https://bit.ly/3b75X7H

Spaw, R. (1979, February 19). Cooper’s newest offering a ‘nightmare’ of rock schlock. The Evansville Courier. https://bit.ly/3bcdbr5

Posted in Evansville, Indiana, Guess Who Performed in Evansville, history, Indiana history, Local history | Leave a comment

Guess Who Performed in Evansville: Part 6

*Post written by James Wethington, senior library assistant at the University Archives and Special Collections.

Welcome to another fun addition to Guess Who Performed in Evansville! Like last summer, we are looking at bands and musicians who came to Evansville in their hey-day. If you would like to reread the previous entries, check them at “Guess Who Performed in Evansville” on amUSIngArtifacts.

This blog is covering another rock band. This band is still popular and tours today after fifty years together. Here are three fun facts about this band:

  1. They formed in 1967 and had a different name (just shortening it by two words).
  2. They have sold more than 100 million records;
  3. They have produced twenty Top 10 hits and fifteen platinum and multiplatinum albums.
Can you guess who the musician is?

The band is Chicago.

Chicago formed in 1967 and originally started out the Chicago Transit Authority before they shorted the name. The band consisted of seven members: Walter Parazaider, Terry Kath, Danny Seraphine, Lee Loughnane, James Pankow, Robert Lamm, and Peter Cetera. Their debut album, Chicago Transit Authority, was released in 1969 after the group moved to Los Angeles from Chicago. The 1970’s proved to be good to the band from “Saturday in the Park”, “25 or 6 to 4”, and “Colour My World”, just to name a few. The ‘70’s may have been good to Chicago, but they experienced hardships, such as the death of their guitarist Terry Kath. Nonetheless, they rebounded in the 1980’s with their hit, “Hard to Say I’m Sorry”, charting to the top of the Billboard Hot 100. Chicago began to experience more obstacles when an original band member, Peter Cetera left the group to start a solo career. After Cetera’s departure, Chicago continued performing and touring (and experienced numerous changes with band members joining and leaving); but Chicago did not reach to the same heights as they did in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Photographs from Greg Smith show Chicago performing in Evansville, there was no information on the concert from the Evansville Press and Evansville Courier newspapers in NewsBank database from the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library (EVPL). Chicago has since returned to Evansville to perform back in May 2018 at the Aiken Theatre.

Fans of the band Chicago in Evansville, Indiana in 1976.
Fans of Chicago in Evansville, Indiana, 1976. Source: UASC, Gregory Smith collection, MSS 034-0699.

For more information, the Greg Smith collection at the University Archives and Special Collections at the David L. Rice Library at the University of Southern Indiana has over 1,500 photographs of Evansville history available online. Take a moment to explore his photographs of athletic events, local businesses, and many more. Stay tuned for our next addition of Guess Who Performed in Evansville.

Reference Consulted

A Chicago story. (n.d.). Chicago. Retrieved April 14, 2020, from https://chicagotheband.com/a-chicago-story/

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Remember When: Tri-State Tornado of 1925

*Post written by James Wethington, senior library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

Tornado damage in Griffin, Indiana.

Soldier standing on Main Street in Griffin, Indiana, 1925. Source: UASC, Don Blair collection, MSS 247-5765.

Over the years, Indiana has had its fair share of weather stories such as the Blizzard of 1978, the Great Ohio River Flood of 1937, the 1974 Tornado Outbreak, just to name a few. Back in 1925, Doppler radar was not used, and weather was unpredictable, it still is today but has changed in the last hundred years. Back in March 1925, one tornado changed the course of history and not only affected one community but crossed over 200 miles of land. This was the Tri-State Tornado of 1925.

Picture it, March 18, 1925: Ellington, Missouri. It was a peaceful day until around 1:00 PM. The weather began to change, and a major storm was coming, causing the residents to panic. The National Weather Service in St. Louis and Paducah, Kentucky issued tornado watches for parts of “… southwest Missouri, southern Illinois, southwest Indiana, and portions of adjacent Kentucky” (National Weather Service Heritage, n.d.). A tornado formed, and no one knew what was going to happen next. Due to the lack of technology and resources for forecasting the weather, this tornado was basically unknown to most people. Once it touched down in Ellington, Missouri, the storm took its own course and many people did not know what was going to happen next.

Cars driving through Griffin, Indiana for tornado relief, 1925.

Tornado relief in Griffin, Indiana, 1925. Source: UASC, Don Blair collection, MSS 247-5757.

The tornado would move northwest and barreled through Missouri, affecting six more towns in this path. The storm did not stop there and continued into Illinois and crossing the Mississippi River. Once in Illinois, the tornado hit nine more towns, destroying the towns and killing hundreds of people. The last town affected by the tornado was Crossville, on the banks of the Wabash River. The tornado was about to hit Indiana.

Once the tornado crossed the Wabash River, it moved north and struck the town of Griffin. Photographs from the Don Blair collection at the University Archives and Special Collections at the University of Southern Indiana show the tornado’s destructive power in Griffin. The town was destroyed, and the residents of Griffin had to rebuild. The tornado did not last much longer: by 4:30 PM, the tornado dissipated in Pike County, Indiana.

In the wake of this tragedy, the tornado set numerous records, which have not been broken as of 2020. It is unknown if the 1925 Tri-State Tornado was one tornado or multiple tornadoes; however, the tornado is the longest continuous storm in US history at three and a half hours long. The tornado was estimated to have been 3/4-mile average path (at one point, a mile wide). This storm has the highest number of causalities in US history at 695 deaths. Over 2,000 people were injured and approximately 15,000 houses were destroyed in Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana.

  • Tri-State Tornado: At 4:00 PM on March 18, 1925, a tornado arrived in Indiana after devastating parts of Missouri and Illinois. The town of Griffin was destroyed; the Owensville area and Princeton suffered heavy losses. Hundreds were injured; 76 were killed. Within hours, help came from nearby towns, the American Red Cross, and Indiana National Guard.
  • Tri-State Tornado: Heavy rains caused the Wabash River to flood, and by March 23, 1925, the only way to reach Griffin was by boat or railroad. Within weeks, Griffin was slowly being rebuilt. After a year, much of the town was rebuilt, including a schoolhouse, one church, and a grain elevator. This tornado is still rated the deadliest in US weather history.
  • Memorial honoring the lives lost in Griffin, Indiana.

If you are interested in learning more about the 1925 Tri-State Tornado, the University Archives and Special Collections (UASC) housed in the David L. Rice Library at the University of Southern Indiana, has over twenty photographs from the Don Blair collection from Griffin, Indiana in the aftermath and recovery efforts of the 1925 Tri-State Tornado. If you would like to read more about the Tri-State Tornado, UASC and Rice Library has printed book and electronic books on the tornado such as:

References Consulted

Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica (2020, March 24). Tri-State tornado of 1925. Encyclopaedic Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/event/Tri-State-Tornado-of-1925

Grabert, J. (2017, March 28). Tri-State Tornado destroys Griffin. Mount Vernon Democrat. https://www.mvdemocrat.com/content/tri-state-tornado-destroys-griffin

National Weather Service. (n.d.). 1925 tornado. https://www.weather.gov/pah/1925Tornado_ss

National Weather Service Heritage (n.d.). The Tri-State tornado of 1925. https://vlab.ncep.noaa.gov/web/nws-heritage/-/the-tri-state-tornado-of-1925

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment