This Day In Classic Rock: May 8th
It was today in 1965 that one of the first filmed visual accompaniments to a song, what would later be called”Rock Videos”, was made for Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues, outside of the Savoy Hotel in London. Bob came up with the idea to toss away cue cards with lyrics from the song. He had help making them from his friends Donovan, poet Allen Ginsberg, and the man who co-wrote “Mercedes Benz” for Janis Joplin, Bob Neuwirth.
Today in 1969 The Beatles continued to swirl down the bowl as John, George, and Ringo signed a management contract with Allen Klein. Paul wanted nothing to do with Klein, and had Linda’s brother and entertainment lawyer John Eastman handle his affairs. Their last album, Let It Be, would be released on this day one year later.
It was today in 1974 that keyboardist Graham Bond died under the wheels of a speeding London subway train. He was just 36, the death was ruled a suicide, and though associates thought he’d mostly got off drugs, he’d been obsessed with the occult, and believed he was Aleister Crowley’s son. Bond had been in Alexis Corner’s Blues Incorporated and led the Graham Bond ORGANization, which sported John McLaughlin on guitar and a rhythm section that would go on to bigger things: Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker of Cream.
It was today in 1976 that Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees ABBA had one of their biggest face-melting, mind-blowing psychedelic rock anthems Fernando go to #1 .
It was today in 1993 that a former journalism student and English major from Leeds University, Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits was awarded an honorary doctorate in music from the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in England.
And in 2006 the Rolling Stones cancelled their upcoming European tour when Keith Richards underwent emergency brain surgery. He’d been “not quite right” since falling out of a coconut tree in Fiji a few weeks earlier.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
The “King of the Delta Blues” and major influence on early rock Robert Johnson would be 101 today, had he not become one of the first members of what Kurt Cobain’s mother would later call “That Stupid Club” of famous musicians to die at age 27. Despite the legend that he’d sold his soul to Satan in exchange for musical ability (as noted in his songs “Cross Road Blues” and “Me and the Devil Blues”), he enjoyed very little public recognition or commercial success during his lifetime.
Gary Glitter (Paul Gadd) is 68 today, and his Rock and Roll Part II is still a staple at sporting events here in America. In his native England one of the biggest stars of the early 70’s “Glam” scene was convicted of downloading child pornography, registered as a sex offender and sent to prison for four months, and the end of which he left Britain for Spain, Gibraltar, Cuba, Mexico, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Columbia, Portugal, Brazil, Venezuela, Thailand, and then settled in Cambodia where he was deported for suspected child sexual abuse, and then Vietnam where he was arrested in 2005 and imprisoned. On his release in 2008, he was barred entry by Hong Kong, Singapore, the Phillipines, and finally found his way back to England where he was put on the sex offender’s register for life. He still maintains his innocence and claims to have been set up by the tabloid press.
Original Yardbirds bass player Paul Samwell-Smith is 69.
Danny Whitten was a guitarist in Crazy Horse about whom Neil Young wrote the song The Needle and the Damage Done. He’d be 69 today if the needle hadn’t done it’s damage at 29.
T-Rex drummer Bill Legend is 67
Guitarist Rick Derringer (Richard Zehringer) is 64. His first hit came at age 17 with the McCoys and Hang on sloopy. He played with both Johnny and Edgar Winter, and with Steely Dan and Alice Cooper in the studio, to name a few.
Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz is 61.
Van Halen drummer Alex Van Halen is 59. He is an ordained minister who’s performed wedding ceremonies for his brother Eddie….and his former sister-in-law Valerie Bertinelli.
Be safe, Crowski!