Elvis Presley, backed by guitarist Scotty Moore and bass player Bill Black (recently inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame) played Nashville’s Grand Old Opry tonight in 1954, doing Blue Moon of Kentucky to a less than stellar audience reception. Opry manager Jim Denny told Elvis he’d be better off going back to driving a truck for a living.
The shortest number one song in the history of sales charts and recorded music, Stay by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs which clocks in at 1:37,went to number one today in 1959. It’s been covered by The Hollies, Franky Valli and the Four Seasons, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and Jackson Browne.
The Who made their American television debut tonight in 1965 on ABC’s musical variety program Shindig! By the following year Shindig!’s ratings had declined and the show was replaced by Adam West’s Batman.
Rick Derringer had his first hit today in 1965, when his band The McCoys Hang On Sloopy went to number one. Rick was still going by his real last name, Zehringer, and his brother Randy played drums. The band ended when the brothers left to become Johnny Winter’s backing band. They didn’t have any more hits, but their song Sorrow went big for David Bowie later and a line from it…”with your long blonde hair and your eyes of blue”… was quoted by George Harrison in It’s All Too Much.
The Yardbirds were opening for the Rolling Stones in Ipswich, England tonight in 1966, and Jimmy Page saw a singer in the opening band, Terry Reid of Peter Jay and The New Jay Walkers, who would be his first choice for his new band when the Yardbirds broke up in ’68. Reid had already committed to opening up for Cream on a tour, and in turn suggested a singer he had seen, Robert Plant. His subsequent solo career produced only one hit, The Whole Of The Moon from the soundtrack to Days of Thunder.
California narcotics agents raided the Grateful Dead’s house at 710 Ashbury street in San Francisco today in 1967, and found all six members of the band to be in possession of cannabis.
The bodies of Elvis Presley and his mother Gladys were moved to Graceland today in 1977, after an unsuccessful attempt to steal them at the cemetery they’d originally been planted in.
He was still “John Cougar” when John Mellencamp’s Jack and Diane went to number one today in 1982. Jack and Diane is now the name of a new movie about two teenaged lesbians in New York City that opens November 1st, and Mellencamp is less than pleased about the use of the title to his story of two American kids growing up in the heartland. See related story here.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
American Pie one hit wonder Don McLean is 67.
Genesis bass player and guitarist Mike Rutherford is 62.
Voidoids singer and American proto-punk Richard Hell is 62.
Police singer Gordon Sumner, better known by his stage name Sting is 61.