The Gramophone Company opened a recording studio in North London, not far from the St. John’s Wood neighborhood today in 1931, in a Georgian townhouse originally built in the 1830’s. Both would become famous under different names: The Gramophone Company would evolve into EMI Records, and their EMI studios would be unofficially referred to by the name of the street it’s on, Abbey Road, until the pet name used in the 60’s by bands that recorded there (The Beatles, The Hollies, and Pink Floyd to name a few) was made official in 1970. It was saved as an historic building by the British government last year. The crosswalk a half block down the street made famous by The Beatles and later by L.A.’s Red Hot Chili Peppers (who crossed much like the Beatles, only naked except for gym-socks pulled over their “John Thomasses”) is clearly visible from space on Google’s satellite map.
A rock and roll feature film called Jamboree opened today in 1957, featuring performances by Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Carl Perkins, Slim Whitman, Frankie Avalon, Count Basie and his Orchestra, and many more. It was hosted by a then relatively young Dick Clark.
Having recently changed his name from Toby Tyler to Marc Bolan, the future star of T-Rex played his first single The Wizard on the BBC’s Ready! Steady! Go! today in 1965.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Lou Reed’s Velvet Underground were playing their very first-ever show at Summit High School in New Jersey tonight in 1965.
The Grateful Dead played a dance party tonight in 1966 at San Francisco’s Sokol Hall put on by a motorcycle club called The Hell’s Angels.
Meanwhile down the State of California a-ways, a small riot broke out on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip tonight in 1966, with angry teens clashing with police over a recent enacted curfew law. As billy-club met head Steven Stills was inspired to write the Buffalo Springfield song For What It’s Worth.
Jimi Hendrix’s third album Electric Ladyland was banned by a major British record retailing chain today in 1968, as they were offended by the album’s cover: A photograph of just under 20 naked women. The American release was far less risque, a red-tinged photo of Jimi’s head, but neither release used the photograph Jimi had asked for personally, a shot of Jimi, Mitch Mitchell, and Noel Redding sitting with a couple of kids on an Alice in Wonderland sculpture in New York’s Central Park taken by the future Mrs. Paul McCartney, photographer Linda Eastman.
The Doors were in New Orleans tonight in 1970, playing what would be their last show with Jim Morrison.
Elvis Presley played 14 songs tonight in 1970 for a sell-out crowd at the Seattle Center Coliseum, where Elvis had filmed part of It Happened At The World’s Fair six years earlier.
Rolling Stones and Faces guitarist Ronnie Wood had both of his legs broken today in 1990 after he crashed his car on the M-4 motorway in Wiltshire, England. He was trying to direct traffic around his wrecked car when he was run over.
Gary Glitter was in court in London today in 1999, being acquitted of a sexual assault on a minor charge from the 80’s, but being sentenced to four months in prison for possession of child pornography on his laptop computer. On his release, Gary fled Britain on his yacht to a string of countries that wouldn’t have him: Spain, Gibraltar, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Columbia, Portugul, Brazil, Venzuela, Thailand, eventually settling in Cambodia where he lived for a while before being booted for…more sex with minors. He fled to Vietnam where he was eventually arrested and was nearly sentenced to death-by-firing-squad, but after making payments to the families of underage girls they asked for leniency, and after a prison term he fled to The Phillipines, who promptly booted him out, and he made his way back to England where he is a registered sex offender and tries hard to stay out of the spotlight.
The last surviving member of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, drummer Mitch Mitchell, was found dead of a heart attack in his Portland Oregon hotel room today in 2008 at age 62. He’d been performing on the “Experience Hendrix” tour.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Possibly the first truly long-haired rock star (over 18 inches!), David Edward “Screaming Lord” Sutch, would be 72. He took his own life in 1999.
Booker T and the MG’s organist Booker T. Jones is 68.
The man who slayed ’em at the Key Arena this last Saturday night, Neil Young, is 67.
Blue Öyster Cult lead guitarist Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser is 64.