Keith Richards 69th Birthday, Tara Blows His Mind Out In A Car: This Day In Classic Rock [Video]:

The Beatles started their 5th trip to Germany tonight in 1962, a two-week, 13-night run at the Star Club in Hamburg. They’d become a bit more popular there, and by this point only had to play 3 hours each night. The final night’s performance was recorded and were released against the band member’s wishes in 1977 as The Star Club Tapes.

U.S. Army Green Berets combat medic Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler recorded a song for his fellow soldiers, The Ballad of the Green Berets, today in 1965, inspired by the book The Green Berets  made into a movie in ’68 starring John Wayne. While recovering from a severe infection caused by a feces-smeared punji stick on patrol in Vietnam, he watched Sen. Robert Kennedy dedicate the new JFK center for special warfare at Ft. Bragg, and promised himself if he survived he would donate all proceeds from the song to wounded soldiers, which he did.

21 year old upper crust swingin’ London socialite Tara Browne, heir to the Guinness brewing fortune and son of Dominick Browne, a member of the House of Lords and 4th Baron of Oranmore and Browne, was driving with his girlfriend, fashion model Suki Potier in his new Lotus Elan in the Kensington district tonight in 1966, when he missed a traffic light and crashed into a parked truck, reportedly doing 106 mph. He died of his injuries two days later, though Portier survived and claimed that Browne had swerved just enough to save her life. Browne was close friends with Rolling Stones Mick Jagger and Brian Jones, and Beatle John Lennon, who wrote about the crash in A Day In The Life: He blew his mind out in a car. He didn’t notice that the lights had changed. A crowd of people stood and stared. They’d seen his face before, Nobody was really sure if he was from the House of Lords.

Jerry Lee “The Killer” Lewis divorced his wife Myra today in 1971. She was his cousin, and only 13 years old when he made her his third wife when he was only 22 in 1958, causing a scandal on his first British tour that nearly ruined his career. He’s been married four more times.

Filming began for the Sam Peckinpah directed western drama Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid today in 1972, starring James Coburn as Pat Garrett, Kris Kristofferson as Billy The Kid, and Bob Dylan as “Alias”. Bob also did the film’s musical score which was mostly instrumental, but included the song Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, which would become a huge hit for Bob as well as Guns-N-Roses years later.

Singer Rod Stewart quit The Faces today in 1975 to launch a solo career that has been somewhat successful.

Keith Richards spent his 40th birthday in Cabo San Lucas Mexico today in 1983, getting married for the first time to 27 year old American model and actress Patti Hansen. Keith had been with model and actress Anita Pallenberg since 1967, when she left bandmate Brian Jones for him on a trip to Morocco. That relationship produced three children, though they never married and remain cordial to this day.

Actor and former Saturday Night Live writer Christopher Guest married actress Jamie Lee Curtis today in 1984 at the home of the director of Guest’s most famous film, the rock-mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, Rob Reiner.

Viewers of VH1 picked their favorite Christmas song of all time today in 2005, a gritty little number from 1987 called Fairytale of New York by Irish traditionalist rockers The Pogues with singer Kirsty MacColl. The song has continued to grow in popularity over the years despite receiving very little attention on the radio.

Rock and Roll Birthdays

The Animals bass player Chas Chandler would be 74. When the Animals broke up in 1966, he became an artist manager and talent scout, famous for launching the careers of Jimi Hendrix and Slade. He died of an aneurysm at age 57.

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards is 69, and surprisingly still very much with us.

The Cars lead guitarist Elliot Easton is 59.

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