Buddy Holly was buried in his native Lubbock Texas today in 1959, 5 days after “The Day the Music Died” plane crash that killed him outside of Clear Lake Iowa. There were limited seats on the small plane for the Winter Dance Party Tour entourage, with the rest of the performers and crew taking a bus, and Buddy Holly and the Crickets bass player Waylon Jennings had given up his seat on the plane to J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, who was complaining of a nasty cold and how uncomfortable a long bus trip would be for a man of his size. Buddy had jokingly told Waylon “I hope your ‘ol bus freezes up!”, to which Jennings replied “Well, I hope your ‘ol plane crashes.” He regretted that comment for years afterward. Over 1000 people attended the funeral, and on the same day Ritchie Valenz, also killed in the plane crash, was buried at the San Fernando Mission cemetary in California.
Here’s the reason for KZOK’s British Invasion Weekend, which starts Friday afternoon at 3pm with Stacy Ireland: It was today in 1964 that Pan Am flight 101 landed at New York’s JFK airport, bringing The Beatles to America for the first time. They were met by 5000+ screaming fans, and the first successful British Invasion since Redcoats burned the White House in the war of 1812 was underway.
The Who were at Morgan Studios in London today in 1969, laying down what would be the biggest hit from Pete Townsend’s Tommy rock opera. They have played Pinball Wizard at almost every live show they’ve played (including the Super Bowl in 2010) since first playing it live in May of that year.
Doors frontman Jim Morrison was arrested in Los Angeles today in 1969 for driving under the influence of alcohol without a license. Yes, those are separate charges, you can’t get a license for driving drunk.
Shocking Blue became the first band from Holland to have a #1 hit in the U.S. today in 1970. Venus would be their only hit, though their song Love Buzz would be covered and released as the first single from Seattle’s Nirvana.
Stephen Stills was the first major performer to record entirely on digital equipment today in 1979 at The Record Plant studio in Los Angeles. At the time Audiophiles were excited about the precision and clarity of the new format, but interestingly it’s Stills’ old Buffalo Springfield bandmate Neil Young who’s been leading a backlash against digital audio. He and Apple’s Steve Jobs were working on a new format that Neil said “would bring back the warmth of vinyl records” when Jobs died in 2011.
Pink Floyd played the first of 7 consecutive sold-out nights at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena tonight in 1980, the first of only two U.S. stops on The Wall tour (they also did 5 nights in New York). To build and then tear down The Wall during the show, Floyd hired a number of UCLA football players as stage hands, including the future leading scorer in Seattle Seahawks history, placekicker Norm Johnson.
Taking a cue from comedian Ross Shafer’s campaign to make “Louie Louie” the State song of Washington two years earlier, Georgia State Representative Billy Randall (Now a judge in Macon, not to be confused with tea-party conservative Bill Randall of North Carolina who lost his bid for re-election in 2010) introduced a measure today in 1990 to make one of the first songs by an African American to get played on white radio, and one that profoundly influenced The Beatles, Little Richard’s 1955 hit Tutti Frutti the state song. Though Little Richard Penniman was from Macon, Randall’s fellow bible-belt legislators shuddered at the thought of official recognition for a song full of “unwholesome sexual connotations”, and the Georgia State song remains the one written by a man from Florida who got his start in music here in Seattle: Ray Charles’ Georgia On My Mind.
“Lonesome” Dave Peverett, guitarist, singer, and songwriter with Savoy Brown and Foghat lost a long battle with kidney cancer at age 56 today in 2000. Encouraged by uber-producer Rick Rubin to re-form the original Foghat in 1993, he continued to write, record, and tour with them even through chemotherapy.
The widow Cobain Courtney Love arrived at a benefit concert at London’s Old Vic Theater tonight in 2003 dressed as Donald Duck, where she joined Elton John on stage in a spirited version of The Bitch is Back.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Three Dog Night’s keyboard player Jimmy Greenspoon is 64.
Status Quo founder and bass player Alan Lancaster is 63.
Rock and Blues singer Deborah Bonham is 50. She’s the younger sister of Led Zeppelin’s drummer John, and has toured with Van Halen, Humble Pie, Donvan, Jools Holland, Foreigner, and Paul Rodgers.