The Rolling Stones spent the day before Brian Jones‘ birthday performing for the second time on the BBC’s Top of the Pops today in 1964. They played a cover of Buddy Holly’s Not Fade Away, which they had just released as their third single. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were just starting to write their own songs, inspired by their meeting with John Lennon and Paul McCartney, who gave them one of their originals, I Wanna Be Your Man, to release as their second single. Their first had been a cover of Chuck Berry’s Come On, which they’d been ashamed to play live. A Jagger/Richards song didn’t appear until their first album came out. The Rolling Stones: England’s Newest Hitmakers featured just one Jagger/Richards song, Tell Me (You’re Coming Back), and two credited to their nom-de-plume for songs written by the whole band, Nanker-Phelge, with which they had the help of producer Phil Spector.
Pink Floyd were in the 4th day of working on their debut album Piper At The Gates of Dawn today in 1967 at EMI Studios in London. The album took it’s title directly from the 7th chapter of Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 children’s classic The Wind in the Willows, which describes an encounter with the god Pan, who plays his pipes at dawn. Syd Barrett identified with Pan and his pipes, which led to Roger Waters “You Piper” line in his later song Shine On You Crazy Diamond. The debut had two instrumentals written by the whole band, one Roger Waters song (Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk), with the rest coming from the increasingly wacked mind of Syd Barrett. The American version of the album had a slightly different song order than the British, and left off Astonomy Domine in favor of their second single, See Emily Play.
Almost 5 months after her death, Janis Joplin started a 9-week run at #1 on the U.S. album charts with the posthumous release Pearl today in 1971.
Led Zeppelin played for some 25,000 fans at the Showgrounds in Sydney, Australia tonight in 1972. Some of them noticed that Jimmy Page had shaved off the beard he’d been growing since 1970.
Cherilyn Sarkisian, better known as simply “Cher“, filed for divorce from her husband Salvatore “Sonny” Bono today in 1974. Sonny and Cher had been among America’s most popular performers in the 60’s, but their squeaky-clean sex and drug free image had become tiresome to America’s sex and drug obsessed youth, and while Cher had been enamored of the heavy sound of bands like The Jefferson Airplane, Eric Clapton and Led Zeppelin, Sonny was having none of it, and began cheating on her. She in turn began a two year affair with record executive David Geffen (who later came out as gay), and then married Gregg Allman a year after the divorce with Sonny was finalized.
15 Royal Canadian Mounted Policemen raided Keith Richards’ room at the Harbour Castle Hotel in Toronto today in 1977. Finding a full ounce of heroin, they charged him with possession with intent to traffic, which carried a sentence of 7 years-to-life in prison. Posting bail of $25,000, he had to remain in Toronto until April 1st, when he was allowed to go to the U.S. to receive treatment for his addiction. Between then and his trial in October of 1978, he managed to record one of The Rolling Stones best selling albums, Some Girls, and tour the U.S. He plead guilty to a lesser charge of simple heroin possession, and received a suspended sentence and year’s probation after agreeing to play a benefit concert on behalf of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.
James Brown was paroled today in 1991 after serving two years of a six year prison sentence for resisting arrest, interstate flight, possession of drugs and an unregistered firearm, assaulting a police officer, speeding, and reckless driving after a high-speed chase on I-20, crossing the Georgia-South Carolina border.
Irish band U2 were named America’s top musical moneymakers today in 2010, raking in $109 million in 2009 with their 360° tour (and it hadn’t even stopped in Seattle yet). Bruce Springsteen was second, making $58 million, Madonna third at $47 million, and AC/DC fourth at $44 million.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Actor Howard Hesseman is 72, best known for portraying rock and roll disc jockey Dr. Johnny Fever on WKRP in Cincinatti.
Santana and Journey guitarist Neal Schon is 59. He was most recently in the news two years ago, after running off to become engaged to White House gate-crasher Michelle Salahi, who had dumped her husband and fellow-gate-crasher Tareq.
Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith is 55.
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s current lead singer Johnny Van Zant, younger brother of original singer Ronnie and .38 Special’s Donnie, is 53.