CBS Records announced that it had invented stereophonic records today in 1958, which is interesting in that one Alan Blumlein of Britian’s EMI Records had invented and patented the “45/45” stereo playback system, which allowed for two channels but still allowed one-channel mono records to be played in 1931, and Pye Records in England and New York’s Audio Fidelity Records in the U.S. had been selling them for a year, but CBS was the first major American company to do so. Stereo record sales would not eclipse those of mono records until the mid to late 60’s.
Roy Orbison, a motorcycle enthusiast who had been introduced to riding by Elvis Presley and encouraged by his wife, the “Pretty Woman” Claudette who’d grown up around them, was on a tour of England today in 1965, riding a British bike on a “scramble” dirt track (later called “motocross”) at Hawkstone Park northwest of Birmingham in front of thousands of screaming fans, when he fell off, breaking his foot. He played the rest of the shows sitting on a stool and walked on crutches. He’d been separated from Claudette, and they reconciled when she came to visit him in the hospital, but tragedy struck a little over a year later, when the two were riding motorcycles at home in Tennessee and she was struck by a semi and killed instantly.
Fats Domino played England for the first time tonight in 1967, at the Saville theater in London. Opening acts were The Bee Gees and Liverpool’s Gerry and the Pacemakers.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney were given “Ivors” today in 1967, for their song Michelle, the most-covered song in England the previous year. The equivalent of America’s “Grammy” awards, the Ivor Novello Award is presented each year by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors. Started in 1955, classic rock artists who’ve received it include Marc Bolan (T-Rex), David Bowie, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins (with Genesis and solo), Ray Davies, David Gilmore (with Pink Floyd and solo), Pete Ham and Tom Evans (Badfinger), Justin Hayward (The Moody Blues), Roger Hodgson (Supertramp), Elton John, Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits), Jeff Lynne (with E.L.O. and as the producer of The Beatles Anthology), and Brian May and Freddy Mercury of Queen.
WNBC in New York banned the Brewer and Shipley song One Toke Over the Line for it’s supposed marijuana references today in 1971 after being labeled as “subversive” by Vice-President Spiro Agnew. Many other radio stations around the country followed their lead, but the song managed to go to #10 nationally. For their part, Mike Brewer and Tom Shipley said the word “toke” in the song was short for the tokens used on a railway they’d traveled on, which seemed to be good enough for some people.
Grand Funk Railroad fired their producer/manager Terry Knight over non-payment of royalties today in 1973. He promptly sued them for breach of contract, starting a long legal battle that eventually saw them drop the word “Railroad” from their name, and saw Knight having their all of their instruments repossessed after a concert at Madison Square Garden.
Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead was pulled over for speeding in New Jersey today in 1973, but was arrested and charged with a more serious “crime” when the officer found cocaine and LSD in his car. He was released after posting $2000 bail.
Rolling Stone magazine reported today in 1973 that Carlos Santana had become a disciple of Indian spiritual master Sri Chinmoy, and changed his name to Devadip (which means the lamp of the light of the supreme).
Paul McCartney and Wings were forced to postpone dates on their Wings Over America tour today in 1976 after guitarist Jimmy McCulloch fell in a hotel bathroom and broke his finger. The tour would hit Seattle’s Kingdome on June 10th, a show filmed for the concert film Rockshow.
A mockumentary-parody of The Beatles, All You Need Is Cash by The Rutles was shown on the BBC tonight in 1978. A collaboration between Monty Python’s Eric Idle and Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels, the show included cameos from former Beatle George Harrison, Mick and Bianca Jagger, Ronnie Wood, Paul Simon, and most of the original Saturday Night Live cast.
Eric Clapton finally married Pattie Boyd, the former Mrs. George Harrison with whom he’d been living for 5 years, today in 1979 in Tuscon Arizona, with George, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr in attendance. Pattie applied for divorce in 1988, citing “infidelity and unreasonable behavior”. Pattie has said that Clapton’s songs Layla, Bell Bottom Blues, and Wonderful Tonight (which she used as the title of her book) were written about her.
The Small Faces and later The Faces bass player Ronnie Lane was admitted to a hospital for treatment of Multiple Sclerosis today in 1983. He moved from England to the warmer climate of Austin, Texas the next year, where he lived as rock royalty until his death from the disease in 1997.
Inspired by the Beatles final concert as seen in Let It Be, U2 played live on the rooftop of a building in Los Angeles today in 1987, to film a video for their song Where The Streets Have No Name. They’d alerted disc jockeys at local radio stations, and some 30,000 people showed up, causing traffic mayhem. Bass player Adam Clayton later said, “The object was to close down the streets. If there’s one thing people in LA hate, it’s streets closing down, and we’ve always felt bands should shake things up. We achieved it because the police stopped us filming. Were we worried about being arrested? Not at the time…”
Singer, songwriter, actor, and poet Ian Dury, most famous for his 1977 hit Sex And Drugs and Rock and Roll with his band The Blockheads, died after a long battle with cancer today in 2000 at age 57.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Genesis keyboard player Tony Banks is 63. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of Fame with the band in 2011, but he and bassist Mike Rutherford are the only members who’ve been ion the band throughout the its history.