This Rock and Roll thing was still pretty new today in 1955, when Elvis Presley and his band (guitarist Scotty Moore and stand-up bass player Bill Black, who were finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year) headlined the Louisiana Hayride at the auditorium in Shreveport. Also on the bill, Johnny Horton, Floyd Kramer, Hoot and Curley, Tibby Edwards, and Slim Whitman, a man who’s singing was later discovered to be Earth’s only defense against Martian Invaders in the 1996 film Mars Attacks!
The Beatles scored their 4th #1 hit in England today in 1964 with Can’t Buy Me Love. Record stores had ordered 2.1 million advance copies, still a record in Britain.
Meanwhile on the other side of the Atlantic and a continent away, The Beach Boys were recording I Get Around in Hollywood today in 1964. It would be their first #1 hit in the U.S. that summer.
The Who played their first live radio show today in 1965, on the BBC’s Joe Loss Pop Show.
Austrian police arrested 154 of some 14,000 Rolling Stones fans today in 1967, when a riot broke out after someone threw a smoke bomb on stage.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience were on tour in Canada tonight in 1968 when they played the Paul Suave arena in Montreal.
Producer Phil Spector put the finishing touches on The Beatles Let It Be album today in 1970. The project had begun 16 months earlier, intended to be released in 1969 before Abbey Road as Get Back, but they were unhappy with the way it sounded under the direction of George Martin and Glyn Johns, and called in Spector. Paul McCartney wasn’t pleased with Phil’s work, especially on the song The Long and winding Road, but John Lennon later defended his work in a Rolling Stone magazine interview: “He was given the sh**tiest load of badly-recorded sh** with a lousy feeling to it ever, and he made something of it.” Let it Be was released on May 8th, just after the band had officially announced their breakup.
Janis Joplin’s Pearl album went to #1 in the U.S. today in 1971, almost 5 months after she’d died at age 27. It was her only record with the Full Tilt Boogie Band.
Fleetwood Mac were starting a 7-day tour of England today in 1977, just as their new album Rumors was going to #1 in the U.S. It would be their best-seller, moving over 40 million copies worldwide.
Jazz drummer Buddy Rich, an inspiration to most of rock’s greats including John Bonham, Keith Moon, and Neil Peart, died today in 1987 at age 69 from a brain tumor.
Eric Clapton appeared before the Walton-On-Thames Magistrate Court today in 1990 after being cited for, as British motorcyclists like to say, “Cracking the Ton”. He was fined £300 for exceeding 105mph, and had his license suspended for 3 months. He didn’t learn his lesson. “Slowhand” is a major auto enthusiast, and owns a garage full of exotic and very expensive sports cars, and remains something of a “Leadfoot”.
The Black Crowes played a show in Knoxville Tennessee tonight in 1999. A year later they were sued by one Joshua Harmon, a teenager who had been sitting in the second row, who was seeking $5000 for irreparable hearing loss. The case was dismissed by the judge, who was apparently well aware that the Black Crowes were nowhere near as loud as The Who or The Clash.
American soul singer Edwin Starr died of a heart attack at age 61 at his new home in Nottingham, England today in 2003.
A schoolbook containing a 12-year-old John Lennon’s drawing from the Lewis Carroll poem The Walrus and The Carpenter, the inspiration for his later song I Am The Walrus, sold at auction today in 2006 for £126,500.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Singer and songwriter Marvin Gaye, who’s career at Motown records began as a session drummer, would be 74 today if he hadn’t been shot by his father the day before his 45th birthday with a gun he had given hm as a Christmas present.
Leon Russell is 71.
Guess Who guitarist Kurt Winter would be 67 if he hadn’t died of kidney failure at age 51.
Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Emmylou Harris is 66. In addition to her own material, she’s worked with Bob Dylan, Little Feat, The Band, Neil Young, Gram Parsons, Linda Ronstadt, Roy Orbison, and Mark Knopfler.
The Cars and Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers drummer David Robinson is 64.
Lynyrd Skynyrd bass player Leon Wilkerson would be 61. He survived the 1977 plane crash that killed lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and his sister….barely (doctors came close to amputating his badly broken arm), but not the liver and lung disease that killed him at age 49.