The Beatles played a special show for members of their ever-growing fan club tonight in 1962. For the first part of the show they wore the smelly black leather jackets and pants they’d worn non-stop during their time in Hamburg, for the second half of the show they changed into the snappy new suits Brian Epstein had got them to start wearing.
A rather large group of British Monkees fans marched from London’s Marble Arch to the U.S. Embassy in Grosvenor Square today in 1967 to protest the planned “call-up” (what we call “the draft” in America) of Davy Jones into the British Army. He was eventually exempted as being responsible for supporting his father.
Genesis had their first British #1 album today in 1980 with Duke. It was their 10th studio album, and the fourth since the departure of singer and frontman Peter Gabriel.
Canned Heat’s singer Bob “The Bear” Hite was found in his van, dead of a heart attack today in 1981. He was only 38.
Depending on who you talk to, Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain shot himself or was murdered today in 1994. The official ruling was suicide by a self-inflicted shotgun blast to the head, but some believe that he had taken too much heroin to be able to pull that off. Private investigator Tom Grant, hired by Kurt’s wife Courtney Love to find him when he went missing from an L.A. rehab center, became convinced that Kurt intended to divorce her and retire from the spotlight, and she’d had him killed so she could collect. He maintains that there is no way he could have pulled a trigger having taken that much heroin, and that the Seattle Police didn’t conduct a proper investigation, dismissing him as just another junkie. Kurt’s bandmates Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl are not among the conspiracy theory believers, but a Sub Pop record executive who shall remain unnamed once said “Whether she killed him, or just drove him to it, if he’d had a different wife, he’d still be alive”. His body lay in a room over his Denny-Blaine mansion’s garage for three days before being discovered by an electrician installing a new alarm system. He called Seattle radio station KXRX before calling the police. Then-moring host Marty Reimer took the call and went on the air with the news. Within a half hour a TV news crew was in the station’s control room, interviewing midday host Scott Vanderpool, who’d been a fan of Nirvana since they opened for his band Chemistry Set at the Central Tavern in Pioneer Square several years earlier. The interviewer’s second question was “Do you think Nirvana will get a new lead singer?”, which enraged Vanderpool, who threw the camera crew out. 20 minutes later a short clip of the interview appeared on CNN, with Vanderpool mislabeled as “Steve Zanderpool“, which he still jokingly gets called by members of Seattle’s music community.
Jim Marshall died today in 2012 in London at age 88. His Marshall amplifiers, originally created as a lower-cost alternative to expensive American imports for British guitarists, became synonymous with rock and roll, played by Hendrix, Clapton, Page, and Townsend to name but a few.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Led Zeppelin’s notorious manager Peter Grant would be 78. He died of a heart attack at age 60.
Hollies singer Allan Clarke is 70.
Judas Priest drummer Dave Holland is 64.
Pearl Jam’s lead guitarist and all-around swell guy Mike McCready is 47.