Former Korean War era U.S. Navy Sailor turned rockabilly artist Gene Vincent (Born Vincent Eugene Craddock), recorded his most popular song today in 1956. Be-Bop-A-Lula was not included on his first album, and was picked as the “B” side to his first single by a Capitol Records producer, but went to #5 on the U.S. Top 40 (staying there for a remarkable 20 weeks) and cracked the Top 20 in England. Later that year, Gene was supposedly convicted of public obscenity and fined $10,000 by the state of Virginia for a live performance of the erotic song Woman Love, but later reports found this to be a rum0r started by his manager. Gene died of a ruptured stomach ulcer in 1971, was the first inductee into the rockabilly hall of fame in 1997, and Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the next year. His backing band The Blue Caps (so named because of Gene’s Navy service) were inducted alongside him, but not until 2012.
The Beatles lip-synched on the ITV programme Tuesday Rendezvous today in 1963, miming to From Me To You and Please Please Me. In typical early Beatles hard-at-work fashion they also played a live show at a movie theater in London that night.
The Rolling Stones were on the BBC’s Ready Steady Go! tonight in 1965.
The Yardbirds were playing Marseilles on the French Riviera tonight in 1966, when guitarist Jeff Beck collapsed on stage.
The Doors and The Jefferson Airplane shared a bill at the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles tonight in 1967. The 3000 people in attendance were the largest crowd The Doors had played to to that point.
Pink Floyd were in New York City at the Fillmore East tonight in 1970, kicking off their second North American tour. They were playing songs from their 5th album, Atom Heart Mother, which would come out in October, an album the band doesn’t much care for. Roger Waters said he would prefer it was “thrown in the dustbin and never listened to by anyone ever again”, and David Gilmore said it was “A load of rubbish. I think we were scraping the barrel a bit at that point.”
EMI records latest signing Queen played a showcase at London’s prestigious Marquee Club tonight in 1973.
David Bowie was at #1 in the U.K today in 1983 with the title track to his latest album Let’s Dance, which featured guitar work by Texas blues guitarist and Jimi Hendrix disciple Stevie Ray Vaughn.
Dave Prater of the soul duo Sam and Dave was driving to see his mother in Georgia today in 1988 when his car skidded off the road and crashed into a tree, killing him at age 50.
The Rolling Stones then 53-year old bass player Bill Wyman announced his engagement to his girlfriend of the last 6 years, Mandy Smith, today in 1989. She was 19 years old at the time, which put her at 13 when Bill first shagged her. They divorced in 1993. Maxim magazine once listed Wyman at #10 on their Living Sex Legends list, as he had had sex with over 1000 women. Before their divorce was final, Bill’s son Stephen from his first marriage became engaged to Mandy’s mother.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Rockabilly guitarist and singer Carl Perkins would be 81. He died of throat cancer after suffering several strokes at age 65. His funeral at home in Tennessee was attended by fellow former “million dollar quartet” members Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis, and a Liverpool England guitarist he’d been a huge influence on, George Harrison.
The Byrds drummer Gene Parsons is 69. Gene also plays guitar, banjo, harmonica, and writes songs, but he is also a machinist, who together with Byrds guitarist Clarence White invented the “B-Bender” (originally called the “Parsons/White Pull-String”), a spring mechanism for the Fender Telecaster that turns the guitar strap into a tremolo device.