Bob Dylan was paid all of $50 for his first-ever professional recording session today in 1961 after he laid down a harmonica tracks on Harry Belafonte’s album The Midnight Special.
The Beatles manager Brian Epstein won British music magazine Melody Maker’s “Star Prize”…a record album by an up-and-coming artist (no doubt received for free as a promotional copy) awarded for the letter of the week today in 1965. Brian’s letter informed readers that it was bass player Paul McCartney who laid down the lead guitar track on Ticket To Ride, though he was back on his signiature Hoffner bass in the official video.
Manchester England singer Wayne Fontana (born Glyn Geoffry Ellis) and his band The Mindbenders were at #1 on the American singles chart with Game Of Love today in 1965. Wayne took his stage name from Elvis Presley’s drummer, D.J. Fontana. Mindbenders guitarist Eric Stewart would go on to start a band called 10cc, the name coming from a slightly larger amount of semen than that ejaculated by the average male, a supposed indicator of the band’s prowess.
The Beatles new record company Apple Corps turned down up-and-coming artist David Bowie today in 1968. They did end up signing Badfinger, James Taylor, Mary Hopkins, and the Beatles friend and sometimes keyboard player Billy Preston.
Jefferson Airplane singer Grace Slick was invited to The White House today in 1970 by fan and President Nixon’s daughter Tricia. She brought as her guest political activist Abbie Hoffman, and also what she thought was a sufficient dose of LSD to send the President tripping, but Hoffmann was well-known to White House apparatchiks and denied entry, so Grace left with him.
John Lennon had some ‘splainin’ to do as his song Woman Is The Nigger Of The World was released today in 1972. It would go to an astonishing #57 on the U.S. singles chart despite the fact that no radio station would play it. John said the song came from a Yoko Ono quote from a 1967 interview talking about how women deserved better than they got from society.
Pete Ham, guitarist, singer, and songwriter for Badfinger, took his own life today in 1975, joining what Kurt Cobain’s Mom would later call “That stupid club” (of rock stars dead at age 27). Despite the fact that Badfinger’s songs No Matter What, Day After Day, Baby Blue, the Paul McCartney written Come And Get It, and Harry Nilsson’s cover of Without You had all been huge hits on both sides of the Atlantic, Ham was nearly penniless. His suicide note included a shot at the band’s manager, “P.S., Stan Polley is a soulless bastard. I will take him with me”. He had a blood-alcohol level of a legally s***faced .27%, and left behind a pregnant girlfriend who gave birth to his daughter a month later. The rest of the band would continue to bicker over royalties with management and each other for another 8 years, when Pete’s Badfinger songwriting partner and guitarist Tom Evans also hung himself.
Paul and Linda McCartney were catching up with John and Yoko Lennon tonight in 1976 at John’s Dakota Apartment across the street from New York’s Central Park. Toward the end of the evening they flipped on the TV to watch Saturday Night Live, and saw producer Lorne Michaels‘ publicly offer The Beatles $3000 to reunite on the show. They were highly amused and considered calling a cab to take them to the nearby Rockefeller Center studios, but then realized it was late and they were tired. It would be the last time John and Paul were together, though Paul would eventually appear on the show.
Pink Floyd had all but broken up, with Roger Waters and the rest of the band feuding in court, and Roger had publicly said the year before “The only way I’m ever doing The Wall again is if the Berlin Wall comes down.” When it did 4 months later, Roger made good on his promise with a concert on a site between the Potzdamer Place and Brandenburg Gate on the former site of the Cold War barrier designed to keep East Germans from fleeing to the West. Crews were setting up for The Wall-Live In Berlin today in 1990 when they discovered an unexploded American bomb dropped by a B-17 in WWII. Roger intended a backup band of celebrities including Eric Clapton, Peter Gabriel, Bruce Springsteen, Joe Cocker, and Rod Stewart (who was going to sing Young Lust), but when they were all unavailable, he said in an interview “I might even let Dave play guitar”. Gilmore shortly after responded that “he and the rest of Pink Floyd had been given the legal go-ahead to perform with Roger, but had not been contacted”. He did end up getting Rick Danko, Levon Helm, and Garth Hudson of The Band, Van Morrison, The Hooters, Cyndi Lauper, The Scorpions, Marianne Faithful, Joni Mitchell, and Thomas Dolby.
David Bowie married Somali-born supermodel Iman today in 1992. The two are still married and have a daughter. It was the 3rd marriage for Iman, who in 1977 had married her second husband, former Seattle Supersonic Spencer Haywood.
President George W. Bush was in Vienna Austria today in 2007, when he was denied the use of the presidential suite at the Imperial Hotel as it had already been booked by Mick Jagger, who was there to perform with The Rolling Stones.
Daintily-pooping singer and guitarist Sheryl Crow went all “Woodsy Owl” on the Global Warming College Tour today in 2007, saying that in order to save the environment, the government should institute a ban on using too much toilet paper, using “only one square per bathroom visit, except of course on those pesky occasions when two or three could be required”.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Creedence Clearwater Revival drummer Doug “Cosmo” Clifford is 68.
Original Jethro Tull bass player Glenn Cornick is 66. He quit the band after their third album Benefit in 1970. Tull have since had 5 bass players.