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Reg Becomes Elton, Stones Release Exile, Bachman Sets Record: This Day In Classic Rock [Video]

The Mamas and the Papas were at #1 in America (and #3 in England) with their hit Monday Monday today in 1966. Apparently it’s writer, John Phillips, was the only one of the four who liked it. The others said quietly in interviews that they hated it, but it did go on to win them a Grammy award.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience played two shows in London tonight in 1967 at the Saville theater. In the audience with their jaws on the floor were Beatles drummer Ringo Starr, Rolling Stones guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones, all of the Moody Blues, and most of the Beach Boys, who were touring in Britain without leader Brian Wilson for the first time.

Florida based psychedelic folk band Pearls Before Swine started recording their debut album One Nation, Underground today in 1967. When New York Disc Jockey Murray “The K” Kaufmann played the song Miss Morse from it on his show, some local Boy Scouts quickly sussed out that lead singer Tom Rapp was dropping an “F-Bomb” in Morse code, the song was banned, and Pearls Before Swine quickly faded into obscurity despite being signed to Frank Sinatra’s Reprise Records label two years later for 5 more records. Rapp later said, “The first two albums are probably considered the druggiest, and I had never done any drugs at that point. I smoked Winston cigarettes at that time, so these are all Winston-induced hallucinations.”

Going the same British legal route John Lennon had when he changed his middle name from Winston to Ono, Reginald Kenneth Dwight used a “deed poll” to legally change his name to Elton Hercules John today in 1972. He got the stage name from two of his former Bluesology bandmates: Elton Dean and Long John Baldry.

The Rolling Stones released their 13th studio album (10th in Britain), and the second on their own record label, Exile On Main Street, today in 1972. The album, recorded in the “dirty dingy basement” of Nellcôte, a 16-room mansion and former Gestapo headquarters in the south of France Keith Richards had rented while living there as a tax exile, marked a return to the bluesy roots that the late Brian Jones had wished they’d never strayed from. It is widely considered to be the best Stones album, and one of the great rock and roll records of all time.

Led Zeppelin threw a wild party at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City tonight in 1974 to launch their own record label, Swan Song. In attendance were manager Peter Grant’s other signing to the label, Scots singer Maggie Bell, and a “supergroup” made up of members of Free, Mott The Hoople, and King Crimson, who went by the name Bad Company.

The Eagles hit #1 today in 1977 with a song they’d released in February that started as an instrumental by Don Felder, featured one of the great dual-guitar leads of all time between him and Joe Walsh, and had the working title Mexican Reggae until Don Henley and Glenn Frey added lyrics interpreting the “high life in Los Angeles”, changing the name to Hotel California.

Soul singer Wilson Pickett was arrested tonight in 1991 after running over an 86 year old man and shouting obscenities and death threats while driving his car over the mayor’s front lawn in Englewood, New Jersey. He was charged with drunk driving and having open liquor bottles in the car.

Randy Bachman was up in Vancouver BC today in 1994, leading a then-world-record 1,322 guitarists in a 68 minute and 40 second cover of Bachman Turner Overdrive’s Takin’ Care Of Business.

Rock and Roll Birthdays

The Grateful Dead’s first drummer Bill Kreutzmann is 67. They added drummer Mickey Hart and the dual drum attack in 1967, but Bill was with the band until guitarist Jerry Garcia’s death in 1995, since they had started out as The Warlocks in 1964, making him, along with Garcia, Phil Lesh, and Bob Weir, the only ones to play at every one of the band’s 2,300 shows.

Jerry Nolan would be 67. The drummer for the influential New York Dolls and Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers died of a stroke at age 45.

The Tubes drummer Charles “Prairie” Prince is 63. He also played with Jefferson Starship, Journey, Todd Rundgren, Brian Eno, David Byrne, Dick Dale, XTC, John Fogerty, Tommy Bolin, Tom Waits, George Harrison, Paul Kantner, Glenn Frey, Chris Isaak, in 2006 with the Rundgreen-led “New Cars“, and still tours with The Tubes.

Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell is 51.

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