The Beach Boys were in the studio in Los Angeles today in 1963, with songwriter and bass player Brian Wilson acting as producer for the first time. They recorded Little Deuce Coupe and Surfer Girl.
The Beatles got the biggest welcome of the many big welcomes they got at the height of Beatlemania today in 1964, when they arrived in Adelaide Australia and were greeted by roughly 350,000 fans who lined the 10 mile route from the airport to the city center and did not seem to care at all that Ringo was still back in England recovering from his tonsillectomy and was being covered for by stand-in drummer Jimmy Nichol.
The Beatles were at the center of a major controversy at home in England today in 1965 when they were included on The Queen’s Birthday Honours List to become Members (MBE) of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, nominated by Prime Minister Harold Wilson for bringing vast amounts of gold into the royal coffers (though George Harrison would later mock Wilson in his song Taxman). The MBE had until this point been reserved for war heroes and civic leaders, and many conservative recipients were appalled and sent theirs back in protest (Member of Parliament Hector Dupuis complained to the press that “British royalty has put me on the same level as a bunch of vulgar numbskulls”), a statement John Lennon would make himself in ’69 to protest Britain’s involvement in the Nigerian civil war and support for America’s war in Vietnam.
Pink Floyd played the prestigious Marquee Club in London tonight in 1966, the first time their future manager Peter Jenner saw them live.
Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood married for the first time today in 1970, to Jenny Boyd, the younger sister of Patti Boyd, who’d been married to George Harrison and then Eric Clapton (who’d briefly shacked up with Jenny before finally landing Patti when she and George broke up). Jenny had also been involved with Donovan, who wrote Jennifer Juniper for her. Jenny and Mick divorced 4 years and two daughters later.
Ronnie Bennett Spector fled her husband Phil’s Beverly Hills mansion barefooted today in 1972 with help from her mom, and leaving behind three adopted sons. She filed for divorce a few days later, but it wasn’t granted until ’74. Many of the artists who’d recorded with the über-producer told tales of his volatile personality and him waving guns around the studio. Phil is currently in prison for shooting girlfriend Lana Clarkson.
Grand Funk Railroad were in a Miami studio today in 1973, recording their biggest hit, We’re An American Band with producer Todd Rundgren.
Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Gary “U.S” Bonds, and Jackson Browne played Jackson’s “No Nukes” concert in New York’s Central Park today in 1982, in front of some 450,000 fans protesting President Ronald Reagan’s build-up of the nation’s nuclear arsenal.
The Elvis Presley “Autoland” exhibit at Graceland opened today in 1989, with all of The King’s 30 vehicles on display, including the pink Cadillac he’d given his mom, his Harley Davidson motorcycles, the first Stutz Blackhawk sold in America (Elvis had beat out Frank Sintatra, who also wanted that car), a Ferrari Dino, and the red MG that he drove in his movie Blue Hawaii.
Pink Floyd issued a press release today in 2005 saying they would reunite with bassist and songwriter Roger Waters for the first time in over 24 years at Bob Geldof’s Live 8 in London concert at Hyde Park in July. The statement stressed the “unimportance of the band’s problems in light of the Live 8 event”, but they turned down an offer of some £136 million to tour once more.
Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemmons suffered a massive stroke today in 2011. He died six days later.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
British folk-rock legend Roy Harper is 72, acknowledged as a major influence by Pete Townsend, Ian Anderson, Pink Floyd (who invited him to sing lead on Have A Cigar), and Led Zeppelin, who wrote a song for him called Hats Off To (Roy) Harper.
The Troggs lead singer Reg Presley would be 72 if he hadn’t died of lung cancer last February.
King Crimson, Uriah Heep, Wishbone Ash, UK, and Asia bass player John Wetton is 64.
Boston’s lead singer Brad Delp would be 62 if he hadn’t taken his own life at 55.
Cheap Trick drummer Brad Carlson, better known by his stage name Bun E. Carlos, is 62. He quit touring with the band several years ago, citing back problems, and was replaced by guitarist Rick Neilsen’s son Daxx, but has since dropped that he is now perfectly healthy but “hasn’t heard from the band in a couple of years…but maybe we’ll kiss and make up”.