Colonel Tom Parker had been booking Elvis Presley in larger venues in Texas’ bigger cities for a month today in 1955 when he arranged a meeting with Elvis’ full-time manager Bob Neil. No record of how much he paid Neil, but the good Colonel took over management and career strategy duties for Elvis for the rest of his life, taking in return much more than the traditional 10% of his earnings…up to 50% in later years. “The Colonel”, born Andreas Cornelis van Kuijik had entered the U.S. illegally from Holland at age 20, and taken the name Tom Parker from the officer who inducted him into the U.S. Army…from which he was dishonorably discharged as a private for desertion. He was made a Colonel in the Louisiana State Militia by governor Jimmie Davis in return for working on his campaign, and used the title until he died in 1997 at 87. Elvis had said “I don’t think I’d ever have been very big if it wasn’t for him. He’s a very smart man.”
The Beatles were at Abbey Road Studios today in 1965 working on a new Paul McCartney song Yesterday, Ringo’s contribution to their movie Help! Act Naturally, and another song, Wait, which they finished in just 4 takes, although that song wouldn’t be heard until the following album, Rubber Soul.
The Kinks and the Moody Blues shared the stage in the American debut of both bands at the Academy of Music in New York tonight in 1965, though the former’s reputation for fighting on stage (after a particularly nasty row guitarist Dave Davies had kicked over Mick Avory’s drum set, and Avory retaliated by hitting Dave with his high-hat stand, knocking him unconscious), led to an outright ban of the Kinks playing in America for several years by the American Federation of Musicians at the height of the British Invasion.
The Rolling Stones new double-album Exile On Main Street started a 4-week run at #1 on the American charts today in 1972. It’s widely considered their best album, and was remastered and re-released in 2010.
The Jefferson Starship were playing in St. Goarhausen West Germany tonight in 1978 when an extremely drunken Grace Slick, weary of the increasingly commercial direction of her band, taunted the audience with Nazi salutes and some of her worst singing ever. She quit the band after the show, but would briefly re-join in 1983.
A Florida real estate agent sued Motley Crüe and the promoter of a show she’d attended two years earlier today in 1987, for causing irreparable hearing loss. Victoria Holman said she and her daughter had front row seats less that 10 feet away from the speaker stacks, and the band’s insurance company settled out-of-court for some $30,000.
Ozzy Osbourne was having throat issues, and decided he couldn’t perform at Ozzfest in Columbus Ohio tonight in 1997. Angry fans rioted, smashing windows, uprooting trees, and overturning and burning a parked car.
Perhaps rock’s superest supergroup ever, The Traveling Wilburys, were at #1 in England today in 2007 with their re-released career retrospective Collection. The band, made up of George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Jim Keltner, Roy Orbison, and Bob Dylan, had started at a Bar-B-Que at Dylan’s Malibu home when George spotted a box marked Handle With Care in the garage, and charged the rest with writing a song around it, with each member singing a line. The name was a studio joke: “Hey you screwed up that guitar solo.” “Oh don’t worry, we’ll bury it in the mix”. The band’s two recordings had been out of print following the deaths of Orbison in 1988 and Harrison in 2001.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Rockabilly guitarist Cliff Gallup would be 83, if he hadn’t died of a heart attack at 58. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Gene Vincent’s Blue Caps two years ago, and is #79 on the Rolling stone Magazine Top 100 guitarists of all time list.
Norman Kuhlke, drummer of Liverpool band The Swinging Blue Jeans, is 72.
British guitarist Chris Spedding is 69. He played on records by Harry Nilsson, Elton John, Jack Bruce, John Cale, Donovan and many more, and had a solo hit in England with a song called Motorbikin’.
Alice Cooper band lead guitarist Glen Buxton would be 66 if he hadn’t died of pneumonia at 49. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame two years ago, and is #90 on the Rolling Stone Magazine Top 100 guitarists of all time list.
Seattle-born keyboard player and singer Greg Rolie is 66. He was the lead singer with Santana at Woodstock before joining bandmate Neal Schon’s new San Francisco project Journey, and was that band’s lead singer until they brought in the fingernails-on-a-chalkboard voice of Steve Perry, and Rolie quit shortly after, not liking the band’s new über-commercial sappy love songs. Rolie has spent recent years touring with Ringo’s All-Starr band, but in February of this year Carlos Santana expressed a desire to get his original Woodstock-era band back together, and Rolie is said to be excited about the project.
The Dead Kennedys mild mannered lead singer Jello Biafra (Eric Boucher) is 55.