Beatles As Butchers, Hendrix Makes Bank, Brian Is 71: This Day In Classic Rock [Video]
The Beatles began a 14 day tour of Europe with two shows at the Palais Des Sport in Paris tonight in 1965. One thing the French are better at than just about anyone, is archiving performances by important musicians, as evidenced by this grainy video footage:
The Beatles released their 11th American album Yesterday and Today today in 1966. The cover, sporting the band in Butcher’s smocks covered in bits of baby dolls and meat was sent to some radio DJ’s, reviewers, and record distributors, but negative reaction was so strong Capitol Records immediately recalled some 750,000 copies. John Lennon defended the cover, saying it was “As relevant as Vietnam”, but George Harrison (the first Beatle to go vegetarian) said “The whole idea was gross, and I also thought it was stupid. Sometimes we all did stupid things thinking it was cool and hip when it was naive and dumb; and that was one of them.” The few original copies of “the Butcher cover” are one of the most highly sought collectibles ever, with pristine copies fetching upwards of $40,000.
Having been turned down by Beatles producer George Martin at EMI’s Abbey Road, David Bowie was at the then-technologically superior Trident Studios in London today in 1969, recording the song Space Oddity, inspired by the Stanley Kubrick film of the previous year 2001: A Space Odyssey (It was also seen at home as a complete mockery of the big-dreaming but completely unfunded British space programme, and by some as a cheap attempt to cash in on the impending American Apollo moon landing.). Musicians playing on the recording included Trident’s in-house keyboard player on Mellotron, also a member of Yes, Rick Wakeman. It was then re-recorded and rush-released to come out on July 11th, before the launch of Apollo 11 on the 16th, but the BBC refused to play the song until the American astronauts had safely returned to earth. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield performed a cover of it earlier this year on board the International Space Station, making it the first music video ever created in space.
There are several music festivals connected with the name Newport (including the Newport Jazz festival in Rhode Island and a classical music event in Newport California), but the two major events of the Classic Rock period were held in the late 60’s near Newport Beach in Orange County California, and the second one started today in 1969, billed as Newport ’69. While the first had made money for it’s promoters, the second lost it, despite some 200,000 in attendance, due to the fact that they paid headliners The Jimi Hendrix Experience a then-world-record-for-a-single-performance $150,000, which was 3 times the entire budget for the ’68 festival. Others playing the three-day event included Ike and Tina Turner, Spirit, Albert King, Joe Cocker, CCR, Jethro Tull, Eric Burdon and War, Love, Steppenwolf, The Byrds, The Rascals, Three Dog Night, Johnny Winter, The Chambers Brothers, and Booker T and the MG’s.
The Talking Heads, who had met in Providence at the Rhode Island School of Design, played for the first time tonight in 1975 at the Greenwich Village New York nightclub they helped make famous, CBGB’s.
A film based on John Belushi and Dan Akyroyd’s musical sketch on Saturday Night Live, The Blues Brothers, opened in the U.S. and Canada tonight in 1980. The band the two “put back together” in the plot was largely made up of members of Chicago’s Stax-Volt Records house band.
Promoters of Paul McCartney’s show at Palace Square in St. Petersburg Russia tonight in 2004 hired three jets to spray dry ice into clouds in hopes that it would keep it from raining. It seemed to have worked. The show marked Paul’s 3000th concert appearance, having played 2,535 shows with The Quarrymen and The Beatles, 140 with Wings, and 325 solo shows. Parts of tonight’s show were included in the Paul McCartney In Red Square DVD.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Guitarist Danny Cedrone would be 93. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame two years ago as a member of Bill Haley’s Comets, though he died of a broken neck after falling down a flight of stairs just 10 days after recording Rock Around The Clock.
British producer Mickie Most would be 75. He died at 64, but not before having massive hits with The Animals, Herman’s Hermits, Donovan, The Jeff Beck Group, and The Arrows. You remember The Arrows, don’t you? Joan Jett does.
The Beach Boys leader, bass player, producer, and principal songwriter Brian Wilson is 71.
Van Halen’s original bass player Michael Anthony Sobolewski is 59.
Pearl Jam’s rhythm guitarist Stone Gossard is 47. A lot of people think of Pearl Jam as Eddie Vedder’s band, but Stone and basser Jeff Ament were the ones who put the band together, and in the early days Stone was very much their leader, as you’ll see in this interview from 1991 before they hit it big: