John Lennon released his second book of poetry, weird nonsensical stories, and drawings today in 1965. The title, A Spaniard In The Works, was a play on the English phrase “A spanner in the works”, “spanner” being the British word for “wrench”, as in “throw a monkeywrench into the machinery” as we would say it in America. The book was re-released in 1997 with a CD containing previously unheard demo songs and interviews from John, including one chillingly titled 57 second piece called What Does It Mean When You’re Such A Pacifist That You Get Shot?
The Rolling Stones held a press conference aboard a yacht in New York City today in 1966 to announce their 5th North American tour, which would include their friends L.A. garage rock band The Standells and The McCoys, who had a guitarist named Rick Zehringer, who would later change his name to Rick Derringer.
Procul Harum broke into the Billboard charts today in 1967 with A Whiter Shade of Pale, a song that organist Matthew Fisher more or less stole directly from Orchestral Suite in D by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Frank Zappa played at the Adieu Soviet Army concert in Prague, Czechoslovakia today in 1991, a farewell to the Red Army who’d occupied that country since the “Prague Spring” of 1968. Frank had been diagnosed with the terminal prostate cancer that would take his life in ’93, and was in considerable pain at this show believed to be his last concert appearance.
Eric Clapton put 100 of his guitars up for auction today in 1999 to raise money for his Crossroads rehab center on the island of Antigua in the Caribbean, including a 1956 Fender Stratocaster he played during the Derek and the Dominoes era nicknamed “Brownie“, which was bought for a then-world-record $497,500 by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and put on display in his Experience Music Project museum here in Seattle.
Eric Clapton broke that record in 2004 when he sold his other favorite Fender Stratocaster “Blackie” for $959,500 to raise even more money for his Crossroads rehab center. Eric had bought 6 50’s Strats in Nashville, given one each to George Harrison, Stevie Winwood, and Pete Townsend as gifts, and assembled Blackie from the best parts of the remaining three. It’s buyer wished to remain anonymous, and remains so. The last known time he’d played it in public was in a Japanese Honda commercial. The record was again broken in 2006 when a more ordinary Stratocaster, signed by a host of rock stars including Clapton, sold for $2.8 million to raise funds for victims of the 2004 tsunami in Asia.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Arthur Brown of the Crazy World of Arthur Brown is 71.
Jeff Beck, Rolling Stone magazine Top 100 guitarist #5, is 69.
Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood is 69.
The Zombies lead singer Colin Blundstone is 68, he and Rod Argent have reformed The Zombies, and they are playing Bumbershoot this coming Labor Day weekend.
Yes keyboard player Patrick Moraz is 65.
Dire Straits bass player John Illsley is 64.
The Black Crowes lead guitarist Jeff Cease is 46.