Elvis Presley played three shows (2 matinee and 1 evening) today in 1955 at Fort Homer’s Hesterly Armory in Tampa Florida. At the end of the last one, Elvis made the mistake of closing with, after his usual “Thankewverramuch”, the quip “Girls, I’ll see you backstage!” to the 14,000+ strong crowd. Many of them decided to take him up on his offer, and chased him into the dressing room tearing at his clothing, which was shredded, and making off with his shoes. The venue would soon see much more of this new-fangled rock and roll with Tom Jones, James Brown, The Animals, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, Pink Floyd, and The Doors all appearing there.
Richard Starkey, who had not yet started using the stage name Ringo Starr, though he was the last to join the group became the first of The Beatles to play at Liverpool’s Cavern Club tonight in 1957, playing drums with The Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group, though John Lennon would play there a week later with The Quarry Men Skiffle Group. The Cavern at the time fancied itself a jazz club that barely tolerated “Skiffle”, but no Rock and Roll allowed, though John would push those limits immediately, and by the time he’d added Paul McCartney to the band when they played there again in January of ’58 they’d changed the name to The Quarrymen, and American R&B and Rock and Roll covers made up most of their set.
After a mainstream media backlash against the more conservative element of the British press that had arranged for Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to be arrested in a drug sting operation, a London appeals court gave the singer a conditional discharge today in 1967. He’d been arrested for possession of a handful of amphetamine tablets, for which he had a foreign but not British prescription, and he promised to never ever do that again. Keith’s conviction for allowing cannabis resin to be smoked on his premises was overturned for lack of evidence. Both Rolling Stones had served just one day of their prison sentences, Mick at London’s Brixton prison, Keith in the more notorious Wormwood Scrubs.
The Beatles were working at the new Trident Studios in London today in 1968, as it had the new state-of-the-art Ampex 8-track tape decks, while their usual haunt EMI’s Abbey Road was still using only 4 tracks. They laid down four takes of Paul McCartney’s song Hey Jude, which he’d written for John’s son Julian after his Dad had dumped his mother for Yoko Ono.
The Who were playing a show tonight in 1971 at New York’s Forest Hill Stadium when a security guard was stabbed to death by ex-convict Kerry Flaherty who had been denied entrance to the show.
John Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas was nabbed by FBI narcotics agents today in 1980 for possession of a sizable amount of cocaine. He was sentenced to 250 hours of community service, to be spent lecturing on the dangers of drug use.
The Eagles were playing the last show of their Long Run tour tonight in 1980 in Long Beach California, a show they would later refer to as the “Long Night At Wrong Beach”. Tempers among band members had been building for some time, and guitarist Glenn Frey remembered lead guitarist Don Felder yelling at him during a pause, “Only three more songs until I kick your ass, pal!”, and said he’d made similar threats back. “We’re out there singing Best Of My Love, but inside both of us are thinking ‘as soon as this is over, I’m gonna kill him”. They still owed Elektra Records one more album, but when it came time to mix recordings from the tour for The Eagles Live, Frey and Don Henley couldn’t stand to be in the same state let alone the same room, so they were done on opposite coasts…as producer Bill Szymczyk said, “The record’s perfect three-part harmonies were fixed courtesy of Federal Express”. Asked when or if the band would get back together, Henley’s response was “When Hell freezes over!”, which became the moniker for their first reunion tour in 1994. The Eagles, sans Don Felder, play the Key Arena in Zeptember.
Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band played at the Olympiastadionin in Helsinki Finland tonight in 2012, and already notorious for playing long shows, broke their own longest show record at 4 hours and 6 minutes.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Herman’s Hermits bass player Karl Green is 66. Hard to believe, but in the early days the Manchester band was as popular as the Beatles. While Karl and the others were competent players, their studio recording often used session musicians including future Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones.
Electric Light Orchestra cellist Hugh McDowell is 60.
R.E.M.’s original drummer Bill Berry, a multi-instrumentalist who wrote many of their heyday songs, is 55. He quit the band in 1997 after suffering an aneurism, and runs a hay farm in Georgia, though he did play with them a few more times, notably at their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.