Elvis Presley, flush with cash with his new-found stardom, bought his beloved mother Gladys a brand new Cadillac in her favorite color… pink… today in 1956. The car would remain in the family after her death two years later, and is on display at Graceland to this day. An Elvis fan who’d once climbed the fence there hoping to meet the King, Bruce Springsteen, used the car as a starting point for a classic “car as metaphor for sex” song along the lines of Wilson Pickett’s Mustang Sally he called, oddly enough, Pink Cadillac.
The Animals started a 3 week run at #1 on the U.S. charts today with their version of the “traditional” song (which means no one knows exactly who wrote it, so you don’t have to pay anyone royalties), House of the Rising Sun, today in 1964. Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, and Andy Griffith had all recorded versions of it, and Detroit band Frigid Pink would have a hit with it in ’69, but the Animals version was by far the most popular. They recorded it in just one take, but their American label MGM Records was scared that radio stations wouldn’t play it because it was too long, clocking in at 4 minutes and 29 seconds, and took the unprecedented step of blatantly lying, printing the running time on the label at 2:58.
John Lennon began filming on the only non-musical acting role of his career today in 1966. How I Won the War was a “black comedy” directed by Richard Lester, who had done The Beatles films A Hard Day’s Night and Help!, and was shot on location with Spain standing in for the WWII Allied landings in North Africa. John played the part of Musketeer Gripweed of the fictional 3rd Troop of the 4th Royal Musketeers.
The Doors were on their first-ever visit to England today in 1968 when they appeared on the BBC’s Top of The Pops, lip-syncing to their hit Hello, I Love You.
Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington had recently purchased a brand new Ford Torino, and crashed it today in 1976 in a severely inebriated state, seriously injuring himself. The other members of the band were not pleased at all, as they were scheduled to start a tour in a couple of days. The dates were postponed, Gary was fined $5000 by his bandmates, and Ronnie Van Zant and Allen Collins (who wrecked his own car that Labor Day weekend) wrote a pretty good song about it: That Smell starts with the line “Whiskey bottles, and brand new cars, oak tree, you’re in my way…”.
Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks was at #1 today in 1981 with her debut solo album Bella Donna, which included the hits Edge of 17, and duets with Eagles drummer Don Henley (Leather and Lace), and Tom Petty (Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around, which he wrote, the only song on the album Stevie didn’t write herself).
The Cult played in Vancouver B.C. tonight in 1987, and surprisingly as there was no hockey game going on, a riot broke out after the show. Singer Ian Astbury was arrested after staffers claimed he had assaulted them, and spent the night in jail.
After playing together for 28 years, Aerosmith had their 1st #1 hit single today in 1998 with Don’t Want To Miss A Thing, from the soundtrack to the movie Armageddon. It was written for them by Diane Warren, who’s also written decidedly un-rocking sappy love songs for the likes of Elton John, Cher, Tina turner, Bryan Adams, Celine Dion, ‘N Sync, Gloria Estefan, and Meat Loaf.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Scottish singer and guitarist Al Stewart is 68.
Queen singer, keyboard player, and songwriter Freddy Mercury (born in Zanzibar as Farrokh Bulsara) would be 67. He died from complications of AIDS in 1991 at age 45.
Electric Flag and Jimi Hendrix Band of Gypsies drummer Buddy Miles would be 66, he died of heart disease at 60.