The Beatles were at Abbey Road today in 1968, working on George Harrison’s new song While My Guitar Gently Weeps. They’d been working on it since July, and George had done the guitar lead himself several times, including experimenting with the “backward” technique they’d used before (turning the tape over to change it’s direction), but wasn’t entirely happy with any of the takes and so invited his friend Eric Clapton to come in, which he did reluctantly at first, saying “Nobody ever plays on Beatles records”, which indeed they hadn’t. Other than studio musicians hired by George Martin, Clapton was the first outside performer to appear on one. He played a Gibson Les Paul that he’d recently given George and named “Lucy”. George later said that other than the solo, Clapton’s presence had had another bonus: “It made them (the other Beatles) all try a bit harder. The were on their best behaviour”.
Jimi Hendrix played his final show today in 1970, at the Isle of Fehmarn in Germany. He would die in London on September 18th.
Some 2000 personal items belonging to Elton John today in 1988 were auctioned at Sotheby’s in London, including hundreds of pairs of outlandish glasses, feather boas, and best of the the boots he wore in the Pinball Wizard scene of the movie version of The Who’s Tommy.
Creedence Clearwater Revival rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty, the older brother of band leader John who’d quit the band in 1971, died today in 1990 at age 48 of complications from AIDS, which he’d got after a blood transfusion.
British keyboard player Nicky Hopkins died today in 1994 at age 50 from complications from intestinal surgery. He was a sought-after session player who’d performed on records by The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Who, Jeff Beck, The Small Faces, Led Zeppelin, John Lennon, George Harrison, The Jerry Garcia Band, and The Kinks, who dedicated one of their songs he played on to him: Session Man.
Now a Knight of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Sir Elton Hercules John recorded a new version of his song Candle In The Wind today in 1997. The original version he and lyricist Bernie Taupin had written in 1973 was about Marilyn Monroe, but they re-worked the lyrics in tribute to Elton’s friend Princess Diana Spencer of Wales, who’d been killed in a Paris car crash in August. This new version was released as a single, and eventually outsold Tumwater native and Gonzaga University graduate Bing Crosby’s version of White Christmas as the best-selling record of all time.
Earth Wind and Fire announced today in 2001 that their upcoming 30th anniversary tour would be sponsored by erectile dysfunction drug Viagra.
80’s butt-rock band Great White agreed today in 2008 to pay $1 million (while admitting to no wrongdoing) to the survivors and families of victims of their 2003 show at The Station nightclub in Rhode Island, when their tour manager Daniel Biechele made the tragic mistake of setting off arena-sized pyrotechnics in the roadhouse-sized bar at the start of the show, setting soundproofing insulation ablaze, killing 100 people including the bands guitarist Ty Longley. Great White’s one hit Once Bitten, Twice Shy is a cover, written and performed originally by Mott The Hoople’s Ian Hunter. Biechele plead guilty to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter in 2006, and was paroled after serving less than half of his 4 year sentence.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Pink Floyd bass player Roger Waters, who became the band’s principal songwriter after the departure of Syd Barrett in 1968, is 70.