The Rolling Stones played the first night of their 12-date British tour tonight in 1966 at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Opening acts were all 6 feet 7 inches of Long John Baldry, Ike and Tina Turner, and The Yardbirds (who at this time sported Jeff Beck on guitar and Jimmy Page on bass). The audience was a who’s who of British rock royalty, including Keith Moon and John Enwhistle from The Who, and film director Michelangelo Antonioni who asked The Yardbirds to appear in his upcoming film Blow Up, which they did.
Memphis band The Box Tops went to number 1 today in 1967 with The Letter. It would stay there for 4 weeks, go to #5 in England, and be their only hit, though singer Alex Chilton would start an extremely influential band called Big Star in the 70’s, who’s In The Street would be covered by Cheap Trick as the theme to TV’s That 70’s Show, and inspire a 2013 documentary following Chilton’s death of a heart attack in 2010. The Letter would be reworked by Leon Russell for Joe Cocker and be a hit again in 1970.
The Beatles were at Abbey Road today in 1968, working on a song John Lennon had been inspired to write when George Martin had shown him a magazine for firearms enthusiasts: Happiness Is A Warm Gun. During the session, Jim Morrison from The Doors dropped by to meet them and hang out.
The London Daily Mirror today in 1969 became the first large mainstream newspaper to print a story relating the supposed death of Paul McCartney in a 1966 car crash and subsequent cover-up replacement with a look-alike (who was somehow able to sing, play, and write songs at Paul’s level), picking up on a story run in an American college newspaper a week earlier.
The Rolling Stones were at a party after their show in Paris tonight in 1970, when singer Mick Jagger met Nicaraguan model Bianca Macias. She would be 4 months pregnant when she became his first wife in May, and give birth to his second child, daughter Jade 5 months after that. By 1978 she would file for divorce, citing Mick’s adultery with model Jerry Hall (who later became the second Mrs. Jagger), saying “My marriage ended on my wedding day”. Bianca kept Mick’s last name, and became a major human rights and social justice activist.
Bob Marley collapsed on stage in Pittsburgh tonight in 1980, two days after the same thing happened while he’d been jogging in New York’s Central Park. Bob had known he’d had cancer since 1977, a rare form of malignant melanoma that had started under the nail of his big toe, but refused the doctor’s suggested remedy of amputating the toe, citing his religious beliefs. The cancer wouldn’t take his life until May, but tonight’s show would be his last.
Heart’s Nancy Wilson filed for divorce from former Rolling Stone magazine writer, author, and film director Cameron Crowe, who she’d been with for some 27 years, today in 2010.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Singer, songwriter, and pianist Ray Charles, who at 17 had moved from his native Florida to Seattle in 1947 because it was the farthest big city away from there, and met 14 year old Quincy Jones with whom he would play Central District jazz clubs, would be 83. He died 10 years ago.
Singer, dancer, choreographer, and actress Toni Basil is 70. In addition to her 1982 #1 “new wave” hit Mickey, she appeared in the movie Easy Rider and served as David Bowie’s choreographer for his Diamond Dogs tour.
Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen is 64, and still hates his nickname “The Boss”.