Elvis Presley played a show in Lubbock, Texas tonight in 1955, the “Big D Jamboree“, held at the Cotton Club. Opening the show were two local high school kids who billed themselves as Buddy and Bob. Buddy Holly played guitar and sang backup vocals, while his best friend Bob Montgomery played guitar and sang lead vocal. Nashville talent scout Eddie Crandall was smitten with Holly, and arranged for him to cut demos of some of his songs at a local radio station, which were sent to Decca records, and resulted in Buddy becoming almost as big as Elvis.
The Beatles were in Hamburg today in 1960, doing their first “residency”, an 8 week gig at the Kaiserkeller nightclub, when the promoter who had booked them there arranged a recording session, asking John, Paul, and George to back up Rory Storm and the Hurricanes bass player Lou Walters on three cover songs (Fever, September Song, and George Gershwin’s Summertime). Pete Best was “in town buying drumsticks”, so they used the Hurricanes drummer Ringo Starr, marking the first time the four recorded together.
The Who’s managers Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp signed The Jimi Hendrix Experience to their newly formed label Track Records today in 1966. By October 23rd they would release their first single, a cover of Billy Roberts’ song Hey Joe, backed with Jimi’s first songwriting effort Stone Free.
The British “alternative” or “underground” tabloid The International Times held a launch party tonight in 1966 at The Roundhouse in London. Flyers for the event read “Bring your own poison, bring flowers and gas filled balloons”. Paul McCartney, who would later make hefty donations to the paper, showed up looking like Lawrence of Arabia in a traditional flowing robe. Musical entertainment for the evening consisted of a Caribbean steel drum band, Yoko Ono, The Soft Machine, Denny Laine, The Move, and headliners The Pink Floyd, who were paid £15 for their appearance. The IT as it became known was shut down in 1972 after being convicted of running hook-up ads for gay men. It was revived in ’74, ’75, ’86, and again in 2011 on the interwebs.
Keith Richards was in court today in 1973 in Nice, France…not far from the 19th century 16 room mansion and former Gestapo headquarters Nellcôte where he’d been living as a tax exile, and where the Rolling Stones recorded most of Exile on Main Street. The gen’darmes had been after Richards, his entourage, and frequent visitors for several years because of the drug use and debauchery going on there, but managed only to catch him with cannabis, which they accused him of trafficking. He was found guilty, fined 5000 Francs, a one year suspended sentence, and booted out of France for two years, though he still had a two year lease on Nellcôte, which he had to pay even though he couldn’t live there.
Blistering Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Swedish band ABBA played their first show on North American soil tonight in 1979 just to the North of us in Vancouver B.C.
Paul and Linda McCartney supplied the guest voices on tonight’s episode of The Simpsons in 1995. Paul had agreed to do the show only after producer David Mirkin agreed to his demand that one of the show’s main characters permanently become a vegetarian, as he and Linda were (Paul still is). The episode was titled “Lisa The Vegetarian“, and included Paul’s tongue-in-cheek back-masked version of Maybe I’m Amazed, that included “a recipe for a really rippin’ lentil soup”.
Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee was charged with assault tonight in 1996 after attacking a paparazzi photographer outside Hollywood’s Viper Club who was trying to get shots of him and wife Pamela Anderson. He pled no contest, but was later sued by the photographer, who was Jewish and had seen that Lee had a swastika tattoo. While the symbol faced to the left, opposite the nazi use of it, Lee admitted it was “a stupid tat” and had it removed.
Welch guitarist Dave Edmunds had a triple-bypass heart operation today in 2000. He is still very much with us at age 69.
The Dave Clark Five’s lead singer Mike Smith fell down the stairs at his home in Spain today in 2003, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. It would also lead to his premature death of pneumonia in 2008, less than two weeks before the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Jon Bon Jovi added his name to a list of performers, including Jackson Browne, The Foo Fighters, and Seattle’s own Heart, demanding that the John McCain/Sarah Palin presidential campaign stop using their songs in appearances and advertisements today in 2008. Heart had been livid that Palin had been using their song Barracuda (her high school sports nickname had been “Sarah Barracuda”), and Bon Jovi went so far as to hold a $30,000-a-plate fundraising dinner performance for Barack Obama.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Barry McGuire, who had his one big hit in 1965 with a cover of P.F. Sloan’s Eve of Destruction, is 76 and now living in New Zealand as a Christian musician and author who’s In The Midst Of Wolves tells the story of a group of dirtbag bikers who come to know God.
Don Stevenson is 72. The Seattle-born drummer, singer, and songwriter started The Frantics here with Tacoma guitarist Jerry Miller, then moved to San Francisco where they became the nucleus of Moby Grape.