A 15 year old Billy Joel had seen The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show earlier this month, and had an epiphany. “That one performance changed my life … Up to that moment I’d never considered playing rock as a career. And when I saw four guys who didn’t look like they’d come out of the Hollywood star mill, who played their own songs and instruments, and especially because you could see this look in John Lennon’s face — and he looked like he was always saying: ‘F*** you!’ — I said: ‘I know these guys, I can relate to these guys, I am these guys.’ This is what I’m going to do — play in a rock band”. His first one, The Echoes, played together for the first time today in 1964.
It was a psychedelic day in London today in 1967, with Pink Floyd at EMI’s recording studio in St. John’s Wood, (not yet called “Abbey Road”) laying down Matilda Mother for their first album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, and in a studio next door were The Beatles, working on Fixing A Hole for Sgt. Pepper.
While manager Peter Grant would never let them release a single at home in England, but had no such problem in America, so Led Zeppelin put one out here today in 1972. Rock and Roll was made up on the spot while the band were having a frustrating time recording what would end up being called Four Sticks. Drummer John Bonham kept making mistakes, and frustrations increased doing take after take. At one point he grabbed two extra sticks, and with two in each hand beat his Ludwig kit as hard as he could, which naturally for Bonzo ended up being the perfect track. He then started pounding out the drum into to a Little Richard song, Jimmy Page started playing a heavy metal rockabilly riff, John Paul Jones fell in behind, Robert Plant made up lyrics on the spot about being lonely and it having been a long time. Those two songs made for one of their best selling singles.
Metallica released their third and best album Master of Puppets today in 1986. Sadly it would be their last with bassist Cliff Burton, who would be killed in a bus crash in Sweden in September while they toured to support it.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
One of the richest and most powerful moguls in music, David Geffen is 70. He started out in the mailroom at the William Morris talent agency and quickly moved to managing Crosby Stills and Nash, Laura Nyro, and Jackson Browne. When he was having trouble finding a record deal for Browne, Atlantic Records honcho Ahmet Ertegun suggested he start his own label, which he did. Asylum Records would do quite well with The Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, and Warren Zevon. His next label Geffen Records, would have even more success with the likes of John Lennon’s Double Fantasy and Nirvana’s Nevermind. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011 in the non-performer, just made a s***pile of money category.
Jerry Harrison, keyboard player for Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, The Talking Heads, and a solo artist, is 65.
The Tubes keyboard player Vince Welnick is 63.