Artist Marie Tussaud learned to make wax figures from her physician uncle and created her first likenesses, of Voltaire and Benjamin Franklin in Paris in 1777. She was arrested and nearly guillotined in the French Revolution before being released and commissioned to make “death masks” of some who were beheaded including Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette before moving to London and creating Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum for her likenesses of famous people, mostly European royalty and military figures. She died in 1850, but the museum became and still is one of London’s most popular tourist attractions, and today in 1964 popular music personalities were included for the first time with the unveiling of wax likenesses of The Beatles.
Inspired by Scandinavians and Dutch folks doing it already, Irish music-manager and businessman Ronan O’Rahilly began broadcasting a “pirate” radio station he named for John F. Kennedy’s daughter Caroline today in 1964 from a ship anchored in the English Channel. British major labels EMI, Decca, Pye, and Phillips had a complete lock on music played on the BBC, and O’Rahilly had been unable to get his artist Georgie Fame on the air. Radio Caroline would be immensely popular, and inspire the 2009 British comedy film The Boat That Rocked (the title was changed to Pirate Radio for the U.S. market).
The Beatles were at Abbey Road studios today in 1967 working on their Sgt. Pepper album. John Lennon recorded his lead vocal for a song he’d written after seeing a TV commercial for breakfast cereal, Good Morning, Good Morning. Paul McCartney overdubbed a guitar lead,and then they set about adding animal sound effects to the end, which was Lennon’s idea, and he wanted them arranged so that each subsequent animal would be capable of eating, or at least scaring the crap out of, the preceding one.
Led Zeppelin released their 5th studio album Houses of the Holy today in 1973. Most of it was recorded at a country estate owned by Mick Jagger using The Rolling Stones mobile studio, and it was the first Zeppelin album comprised totally of original Led Zeppelin songs. The title refers not to churches, but the performance halls the band played in.
Genesis played in Buffalo New York tonight in 1976 at the start of their first tour since the departure of lead singer Peter Gabriel in ’74. They had auditioned some 400 potential replacement singers before settling on the band’s drummer Phil Collins, who has a voice similar to Gabriel’s and had been singing backup vocals all along.
David Crosby crashed his car on the San Diego Freeway today in 1982, and the responding police found him to be in possession of cocaine and a loaded handgun. He was arrested, and when a reporter later asked him why he’d been carrying a gun, he relied simply “John Lennon, man”.
Ozzy Osbourne was playing the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater tonight in 1992 when he thought it might be fun to invite the first two rows of the audience up on stage. Quite a few more rows joined in on the fun, causing some $100,000 in damage to the stage and equipment, and sending the band running for their lives back to the dressing rooms.
Jimmy Page settled out of court for an undisclosed but presumable substantial sum today in 2000 after he’d sued Britain’s Ministry magazine for printing an article the year before claiming Page had caused or contributed to the death of his Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, standing over him wearing Satanist robes, reciting useless spells, more concerned with keeping Bonham’s vomit off his bed than saving his friend’s life.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Jethro Tull’s heyday keyboard player John Evan is 66.
Steve Turner, lead guitarist for Seattle’s Mudhoney, is 49, and still a delightful man.