About to embark in a few days on their first trip “Down Under” to Australia and New Zealand, The Beatles were doing some publicity photos today in 1964 when Ringo Starr started to get a sore throat…a really bad sore throat, and went to a doctor who told him he was suffering from Pharyngitis and Tonsilitis, and would have to have them out. Their organization scrambled, and producer George Martin found studio drummer Jimmy Nichol available. After a quick run-through of all of six songs they would play on the tour at EMI studios, they were off, making Jimmy a Beatle for 11 days before Ringo rejoined them.
The Doors released Light My Fire today in 1967. It would hit #1 on the charts two months later, and get them an invitation to play on The Ed Sullivan Show, when they were famously asked by Ed’s son-in-law to change the lyric “Girl we couldn’t get much higher” to “Better”, as CBS executives were uncomfortable that some might take “higher” as a drug reference. Jim Morrison famously agreed to the request, then enunciated the usual lyric for the camera when they went live, infuriating Sullivan, who angrily shouted they’d never do his show again, to which Morrison retorted “What do you mean? We just did the Sullivan show”.
Andy Warhol, pop-artist, filmmaker, and manager of The Velvet Underground was shot today in 1968, along with art critic and Warhol Studio curator Mario Amaya, by radical feminist writer Valerie Solanas, who apparently was upset that Andy had lost a script she’d given him. Amaya suffered only minor injuries and was released from the hospital later that day, but Warhol nearly died and after surgery suffered effects of the shooting until hi death in 1987 at age 58.
The Kinks were in New York City today in 1970 when their leader and principal songwriter Ray Davies had to fly 3000 miles back to London to re-record one word in their new hit song he’d written after seeing their very drunk tour manager Robert Wace dancing with a transvestite. He remembered asking Wace at about 6 in the morning when they were about to leave, “Did you see the stubble?….but I think he was too drunk to care…”. The BBC at the time had a very strict policy about “product placement”, and Ray, in referring to the taste of champagne in a club down in old Soho rhymed “Lola” with “Coca-Cola”, which he had to change to the more generic “Cherry Cola” before it could get played at home in England.
The Rolling Stones were just north of us at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver B.C. tonight in 1972 on the very first night of a 32-date tour that would gross some $4 million, a world-record at the time that would be broken many times, but they themselves would set again on several occasions. Tonight’s show was their first in North America since their infamous show at the Altamont Speedway outside San Francisco in ’69.
Jim Gordon, a protege of The Wrecking Crew’s Hal Blaine who later became a highly sought-after session drummer himself, playing with The Beach Boys and The Byrds before hooking up with Eric Clapton’s Derek and the Dominoes, killed his own mother today in 1983. He pleaded innocent-by-reason-of-insanity, and while the court agreed that he was a poster-child for schizophrenia, he had beaten his own mother with a hammer and then stabbed her to death, and sentenced him to 16-years-to-life in the California Medical Facility ( A hospital for the criminally-insane run by the State prison system in Vacaville), where he still is today at age 68.
Queen Elizabeth II was celebrating 50 years as the Monarch of the British Empire (her “Golden Jubilee”) with a concert tonight in 2002 on the grounds at Buckingham Palace. Performing at the “Party at The Palace” were some who are her subjects (Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Sting, Elton John, Ozzy Osbourne (!), and Brian May of Queen), and some who are not (Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, and one of the Queen favorites, American singer Tony Bennett).
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Mott The Hoople frontman and guitarist Ian Hunter is 75.
The Spokane-born drummer of The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and Firefall, Michael Clarke would be 68 if he hadn’t been killed by a heart attack at 47.
The Stooges original bass player Dave Alexander would be 67 if he hadn’t drank himself into what Kurt Cobain’s mom would later call “that stupid club” of rock stars dead at age 27.