Peter and Gordon were at #1 on the U.S. charts today in 1964 with A World Without Love, a song written for them by Peter Asher’s sister Jane’s boyfriend Paul McCartney (though like all of their songs credited to Lennon/McCartney). Paul and Jane were for all intents the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie of 60’s British tabloids, but would break off their high profile engagement when she caught him in bed with another woman, but Paul would remain friendly with Peter, who eventually became the head of A&R for their Apple Records label, where he signed American singer James Taylor to a contract, then moved to Los Angeles to manage him and Linda Ronstadt.
Mick Jagger was in court in London today in 1967, being tried for illegal possession of amphetamines, for which he had a prescription, but written by a foreign doctor. The Rolling Stones had been hounded by police after The News Of The World ran a story titled Pop Stars And Drugs: Facts That Will Shock You, which described LSD parties hosted by The Moody Blues attended by the likes of Pete Townsend and Ginger Baker. In February, acting on a tip from the tabloid (who had paid Keith Richards chauffeur for the info), police raided a party at Keith’s home “Redlands“. No arrests were made at the time, but Mick was later arraigned for the speed, Keith was charged with allowing cannabis to be smoked at his residence, and both would be sentenced to prison, where each would serve one day before being released on appeal. Brian Jones had also been busted for pot, but with 3/4 of the band up on drug charges the London Times ran a piece called Who Breaks a Butterfly on a Wheel? written by conservative editor William Rees-Mogg that pointed out that Mick and Keith were being treated far more harshly than “any anonymous young man would be for a first offense”, and public opinion turned in their favor. While awaiting the appeals, the band would record a thank-you message to their fans for their loyalty called We Love You, which starts with the sound of prison doors closing.
Elvis Presley took the stage for the first time in 7 years today in 1968 at NBC’s studios in Burbank California. His popularity had been declining since the “British Invasion”, and the four shows he played there in a black leather outfit were filmed and would be part of NBC’s Elvis, broadcast in December, and now referred to as the King’s ’68 Comeback Special.
The Transcontinental Pop Festival made it’s second stop in Toronto tonight in 1970. It was a 5 city (Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, and Vancouver) cross-Canada tour of The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Band, Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and Buddy Guy, but rather than fly the tour chartered a 14 car Canadian National Railways train, and the ensuing non-stop drunken party and jam session was filmed and released as Festival Express in 2003.
Guitarist Brian May, drummer Roger Taylor, bass player Mike Grose, and singer Farrokh “Freddie” Bulsara played live together for the first time as Smile tonight in 1970 in Cornwall England. Shortly after Bulsara would replace Grose with John Deacon, adopt the stage name Freddie Mercury and change the band’s name to Queen.
Led Zeppelin played Nuremberg Germany tonight in 1980 on what would be their last ever tour. Three songs into tonight’s show drummer John Bonham collapsed, ending the performance. He would be dead in September.
The Who were about to start their 2002 U.S. tour in Las Vegas the next day when bass player John Entwhistle died of a heart attack in his room at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino after retiring with a hooker and a rather large amount of cocaine.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
The Beach Boys guitarist Bruce Johnston, who’d replaced Glen Campbell in their touring lineup in 1965, is 71.