The Beatles Butcher Cover, Bono Takes The Stand For Seattle’s Buck, Sir Elton’s Birthday: This Day In Classic Rock [Videos]

Buddy Holly played the last show on his only trip to England at the Gaumont Theater in London tonight in 1958. The tour had included a stop in Liverpool, but John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison hadn’t been able to afford to go, still they were glued to the Telly when Buddy played Sunday Night at the London Palladium, and later admitted Holly was the single biggest influence on them: Bass player Stu Sutcliffe had come up with the name The Beatles as an homage to Holly’s band The Crickets. Videotape was not yet prevalent at Brit TV stations, and of a run of 126 episodes of the show, most weren’t recorded at all, many of those that did deteriorated of the years, and only 5 survive, but they did manage to save the audio of The Beatles appearance on the show in 1963 at the start of Beatlemania. It was included on Beatles Anthology 1 in 1995.

The Beatles were at photographer Bob Whittaker’s studio (no relation to the West Seattle Bob Whittaker that’s the son of the famous mountain climber and former tour manager for Mudhoney and R.E.M.) doing a concept-art-peice shoot he called A Somnabulant Adventure today in 1966. They were sick to death of the photo shoots they’d been doing non-stop since ’63, and had some resentment toward doing another, but when they started in on Whittaker’s concept they quickly warmed to it as it reflected their own sometimes dark senses of humor. Whittaker dressed them in white lab coats, had John, Paul, and Ringo seated in front with George standing behind, while the four were covered in body parts of plastic baby dolls and pieces of meat. They used the shot for the cover of their British single Paperback Writer, and though they hadn’t intended it as such when they’d shot it, Paul pushed strongly for the shot to be used on the cover of the American release of their 9th album Yesterday and Today, feeling it was an appropriate statement of their feelings toward the Vietnam War. John felt the same way, but George, who had recently become a vegetarian, thought the whole idea was “gross…and it was also stupid. Sometimes we all did stupid things thinking it was cool and hip when it was naive and dumb and that was one of them “. Capitol Records pressed 750,000 copies at it’s 4 U.S. factories. Record stores and radio disc jockeys sent copies began to complain immediately, and Capitol’s Chairman ordered them all recalled, wiping out their profit. After destroying quite a few someone came up with the idea of pasting a new cover with a shot of the band gathered around a steamer trunk, but a few of the original covers survived. These are called “first state Butcher covers” by collectors, and they have fetched prices nearing $40,000 in recent years. The pasted-over covers are called “second state” or “pasteovers” are actually worth more if the original purchaser didn’t try to peel the glued cover off.

A show put on by New York disc jockey “Murray The K” there tonight in 1967 featured the first performances on American soil by The Who and Cream.

Having been married in Gibraltar the week before, John Lennon and Yoko Ono started their week-long honeymoon/publicity stunt “Bed-In-For-Peace” in the Presidential suite at the Amsterdam Hilton today in 1969. As the real object of their protest was America’s involvement in the Vietnam War, they planned another similar event for New York City, but after Amsterdam, President Richard Nixon had put Lennon on his “enemies list”, and used his pot conviction in England to keep John out of the U.S., so it was moved to Montreal Canada. Lennon would lawyer up and begin a long and costly battle for his “Green Card”, and finally get it after Nixon’s resignation when Gerald Ford pardoned them both.

L.A. band Guns-N-Roses, including Seattle bass, guitar, and drum player from bands like The Fastbacks and Ten Minuite Warning and one of quite a few to come out of Roosevelt Rock and Roll High School Duff McKagen, signed with Geffen Records today in 1986. Though the band could manage only 6 albums, they would sell over 100 million copies of them, and though singer Axl Rose is the only original member left, it was the ’86 lineup that was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.

Pearl Jam’s surfing lead singer Eddie Vedder had to be rescued by lifeguards while surfing in New Zealand today in 1995 when a riptide carried him some 250 feet offshore.

U2 singer Bono Vox was called as a character witness in the air-rage trial of R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck today in 2002, telling the court “I came because Peter is actually famously known for being a peaceable person. I once had to twist his arm to get him to a boxing match”. Buck had been arrested after a British Airways flight from his new home in Seattle (where he lived with 2nd wife and owner of the Crocodile Cafe nightclub Stephanie Dorgan) over the North Pole to London, where R.E.M. were set to play a big outdoor promotional thing in Trafalgar Square. In the company of tour manager, West Seattle’s delightful Bob Whittaker (no relation to the photographer who shot The Beatles “Butcher” cover), he had consumed a prodigious amount of red wine only to become frustrated when he couldn’t get a CD to play in what was turned out to be a food service cart, and threw a rock star hissy fit and upended it showering well-heeled first-class passengers in yogurt and muesli. He’d been charged with two counts of common assault on the flight crew, one count of being drunk on an airliner, and “One count of damage to British Airways Cutlery and Crockery”. The trial would eventually clear him on grounds of “non-insane automatism”.

Rock and Roll Birthdays

Rockabilly guitarist Johnny Burnette would be 82 if he hadn’t been killed in a boating accident at age 30.

Hoyt Axton, guitarist, actor, and songwriter who wrote hits for Elvis Presley, The Kingston Trio, Three Dog Night, Steppenwolf, and Ringo Starr, would be 78 if he hadn’t died at 61.

Motown’s “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin is 74.

Reginald Kenneth Dwight (KBE) is 69, better known by the stage name he was Knighted under, Sir Elton Hercules John.

Rockpile and solo guitarist and songwriter Nick Lowe is 66.

Spokane-born DJ/Producer Ryan Lewis, who’s sold millions with rapper-partner Macklemore, is 28.

3/25

 

 

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