The Beatles played a special show for members of their ever-growing fan club tonight in 1962. For the first part of the show they wore the smelly black leather jackets and pants they’d worn non-stop during their time in Hamburg, for the second half of the show they changed into the snappy new suits Brian Epstein had got them to start wearing.
A rather large group of British Monkees fans marched from London’s Marble Arch to the U.S. Embassy in Grosvenor Square today in 1967 to protest the planned “call-up” (conscription, or what we called “the draft” in America) of Davy Jones into the British Army. He was eventually exempted as being responsible for supporting his father.
Genesis had their first British #1 album today in 1980 with Duke. It was their 10th studio album, and the fourth since the departure of singer and frontman Peter Gabriel.
Canned Heat’s singer Bob “The Bear” Hite was found in his van, dead of a heart attack today in 1981. He was only 38.
Depending on who you talk to, Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain shot himself or was murdered today in 1994. The official ruling was suicide by a self-inflicted shotgun blast to the head, but some believe that he had taken too much heroin to be able to pull that off. Private investigator Tom Grant, hired by Kurt’s wife Courtney Love to find him when he went missing from an L.A. rehab center, became convinced that Kurt intended to divorce her and retire from the spotlight, and she’d had him killed so she could collect. He maintains that there is no way he could have pulled a trigger having taken that much heroin, and that the Seattle Police didn’t conduct a proper investigation, dismissing him as just another junkie. Kurt’s bandmates Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl are not among the conspiracy theory believers, but the arguments seemed valid enough to the producers of the 2015 documentary Soaked In Bleach. His body lay in a room over his Denny-Blaine mansion’s garage for three days before being discovered by an electrician installing a new alarm system. He called Seattle radio station KXRX before calling the police. Then-morning host Marty Reimer took the call and went on the air with the news before the body was officially identified. Within a half hour a TV news crew was in the station’s control room, interviewing midday host Scott Vanderpool, who’d been a fan of Nirvana since they opened for his band Chemistry Set at the Central Tavern in Pioneer Square several years earlier. The interviewer’s second question was “Do you think Nirvana will get a new lead singer?”, to which the irritated disc jockey replied, “We don’t even know if it’s him yet. Could you please leave?” 20 minutes later a short clip of the interview appeared on CNN, with Vanderpool mislabeled as “Steve Zanderpool“, which he still jokingly gets called by members of Seattle’s music community.
Jim Marshall died today in 2012 in London at age 88. His Marshall amplifiers, originally created as a lower-cost alternative to expensive American imports for British guitarists, became synonymous with rock and roll, played by Hendrix, Clapton, Page, and Townsend to name but a few.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Led Zeppelin’s notorious manager Peter Grant would be 81. He died of a heart attack at age 60.
Hollies singer Allan Clarke is 73.
Judas Priest drummer Dave Holland is 67.
Agnetha Fältskog, singer of the blistering, face-melting Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted band ABBA is 66. They disbanded after the Disco Destruction movement made them passé, but Agnetha will occasionally record a solo album when she’s not busy being one of the richest people in Sweden.
Pearl Jam’s lead guitarist, all-around swell guy, and graduate of Seattle’s Roosevelt Rock and Roll High School Mike McCready is 50. He marked the occasion last weekend with a party at The Neptune Theater featuring a performance by one of his favorite bands, Cheap Trick.