The Rolling Stones self-titled first album hit record stores in England today in 1964. It would go to #1 two weeks later. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had discovered, with a little push from John Lennon and Paul McCartney, that they they were quite capable of writing their own songs, and the album included one credited to them, and two credited to the “Nanker/Phelge” songwriting pseudonym they sometimes used. Produced by their managers Andrew Loog Oldham and Eric Easton with help from Americans Phil Spector and Gene Pitney (credited as “Uncle Phil” and”Uncle Gene”), the album wouldn’t be released in the U.S. until the end of May, with the added title “England’s Newest Hitmakers“, where it would go largely ignored, well after their first tour here in June.
The Beatles were busy filming A Hard Day’s Night in London today in 1964. It was another day of chase scenes, but instead of running from girls as they did yesterday, today was spent running from actors dressed as police officers. After wrapping the day’s production they headed for Abbey Road studios, where they recorded the title track John Lennon had started writing at the close of filming yesterday after hearing Ringo Starr say “Well, that was a hard day’s night.” It was done to their satisfaction in just 9 takes.
Desmond Dekker and the Aces went to #1 in England with The Israelites today in 1969. The “Ska” band were the first Jamaicans to have a hit outside their country, and paved the way for the Reggae of the 70’s. While artists like Bob Marley and Peter Tosh wouldn’t ever get that big in America, the British went nuts for it, and it became a big influence on acts like Led Zeppelin and Eric Clapton, and later “Ska revivalists” like The Police, The Specials, and Madness.
Led Zeppelin’s single Whole Lotta Love was certified gold in the U.S. today in 1970. It probably would have done the same at home in England, except manager Peter Grant never allowed the band to release a single in that single-happy country, wanting fans instead to buy whole albums, which they gladly did.
The Electric Light Orchestra played their first-ever show tonight in 1972 at a London nightclub. Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood had wanted to start a group using classical string instruments, and broke up their band The Move, who were quite popular in England but never really caught on in the U.S., but the Brits would be lukewarm toward ELO at best, while they became huge in America.
ABC TV ran a one-hour special called James Paul McCartney tonight in 1973. It featured performances by Wings and Paul by himself, and it was here he debuted the song he’d written for the latest James Bond movie, Live and Let Die.
Former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth was cited for buying a $10 bag of what he called “Jamaican bunk reefer” at Washington Square Park in New York City today in 1993. The bust would make headlines and make it into the monologues of all the late-night TV talk shows, but when an interviewer asked him if the whole thing was a publicity stunt, he replied “In New York this small of a bust is a $35 traffic citation. It literally says ‘Buick, Chevy, Other. Your dog poos on the sidewalk, it’s $50. If I was looking for publicity, I would have pooped on the sidewalk”.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Stealer’s Wheel as well as solo singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Gerry Rafferty would be 69 if he hadn’t passed in 2011.
The Tubes guitarist Bill “Sputnik” Spooner is 66.
Former Midnight Oil singer Peter Garrett is 63. After his band broke up in 2002 he became a political activist in his native Australia, serving as an elected member of Parliament as well as Minister of Environment, Heritage, and The Arts.