Buddy Holly was at #1 today in 1959 with a cover of Paul Anka’s It Doesn’t Matter Anymore. Unfortunately for Buddy it didn’t matter anymore, as he’d been killed in a plane crash on February 3rd.
Bob Dylan made $50 with his first professional recording session today in 1961, but being a household name was still quite a ways off. He just played harmonica on a Harry Belafonte record.
The Beatles new record label Apple Corps Ltd. signed quite a few artists in their first year, including Badfinger, James Taylor, Billy Preston, and the Modern Jazz Quartet, but they turned one down today in 1968 that maybe they shouldn’t have. David Bowie apparently didn’t take it personally though, and would later become quite friendly with John Lennon while they were both living in New York.
Pete Ham, guitarist singer and songwriter with Badfinger, hung himself in the garage of his Surrey home today in 1975, joining what Kurt Cobain’s Mom would later call “That Stupid Club” of rock stars dead at age 27. He was just 3 days short of his 28th birthday. Despite having several huge hits with his own band, and his song Without You being a huge hit for Harry Nilsson, Badfinger was nearly destitute and the band’s manager wasn’t returning phone calls. An autopsy showed he was quite drunk at the time, and he left behind a pregnant girlfriend. The band’s financial woes continued, and Pete’s songwriting partner in the band Tom Evans never quite got over Pete’s suicide, and took his own life as well in 1983.
Paul and Linda McCartney were visiting John Lennon at the Dakota Apartments in New York tonight in 1976 when they decided to flip on the Telly and catch the new counterculture-friendly comedy show NBC’s Saturday Night (later called Saturday Night Live). It happened to be the night when producer Lorne Michaels made one of his rare appearances, and his deadpan bit that night was to come on and publicly offer The Beatles the whopping sum of $3000 if they’d reunite on the show. The Beatles had already been offered millions of course, but John and Paul were quite amused, and John later told a Playboy magazine interviewer that they very nearly went, but in the end decided they wouldn’t make it before the show was over.
The crew constructing the stage and sets for Roger Waters’ performance of Pink Floyd’s The Wall at the Potsdamer Platz in Berlin discovered an unexploded WWII bomb today in 1990. The show would be bumped back to July, but would draw some 350,000 people, setting a new record for the highest attendance ever at a rock show by 0ne artist.
David Bowie married Somali supermodel Iman in Switzerland today in 1992. It was the second marriage for Bowie, who’d divorced Angie Bowie 12 years earlier, and the third for Iman, who’d been married to a Somali man and former Seattle Supersonic player Spencer Haywood.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Creedence Clearwater Revival drummer Doug “Cosmo” Clifford is 71 and still playing live with CCR bass player Stu Cook as Creedence Clearwater Revisited, though frontman John Fogerty has been said to be warming to the idea of a reunion.
Jethro Tull’s first bass player Glenn Cornick is 69.
Nigel Harrison, the British-born original bass player for New York band Blondie is 65. When the band re-formed for their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2006 he and guitarist Frank Infante showed up wanting to play with them, a request that was very publicly denied by singer Debbie Harry, and led to one of the ceremonies more awkward moments.