The Rolling Stones signed a management deal today in 1963 with publicist Andrew Loog Oldham, who had worked on Bob Dylan’s first British tour and for Brian Epstein and The Beatles. They also gave him rights to all their recordings to date for £90, which would much later lead to court. Oldham would conceive and nurture their bad-boy anti-Beatles image, persuade them to kick their piano player and musical heart and soul Ian Stewart out of the band (while retaining him as tour manager and back of the stage and in the studio piano player), produce all their early recordings despite having no previous experience in a recording studio, and after he sold his management rights to Allen Klein in ’67, was the subject of a rather nasty Rolling Stones song, Andrew’s Blues.
Jimmie Nicol was a London drummer The Beatles had tapped the year before to fill in for Ringo Starr, who’d been struck with tonsillitis and was in hospital having them out. Jimmie played a total of 8 shows (in Holland and the first part of their scheduled “Australasian” tour), thinking the attention would be good for his career, but today in 1965 he was in court to declare bankruptcy, owing debts of £4000. It had been fun while it lasted. He said “The day before I was a Beatle the girls weren’t interested in me at all. The day after with the suit and the Beatle cut, riding in the back of the limo with John and Paul, they were dying to get a touch of me. It was very strange and quite scary…..I thought I could drink and lay women with the best of them until I caught up with these guys”. John and Paul were kind to Jimmie during his brief run, always asking him if he was okay with all of it, and Jimmie’s unfailing reply, “It’s getting better”, would later inspire a pretty good Paul song. After playing in quite a few bands that never quite made it he hung up the drumsticks in ’67 to pursue a variety of entrepreneurial adventures, but since has never been comfortable talking about his time in The Beatles, and has never attempted to cash in on it.
A tonsil-less Ringo Starr was at Abbey Road today in 1969 singing the second song he’d ever written (with a little help from his friend George Harrison), Octopuses Garden. He’d come up with the lyrics during the time he’d briefly quit the band, and gone off to the Mediterranean with Peter Sellers on his yacht, after having squid-and-chips and a discussion with the boat’s captain about octopi, but George later remarked, “It’s so peaceful. I suppose Ringo is writing cosmic songs these days without even realizing it.”
Bruce Springsteen was enjoying the success of his breakthrough album Born to Run tonight in 1976, and also enjoying being fairly liquored up after a show in Memphis Tennessee when he decided to go visit his idol Elvis Presley at Graceland. Naturally it was quite late, and he found the famous “music gates” closed, so he climbed over the fence, only to be nabbed by The King’s security guards, told Elvis was not in the building, to go home and sleep it off, and tossed out of them.
All the members of Black Sabbath had been doing a lot of drugs and booze, but guitarist Tony Iommi said singer Ozzy Osbourne was on a whole other level, so drummer Bill Ward had drawn the short straw and had to tell him he was fired, and tonight in 1980 they began their first tour with new singer Ronnie James Dio. The band’s manager Don Arden had been feverishly trying to get them all back together, but it had been his daughter Sharon who had suggested replacing him with the elfish former frontman for Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. Sharon then began dating Ozzy, went on to manage his solo career, and married him in 1982, and do that wonderfully stupid reality show on MTV.
It wasn’t Ziggy who played guitar in David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust era band, it was Mick Ronson, who died of cancer at 46 today in 1993, and really should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as #41 on Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 100 Guitarist of All Time list. Ronson left Bowie for Mott The Hoople’s Ian Hunter about the time Bowie gave Hunter All The Young Dudes, later became a record producer and moved to Vancouver B.C., where he’d done a record for promising sister-fronted Seattle band The Visible Targets.
A $5 Million lawsuit against Creedence Clearwater Revival main man John Fogerty was thrown out of court today in 2003. The plaintiff, who happened to be a personal injury lawyer, claimed he’d suffered irreparable hearing loss after a Fogerty concert, but the judge was all like “Dude, you went to a rock concert. They’re loud.”
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Big band leader and jazz innovator Duke Ellington would be 117 if he’d made it past 75, but not too long before he passed he was asked about the new “rock and roll” music being made by the likes of The Beatles, and said “There’s only two kinds of music. Good music, and bad music, and you can find both in any kind of music you can think of. These Beatles are pretty good!”
Willie Nelson is 83. The Texan “outlaw country” singer-songwriter once worked as a disc jockey in Vancouver WA, has been a tireless advocate for the reform of marijuana laws, and set up the Farm Aid organization in 1985 with his friends Neil Young and John Mellencamp.
Artist and bass player Klaus Voorman is 78. He became good friends with The Beatles during their time in Hamburg, would create the cover for their Revolver album, play in Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band as well as in Manfred Mann and as a session musician.
Tommy James and the Shondells frontman Tommy “James” Jackson is 69.