The Beatles had their first #1 hit today in 1963 with From Me To You, which was inspired by the “letters” column in the British music magazine New Musical Express, though John and Paul changed it’s title, From You to Us.
The Who put on a “listening party” tonight in 1969, giving the music press a chance to hear their new album Tommy before it’s release. It was Pete Townsend’s second attempt at a “rock opera”. The first, A Quick One While He’s Away, had come from Pete’s idea of stitching together a bunch of short songs into one big one, but his new story of a deaf, dumb, and blind boy turned messiah was a more cohesive concept. Townsend didn’t some up with the idea of a “concept album” though, Ray Davies had done that the year before with The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society.
Pink Floyd played at the Manchester Chamber of Commerce tonight in 1969, a show they recorded and included on their double-album Ummagumma.
Bruce Springsteen was at the New York office of CBS records Artist and Reportoir man John Hammond today in 1972, playing a short set on acoustic guitar as an audition. He clearly passed, as an excited Hammond, the man who had signed Bob Dylan to a contract 10 years earlier, quickly arranged a show at The Gaslight Club that night for the rest of CBS’s executives, and Hammond continued to be so excited he suffered a mild heart attack during the show.
Seattle’s Nirvana, who had done their first album here in Seattle for about $600, began recording their second, Nevermind, today in 1991 at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys California. The Studio been responsible for over a hundred certified gold and/or platinum albums, but this one would not only go multi-platinum, but also be largely responsible for wiping an entire genre of rock music…80’s big-hair and spandex “butt rock” from America’s radio airwaves. Drummer Dave Grohl was so smitten with the place that when it closed in 2011 he bought the studio’s soundboard and installed in his own home studio, and then made a documentary film called, oddly enough, Sound City, which included interviews with many of the artists who’d recorded there, including Neil Young, Tom Petty, and Fleetwood Mac.
Cream reunited for the first time in 36 years tonight in 2005 for the first of four shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Fans came from all over the world and paid as much as £500 for tickets to the show Eric Clapton had agreed to the reunion as his former bandmates Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker were getting old, and Baker was broke. He made quite a lot of money from the shows, and, as documented in the bio-pic Beware of Mr. Baker, promptly blew it all on polo ponies.
14 tourists on a “Magical Mystery” tour bus in Liverpool stopping at the childhood homes of The Beatles and places mentioned in their songs today in 2009 apparently didn’t notice that among them was the man who’d first turned the band on to pot on their first visit to America in 1964, Bob Dylan, who was on a break from his tour there.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Link Wray would be 87 if he’d made it past 76. He and Dave Davies of The Kinks are widely credited as the first to intentionally distort the sound of their electric guitars.
Steppenwolf keyboard player Goldy McJohn is 71, and now living among us in Seattle.
Former Foreigner lead singer Lou Gramm is 66.