Hendrix Wows ‘Em In London, Reg Becomes Elton, And The Swine Cuss In Morse Code: This Day In Classic Rock [Videos]

Jimi Hendrix had played his first show in London the previous November to the amazement of Britain’s rock royalty, but he was continuing to amaze tonight in 1967, when The Experience played two shows at the Saville Theater, attended by Ringo Starr, Brian Jones, all of The Moody Blues, and all the way from Los Angeles, The Beach Boys.

Florida “psychedelic folk” band Pearls Before Swine began recording their first album One Nation Underground today in 1967. When the album came out in October, New York disc jockey Murray the K made the unfortunate choice of playing a song from it on his radio show. Members of a local Boy Scout troop were able to figure out that (Oh Dear) Miss Morse contained a message in Morse Code, which repeatedly spelled out the letters K-C-U-F, not necessarily in that order, and their parents were quick to file complaints, leading to the song being banned and Pearls Before Swine being largely forgotten, though the band’s main man Tom Rapp, who lived near Cape Canaveral would write a song called Rocket Man the day Apollo 11 lifted off, which Elton John’s lyricist Bernie Taupin would freely admit he ripped off when he wrote his own Rocket Man.

Reginald Kenneth Dwight of the London suburb of Middlesex was at the Deed Poll Office there today in 1972, having his cumbersome name changed legally to Elton Hercules John, the stage name he’d already been using, taken from the names of the saxophonist Elton Dean from one of the bands he’d been in, Bluesology, and Long John Baldry, who he’d also played with, and a man who would later talk him out of suicide, as he recounts in the song Someone Saved My Life Tonight.

Led Zeppelin were at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City tonight in 1974, throwing a party to celebrate the impending  launch of their own record label, Swan Song. The idea of having their own label was not only cooked up by manager Peter Grant to send more of Led Zeppelin’s money to Led Zeppelin, it was also intended to be home to other artists the band liked but felt weren’t getting enough attention from the established record companies. They would eventually release albums from The Pretty Things, Scottish singer Maggie Bell, Welch guitarist Dave Edmunds, British-American band Detective (which featured Yes’s original keyboardist Tony Kaye), and British “supergroup” Bad Company.

The Eagles scored their 4th American #1 hit with the single Hotel California today in 1977. The song’s dual guitar solo between Joe Walsh and Don Felder would be ranked as the best of all time by readers of Guitarist magazine, and the 8th best of all time by the competing Guitar.

Wilson Pickett was arrested today in 1991 in Englewood New Jersey for driving his car over the Mayor’s lawn while yelling death threats, and accidentally hitting an 86 year old man. No one knows exactly why the Detroit soul singer was pissed at the leader of the small town on the other side of the Hudson River from the north end of Manhattan Island, but he was found to have several open bottles of liquor in the car and charged with DUI.

Rock and Roll Birthdays

Half of the Grateful Dead’s two-drummer attack, Bill Kreutzmann, is 70.

The New York Dolls and Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers drummer Jerry Nolan would be 70 if he hadn’t died of a stroke at 45.

The Tubes, Journey, Todd Rundgren, Jefferson Starship, and The New Cars drummer Charles “Prairie” Prince is 66.

5/7

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