American rockabilly star Gene Vincent played a show in London’s Bishop’s Gate neighborhood tonight in 1964. Tickets were a whopping 6 Shillings and 6 Pence ($.94), and posters advertised that the first 50 girls would get in free. Gene had been seriously injured in a high-speed Wiltshire car crash 3 years earlier that killed his friend Eddie Cochran, but Gene had returned to England several times, finally moving there in ’63 to avoid a dispute with the Internal Revenue Service (by the late 70’s British rock stars would be moving to the U.S. as tax exiles themselves), and had played shows with numerous Brits as a backing band (most notably The Outlaws featuring future Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, and Sounds Incorporated, who would later open for The Beatles at Shea Stadium), but when Gene returned to America his career fizzled. He was one of the first inductees into the rockabilly hall of fame when it opened in 1997, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland the following year.
Chuck Berry, fresh out of prison for taking liberties with a 14 year old girl, started his first tour of the U.K tonight in 1964 with a show at London’s Saville theater with opening acts The Animals, The Swingin’ Blue Jeans (who’d changed their name from Blue Genes, which honored Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps), Karl Denver, and The Nashville Teens (who were in fact from Surrey). In the audience were all of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, who had both aided Chuck’s “comeback” by covering his songs.
The Beatles were at London’s Royal Albert Hall tonight in 1965 to see another of their favorite American performers, Bob Dylan, who had turned them on to weed on their first visit to The States a year earlier.
The Doors were on stage at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go on the sunset Strip in Hollywood today in 1966, auditioning for the role of “house band”. They got the gig, but would be fired in August when singer Jim Morrison included a particularly graphic and obscenity laced retelling of the Greek myth of Oedipus into an extended version of The End.
Winnipeg Canada band The Guess Who started a 3 week run on the U.S. charts with American Woman today in 1970. The song had come out of a jam at a show at a curling rink in Ontario when guitarist Randy Bachman had broken a string, and started playing the song’s heavy riff with the strings that were left. The rest of the band had joined in and singer Burton Cummings started improvising lyrics about the American draft and the Vietnam War when they noticed a young fan with a cassette recorder “bootlegging” the show, and asked him for the tape which they took home to flush out the song.
The Rolling Stones had played a show in January to benefit victims of a massive earthquake in Nicaragua raising $350,000, and when the money was finally delivered today in 1973, singer Mick Jagger tossed in a check for an additional $150,000 of his own.
The Tubes flamboyant frontman Fee Waybill broke his leg on stage in London tonight in 1978, which is not at all surprising considering the outfit and especially the shoes he used on stage at the time, which are shown in the video below, but at the time Fee was also waving a chainsaw around.
Rapper Sean John “Puff Daddy/Diddy/P.Diddy” Combs was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live tonight in 1998, performing his hit Come With Me from the soundtrack to the latest remake of Godzilla. Combs had heavily sampled Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir, and not only did he cheerfully pony up the royalty money, tonight he brought along Jimmy Page to play the guitar riff on SNL, and paid him for that too.
David Bowie’s video for his new song The Next Day was at the center of controversy over interweb censorship today in 2013, when it was pulled from YouTube by YouTube after complaints over the religious imagery in the art film piece starring British actor Gary Oldman and French actress Marion Cotillard by conservatives, but they got even more complaints from internet neutrality and David Bowie fans that they quickly put it back up with the Adult Content Warning we share with you here (there’s really quite a lot of religious imagery some might find offensive…Oldman is dressed as a priest in the company of prostitutes when he punches a beggar…Cotillard appears to bleed from Stigmata…and we get a couple of brief boob-glimpses)
Rock and Roll Birthdays
The Ventures bass and later lead guitar player Nokie Edwards is 81. He’d played in Buck Owens’ band, and when Buck moved to Fife when he got a job at a Tacoma radio and TV stations KTNT in the late 50’s, Edwards came along to play in the band, and from there met Bob Bogle and Don Wilson who’d already started The Most Famous Instrumental Rock Band of All Time. Nokie started a second career as an actor later, and appeared in the brilliant HBO miniseries Deadwood.
Sam and Dave’s Dave Prater would be 77 if he hadn’t crashed into a tree on the way to his mom’s house at age 50.
Sonny Curtis is 79. He’d been buddies with Buddy Holly since they were teenagers, joined The Crickets, and was the one who took over as frontman when Buddy died, and though their popularity soon faded, Sonny’s song I Fought The Law would later be hits for The Bobby Fuller Four and The Clash.
Buffalo Springfield and Poco guitarist Richie Furay is 72.
Pianoman Billy Joel is 67.
Cheap Trick bass player Tom Petersson is 66.