George Martin’s First Hit, Zeppelin Open For The Who, Dire Straits Digital Hit: This Day In Classic Rock [Videos]

George Martin (KBE) had his first #1 hit in Britain today in 1961 with You’re Driving Me Crazy by the prohibition nostalgic jazz band The Temperance Seven.  He would go on to have a few more of those, and be knighted by the Queen for his work with a certain band from Liverpool.

Bluesman Sonny Boy Williamson died in his sleep tonight in 1965.  A huge early rock and roll influence, Van Morrison, Aerosmith, The Who, The Animals, The Yardbirds, and The Moody Blues all covered his songs. He may have influenced The Who and Led Zeppelin in other ways: On a tour of England in the 60’s, Williamson set his hotel room on fire while trying to cook a chicken in a coffeemaker.

There was a pretty great little rock show at the Merriweather Post Pavillion in Columbia Maryland tonight in 1969, with Led Zeppelin opening for the band who’s drummer had unwittingly given them their name, The Who. It was the only time the two bands ever played together. Zep manager Peter Grant had changed the spelling of Keith Moon’s “go over like a lead zeppelin” quip to L-E-D so people wouldn’t mistakenly pronounce it like “lead guitarist”, but that’s how it was printed on tonight’s tickets anyway.

It was today in 1974 that Rick Wakeman of Yes’ Journey To The Centre Of The Earth solo album went to #1 in England, a first for anyone from that band.

Dire Straits were at #1 on both sides of the Atlantic with their new album Brothers in Arms today in 1985. It was one of the first albums to be marketed in the newfangled “Compact Disc” format, and one of the very fist rock albums to be recorded all-digitally.

Bob Dylan was admitted to a hospital today in 1997, suffering from a lung infection called histoplamosis pericarditis. He’d be released June 2nd, and back on the road in 10 weeks, but he got a scare today, the day after his 56th birthday, and later said “I really thought I’d be seeing Elvis soon.”

Rock and Roll Birthdays

The lead singer of the Scorpions, Klaus Meine, is 68.  He has recuperated nicely from being hit in the throat with a camera one of you threw at him on the Monsters Of Rock tour in the Kingdome in 1988.

Co-lead singer and violinist Robby Steinhardt of Kansas is 66.

Paul Weller is 58. A household name in England, he first gained fame in the late 70’s as the leader of The Jam, who had great success reviving the British scooter-riding Mod scene of the early 60’s and The Who. At home he is commonly referred to as “The Modfather”, but they never really caught on in America, which is a shame.

5/25

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