The Beatles Open For An Idol, The Band Set Off On Their Own: This Day In Classic Rock [Videos]

American rockabilly star Gene Vincent played the Liverpool Cavern Club tonight in 1962, with an up-and-coming local band The Beatles as openers. The not-yet Fab Four idolized Vincent and his friend Eddie Cochran, who had been killed in a car wreck on their first trip to England two years earlier (indeed John Lennon had asked Paul McCartney to be in the band partly because he knew all the words to Cochran’s Twenty Flight Rock) that had left Gene crippled for life and drinking heavily, and he was spending more and more time in England as a tax dodge from the I.R.S. The next year Vincent would tour England again, with a British backing band called The Outlaws, which featured future Deep Purple lead guitarist Ritchie Blackmore.

Having toured as a backing band for Canadian rockabilly star Ronnie Hawkins (as The Hawks) and Bob Dylan (as The Hawks and as The Band), The Band released their first album of their own today in 1968. Music From Big Pink referred to a house they’d rented and written the songs in in West Saugerties, New York, and included the hit The Weight, which would peak at #63 on the Billboard chart, but do better in England and Canada, and gain in popularity when they played it at Woodstock and it was included in the film Easy Rider (though due to contractual conflicts the version included on the Easy Rider soundtrack album is a cover by the band Smith).

John Lennon and Yoko Ono were injured in a car crash in Golspie Scotland today in 1969. Both required hospitalization, and John later had what was left of the car crushed into a cube and displayed on the lawn of his house at Tittenhurst Park.

An English band made up of virtuoso multi-instrumentalist-singer-songwriter-and-record producers named for the amount of semen ejaculated by the average male, 10cc, had their biggest hit today in 1975 when I’m Not In Love went to #1.

Steppenwolf bass player Rushton Moreve was killed in a motorcycle crash in Santa Barbara today in 1981 at age 32. He’d co-written their hit Magic Carpet Ride with John Kay, but quit the band in ’68 when he’d refused to return to California with them, certain that the entire state was about to fall into the ocean during an imminent earthquake.

Six postage stamps designed by Paul McCartney went on sale on The Isle of Man today in 2002. The Island in the sea between England and Ireland is home to the world’s only true motorcycle road race, and has it’s own postal service. Proceeds from Sir Paul’s stamps were being routed to the adopt a minefield charity being championed by his new wife Heather Mills.

Rock and Roll Birthdays

Bluesman Willie Dixon, without whom there would have been no Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin to name but a few, would be 101 if he hadn’t passed in 1992.

Guitarist Delaney Bramlett would be 77 if he’d made it past age 69. He’s famous for teaching George Harrison how to play slide guitar, and the 70’s band he started with his wife, Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, which featured a revolving cast of backing musicians including Harrison, Dave Mason, Gram Parsons, Gregg Allman, Duane Allman, Eric Clapton and the rest of what would become Derek and the Dominoes.

Former Playboy Bunny turned led singer of Blondie, Deborah Harry is 71.

The Blues Brothers singer and  harmonica player Elwood Blues and comedic actor Dan Akyroyd is 64.

Actress Liv Tyler, the daughter of Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler and model, Playboy playmate and groupie Bebe Buell, is 39. She spent the early part of her life thinking her father was Buell’s longtime boyfriend Todd Rundgren.

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