John Lennon and Paul McCartney met for the first time today in 1957 at the Parish “Fete”, what we’d now call a “Barbeque” at the St. Peter’s Parish Church in Liverpool where John’s Quarry Men were playing. They quickly found a mutual love of the American records they collected, and Paul and impressed John mightily when he picked up his guitar and knocked out Eddie Cochran’s Twenty Flight Rock. He knew all the words, but even more amazingly he could tune the thing, something the Quarry Men had to have someone do for them. Paul joined almost immediately of course, and the two would hang out many sunny summer days in the church yard, completely unaware that in it’s graveyard was the headstone of one Eleanor Rigby (1895-1939). Paul later said he made up that name, taking the name Eleanor from actress Eleanor Bron, who’d had a part in Help!, and Rigby from the sign for a liquor store in Bristol, Rigby and Evens Wine and Spirit Shippers Ltd.
7 years later The Beatles were the biggest band in the world and John, Paul, George, and Ringo (on the eve of his 24th birthday) were all at the Pavilion Theater in London for the world premier of their movie A Hard Day’s Night tonight in 1964. Directed by Richard Lester, who’s The Running Jumping And Standing Still Film was a band favorite, who picked playwright Alun Owen to come up with the Oscar nominated script capturing their lives of “A train and a room and a car and a room and a room and a room”. “Alun hung around with us and and was careful to put words in our mouths he might’ve heard us speak”, Paul said later.
The Pink Floyd played on television for the first time today in 1967, doing See Emily Play on the BBC’s Top Of The Pops. The video was thought lost for years, but surfaced in 2010 in a badly damaged home recording.
Led Zeppelin played the prestigious Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island tonight in 1969. They went on right after drummer Buddy Rich’s big band, which had John Bonham’s jaw on the floor. So many people were headed to the Festival to see Zeppelin that promoters, fearful of overcrowding, had local radio stations lie and say they weren’t going to appear.
Queen released their debut single Keep Yourself Alive today in 1973. It went nowhere on the charts.
Keith Richards was arrested by the Arkansas Highway Patrol today in 1975, on charges of reckless driving and possession of a dangerous 7-inch hunting knife.
Olivia Harrison put the house she and George lived in up for sale today in 2002, saying she couldn’t bear to stay where a nutjob had broken in and stabbed George in 1999. Asking price: £20 million.
Today in 2004 on the 40th anniversary of it’s release, a private party was held for the cast and crew of the Beatles film A Hard Days Night. Paul McCartney showed up, as did most of the surviving actors, including a grown man named David Janson, who was the small boy who followed Ringo around when he ran off.
One Carol Hawkins was in court in Dublin today in 2012, being convicted on 181 counts of embezzling €2.8 million from the bank accounts of U2 bass player Adam Clayton, for whom she worked as a personal assistant.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Bill Haley of And His Comets would be 91 today, he died at 55 in 1981.
Michael Shrieve, Santana’s original drummer and at 19 the youngest person on stage at Woodstock, is 67. He moved to Seattle in 1990 and still plays jazz in local nightclubs on occasion, though he recently bought a place in Los Angeles where he’s been working with the reunited “classic” Woodstock-era line up of Shrieve, percussionist Mike Carabello, guitarist Neal Schon, Carlos, and Seattle-born lead singing keyboard player Greg Rolie. In April they released Santana IV, the 45-year later latin jazz fusion followup to the last one they did together, the multi-platinum Santana III.