The Rolling Stones made their British television debut tonight in 1963 on Thank Your Lucky Stars. The show would end in ’66, and the Stones would appear on it 12 more times before then. Bands would “Mime” (these days called “lip-synching”) to their latest single, presented by Brian Matthew, who is still a disc jockey on the BBC to this day.
The Kinks were at #1 on the British charts with Sunny Afternoon today in 1966, the third…and last…time they’d hit the top of the pops. Taking a cue from The Beatles, the band made a short promotional film for Ray Davies sarcastic social commentary about Britain’s wealthiest elites complaining about the high level of taxation under the 60’s Labour government, that features the band in an anything but sunny summer environment. Unlike a lot of their English rock contemporaries, The Kinks never left the country to become “tax exiles” abroad.
3/4 of The Beatles were at Abbey Road today in 1969 in a decidedly sunny mood themselves as they laid down George Harrison’s Here Comes the Sun. John Lennon was in a decidedly less sunny mood, still in a hospital in Scotland recovering from a car crash the previous week. He had the car he was in crushed into a cube and placed as an art installation on the lawn of his house.
Session keyboard player Billy Preston, who’d worked with The Beatles among many others, and been the inspiration for Stephen Stills hit with his catch phrase “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with”, was on top of the charts with a hit of his own today in 1973, Will It Go Round In Circles?
They didn’t know it at the time, but Led Zeppelin played what would be the last show with their original lineup tonight in 1980 in West Berlin at the end of a brief, low key European tour that had seen the on-stage collapse of drummer John Bonham, who would be dead by September due to heavy drinking.
Bruce Springsteen went to #1 on the U.S. singles chart today in 1984, three days after Independence Day, with Born In The U.S.A., which many conservatives took as a chest-beating bit of patriotic nationalism. Ronald Reagan praised him in campaign speeches, and syndicated conservative columnist George Will even wrote a piece called “Yankee Doodle Springsteen“, but The Boss actually wrote the song as a scathing indictment of futility of the Vietnam War, and as a tribute to many of his working class friends who’d had to go fight it, especially the ones that didn’t make it home.
Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett died today in 2006 of pancreatic cancer brought on by diabetes at age 60. He’d quit/been fired from the band in 1968 after a long period of increasingly erratic behavior fueled by a large intake of LSD, but managed two solo albums both produced by his old bandmates. He’d shown up at the recording sessions for the album he’d inspired in 1975, Wish You Were Here, again acted rather bizarrely, showing up having shaved all the hair off his head, including his eyebrows, and they didn’t recognize him at first. It would be the last time any of Pink Floyd ever saw him again.
The Beatles drummer Ringo Starr celebrated his 70th birthday tonight in 2010 at Radio City Music Hall in New York. His All-Starr Band was joined by his brother-in-law Joe Walsh, Yoko Ono, AC/DC’s Angus Young, the E-Street Band’s Steven Van Zandt, and his old Beatle bandmate Paul McCartney, who sang him a rousing rendition of Birthday.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Richard Starkey (MBE) is 76, better known by the stage name he adopted while playing with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, Ringo Starr. He replaced Pete Best in The Beatles in 1962, and though history shows he was eventually quite well-accepted, their early fans in Liverpool were pissed, and many showed up with signs reading “Pete Forever, Ringo Never!”