The Beatles were back in Liverpool today in 1964 for the hometown premier of A Hard Day’s Night, which had opened in London 4 days earlier. The Liverpudlian Lord Mayor saw fit to honor the band with a special ceremony at the town hall, and as some 200,000 fans gathered in the streets below with the band on a balcony, John Lennon was struck by the Nüremberg-Rally like setting and jokingly gave a few Nazi “Seig-Heil” salutes, which not everyone found funny.
Eric Clapton announced today in 1968 that Cream would break up after a farewell American tour (Clapton was huge at home in England, but had left The Yardbirds before For Your Love became a hit, and Cream had made him a superstar in the U.S.), and two shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker had been famous for fighting in the Graham Bond Organization, and had promised Eric they’d get along, but of course they didn’t and Cream had become unbearable. Clapton had invited keyboard player Steve Winwood to join the group in hopes he’d be a calming influence, but the two decided to form a new band after the breakup, and had no intention of using Baker in Blind Faith, but somehow he found out about the first drummerless practice session, and showed up anyway, and neither had the heart to tell him he couldn’t be in the band.
The Nice were told they were “banned for life” from the Royal Albert Hall today in 1968 after organist Keith Emerson had burned an American flag on stage in protest of the Vietnam War while they played a rocking rendition of Leonard Bernstein’s America from West Side Story, which Keith had described as “the world’s first instrumental protest song” at their show there in late June. The band would break up not long after, and Emerson started Emerson Lake and Palmer two years later.
Today in 1969 was the funeral of The Rolling Stones founding guitarist Brian Jones at the Hatherly Road Parish Church in his hometown of Cheltenham. Bandmates Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts attended, but Mick Jagger was in Australia filming Ned Kelly, and Keith Richards was shacking up with Brian’s old girlfriend Anita Pallenberg, and thought it best not to attend. Brian was buried at 12 feet deep to prevent morbid fans from digging him up.
Harry Nilsson released his 8th album Son of Schmillson today in 1972. It listed some interesting backup musicians: George Harrysong on guitar (George Harrison), Richie Snare on drums (Ringo Starr), and a relatively unknown guitarist named Peter Frampton.
Chuck Berry was sentenced to 5 months in prison today in 1979 after being found guilty of tax evasion.
The Who’s bass player John Entwistle was buried in his hometown of Gloucestershire today in 2002, a week after dying of a heart attack in his hotel room at the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel and Casino after retiring for the evening with Hookers and Blow. The funeral at a 12th century church was attended by over 200, including former bandmates Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend, who later remarked that he’d known John since they started the band, but only found out at the funeral that he’d been a Freemason.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and Dio singer Ronnie James Dio would be 74 if he hadn’t died of cancer at 67.
Moby Grape guitarist and Seattle area resident Jerry Miller is 73, and still plays for the bikers most every Taco Thursday at Uncle Sam’s Bar and Grill in Spanaway.
Arlo Guthrie is 69.
Triumph guitarist Rik Emmett is 63.
The Runaways drummer Sandy West would be 57 if she hadn’t died of cancer at 47.