It was one year and one day after their first live gig, tonight in 1963 that The Rolling Stones played their first show outside of London, opening for The Hollies at the Alcove Cub in Middlesbrough, Yorkshire. By now they’d settled on their classic line-up, with Bill Wyman on bass and Charlie Watts on drums.
It was today in 1967 that the darlings of London’s swingin’ psychedelic hipster scene, The Pink Floyd made their second appearance on the BBC’s Top Of The Pops, to promote their single See Emily Play. Almost no video footage of these early shows survives.
Black Sabbath played their first show ever tonight in 1968 at a small nightclub in their native Birmingham.
Over 100 U.S. Bible-Belt radio stations banned The Beatles song Ballad of John and Yoko today in 1969, finding John’s clever chorus offensive: Christ you know it ain’t easy, you know how hard it can be, the way things are going, they’re going to crucify me.
Elton John hit the British charts today in 1974 with his 8th studio album, named for the studio where he recorded it, Caribou. Caribou Ranch was high in the Colorado Rockies, built and owned by Chicago producer-manager, James William Guercio.
It was today in 1978 that the BBC banned the latest single from The Sex Pistols, No One Is Innocent. It featured a guest vocal from Ronnie Biggs, one of the perpetrators of the British Great Train Robbery in 1963, who was living in exile in Brazil.
Bob Geldoff’s Live Aid started today in 1985 simultaneously at London’s Wembley Stadium and JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, a fundraiser that eventually pulled in $283.6 million dollars to fight famine in Ethiopia. Phil Collins sang at both shows and played drums for Eric Clapton and a briefly reunited Led Zeppelin, jetting across the Atlantic on the Concorde.
The World’s record for Largest Guitar-Army Jam was set today in 1996, with over 2000 players joining Chet Atkins and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter of the Doobies and Steely Dan in bashing through Elvis’ Heartbreak Hotel for 75 minutes at Riverfront Park in Nashville. The previous record was set up in Vancouver BC two years earlier, with BTO’s Randy Bachman leading 1,322 axe-slingers through a 68 minute version of Takin’ Care Of Business.
Rod Stewart was at Buckingham Palace today in 2007, being made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order Of The British Empire by Prince Charles.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Byrds leader Roger McGuinn is 74 today. The Rickenbacker 12-String that made the band’s signature “jangle” sound is now owned by Paul Allen, and resides in a glass case at Seattle’s Experience Music Project.
J Geils Band drummer Stephen Jo Bladd is also 74 today.