17 year old John Lennon’s mother Julia was killed in Liverpool today in 1958 when she was hit by a car driven by off duty police officer Eric Clague, who was suspected of being drunken but later acquitted. John’s parents had broken up when he was very young, and he’d spent most of his childhood and adolescence living with his Aunt Mimi, but he saw Julia regularly and she was the one who’d bought him his first guitar two years earlier, while Mimi hoped he would grow out of his interest in music, telling him repeatedly, “The guitar’s all very well, John, but you’ll never make a living out of it”.
Elton John started a 5 week run at #1 on the album charts today in 1972 with Honky Chateau. Elton named his 5th studio album after the studio where it was recorded, northwest of Paris at the Château d’Hérouville, a former 18th century courier relay station between the cathedral city of Beauvais and the Palace at Versailles in France that once stabled 100 horses, and was once painted by Vincent Van Gogh, who is buried nearby. Bought by composer Michel Magne in 1962 and turned into a live-in recording studio, Elton, Pink Floyd, T Rex, Jethro Tull, Cat Stevens, The MC5, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Uriah Heep, The Bee Gees, The Grateful Dead, Rainbow, The Sweet, The Michael Schenker Group, Fleetwood Mac, and Chris Bell of Big Star all recorded there before it closed in 1985 amid financial problems to be taken over by squatters until it went on the market two years ago with an asking price of €1.29 million, and an understanding that it need hundreds of thousands in repairs. Unclear who the buyer was, but they’ve redone the recording studio, which is supposed to reopen this year.
The Kinks were headlining the Great Western Express Festival in West London tonight in 1973 when frontman Ray Davies, having recently been left by his wife who took their kids with her, announced from the stage that he was sick of the whole thing and was retiring from music permanently. He then left the arena and walked to a nearby hospital where he collapsed from an overdose of tranquilizers. The Kinks would only manage 13 more studio albums after Ray’s retirement until the band finally broke up in 1996, mostly due to fighting between Ray, his brother Dave, and drummer Mick Avory, who are said to be warming to the idea of a reunion.
Pink Floyd played a show on a barge floating on one of the picturesque canals of Venice Italy tonight in 1989. Authorities had loosely planned for 100,000 fans to attend, but over twice that many did, causing extensive damage to historic buildings and bridges, and cleanup costs were astronomical, leading to two of the events most ardent supporters on the city council being put on trial.
Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer was topping off the gas tank of his Lamborghini today in 1998 when it somehow caught fire, completely destroying the car, giving Joey 2nd degree burns, sending him to the hospital, and forcing Aerosmith to cancel a planned tour.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Moby Grape guitarist Peter Lewis is 71.
Singer Linda Ronstadt is 70.
Peter Banks, the original guitarist for Yes, would be 68 if he hadn’t died of a heart attack three years ago. He left the band in 1970 over “artistic differences” with singer Jon Anderson, to be replace by Steve Howe.
Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle is 68. He survived the 1977 plane crash that killed singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Steve Gaines, only to be shot with an air rifle by the son of an alarmed farmer who’s house the survivors had walked/crawled to after the crash.
Trevor Horn, a multi-instrumentalist and record producer (sometimes he’s called “the man who invented the 80’s”) is 67. He and Geoff Downes had a hit with The Buggles (Video Killed the Radio Star) before being asked to join Yes.
38 Special guitarist Jeff Carlisi is 64.
The New York Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders would be 64 if he hadn’t OD’ed on heroin in 1991.
Ian Curtis, frontman with the influential Manchester band Joy Division would be 60 if he hadn’t taken his own life at 23.
Jason Bonham, the son of Led Zeppelin drummer John and a pretty good drummer himself, is 50.