The Rolling Stones were playing a show in Blackpool, Lancashire tonight in 1964, and though some people think the strange custom of spitting on a band you like is particular to the “punk” rock era, someone decided to show their appreciation for The Stones by hurling their expectorate at Keith Richards. Of course Keith was at stage level, and the spitter at eye level, which put the pissed-off guitarist at an advantage when he placed his pointy-toed Italian boot square in his face. A small riot ensued in which 2 policemen and 30 audience members were hurt, and the venue suffered some £4000 in damages.
The Byrds went to #1 in England with their cover of Bob Dylan’s Mr. Tambourine Man today in 1965. They’d already hit that mark at home in the States, and Roger McGuinn’s use of the electric Rickenbacker 12-string guitar with it’s “jangly” sound would start a whole new sub-genre “folk rock”, encourage others (notably The Beatles George Harrison) to buy Rickenbacker 12-strings, and lead Dylan himself to go “electric”. Roger’s 12-string electric was much later purchased for a princely sum by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, a pretty decent guitarist himself, and put on display at the Experience Music Project museum here in Seattle.
All four Beatles and their manager Brian Epstein had signed a petition that appeared in The Times of London today in 1967 calling for the legalization of marijuana. It would be highly effective, though it would take 47 years and really only work in the American states of Washington, Colorado, Oregon, and Alaska, though it looks like California may join in the fun this year.
Paul McCartney was at Abbey Road today in 1969 recording Come and Get It. His band was disintegrating at the time, so he gave it to Welsh band The Iveys, who would shortly sign to The Beatles Apple label, change their name to Badfinger, and their version of the song would be featured on the soundtrack to the Peter Sellers/Ringo Starr film The Magic Christian.
Bobby Ramirez, drummer for Edgar Winter’s White Trash, was killed in a Chicago barroom brawl that started over the length of his hair tonight in 1972.
The Robert Stigwood film loosely based on The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album was released today in 1978. Naturally the Fab Four having broken up wanted nothing to do with it, so Stigwood decided to cast the biggest musical superstars of the day, Peter Frampton, the former Humble Pie guitarist soaring to the top of the charts with his album Frampton Comes Alive, and disco kings The Bee Gees. The film got horrible reviews, barely broke even at the box office despite the star power involved, and combined with the anti-disco backlash of the day, eventually all but killed the careers of all four.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Heinz Burt, bass player for the first English rock and roll band to have a hit in America The Tornados (Telstar in 1962) would be 74 if he hadn’t died of a stroke at age 57.
Jim Armstrong, guitarist with Van Morrison’s Them, is 72. After leaving the band in 1969 he moved to America where he played live with The Doors, Captain Beefheart, and Frank Zappa, was voted by the readers of Guitar Player magazine as the third best guitarist in the world (behind Jimi Hendrix and Zappa), and at one point sold a 1959 Gibson Les Paul he’d played on tour with Them that is now owned by Pearl Jam’s lead guitarist Mike McCready.