Joe Brown and the Bruvvers played at Cambridge Hall in Southport England, which is actually North of Liverpool, tonight in 1962. Very few people outside of England remember Joe Brown, but he was voted by New Musical Express readers as the “Top UK vocal personality” for that year, and he was made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to music in 2009. But everybody remembers the opening band that night, even if they weren’t there, because they were called The Beatles.
Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones made the cover of Rolling Stone magazine today in 1969. Unfortunately it wasn’t for his guitar playing or his unique ability to pick up just about any instrument laying around a recording studio and being able to figure out how to play it in short order, but because he had been found dead at the bottom of his swimming pool at age 27 earlier this month.
It was day two of the Seattle Pop Festival today in 1969, a three day festival held out at Gold Creek Park in Woodinville, just across the valley from where the Chateau St. Michelle Winery holds concerts today. A full month before the legendary festival in Woodstock NY, the lineup featured some who would play there (Ten Years After and Santana) and many more who did not ( Led Zeppelin, Chuck Berry, The Doors, The Chicago Transit Authority, Bo Diddley, Ike and Tina Turner, The Youngbloods, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Spirit, Vanilla Fudge, The Guess Who, It’s A Beautiful Day, The Byrds, Lee Michaels, and Albert Collins). Organized by Boyd Gramfire who’d been inspired when he went to the Monterrey Pop Festival, tickets were $6 a day or $15 for all three, and though the attendance exceeded expectations leading to some logistical problems (bathrooms mostly), the 50,000 or so who showed up were eclipsed by the ten times that who showed up in upstate New York.
Jimi Hendrix played his last show ever in his hometown of Seattle today in 1970 at Sick’s Stadium in the Rainier valley, where he had seen Elvis Presley play in 1957. Earlier in the day disc jockey and concert promoter Pat O’Day had arranged for Jimi to play a short set at an assembly at his old high school, Garfield. Bass player Billy Cox and drummer Mitch Mitchell were too hung over to attend, but Jimi managed to drag himself out of bed to show up and answer a few awkward questions from the mostly African-American student body about his success, but most of them were wondering why a guy very much like them would be dressed like a hippie and hanging out with white people playing English style rock and roll.
The Rolling Stones hired graffiti artists to head out into the streets of London with spray paint “rattle cans” to promote their new album It’s Only Rock and Roll today in 1974. Most bands, the Stones included, would usually go on tour to promote new records, but instead they went right back in the studio to start work on their next record, one of several things that led guitarist Mick Taylor to quit the band.
CBS records executives were having a conference at the Hilton Hotel in London tonight in 1977, and Elvis Costello thought he’d take advantage of the event, and started playing outside the hotel hoping to attract attention, but instead he was arrested and fined £5.
Led Zeppelin were back at the Hollywood “Riot House” hotel today in 1977. Having finished two shows in the Oakland Coliseum, and scheduled to play what would have been the biggest indoor show ever in 4 days at the New Orleans Superdome, but they learned of the death of Robert Plant’s son Karac of a stomach virus, and cancelled the rest of the tour.
Former Genesis lead singer Peter Gabriel was at #1 on the U.S. charts with his song Sledgehammer today in 1986. He’d left the band after their Lamb Lies Down on Broadway tour in ’76, and they had done quite well with drummer Phil Collins on lead vocal (after auditioning some 400 potential replacements), and Sledgehammer was Gabriel’s biggest solo hit since, and the video he’d made for the song ended up being the most-played video ever on MTV.
The cheap Rex acoustic guitar on which Paul McCartney had learned his first chords and persuaded John Lennon to let him join the Quarrymen because he knew how to tune it and could play Eddie Cochran’s 20 Flight Rock, sold at auction in London today in 2006 for £330,000 (a little over a half-million U.S.).
AC/DC lead singer, auto racing enthusiast, and car collector Brian Johnson appeared on the BBC’s internationally popular car show Top Gear today in 2009. He was introduced by host Jeremy Clarkson as “A man who has sold more records than The Beatles, and I bet almost none of the studio audience has ever heard of him”. His lap time as “A Star in a Reasonably Priced Car” tied with American Idol host Simon Cowell for the second fastest of that season.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger is 73. Last week his 29 year old girlfriend announced she is pregnant with what will be his 8th child, though he is already a great-grandfather.
Queen’s singing drummer Roger Taylor is 67.