The Beatles played for the last time at Liverpool’s Cavern Club today in 1963. Their take for the first performance was £5 ($7.75), for the last show they’d moved up in the world: £300 ($465). The original club would close ten years later to become a railway station, but be rebuilt using most of the original bricks in 1984 by Liverpool F.C. star Tommy Smith, and Paul McCartney would be the only one to return, for a show in 1999.
The Beach Boys released the first song their leader Brian Wilson wrote…Surfer Girl…today in 1963. It also marked Brian’s debut as the Beach Boys producer.
The Doors got their second number one hit today in 1968: Hello, I Love You was slagged in the music press as being derivative of the 1964 Kinks hit All Day And All of The Night, which Kinks guitarist Dave Davies found particularly irritating. At #3 on the US charts today in ’68 was Puerto Rican guitarist José Feliciano’s cover of the first Doors #1, Light My Fire.
Paul McCartney announced the formation of a new band with the Moody Blues’ Denny Laine and his wife Linda today in 1971: Wings would go on to have 14 top ten singles in the U.S., with six of them going to number one.
Def Leppard released their fourth studio album today in 1987. Hysteria would be their top seller, it’s title came from drummer Rick Allen, relating to the aftermath of the car wreck in which he lost his arm.
Bob Dylan returned to the Newport Folk Festival today in 2002, 37 years after he’d been booed there for plugging in a Statocaster.
36 years after abandoning his PhD in Astrophysics to play rock and roll, Brian May of Queen handed in his thesis on The Formation of Zodiacal Dust Clouds today in 2007. In addition to getting to put “Doctor” in front of his name, Brian is now the chancellor of Liverpool John Moore’s University, a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE), and #26 on the Rolling Stone Top 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All time list.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Jimmie Nicol is 77. He was The Beatles replacement-drummer for a few warm up shows in Denmark then the first several dates on their Australian-Southeast Asian tour in 1964 when Ringo Starr came down with tonsillitis. George Martin had tapped him as an affable replacement who he’d recorded at EMI Studios, but had also played most of the songs on a budget Beatle covers album. He later said “The day before I was a Beatle, girls weren’t interested in me at all. The day after, with the suit and the Beatle cut, riding in the back of the limo with John and Paul, they were dying to get a touch of me. It was very strange and quite scary.” He also gave some insight to how the band spent it’s time between shows: “I thought I could drink and lay women with the best of them until I caught up with these guys”, but surprisingly he’s never made any attempt to cash in on his time with them, noting the $2500 a show he was paid was an astronomical amount of money at the time.
John York is 71, the bass player who replaced Chris Hillman in The Byrds.
War’s bass player and hit songwriter Morris “B.B.” Dickerson is 73.
Metallica’s singer, chief songwriter, and rhythm guitarist James Hetfield is 53.