American Bandstand aired nationally for the first time on ABC television tonight in 1957. It had been running in Philadelphia as Bandstand since 1952, but host Bob Horn, who’d started the teen dance program as a side-offering to his radio show, had just been fired after a drunk-driving conviction,and was replaced by disc jockey Dick Clark, who convinced the national TV network to pick it up. The show would move from Philly to Los Angeles in 1964, and Clark would continue to host it until 1989, introducing at least one musical guest each week. Performers, who would usually lip-synch to their records, would run the gamut of popular music, with 50’s acts like Jerry Lee Lewis and Eddie Cochran, 60’s bands like The Beach Boys, James Brown, Pink Floyd, and The Animals, 70’s groups like BTO and Aerosmith, to 80’s punk and “new wave” performers like The Jam, Devo, and X, and also included non-musical performers like Cheech and Chong and our own Danny Bonaduce, who considered Clark a sort of father figure until his death in 2012.
The Beatles were at #1 on both sides of the Atlantic with their 8th consecutive top-of-the-pops hit Help! today in 1965. The title track to their second feature film was written by John Lennon to express his frustration with his band’s meteoric rise to stardom. He later told an interviewer, “The whole Beatles thing was just beyond comprehension…I was fat and depressed, and I was crying out for help!”
George Harrison had his roadies schlep his brand new Moog synthesizer into Abbey Road studios today in 1969, where he used it on overdubs on The Beatles song Because.
CBS Records head honcho Clive Davis went to Max’s Kansas City nightclub in New York City tonight in 1972 to see Boston band Aerosmith, who he signed on the spot for $125,000.
Having been introduced by male producer Kim Fowley, drummer Sandy West and guitarist Joan Jett formed the all female hard-rock band The Runaways today in 1975. They would sign to Mercury Records, release four albums, have their shows opened by the likes of Cheap Trick, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Van Halen, and become huge in Japan, though they never had a major hit in America. They would break up in 1979 over musical differences reflective of the time: Joan Jett wanted to take them in a “punk” direction, and would go on to considerable success with her band The Blackhearts (They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year, and after their opening slot for The Who in the Key Arena was postponed joined the Rock Hall Three For All tour with Heart and Cheap Trick coming to the White River Amphitheater later this month), and lead guitarist Lita Ford was more into “heavy metal”, and would also have a somewhat successful solo career. They would be the subject of a feature film, The Runaways, starring Kristen Stewart as Jett and Dakota Fanning as lead singer Cherie Currie.
The Rolling Stones scored their 8th American #1 hit with Miss You today in 1978. Credited to Jagger/Richards as usual, the song was written by Mick Jagger while jamming with keyboardist Billy Preston, with lyrics written about his then-wife Jerry Hall, and conceived, much to Keith’s frustration, as a disco song, as Mick had been frequenting the famous New York Studio 54 nightclub.
David Crosby was in court in Dallas Texas today in 1983, being sentenced to 5 years in prison for possession of cocaine, heroin, and firearms discovered in a traffic stop. He would serve 9 months of it before being paroled. Crosby slept through much of his trial, but at one point a reporter asked him why he’d been carrying a gun, and he replied simply, “John Lennon, man”.
Beatles fans at home in England were outraged today in 2007 when the Fab Four’s hit All You Need Is Love was used in a “Nappy Advert”. The commercial featuring a disposable diaper-clad baby jumping on a teddy bear had been produced by American company Procter and Gamble, who’d secured rights to the song from Sony/ATV Music Publishing, who’d bought the Beatles old Northern Songs company from Michael Jackson.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
The Dave Clark Five’s bass player Rick Huxley would be 75 if he hadn’t passed two years ago.
The Guess Who guitarist Greg Leskiw is 69.
Pat Smear is 57. He started out in L.A. punk band The Germs, and was later recruited by Kurt Cobain to be the second guitarist in Nirvana, and appears with that band’s surviving members when they join Nirvana fan Paul McCartney periodically.