Chubby Checker was on TV’s American Bandstand today in 1960 to lip-synch to his new hit The Twist. The song had just hit #1, and would again 18 months later, making it the only song in chart history to top it on two separate occasions.
Bob Dylan was at Columbia Records studio in New York City today in 1963 starting work on his third album The Times They Are A-Changin’. It was Bob’s first album made completely of songs he’d written himself, and the title track would be one of his most famous.
The Beatles released their 5th album today in 1965, Help!, which also happened to be the soundtrack to their second feature film.Like the first, A Hard Day’s Night, it had been directed by American Richard Lester, who’d moved to London in ’53 and made The Running, Jumping, and Standing Still Film with British actor-comedians Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers, which ended up being the favorite movie of the band and particularly John Lennon. Lester would also direct a surreal “anti-anti-war-movie” How I Won The War starring Lennon, the swingin’ London sex-comedy that would later be used as a band name, The Knack…And How To Get It, and would later have some success with the Christopher Reeve Superman series.
Decca Records released the first single from the darlings of London’s “Mod” scene, The Small Faces, today in 1965. Watcha Gonna Do About It would peak at #14 on the charts, but while the band would do quite well in England, their popularity in the U.S. would be dwarfed by that of the other big Mod band, The Who.
Steppenwolf, Johnny Winter, Poco, Paul Simon, and Janis Joplin played The Concert For Peace at Shea Stadium in New York tonight in 1970. The concert was a cold-war statement marking the 25th anniversary of the U.S. dropping the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima Japan to hasten the end of World War II.
Stevie Wonder was obviously not driving when the car he was in crashed into a semi-truck near Winston-Salem North Carolina today in 1973. Stevie was seriously injured, left in a coma for four days, and permanently without a sense of smell in addition to the blindness he’s suffered since birth.
Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks released her first solo album Bella Donna today in 1981. She used some 20 musicians on it, but wrote all of the songs except one: The Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers written Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around, which she sang as a duet with Petty. She also did a duet with The Eagles singing drummer Don Henley, Leather and Lace.
Pink Floyd-The Wall opened in New York tonight in 1982. The film conceived alongside the music on the album by bass player Roger Waters, it starred The Boomtown Rats frontman Bob Geldof as the story’s protagonist “Pink”.
Avant-Garde “new wave” singer Klaus Naomi, who’d begun his career as a backup vocalist with David Bowie, died of AIDS today in 1983 at age 38, one of the first celebrities to be killed by the disease.
U2 bass player Adam Clayton was arrested in a Dublin parking lot today in 1989 and charged with possession of Marijuana with intent to distribute. The charges were waived when he agreed to pay £25,000 to the Dublin Women’s Aid Centre.
Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler was airlifted to a Rapid City South Dakota hospital after falling off a wet stage at the Buffalo Chip campground in nearby Sturgis today in 2009. The band were playing the annual Black Hills Motorcycle Classic, which routinely attracts upwards of a half-million bikers.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Pop Artist, producer, and filmmaker Andy Warhol would be 88 if he hadn’t died at 58. Among his many famous works he produced, managed, and did cover art for Lou Reed’s band The Velvet Underground, and designed the cover of The Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers.