John Lennon and the cute blonde girl he’d met 5 years earlier at the Liverpool College of Art, Cynthia Powell, were at the Mount Pleasant Register Office getting married today in 1962. They were in a calligraphy class together, and when she’d overheard him admiring French actress Brigitte Bardot, she dyed her hair blonder. When he asked her out, she had to tell him she was already engaged, which made John storm off with a gruff “I didn’t ask you to f***in’ marry me, did I?” Manager Brian Epstein was terrified that female fans would find out, and asked the couple to keep their marriage a secret. John was a jealous young man, and his possessiveness, anger, and occasional physical violence sometimes frightened “Cyn”. He later admitted that until he met Yoko Ono he’d never questioned the Northern English chauvinistic attitude toward women he addressed in the song Getting Better. “I used to be cruel to my woman, and physically—any woman. I was a hitter. I couldn’t express myself and I hit. I fought men and I hit women. That is why I am always on about peace.”
The Rolling Stones made the first of 20 appearances on Ready Steady Go! tonight in 1963.
The Beatles played the Hollywood Bowl tonight in 1964. Capitol Records had wanted a live album from them, and planned taping a show at Carnegie Hall which ran into opposition from the musician’s union, but when they recorded tonight’s show using a new three-track tape deck the sound quality was poor, as it was for a second attempt a year later, and the recordings sat in a vault until the mid 70’s when George Martin spruced them up and they were finally released in 1977.
The Rolling Stones were doing a TV appearance in Manchester tonight in 1965, and security guards took fire hoses to some 200 fans who had broken down barriers trying to get into the studio audience.
The Beatles played the third-to-last show of their last ever tour today in 1966 at Shea Stadium in New York. The show there the year before had been a sellout, but there were 11,000 empty seats in the 55,600 seat arena tonight. Nevertheless they were paid more: $189,000. Afterward they jetted cross-continent to Seattle for two shows at the Coliseum on August 25th.
The Who opened for Herman’s Hermits in Flint Michigan tonight in 1967, and as it turns out it was Keith Moon’s 21st birthday, although at the time he’d been wasted enough to think it was only his 20th, and thought if he got the word out that the aftershow party at the Holiday Inn was his 21st, they’d serve him, which they did in legendary amounts. The hotel management even had “Happy Birthday Keith” put on the marquee, and posed him for a snapshot on his arrival, when he immediately began drinking. When they got back after the show Keith started a food fight, which somehow managed to break one of his front teeth and sent him to an emergency room where doctors determined he was too inebriated for anesthesia, and pulled it without. Getting back to the hotel fire extinguishers were discharged, a piano and furniture was destroyed and/or thrown in the pool, and finally when the Flint police showed up with guns drawn, Keith decided to make an escape in a Lincoln Continental rental car which he managed to land in the pool as well. A furious manager presented them with a bill for $24,000 and, according to Pete Townsend, a lifetime ban from the Holiday Inn chain.
Lou Reed performed with The Velvet Underground for the last time tonight in 1970 at Max’s Kansas City nightclub in New York. Lou would work as a typist for his father for the next two years at $40 a week.
A little band from Aberdeen called Nirvana played one of the world’s foremost music festivals today in 1991: The Reading Festival has run over England’s three-day “bank holiday” weekend in Reading, Seattle-to-Tacoma southwest of London, every August since 1961.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
The Who’s mild-mannered drummer Keith Moon would be 70. One of rock’s most legendary personalities, he flamed out at age 32. Most “Best Rock and Roll Drummer of All Time” lists put him at #2 behind Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham, and usually a few notches ahead of The Beatles Ringo Starr. The three in the mid 70’s made up a drinking club that would meet regularly at the Rainbow on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood where there is still a plaque commemorating them on the table they shared.