A Rock Festival Turns To Anarchy, A Rock Hall Of Fame Opens In Cleveland: This Day In Classic Rock [Videos]

The Beatles played Philadelphia tonight in 1964, on their second visit to the U.S., and had worked their way back East after starting on the West Coast. They had just turned down an invitation from Lyndon Johnson to appear with him in a “photo-op”, laying a wreath on the grave of John F. Kennedy, who’d been assassinated in Dallas 11 weeks before their first arrival before their famous appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.Philly had been going through race-riots just days before they arrived, and The Beatles, who’d grown up musically on records by black American artists, were shocked to find that the 13,000 who showed up to see them were all white and that promoters had denied entry to the few black fans who showed up.

The Doors were in a recording studio for the first time today in 1965, cutting demos of 6 Jim M0rrison songs at World Pacific Jazz Studios in Hollywood.

An unknown art rock band going by the name Genesis ran an ad in today’s 1970 edition of  England’s Melody Maker magazine seeking a drummer, which was answered by 19 year old Phil Collins, who’s previous claim to fame was appearing as an extra in The Beatles A Hard Day’s Night. After the departure of singer Peter Gabriel, Collins would take over the microphone and the band would become more successful than ever.

The Grateful Dead had their former money-manager arrested today in 1971 for embezzling some $70,000. Lenny Hart happened to be the father of their drummer Mickey Hart.

The Erie Canal Soda Pop Festival started today in 1972. The three-day Labor Day Weekend festival was held on Bull Island in the Wabash River, which put it outside the jurisdiction of Indiana authorities and the police of the small town of Carmi Illinois were completely overwhelmed when the promoters’ expected crowd of 50,000 turned into 300,000, and it devolved to total anarchy. Food and water were in short supply, a truck bringing food was looted and burned, vendors overcharging for food and drink were looted and robbed, three concert goers drowned in the river, an open drug market sprung up with dealers proudly displaying their wares in a makeshift shopping district, and as torrential rains soaked the festival many of the scheduled performers, including Black Sabbath, Joe Cocker, The Allman Brothers Band, Bob Seger, and Fleetwood Mac decided not to make the trip, but some did, including Black Oak Arkansas, Foghat, Cheech and Chong, The Amboy Dukes, Canned Heat, Brownsville Station, Santana, The Eagles, and British prog-rock band Gentle Giant, and at the end of the festival the audience joined together to burn what was left of the stage.

Ozzy Osbourne was arrested for threatening to kill his wife and manager Sharon today in 1989. He was released after agreeing to enter rehab, and the charges were dropped completely when the two reconciled.

The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame museum opened to the public in Cleveland Ohio tonight in 1995 with a concert for 10,000 by Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, Al Green, Jerry Lee Lewis, Aretha Franklin, John Fogerty, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, and Iggy Pop. Cleveland got the nod for the Rock Hall because disc jockey Alan Freed, who’s widely credited with coining the term “rock and roll” started out there on WJW, and had promoted some of the first major concerts there.

Sir Elton John was the recipient of the first-ever Brits Icon Award tonight in 2013 at a concert that marked his return to the stage after having his appendix out. He was presented the award by his friend Rod Stewart, who introduced him as the “second best rock singer ever”.

Rock and Roll Birthdays

Keyboard player Billy Preston would be 70 if he hadn’t passed in 2006. He first met The Beatles in Hamburg while playing in Little Richard’s band, and ended up being the only performer other than crooner Tony Sheridan to get his name on a Beatles record.

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