Sunshine Superman, Ringo Comes Back, And The US Festival Loses Millions: This Day In Classic Rock [Videos]

The Rolling Stones played a show in Dublin Ireland tonight in 1965 and things turned ugly as some 30 fans took the stage with them. Mick Jagger was knocked on his arse as the rest of the band fled for the dressing room.

Donovan was at #1 in America and #2 in England today in 1966 with one of the early great hits of the psychedelic era, Sunshine Superman. It was the first of several successful songs in a three year collaboration with producer Mickie Most, who among the other backing musicians he hired included future Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. Interestingly the single’s “B” side was an even more psychedelic-titled but decidedly less so song called The Trip. The woman in the video is the subject of the song Linda Lawrence, who Donovan married in 1970. They had two kids and are still together, though she had one previously with former boyfriend Brian  Jones.

Having quit the band two weeks earlier sick to death of the constant bickering between John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and to a lesser extent George Harrison, Ringo Starr returned to EMI’s Abbey Road Studios today in 1968 and rejoined, finding his Ludwig drum kit covered in flowers and “welcome back” messages. Ringo had gone off to the Mediterranean for a cruise aboard the yacht of his actor friend Peter Sellers, where he came up with the lyrics to Octopuses Garden. On a lunch-stop on the island of Sardinia Ringo had ordered fish-and-chips but instead was served squid, which he found “OK. A bit rubbery. Tasted like chicken”. The boat’s captain told him how Octopi travel the seabed picking up stones and shiny objects to build gardens, and the song was born. It would end up being the last song Ringo sang lead vocals on with The Beatles, and George Harrison, who can be seen helping him write it in the Let It Be film, later said, “It’s only the second song Ringo has ever written, mind you, and it’s lovely…because it’s so peaceful. I suppose Ringo is writing cosmic songs these days without even realizing it”.

Canned Heat guitarist Alan Wilson, who wrote their two hits Going Up The Country and On The Road Again, was found dead today in 1970 in the garden of lead singer Bob Hite’s Topanga Canyon house in Hollywood. The official coroner’s report listed the cause of death as “acute barbiturate intoxication”, but many suspected suicide. He was 27 years old, and passed one month after Brian Jones and two weeks before Jimi Hendrix and four before Janis Joplin died at the same age.

Arthur Brown was arrested at the Palermo Pop ’70 Festival in Italy tonight in 1970, not so much because he’d set his special helmet on fire during the song Fire…he always did that…but Italian police were more concerned that he’d also taken off all his clothes, for which they kept him in solitary confinement for the next four days before releasing him.

British actor and comedian Peter Sellers celebrated his 50th birthday tonight in 1975 with a booze-and-coke fueled party in Hollywood that featured a one-off band called The Trading Faces, featuring  Bill Wyman on bass, Ronnie Wood, Jesse Ed Davis, and Danny Korchmar on guitars, Joe Cocker on lead vocals, Keith Moon on drums and organ, Elton John’s drummer Nigel Ollson spelling Moonie when he played organ, and David Bowie and The Rolling Stones Bobby Keys on saxophones.

It was the first day of the first of Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak’s US Festivals today in 1982. Woz lost some $12 million building a new outdoor amphitheater near San Bernadino California and it’s associated high-tech multi-media infrastructure, and hiring performers who for today’s show included “New Wave” bands The Gang of Four, The Ramones, The English Beat, Oingo Boingo, The B-52’s, The Talking Heads, and The Police. Saturday’s lineup was considered more “rock” with Dave Edmunds, Santana, The Kinks, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Sunday’s lineup was decidedly more “mellow” with The Grateful Dead, Jimmy Buffet, Jackson Browne, and Fleetwood Mac. Wozniak would stage another US Festival the next year, with a lineup more clearly delineated into “New Wave, “Heavy Metal”, “Rock” and “Country” days, and he would again lose a great deal of money.

Ike Turner was released from prison today in 1991, having served 18 months of a four-year sentence for cocaine possession. He’d been arrested 10 other times already, and later claimed in an interview to have blown $11 million on “nose candy”.

Rock and Roll Birthdays

The Beach Boys guitarist Al Jardine is 74.

Thin Lizzy founding guitarist Eric Bell, who’d earlier played with Van Morrison in Them, is 69.

Grand Funk Railroad singing drummer Don Brewer is 68.

The Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones is 61.

9/3

 

 

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