Released in plenty of time for Halloween, the Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt Kickers single Monster Mash would eventually become a favorite of that holiday, but it was officially banned by the BBC in England today in 1962 for being “Too morbid”. It would be re-released there 10 years later and go to #3 on the charts.
Paul McCartney and John Lennon ran into The Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham on the streets of London today in 1963, and he talked them into dropping by the studio where the Stones were rehearsing. To that point the Stones were strictly a cover band, and on hearing they were looking for new songs to record, Paul started in on the chorus of a song he’d been working on, and John helped him finish I Wanna Be Your Man on the spot, while an attentive Mick Jagger and Keith Richards looked on, realizing that perhaps they could write songs too. Mick said later, “…they played it and we thought it sounded pretty commercial, which was what we were looking for, so we did it like Elmore James or something”. The Stones would record it and release it as their second single in November. Bill Wyman said “We kind of learned it pretty quickly, cause there wasn’t that much to learn. Then Brian got his slide out, his steel guitar, and dawdaw…dawdaw…and we said yeah, that’s better, dirty it up a bit…and we kind of turned the song around and made it much more tough, Stones and Elmore James like”. The Beatles recorded it themselves, giving the lead vocal over to Ringo Starr, with John later saying, “It was a throwaway. The only two versions of the song were Ringo and The Rolling Stones. That shows how much importance we put on it. We weren’t going to give them anything great, right?”
The Kinks were at #1 on the charts with their third single You Really Got Me today in 1964. One of the more persistent urban myths has then session musician Jimmy Page playing lead guitar, but in reality producer Shel Talmy had brought Pagey in to play rhythm guitar as Ray Davies didn’t want to have to play and sing at the same time, and the lead was played by his brother Dave, who had taken a razor blade and a pin to the speaker cone of his guitar amp to create a dirtier sound, a precursor to the heavy metal sound of the future.
The Byrds recorded a Pete Seeger song, Turn! Turn! Turn! today in 1965. The lyrics were taken almost verbatim from the Bible’s book of Ecclesiastes, attributed to King Solomon, and it would be the band’s second “folk-rock” single, and the first on which they were allowed to play their own instruments.
The Beatles started a 6 week run at #1 on the U.S. album charts with their Revolver album today in 1966. Like many things Beatles, the title is a bit of wordplay, seemingly the name of a handgun but actually referring to what a record does on a turntable.
The BBC banned The Rolling Stones single Star Star today in 1973 as the song from their Goat’s Head Soup album’s chorus repeats the real name of the song, “Starf***er” 12 times.
Glam and proto-punk band The New York Dolls broke up today in 1974 after releasing only two albums. They would be a huge influence on legions of bands to follow (Guns-N-Roses wouldn’t have happened), and singer David Johanson would enjoy some solo success under the name Buster Poindexter, while guitarist Johnny Thunders would influence future punks even more with his Heartbreakers before overdosing in 1991.
DGC Records released the single that would put Seattle on the World’s musical map and single-handedly wipe big-haired 80’s butt-rock from American radio airwaves forever, Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana, today in 1991.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Singer Danny Hutton is 74. After being rejected at a casting call for The Monkees, he went on to become one of the three lead singers for Three Dog Night.
Slade drummer Don Powell is 70.
Jethro Tull heyday drummer Barrie “Barriemore” Barlow is 67.
Aerosmith lead guitarist and songwriter Joe Perry is 65.