Still working under the name The New Yardbirds, Jimmy Page started recording the album that would become Led Zeppelin I today in 1968 at the Olympic Studios in London. It was finished in 36 hours of studio time at a cost of just £1,782, mostly live-to-tape with just a few guitar overdubs. It would make Page’s investment back many, many times over.
John Lennon told Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney that he was quitting The Beatles today in 1969 at a meeting in London. As their album Abbey Road was scheduled for release six days later, they agreed to keep it a secret as they thought it might hurt sales.
The #1 song in America today in 1969 was written by songwriter and producer Jeff Barry and his Canadian partner Andy Kim, and performed by a group of studio musicians assembled by promoter Don Kirshner, who had record people play it for radio station programmers without telling them who the artist was: “The Archies“, a group of characters from a Saturday morning cartoon taken from the popular comic book. Kirshner said that the song had first been offered to The Monkees, but that Michael Nesmith had hated it so much he’d put his fist through drywall at the Beverly Hills Hotel by way of refusal, but Barry later denied this. Sugar, Sugar would spend 4 weeks at #1 in the U.S., and 8 weeks at the top of the British charts.
The Doors frontman Jim Morrison was acquitted on charges of lewd and lascivious behavior at the Dade County Courthouse today in 1970, but convicted of indecent exposure and using foul language at a concert in Coconut Grove a year and a half earlier, when he’d supposedly showed “Little Jim” to the audience and tried to incite a riot. The judge sentenced him to a $500 fine and 60 days hard labor, but Morrison’s lawyers immediately filed an appeal, and Jim would die in Paris before his re-trial. Drummer John Densmore vehemently denied that Jim had ever exposed himself at the show, and in 2010 then-Florida Republican Governor and Doors fan Charlie Crist (who has since become a Democrat) granted him a posthumous pardon.
Paul and Linda McCartney were arrested and charged with possession of cannabis for the second time in four weeks today in 1972 at their farm in Scotland.
David Bowie had his first American #1 hit today in 1975 with Fame, a song he’d written with his friend John Lennon.
AC/DC released their third studio album Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap at home in Australia today in 1976. The cover art was a painting of guitarist Angus Young giving the British equivalent of “flipping the bird”, a backwards v-fingered “peace sign”, and the album’s title tattooed on the enlarged arm of singer Bon Scott, but the international release, which came out in December in Britain and April in the U.S., had a slightly different song running order, and different cover art designed by the London firm Hipgnosis, most famous for their Pink Floyd album covers.
Pearl Jam’s video for their song Jeremy was shown in a Moses Lake court today in 1997 at the trial of teenager Barry Loukaitis, who claimed it was the reason he’d shot three of his classmates and wounded a fourth at Frontier Junior High School.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Styx’s original twin-brother rhythm section, bass player Chuck Panozzo and drummer John Panozzo are and would be 68 respectively. John died at 47 of alcohol-related liver failure.
Soundgarden bass player, man-about-town , and all around swell guy Ben Shepherd is 48.