Eddie Cochran recorded one of the great early rock and roll hits today in 1958. C’mon Everybody would go to #35 on the Billboard magazine Hot 100, but hit #6 in England where he would die two years later in a car crash but not before influencing legions of British rockers to be, including Led Zeppelin, Humble Pie, UFO, and the Sex Pistols’ Sid Vicious, who would all do covers of it.
Though Paul McCartney had been let into The Beatles because he knew all the words to Eddie Cochran’s 20 Flight Rock, the band went to #1 today in 1965 with a particularly un-Eddie Cochran like song. Yesterday was their 10th #1 hit in America, and is the most-covered song of all time with over 2,200 recorded versions, including one by Frank Sinatra, who had said earlier that he hated The Beatles.
For the first time in it’s 5 year history, the BBC’s Top of the Pops programme refused to play the #1 song today in 1969. ‘Je t’aime…Moi non plus (translated to the English: “I Love you…Me Neither”) was written by French singer-songwriter-multi instrumentalist Serge Gainsbourg for his then-girlfriend Bridgette Bardot, with whom he recorded an unreleased version, but when their affair ended he recorded the hit version with his next love interest, British actress and singer Jane Birkin. The lyrics were written as a dialogue between two lovers having sex, with lines translating to “I go and I come, between your loins”, and “You are the wave, I the naked, treeless, deserted island”, and even stranger, “Physical love is hopeless, childless, impotent, a dead end”. But even more shocking to the censors, they also recorded a great deal of soft moaning sounds that build to orgasmic level, but when asked if media speculation that both women’s versions had been recordings of live sex, Serge replied, “Thank goodness it wasn’t. Otherwise I hope it would have been a long-playing record”.
The Who celebrated the 27th birthday of their bass player at the University of Surrey tonight in 1971 with a show followed by the usual insane backstage party, but at one point they were joined on stage by American John Sebastian of The Lovin’ Spoonful, who played harmonica on Magic Bus, marking the first time an outsider who got on stage with The Who wasn’t beaned with Pete Townsend’s guitar. There would only be one more while the band’s original lineup was alive, 19 year old drummer Scott Halpin was picked out of the audience at San Francisco’s Cow Palace in 1973 to fill in for an overly-inebriated Keith Moon.
John Lennon got a pretty great present for his 35th birthday today in 1975: His second son, and only child with Yoko Ono, Sean Taro Ono Lennon. John would retire from making music to become a house-husband, only to be killed by nutter Mark David Chapman 5 years later, just as he was starting to make music again.
The Sex Pistols signed with EMI records today in 1976 for a reported £40,000 (About $68,000). They would be fired from the label three months later after controversy surrounding their Anarchy in the UK single, which workers at the company’s record-pressing plant had staged a walk-out over.
The Rolling Stones played the first of two nights at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum tonight in 1981. Mick and Keith had hand-picked their opening act, the Minneapolis recording artist then still known as Prince, who took the stage in a trench coat and bikini briefs, and left the stage 15 minutes later after being loudly booed and pelted with beer cans and garbage.
Yoko Ono and mayor Ed Koch marked what would have been John Lennon’s 45th birthday today in 1985 by officially dedicating a 3 1/2 acre garden in New York’s Central Park, directly across the street from the Dakota Apartments, to be called Strawberry Fields. It became an instant pilgrimage site for Beatles fans worldwide, who leave flowers, candles, and other personal tokens. Every year on John’s birth and death-days they gather to sing his songs, and were occasionally joined by the likes of George Harrison and Jerry Garcia.
Seattle’s Nirvana entered the U.S. album charts at #1 today in 1993 with their 3rd and what would be their final album In Utero. Kurt Cobain had planned on using his little joke-reply to people asking him how he was doing as the title: “I Hate Myself and I Want to Die”. But Krist Novoselic talked him into changing it, pointing to lawsuits filed by parents of of Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest fans who’d killed themselves, as Kurt would do a year later.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
John Lennon would be 76.
John “The Ox” Entwhistle would be 72 if he hadn’t suffered a heart attack at 57 after retiring for the evening at the Las Vegas Hard Rock with two hookers and a large pile of cocaine.
Jackson Browne is 68.
TV talk show host, Mrs. Ozzy Osbourne, and one of the most ruthless managers in rock Sharon Osbourne is 64. Her career…and marriage…began in 1979 when Ozzy was fired from the band her father Don Arden managed, Black Sabbath.
Sean Taro Ono Lennon is 41. The singer-songwriter, guitarist and actor is the only son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, the half brother of Julian Lennon, and his godfather is Sir Elton John.