The Chrysler Corporation unveiled a new option available on several of it’s car models today in 1955: A high-fidelity under-dash record player. The 7 inch “Highway Hi-Fi” records turned at a very slow 16 2/3 RPM, and the spring pressure put on them by the tone arm to keep them from skipping on bumps wore them out quickly, but it was mostly the limited number of titles available in the format made them unpopular (there were no rock and roll records) and they were discontinued in 1961.
The Beatles were at Abbey Road today in 1965 recording two songs for the Rubber Soul album. Run For Your Life was done in 5 takes, and a John Lennon song called This Bird Has Flown (later changed to Norwegian Wood) featured George Harrison playing an Indian sitar, the first time the instrument had been used on a pop record.
A disc jockey at Detroit’s WKNR got a phone call from a listener (we love those) today in 1969 pointing out that if you played the Beatles Strawberry Fields Forever backward, John Lennon said “I buried Paul”, furthering rumors that Paul McCartney had died in a car crash in 1967 and was replaced by a look-alike.
Rockabilly pioneer Gene Vincent died today in 1971 at age 36 of a perforated ulcer. He’d been in poor health since being involved in a car crash in England in 1960 that killed fellow rockabilly star Eddie Cochran.
Rod Stewart sang his last gig ever with The Faces tonight in 1975 at the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York.
The Sex Pistols barely-a-bass player Sid Vicious called police tonight in 1978 to report that someone had stabbed his girlfriend Nancy Spungen to death. That someone turned out to be him, and he was arrested and charged with the murder, but died of a heroin overdose before the case went to trial.
Pink Floyd’s first night of a 15-show run at Earl’s Court in London was cancelled immediately tonight in 1995 after a section of the stands holding 1200 fans collapsed, throwing hundreds of them some 20 feet to the ground. It took over an hour to free everyone from the twisted wreckage, and 96 people were injured…36 of them badly enough to require hospitalization. Floyd sent everyone seated in that section a free t-shirt and a note of apology.
Private pilot and experimental aircraft enthusiast Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. was killed at age 53 today in 1997 when his hand-built plane ran out of fuel and crashed off the California coast. Better known by his stage name John Denver, he was one of America’s biggest stars of the “soft rock” era of the 70’s.
Motley Crüe’s drummer Tommy Lee suffered minor burns in a pyrotechnic explosion in Caspar Wyoming tonight in 2005. Tommy was suspended from a cable 30 feet above the stage, and was unable to escape the flames that burned his face and arms. He was treated at a hospital and released.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Sam Moore is 81, best known as half the soul-singing duo Sam and Dave.
The Temptations singer Melvin “Blue” Franklin would be 74. He passed at 52.
Status Quo guitarist and singer Rick Parfitt (OBE) is 68.
David Lett is 60, better known by his stage name Dave Vanian, lead singer of influential British punk band The Damned.
Bob Mould is 59, singer and guitarist for influential Minneapolis band Husker Du and a solo artist.