Bill Haley and his Comets played the first rock and roll show in Germany tonight in 1958 to some 7000 near-rioting fans. A few years later The Beatles and other British bands were showing Germans how it was done in long “residencies” in Hamburg’s nightclubs, and in 1965 the most successful worldwide German band The Scorpions formed, but there have been many more over the years that have never quite hit it big in the English speaking world, though the late 60’s art-rock genre commonly referred to as “Krautrock” offered by bands like Can, Neu!, Faust, and electronic music innovators Kraftwerk have become increasingly popular with record collectors.
The Beatles were at Buckingham Palace today in 1965, being invested by Queen Elizabeth II as Members of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for their “services to music” (and bringing millions of British Pounds, American and Canadian Dollars, etc. into the royal tax coffers). They were quite nervous about meeting Her Majesty, and later admitted to ducking into a bathroom to smoke some pot and relax. Many previous recipients of the honor were outraged and sent their medals back in protest, which John Lennon noted with the comment, ” Lots of people who complained about us receiving the MBE got theirs for heroism in the war, for killing people. We received ours for entertaining other people. I’d say we deserve ours more”. In 1969 John sent his own back, “In protest of Britain’s involvement in the Nigerian Civil War, it’s support of America in the Vietnam War, and against Cold Turkey slipping in the charts”.
A wake for singer Janis Joplin was held today in 1970 at The Lion’s Share nightclub north of San Francisco in San Anselmo. She’d died on October 4th, and left $2500 in her will dedicated to the party, which featured hash brownies and no doubt an ample supply of her favorite booze Southern Comfort.
19 year old John McCollum shot himself to death today in 1984. His parents sued Ozzy Osbourne and CBS records, claiming he’d been driven to do it by the song Suicide Solution from the album Blizzard of Oz, a case that would eventually be thrown out of court.
60 year old Rock promoter Bill Graham (born Wulf Wolodia Grajonca in Berlin in 1931 to a mother who later died at Auschwitz, but managed to send her baby to America), who’d given San Francisco’s “Summer of Love” scene a home at the Fillmore Theater and Winterland Arena, then expanded to New York with the Fillmore East and his own mega-successful Bill Graham Presents concert company, died today in 1991 when the helicopter he was riding in hit powerlines near the Sears Point Raceway on his way back to his Marin County home from an East-Bay Huey Lewis and The News concert.
Apple Computer announced it’s new partnership with U2 and Universal Music Group today in 2004 with a 5000 song capacity special-edition iPod that had a red scroll-wheel and engraved with the signatures of the band, who were promoting the release of their new album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. The partnership continues, though in 2014 not everyone was happy that U2’s Songs of Innocence was downloaded for free into the iTunes accounts of some 500 million subscribers whether they wanted it or not, though the digital stunt set a record for the largest album release of all time.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Herman’s Hermits guitarist Keith Hopwood is 70.
James Brown, Parliament, Funkadelic, and Bootsy’s Rubber Band Rock and Roll Hall of Fame bass player William Earl “Bootsy” Collins is 65.