The Beatles played at the Star Club in Hamburg Germany tonight in 1962. They had and would play there many more times, but tonight was special for them, because their manager Brian Epstein had managed to get them the opening act slot for one of their idols, “Little” Richard Penniman, who had recently got over his gospel phase and gone back to playing the rock and roll music he’d helped invent. Little Richard gave them some advice on how to play his songs (they did several), gave Paul McCartney pointers on how he sang (Paul got the whole “wooo” thing from Little Richard), and introduced them to his organ player Billy Preston, who they would use on later recordings.
Having just changed his stage name from Toby Tyler to Mark Bolan, the man who would eventually front T-Rex (born Mark Feld) played his first single The Wizard on the BBC’s Ready Steady Go! tonight in 1965.
The Velvet Underground played their first-ever live show tonight in 1965 at Summit High School in New Jersey. They were paid $75, which doesn’t seem like much, but adjusted for inflation it’s about $550 in today’s dollars, and most unknown original bands would be happy to make $75 in today’s economy. When frontman Lou Reed quit the band in 1970, he’d take a job as a typist at his father’s accounting firm, making $40 a week. Lou died in 2013 at age 71.
The debut album from The Monkees began a 13-week run at #1 on the U.S. album charts today in 1966.
Pink Floyd played a show at The Corn Exchange in Bedford England tonight in 1966. Their set list at the time had a bit of a theme going: Gimme a Break, Let’s Roll Another One, Interstellar Overdrive, Astronomy Domine, and Stoned Alone, which was also sometimes called I Get Stoned, and is believed to be the first song written by Syd Barrett.
British book and record chain W.H. Smith’s refused to display the new album from The Jimi Hendrix Experience today in 1968, forcing Track Records to pull them from stores and replace them with the same yellow-and-red photo of Jimi’s head used by American label Reprise. Jimi had been specific about what he’d wanted on the cover of Electric Ladyland, a color photograph taken by Linda Eastman (the soon-to-be Mrs. Paul McCartney) of the band at the Alice In Wonderland sculpture in New York’s Central Park, but both the British and American labels had ignored him, with Track Records using a shot of 19 naked women which Jimi found rather embarrassing.
Despite having deeply offended The Royals and most of conservative Britain, being banned by the BBC, being pulled from many record shoppes including the arrest of a Virgin store manager who’d displayed artwork featuring the albums offensive title, and using rude words on national television, England’s new baddest bad boys The Sex Pistols only studio recording Never Mind The Bollocks went to #1 in England today in 1977.
U2 started a 6-week run at #1 on the U.S. album charts with their 6th effort Rattle and Hum today in 1988.
Faces and Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood crashed his car on the M4 motorway in Wiltshire England today in 1990. He was uninjured in the crash, but when he got out and tried to direct traffic around the accident, he was hit by another car, breaking both his legs.
Glam-rocker Gary Glitter (real name Paul Gadd) was in court today in 1999, finally being sentenced to four months in prison and being listed as a sex offender after his laptop computer was found to be chock full of child pornography in 1997. He subsequently fled England on his yacht, traveling to and being kicked out of Spain, Gibraltar, Cuba, Mexico, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Columbia, Portugal, Brazil, Venezuela, Thailand, Cambodia, and finally Vietnam, where he was arrested for sex with minors for which he faced possible death by firing squad, avoided by paying the 10 and 11 year old girl’s families some 7 million Vietnamese Dong (about $300 U.S.) each and serving most of his three year prison sentence. He was deported back to England, where he remains a registered sex offender, but has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, saying he was framed by a vindictive British press.
Yoko Ono and many Beatles fans were outraged today in 2002 that Paul McCartney had changed the songwriting credits for many of their old songs on his Back In The U.S.: Live 2002 album from Lennon/McCartney to Paul McCartney and John Lennon.
The last surviving member of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, drummer Mitch Mitchell had been playing on the Experience Hendrix tribute tour, but hadn’t been feeling well, and decided to hole up in the Benson Hotel in Portland Oregon where the tour finished for a few days before traveling back to England when he was found dead there early this morning in 2008. He was buried somewhere here in the Seattle area (possibly to be near Jimi), though the location of his grave has never been made public. Though Mitchell is widely considered one of the best drummers in rock history, he failed an audition in the mid 70’s for Paul McCartney’s new band Wings.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
British singer and political activist David Edward Sutch would be 76. Better known by his stage name Screaming Lord Sutch, 3rd Earl of Harrow, he was a shock-rock pioneer, who taking cues fromAmerican bluesman Screaming Jay Hawkins, set the stage for Alice Cooper and many more to follow. He also founded the Official Monster Raving Loony political party, and acted as it’s leader until his death in 1999, despite losing all 40 elections he ran in, a British record.
Booker T. Jones, organist with Booker T. and the M.G.’s, is 72.
Neil Percival Young, of Buffalo Springfield, Crosby Stills Nash And, and solo artist fame, is 71.
Donald Roeser is 69, better known by his stage name Buck Dharma, lead guitarist for Blue Öyster Cult.