Beach Boys “Pocket Symphony” Schools Beatles, Crosby Should Stick To Sailboats: This Day In Classic Rock [Videos]

Surrey Grammar School headmaster John Weightman issued an edict today in 1963 forbidding all boys from showing up at school wearing their hair like The Beatles, saying “This ridiculous style brings out the worst in boys physically. It makes them look like morons”.

The Beach Boys hit #1 on the British singles chart with Good Vibrations today in 1966. Brian Wilson had come up with the idea for the song after his Mom had made a comment about how dogs were able to detect “vibrations” from humans, and would sometimes bark at people giving off bad ones. Singer Mike Love had helped him finish the lyrics, and they’d recorded it at the end of their Pet Sounds sessions, using some 90 hours of magnetic tape at an unprecedented cost of $50-$75,000 (close to a half-million dollars in today’s money) using the famed “Wrecking Crew” of session musicians and unconventional instruments like a “tack piano” (with tacks stuck into the felt beaters for a more percussive sound) and Leon Theramin’s namesake electronic instrument. Capitol Records executives were said to be worried that the song had come from Brian’s numerous experiments with LSD, but the band’s publicist Derek Taylor dubbed it a “pocket symphony”, and later admitted he’d played an early mix of the song for Paul McCartney, who would later cite the Beach Boys’ elaborate production as a major influence on The Beatles Sgt. Pepper album.

A 16-date “Package Tour” featuring Amen Corner, The Move (later to gain fame under the name The Electric Light Orchestra), The Nice (featuring Keith Emerson, later to gain fame in Emerson Lake and Palmer), Pink Floyd (who released their third single Apples and Oranges today), and The Jimi Hendrix Experience, played in Sheffield England tonight in 1967. A review in the Sheffield Star the next day referred to Hendrix as “An electrified golliwog“, a stuffed children’s toy from the minstrel era that is now considered quite racist.

The Who’s second full “rock opera” Quadrophenia entered the British charts today in 1973, where it would peak at #2. Six years later it would inspire a feature length film based on the story of the main character’s four-way split personality that marked the first film role of The Police’s frontman Sting as the über-mod “Ace Face”.

David Crosby was admitted to a hospital today in 1990 after breaking a leg, shoulder, and ankle when he crashed his Harley Davidson motorcycle. He had much better luck with sailboats, buying a 59 foot schooner named The Mayan in 1967, sailing it for thousands of miles in the Caribbean and South Pacific where he wrote Wooden Ships and many other songs before selling it two years ago.

It was reported in the British music press today in 2000 that session drummer Andy White, who was hired by producer George Martin to play on a third take of The Beatles first single Love Me Do would not receive a cut of the recently released Beatles Greatest Hits. He’d been paid a whopping £7  for his work in 1962, which wouldn’t be enough to buy a copy of the new album. Andy died a little over a year ago at age 85.

Patti Smith won the National Book Award for her memoir Just Kids today in 2010. The influential New York based singer made news last year when she was invited by Pope Francis, apparently a fan, to play the official Vatican Christmas Concert  December 13th.

Rock and Roll Birthdays

Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot is 78.

Gene Clark, who wrote most of the early hits for The Byrds, would be 72 if he hadn’t died of a heart attack at 46.

Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre is 70.

Robert “Stewkey” Antoni, singer and keyboard player for Todd Rundgren’s The Nazz and an early version of Cheap Trick called Sick Man of Europe, is 69.

11/17

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