America Meets The Beatles…On The TV News: This Day In Classic Rock [Videos]

In one of the earliest rock and roll moments ever, Fats Domino played Blueberry Hill on CBS’s Ed Sullivan Show tonight in 1956, but before Fats made it a rock and roll standard, it was written by Vincent Rose, Larry Stock, and Al Lewis, and recorded no less than six times in 1940.

The Beatles were at the offices of EMI Records in London today in 1963, being presented with Silver LP awards for Please Please Me and With The Beatles, a Silver EP award for Twist and Shout, and a Silver Single award for She Loves You. Following the ceremony was a formal lunch served in the boardroom and a big drunken cocktail party.

Meanwhile on our side of The Atlantic, many Americans heard of The Beatles for the first time when NBC’s Huntley-Brinkley Report ran a feature story on “Beatlemania” in England, complete with a clip of them playing live, tonight in 1963. Technically the first time the Fab Four appeared on American TV.

Ritchie Furay, Randy Meisner, Jim Messina, Rusty Young, and George Gratham played live tonight in 1968 at the Troubadour nightclub in Hollywood as the country-rock band Pogo, named after their favorite comic strip, but when it’s creator Walt Kelly threatened a lawsuit, they changed it to Poco.

Crazy Horse guitarist Danny Whitten died of a heroin overdose today in 1972 at age 29. He’d played on Neil Young’s second solo album since quitting Buffalo Springfield, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, and started work on After The Gold Rush, but all of Crazy Horse were fired halfway through the sessions largely because of Danny’s increasing drug problem, about which Neil wrote in the song The Needle and the Damage Done.

Genesis released a double album considered one of the high points of the progressive rock era, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, today in 1974. It would be their last with singer Peter Gabriel, who quit the band at the end of the tour that followed. Lead guitarist Steve Hackett quit after two more albums, but plays tons of Gabriel-era Genesis when he tours as a solo act.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band played in England for the first time tonight in 1975 at London’s Hammersmith Odeon theater. Bruce was not happy with the hype his record company had started around the appearance, and ripped down posters in the theater lobby that read “Finally, the World is ready for Bruce Springsteen”.

Richard Hell and the Voidoids made their debut at New York’s CBGB nightclub tonight in 1976. Richard was the inventor of many of what became conventions of “punk” rock later adopted by the likes of England’s Sex Pistols:  Short spiky hair and drawn-on ripped-up clothing held together by safety pins. Hell is portrayed by actor Evan Alex Cole in the recent film about the Greenwich Village scene of the 70’s, CBGB.

Athens Georgia band R.E.M. played their first show outside the U.S. tonight in 1983 on a British TV show called The Tube, followed by a London nightclub show.

The opening act for U2’s Joshua Tree tour in Los Angeles tonight in 1987 were The Dalton Brothers, who came out on stage in cowboy outfits, and their singer announced in a fake American accent that they played only two kinds of music, “Country, and Western”. They only played two songs, and the audience was quick to figure out the The Dalton Brothers were actually U2 having a bit of a laugh.

Black Sabbath were way more popular today in 1992 than they had been in their 70’s heyday, when they received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Nirvana were at Sony Studios in New York City today in 1993, recording their “unplugged” session for MTV, which at the time still stood for Music Television.

The Rolling Stones became the first rock and roll band to “stream” a live concert on the Interwebs tonight in 1995, when they broadcast 20 minutes of their show in Dallas.

Rock and Roll Birthdays

Hank Ballard would be 80. His band The Midnighters were once of rock and roll’s earliest acts, and he later wrote The Twist, a huge international hit for Chubby Checker. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, he died in 2003.

The Scorpions drummer Herman Rarebell is 67.

Metallica’s lead guitarist Kirk Hammett is 54.

11/18

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