Bo Diddley played CBS’s Ed Sullivan Show tonight in 1955. The show’s producers had asked him to play his version of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s Sixteen Tons, but when he hit the stage Bo instead did his own song, Bo Diddley. Sullivan was furious. He was never invited back, and Bo later said he was never paid for the appearance.
Bob Dylan was at Columbia Records’ recording studio in New York today in 1961, starting work on his first album. He finished the whole thing in two days.
One of the more psychedelic songs to ever hit number one on the U.S. singles charts did so today in 1967, Incense and Peppermints by a band that took it’s name as an homage to The Beatles Strawberry Fields Forever: The Strawberry Alarm Clock from Los Angeles. While on tour in Florida, a local opening band were impressed with their lead guitarist Ed King, who would later be invited to join them in Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Arlo Guthrie released his Alice’s Restaurant album today in 1967, which includes the 18-and-a-half song KZOK plays at noon on Thanksgiving every year. It’s a talking-blues number based on real events in which Guthrie manages to avoid the draft and being sent to Vietnam by committing a crime: Littering…on Thanksgiving.
The Monkees “Movee” Head opened in 6 U.S. cities tonight in 1968. Written and produced by Monkees TV series producer Bob Rafelson and actor Jack Nicholson, the film was panned by critics and did not do well at the box office.
19 year old Scott Halpin of Muscatine Iowa got his 15 minutes of fame tonight in 1973. He had recently moved to San Francisco, and he and a friend had bought scalped tickets to see The Who’s Quadrophenia tour stop at the Cow Palace when Keith Moon, having ingested a large amount of brandy and animal tranquilizers, passed out during Won’t Get Fooled Again about 70 minutes into the show. Roadies carried the drummer backstage and gave him a cortisone shot and put him in the shower to revive him…it worked…temporarily. Keith managed the wood-block percussion opening to Magic Bus, but when the drum part came he passed out again. Townsend, Daltry, and Entwhistle fumbled through See Me, Feel Me from Tommy with Roger on tambourine, but then Pete asked the crowd “Can anybody play the drums? I mean somebody good?” Scott’s friend Mike Danese yelled to security staff that he could, which caught the attention of promoter Bill Graham, who asked “Can you do it?”. Scott was given a shot of brandy to calm his nerves before sitting down at the drum kit for the first time since leaving Iowa, and performed admirably enough through a blues jam of Smokestack Lightning and Spoonful, and The Who’s Naked Eye, for which Rolling Stone magazine named him the “Pick Up Player Of The Year”. Halpin died in 2008 of a brain tumor.
Paul Simon was the host of NBC’s Saturday Night Live tonight in 1976 when he was joined by George Harrison for renditions of Homeward Bound and Here Comes The Sun. John Lennon and Paul McCartney were in New York at the time, watching the show on television as they had been the year before when producer Lorne Michaels publicly offered them $3000 to reunite on the show, which they briefly considered doing. George asked for his share of the money in a sketch.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
One-hit-wonder Norman Greenbaum (Spirit in the Sky) is 74.
The guitarist at #9 on the Rolling Stone Greatest Guitarists Of All Time list, Duane Allman would be 70. He died at 24 when he crashed his Harley Sportster into the back of a construction truck.
James Gang and Eagles guitarist and Ringo Starr’s brother in law Joe Walsh is 69.