Paul McCartney and Pete Best were deported from Germany today in 1960. They had been arrested under suspicion of arson after the hotel room they’d been sharing mysteriously caught fire. Paul later admitted the two had stuck a condom to a tapestry and lit it in retaliation for the arranged deportation of George Harrison for being an underage performer (he was 17). The hotel was owned by a nightclub owner who had fired them several days before for playing a show at a competing nightclub. The Beatles at that point were playing any show they could get, often doing lunchtime and multiple evening sets into the wee hours of the morning. John Lennon would follow a few days later when the club owner managed to have his work permit revoked, but then bass player Stu Suttcliffe remained with his German girlfriend Astrid Kerchherr, and the two got engaged, but Stu would die of a brain hemorrhage there in April.
Colorado governor John Love made today the state’s official Rolling Stones Day today in 1965 to coincide with the band’s show at the Denver Coliseum.
The Beatles were at number one on the U.S. singles charts today in 1969 with their 26th American release. The George Harrison song Something marked the first time one of The Quiet Beatle’s numbers was used as an “A” side. The John Lennon written Come Together “B” side had been inspired by Timothy Leary’s run for governor of California against Ronald Reagan, and it’s slogan “Come Together, Join The Party”.
The city council of Lancaster England voted to cancel a Sex Pistols show at Lancaster Polytechnical College today in 1976, issuing a statement: “We don’t want that sort of filth in the town limits”.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy album was released today in 1980. It was John’s first work since the birth of their son Sean in 1975, when he’d decided to become a “house husband”. Though the producer had brought Cheap Trick’s Rick Neilsen and Bun E. Carlos to play on it, their tracks were eventually re-recorded by studio musicians. The record was initially panned by critics (especially the Yoko songs), with one calling it “a self-obsessed disaster”, but with John’s murder three weeks later sales skyrocketed, it was named 1981’s Album of the Year at the Grammys, and most of the publications that had published unfavorable reviews pulled them. John was genuinely surprised that Yoko’s songs were so unloved, noting the similarity between her vocal style and the immensely popular B-52’s song Rock Lobster.
The world’s most famous ukelele player, Tiny Tim (Herbert Khaury), died of a heart attack on stage in Minneapolis tonight in 1996 while playing his hit Tiptoe Through The Tulips. Tim became an overnight sensation after his 1968 appearance on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, and over 21 million people tuned in to his publicity-stunt wedding to “Miss Vicki” on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show in ’69. He parlayed that celebrity into an appearance on The Beatles ’67 Christmas single, and played before 600,000 people at the 1970 Isle of Wight festival.
The number one single in Britain today in 1997 was a cover of Lou Reed’s Perfect Day, as performed by a gaggle of artists including Lou Reed, Elton John, David Bowie, Bono, Tom Jones, Laurie Anderson, Shane McGowan of The Pogues, and the BBC Orchestra as a fundraiser for the BBC’s Children In Need charity.
The youngest Beatle (He was just 16 when he joined) George Harrison died today in 2001 of lung cancer at age 58. His 1970 triple-album All Things Must Pass was the most successful solo album from any of the Fab Four (not including Paul’s band Wings), sold millions with his friends Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne as the Travelling Wilburys, and financed a company called Handmade Films, which made possible several movies from his friends in the Monty Python comedy troupe.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Country guitarist Merle Travis would be 99. He was one of the pioneers of the “Rockabilly” style that preceded rock and roll, and is credited with inventing the first solid-body electric guitar, which was built for him by his friend Paul Bigsby (inventor of the famous Bigsby “whammy bar” tailpiece), and later copied by another friend, Leo Fender, with the 1950 “Broadcaster” (later called the “Telecaster”). Merle died in 1983 at age 65.
British bluesman John Mayall is 83. His band The Bluesbreakers roster reads like a who’s who of later British rock: Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood, and John McVie, Rolling Stone Mick Taylor, Cream’s Jack Bruce, Free’s Andy Fraser to name but a few.
Singer, songwriter, and keyboardist with The Young Rascals, Felix Cavaliere is 74.
Van Morrison, Edgar Winter Group and Montrose guitarist Ronnie Montrose would be 69. He shot himself in 2012 at home in California without leaving a suicide note. It was later determined that his blood alcohol level was four times the legal limit.