Scores of British Beatles fans probably had a good idea what the square flat presents wrapped under the Christmas tree were, their second album With The Beatles, which started a 21 week run at #1 on the Brit charts today in 1963. It knocked The Beatles 30-week old debut album Please Please Me from the top spot. The Boys spent the day appearing on the BBC’s Juke Box Jury, where they rated a couple of records by their idols Elvis Presley and Gene Vincent, and a single from some Liverpool acquaintances The Swinging Blue Jeans that was a cover of a 1959 recording by Billings Montana singer Chan Romero. They noted that not only were the Swinging Blue Jeans trying to sound a whole lot like them, they’d actually recorded the song in a BBC session back in July.
The Beach Boys main man Brian Wilson married his longtime girlfriend Marilyn Rovell today in 1964. They’d stay married until their 1979 divorce, producing two daughters, Carnie and Wendy, who in 1989 would hook up with John and Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas daughter Chynna to form the wildly successful singing trio Wilson-Phillips.
Otis Redding was in the Stax Records studio in Memphis today in 1967 recording (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay, which he’d written a few days earlier with Stax house band guitarist Steve Cropper. It would hit #1 in the U.S. and #3 in England a year later, but Otis wasn’t around to enjoy it, he was killed in a plane crash 3 days after today’s session. The whistling he did at the end of the song was intended as a place-holder for a vocal line he planned to record later in the week.
Just in time for the Holiday gift giving season, The Beatles opened The Apple Shop at the corner of Paddington and Baker streets in London today in 1967. Paul McCartney described the concept as “A beautiful place where beautiful people can buy beautiful things”, which turned out to be almost totally fashionable clothing and accessories, and though John Lennon was adamant they not use the word “boutique” in it’s name, most people refer to it as the Apple Boutique to this day. To run the place they tapped one of John’s best friends from childhood and former Quarrymen member Pete Shotten and Jenny Boyd, the uberattractive younger sister of George Harrison’s wife Pattie. Though they managed to employ more than a few artists and scenesters, the place bled money, largely because everyone including the staff helped themselves to the merchandise, and even speaking the words “security” or “police” gave off “bad vibes”. It would close with one last massive shoplifting-fest at the end of July.
The Kung Fu Tv Series starring David Carradine ( though the widow of Seattle’s Bruce Lee later claimed the martial arts/western concept was his) was a huge hit for ABC today in 1974 when Jamaican-British artist Carl Douglas cashed in when his one hit Kung Fu Fighting topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, and would sell some 11 million copies.
The Police had their second #1 hit today in 1979 with Walking On The Moon. By now they were making enough money to fly to Florida and shoot a video at the Kennedy Space Center.
One of Queen Elizabeth II’s royal servants was tidying up in a royal vault today in 2005 when he stumbled upon a Member of the Order of the Most Excellent British Empire (MBE) medal, mailed to Buckingham Palace in 1969 along with a letter which read, ” Your Majesty, I am returning my MBE as a protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam, and against Cold Turkey slipping down the charts. With Love, John Lennon“. Historians and Beatle fans have asked that it be put on display somewhere suitable like The British Museum, but it remains in the royal vault.
King Crimson and Emerson Lake and Palmer singer, bass player, and guitarist Greg Lake died after a battle with cancer at age 69 today in 2016.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Singer-songwriter Harry Chapin would be 74 if he hadn’t been killed in a car crash at 38.
Singer-songwriter-multiinstrumentalist Tom Waits, who one critic said has a voice that sounds like it was “soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car”, is 67.