The Beatles “double A-side” single Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out became their 9th British #1 single today in 1965, and for the third time they had a chart-topper at Christmastime.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience released Hey Joe as their first single today in 1966. The former bass player for The Animals, Chas Chandler, who brought Jimi to England and was acting as his manager had seen both Hendrix and folk singer Tim Rose do it at the Café Wha? in Manhattan, and Rose claimed it was a “traditional” song (meaning no one knows who wrote it and no royalty payments need be made), but it had already been recorded by The Leaves, The Surfaris, The Standells, Love, The Music Machine, and The Byrds in the U.S., and The Creation in the U.K. Jimi’s version, backed with Stone Free, was put out on the Reprise label in America, where it didn’t do much, and the Polydor label in Britain, where it went to #6 on the charts and left Decca Records again kicking themselves as they’d turned it down, as they had The Beatles 4 years earlier.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono rented billboard space in 12 major cities around the world today in 1969 that carried a simple message in black and white: “War Is Over! If You Want It -Happy Christmas from John and Yoko“, which was taken from their Christmas song that wouldn’t be released for another two years. The anti-Vietnam war sentiment would land The Lennons on the Nixon administration’s “enemies list” and they would unsuccessfully attempt to have them deported.
Frank Zappa’s movie 200 Motels premiered in London tonight in 1971 at a theater in Piccadilly Circus. The “surrealist documentary” was loosely based on his band The Mothers of Invention’s Seattle-born bass player Jeff Simmons quitting in a small midwestern town, which he did right before filming started…he was played in the movie by Ringo Starr’s chauffeur, actor Martin Lickert, and Ringo himself appeared in the film, but it didn’t do well at the box office and barely made back the $650,000 they spent on it.
The Rolling Stones were at a party in London tonight in 1974 when guitarist Mick Taylor announced he was quitting the band and walked out. The rest of the band were quite pissed, and while Mick later said he hadn’t been getting along with Keith Richards and was angry he hadn’t got songwriting credits for “things like Sway and Moonlight Mile on Sticky Fingers and a couple other things…”, he later said in a 2012 documentary that he’d become addicted to heroin, and hoped to clean up and protect his family from the drug culture surrounding the band by leaving. Most Stones fans consider him the best guitarist the band ever had, and the period between Brian Jones and Ronnie Wood as their best work.
MTV played Nirvana’s “unplugged” session they’d done in one take back in November for the first time tonight in 1993.
Gold and Platinum award-records for Black Sabbath were stolen from the Kent, England home of their former manager Patrick Meehan today in 2004. Scotland Yard detectives recovered them a week later and made arrests when they were offered for sale on E-Bay’s auction website.
Sir Paul McCartney announced he was leaving EMI, his record label of the last 45 years, today in 2006 as “they had become boring” and that he “dreaded going to see their executives”. He singed a deal with Seattle-based Starbucks Coffee’s new label Hear Music.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
The Hollies, who are one of the only “British Invasion” bands to never have officially broken up, guitarist and singer Tony Hicks is 71, and presumably still at it, though they don’t do much these days.
Blistering rock and roll hall of fame inducted Swedish band Abba’s keyboard playing singer and songwriter Benny Anderson is 70.
Moving Sidewalks and ZZ Top guitarist William Frederick “Billy” Gibbons is 67.