Elvis Presley got his draft notice in the mail today in 1957. It was a bit early for the draft deferments that so many got during the Vietnam War 10 years later, but The King could have had one, or been put in one of the Army’s “entertainment divisions” as used as a recruiting tool, but Elvis decided he wanted to be treated like “any other soldier”, and became a Cold-Warrior in the U.S. Army’s 3rd Armored Division in Germany, where like any other soldier he donated all his pay to charity, lived off base in a rented luxury hotel, bought extra uniforms for everyone in his outfit, and bought new TV sets for the entire base.
Led Zeppelin played the civic hall in Exeter, England today in 1968, a gig for which they were paid all of £125. Opening the show was The Empty Vessels, featuring a rhythm section that would go on to start Wishbone Ash a few years later.
Mick Jagger was at the Marlborough Magistrates Court in London today in 1969, being fined £200 (plus 50 Guineas in court costs) for possession of the dreaded cannabis, which is legal now in the U.S. States of Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, California, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, and the District of Columbia…for the moment, we’ll see what happens when the Federal Government is completely controlled by weed-hating conservatives next month.
Members of The Beatles fan club in America and Britain got the 7th and last Beatles Christmas Record today in 1969. Fans didn’t know it, but they’d all but broken up already, and unlike the previous recordings, the members all made their contributions separately, with a visit with John and Yoko at their Tittenhurst Park estate, Paul winging an original made-up-on-the spot song This Is To Wish You A Merry Merry Christmas, Ringo making a brief appearance to plug his new movie with Peter Sellers, The Magic Christian, and George more or less grunting “hello”.
Elton John had his first American hit when Your Song entered the Billboard chart today in 1970. It had been released as the “B” side of Take Me To the Pilot from his first album, but American disc jockeys were still allowed to pick their own songs back then, and most of them preferred Your Song. Elton and his lyricist Bernie Taupin had already offered it to The Hollies, who passed on it, but Three Dog Night recorded it for their It Ain’t Easy album, which came out just before Elton’s.
In an interview in the U.K Daily Mail today in 1976, Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook’s mother said he was no longer welcome at home, and that she had turned his bedroom into a dining room. Interestingly Cook had been the first member of the band to actually purchase his instrument rather than steal it.
Elvis Presley’s personal physician Dr. George Nichopoulos was charged today in 1979 with illegally prescribing over 12,000 tablets of uppers (he’d been turned on to amphetamines while in the Army in Germany), downers, and painkillers to Elvis in the 20 months leading up to his death two years earlier. He managed to get off this time, but the good doctor was charged again in 1980, 1992, and finally stripped of his license to practice medicine in 1995.
Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish turned down an offer of £5.7 million from an American TV channel for the broadcast rights to their “civil union” (Gay Brits are allowed to use the word “Marriage” as of 2013) today in 2005, though they did consider giving up their privacy and giving the money to the Elton John Aids Foundation.
David Gilmore of Pink Floyd put two giant eyeballs up for auction on E-Bay today in 2006. They were created as props for the Pulse DVD, and only attracted 46 bids, but sold for £16,500 which was given to a charity for the homeless that Gilmore was vice-president of. He said he did it because extra help was needed during the winter months.
Nick Mason of Pink Floyd stepped in with cash today in 2012 to save Foote’s Music Store in London where he had bought his first drum kit .
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Ten Years After guitarist Alvin Lee would be 72. He died in 2013 of “unforeseen complications from a routine medical procedure”, although the neither the procedure or the complications have ever been disclosed.