Chubby Checker was back on top with The Twist today in 1962, which is only unusual in that he’d already been at #1 with The Twist in September of 1960, and that Chubby had only covered Hank Ballard and The Midnighters’ song because Dick Clark had wanted somebody to do it on American Bandstand, and Ballard was unavailable.
The Beatles recorded an appearance on The Associated British Corporation’s (ABC, not to be confused with the American ABC) show Thank Your Lucky Stars today in 1963, “miming” (now “Lip-synching”) to their new single Please Please Me. It was one of England’s most popular music shows, but by 1966 the British Musician’s Union had lobbied Parliament to get miming to records an offense a band could get thrown in the Tower of London for, and rather than have artists play live, ABC dumped the show. One of the shows presenters, DJ Brian Matthew, is still on the BBC airwaves to this day.
Bob Dylan was at Columbia Records Studios in New York today in 1965, starting in on his 5th album Bringing It All Back Home. It’s the first Dylan record for which he was backed by a rock and roll band (though only on one side, the other side was all acoustic folk), contains his first nationally charting “hit” (Subterranean Homesick Blues got to #39), and features in his band John Sebastian (later of The Lovin’ Spoonful) on bass, and John Hammond Jr., the son of the Columbia Records executive who had signed him, on guitar.
Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were among the many Brits with their jaws on the floor tonight in 1967 at London’s super-hip Bag ‘O Nails club, as they witnessed a performance by a crazy guitarist from Seattle who had recently changed the spelling of his name to Jimi Hendrix.
Johnny Cash had been wanting to do a show for the inmates at California’s Folsom Prison just outside Sacramento since his Air Force security unit had watched the movie Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison in 1953, which led him to write Folsom Prison Blues, his second single for Sun Records in 1955, and he started getting letters from inmates asking him to play there. He finally did today in 1968, backed by his usual band The Tennessee Three, his singing/songwriting partner/girlfriend June Carter, backup singers The Statler Brothers, and his old rockabilly guitarist friend from his Sun days, Carl Perkins. The resulting live album would get rave reviews, go on to be one of his biggest sellers despite many radio stations dropping Folsom Prison Blues for the line “I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die” after the murder of Presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy, and lead to Johnny getting his own TV show on the American ABC.
Johnny’s Sun records pal Elvis Presley recorded Suspicious Minds in Memphis today in 1969, the first time he’d recorded there since leaving Sun in ’56. It would be his last #1 hit.
Boz Scaggs was supposed to headline San Francisco’s Matrix club tonight in 1970, but he got sick and had to cancel at the last minute, so the club instead presented a band from New Jersey, Steel Mill, featuring a frontman who would get quite famous on his own a few years later, Bruce Springsteen.
Save for his friend George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh, Eric Clapton hadn’t done much of anything (except drugs) for two years tonight in 1973 when he played a show organized by his friend Pete Townsend of The Who to raise money for him to go into rehabilitation for heroin addiction. Eric Clapton’s Rainbow Concert was recorded on Ronnie Lane of The Faces mobile studio, and featured Clapton, Townsend, and Ronnie Wood on guitars, and Steve Winwood, Ric Grech, and Jim Capaldi of Traffic on keys, bass, and drums. It was the first time Eric played the black Fender Stratocaster he nicknamed “Blackie” which he sold at auction to the CEO of Guitar Center for a then world-record 1 million dollars to fund his own Crossroads rehabilitation center on the Caribbean island of Antigua in 2006. He’d sold his previous Strat “Brownie“, played in Derek and the Dominoes in ’99 for a then record half-million to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who put it on display at the Experience Music Project (recently changed to MoPop for Museum of Popular Culture)…Paul’s been buying other guitars of late, including Duane Allman’s Gibson Les Paul, a Telecaster played by Dave Davies of The Kinks, and he promises to display his other recent acquisitions there this year.
One year and one day after their first jam session with a different guitarist, The Police started recording their debut album Outlandos d’Amour at Surrey Sound Studios in England today in 1978 on a budget of £1500 borrowed from drummer Stuart Copeland’s brother Miles, the founder of I.R.S. Records and manager of The Police and Wishbone Ash. It took them over 6 months to finish it, largely because they were paying a cut rate for “studio downtime” (mostly in the middle of the night) when bigger acts paying the full rate weren’t booked. Interestingly Miles didn’t put it out on his own record label, but after hearing Roxanne, got them signed to A&M records, who later would distribute the I.R.S. label.
British police, operating on information from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Operation Avalanche investigation of the Texas-based Landslide Productions Inc. pornography websites, found that Who guitarist Pete Townsend was one of 7,250 suspects who had used their credit cards to view child pornography in their own Operation Ore today in 2003. They impounded 7 of Pete’s computers, and while it seems he had viewed Landslide’s websites, none of them contained “kiddie porn”, and he was let off with a “police caution”. Pete has raised millions of dollars for various children’s charities throughout his career, but Operation Ore did lead to 3,744 arrests, 1,451 convictions, and 33 suicides.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Wayne Coyne, the inventive frontman and guitarist for Oklahoma City band The Flaming Lips, is 56. While the band is largely considered part of the “Alternative” movement of the 1990’s, his band has been around since 1983, and on it’s first trip to Seattle in 1987 for a show at the Fabulous Rainbow Tavern in the U-District with a pimply young Scott Vanderpool as the house soundman, played their first album in it’s entirety, finished the set with Who covers, which they played quite well, and still do occasionally as in this video introduced by Shoreline’s Rainn Wilson.