January 27 in Classic Rock: Beatles Are Paid In Change

The Beatles played a show tonight in 1962 at the Aintree Institute in Liverpool. Built in the late 1800’s by Sir William Pickles Hartley as a cross-denominational gathering place for groups from different religions to come together and “enter into a Christlike compact to fight evil in every form”, by the early 60’s the hall was being used by promoter Bill Kelly to stage “Sensational Jive Dances”, rowdy drunken affairs where it was common for fans to throw chairs at each other and the bands, and the Beatles played some 30 of them, but tonight’s would be the last when Kelly paid the band their agreed-to fee of £15 in loose change, which manager Brian Epstein took as an insult and never allowed them to play for him again.

David Bowie arrived in the United States for the first time today in 1971. His restricted visa didn’t allow him to perform, but David at this point was only after publicity, which he managed no problema by visiting Texas and Oklahoma wearing a dress.

Stevie Wonder went to #1 on the U.S. singles chart with Superstition today in 1973, only his second song to hit that mark and almost exactly 10 years after the first, Fingertips. While Stevie produced it himself and played all the instruments, the song’s drum beat was cooked up by British guitarist and former Yardbird Jeff Beck, when the two were playing around with a drum kit at the Tamla-Motown studios in Detroit. Stevie offered the song to Beck to record, but label owner Barry Gordy insisted he record it himself first, so Stevie offered Beck ‘Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers instead, which Jeff put an instrumental version of on his Blow By Blow album two years later. Beck also eventually did Superstition on his Beck, Bogart, and Appice record, and Stevie Ray Vaughan would have a bit of a hit with a cover in 1986, which he made a video for with Stevie wonder in it.

The Clash signed today in 1977 with the British division of CBS records for £100,000, about £65,000 more than proto-punks The Sex Pistols had gotten the year before. Unlike the other big bands of the Brit-punk movement like The Jam, The Buzzcocks, or The Damned, The Clash would become staples of classic rock radio to this day.

Ian Dury and The Blockheads had one of their two British hits (The other being Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll, an underground favorite of Americans as well) today in 1979 with Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick.

Sheffield-based “British Metal” band Def Leppard were on stage at London’s Marquee Club, where The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Pink Floyd had become household names, for the first time tonight in 1980. Tickets were all of £2.

A band that would become Britain’s biggest in the late 90’s, Oasis, who were classic rock revivalists equal parts Beatles and The Faces, played London for the first time at an invite-only gig tonight in 1994, though for whatever reason in the United States they would be labeled as an “alternative” band.

The Godfather of Soul James Brown was charged with possession of marijuana and unlawful use of a firearm when police were sent to his South Carolina house today in 1998. He explained that the pot was to help his diminishing eyesight, but had no explanation for how the gun helped.

Rock and Roll Birthdays

Blues guitarist and singer Elmore James would be 99 if he’d made it past 45.

Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason is 73. Nick is the only member to have played on every Pink Floyd album since they started in 1965.

Thin Lizzy drummer Brian Downey is 66.

The J. Geils Band’s keyboard player and songwriter Seth Justman is 66.

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