It was the 11th night of the Winter Dance Tour featuring Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valenz, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, and Dion and The Belmonts tonight in 1959 at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake Iowa. It would be the last show ever for the first three. None of the performers had been paid yet, their buses heater was broken, and they were all tired and dirty, and Buddy being the only one with any money, hired an airplane to take several of them to the next show in Moorhead Minnesota, ostensibly so he could do everyone’s laundry by the time they got there, but…as immortalized in Don McLean’s song American Pie…the plane crashed and the music died the next day. The Surf Ballroom has held a concert in their honor every February since, and in 2001 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Beatles played their first real rock and roll show outside Liverpool tonight in 1962, at the Oasis Club in Manchester. The first song in their set was a cover of Hippy Hippy Shake, a 1959 single by Chan Romero from Los Angeles by way of Billings Montana who’d been a good friend of Ritchie Valenz. The Beatles never recorded the song, save for once playing it live on the BBC, but a year later another Liverpool band, The Swinging Blue Jeans, would have a huge hit with it.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience were about the hottest thing in England today in 1967 when they knocked out a version of Purple Haze on the BBC’s Top of The Pops at the studios in Manchester, then traveled north to Darlington to play a show at the Blue Pad Club, advertised on posters and newspapers with “Don’t miss this man, who is Dylan, Clapton, and James Brown all in one.” Someone was so impressed they stole one of Jimi’s Fender Stratocasters from the equipment van as it was being loaded after, a guitar that has never been recovered.
Yoko Ono divorced her second husband, jazz musician, film producer, and art promoter Tony Cox today in 1969. She’d been shacking up with John Lennon for a year, and the two would famously be married in Gibraltar in March, but she’d had a daughter with Cox, Kyoko, and a legal custody battle ensued, eventually won by Cox as his lawyers argued Ono was an unfit mother as she had taken drugs with Lennon. Cox had the 8 year old’s name changed to Ruth Holman, and though John and Yoko searched for her for years, but she wouldn’t see Kyoko again until 1998.
Emerson Lake and Palmer’s “Jimi Hendrix of the organ” Keith Emerson injured his hands tonight in 1973 in San Francisco when the piano he’d had rigged to explode to dramatic effect went off prematurely while he was still playing it.
Genesis released their 7th studio album A Trick of The Tail today in 1976. It was their first with their drummer Phil Collins taking over for departed lead vocalist Peter Gabriel after auditioning some 400 potential replacements.
The Sex Pistols bass player John Simon “Sid Vicious” Ritchie died of a heroin overdose tonight in 1979, following a party celebrating his release from jail on $50,000 bail as he was a suspect in the stabbing death of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen. The party… and the heroin… had been supplied by his Mother.
CBS’s Television division offered a formal apology today in 2004 for “Nipplegate“, when their MTV subsidiary-produced halftime show for Super Bowl XXXVIII (won by the f***ing New England Patriots) the day before had ended with singer Justin Timberlake ripping the obviously velcroed-on top of Janet Jackson off to reveal the pastie-covered nipple of her right breast, which Timberlake later attributed to a “wardrobe malfunction”. The incident was became the most-recorded event in the history of Tivo digital recording, and co-creator Jawed Karim later said it led to the advent of YouTube. The apology notwithstanding, the Bush administration controlled Federal Communications Commission levied a then-record half-million dollar fine, CBS appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, which eventually overturned the fine, but to this day CBS’s radio division, which had nothing to do with the Super Bowl Broadcast, lives constantly under the threat of massive fines, and can no longer let stray cuss words in songs go unedited as it had for years with Pink Floyd’s Money, The Who’s Who Are You, and many other staples of Classic Rock.
Vancouver B.C. electronic/industrial band Skinny Puppy sent an invoice to the U.S. Government today in 2014 after finding that their recordings had been used to torture Islamic Fundamentalist detainees at the Military prison at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. The government has still not sent a check, and Skinny Puppy so far has declined to sue them.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
The Tornados lead guitarist Alan Caddy would be 77 if he hadn’t passed in 2000. They were the first British act to have a major hit in America with Telstar in 1962.
The Hollies and later Crosby Stills and Nash singer, songwriter, and guitarist Graham Nash(OBE) is 75.
The Steve Miller Band and later Journey bass player Ross Valory is 68.