The Beatles hopped on a train, conveniently at the station across the street from the Washington Coliseum where they’d played to 8000 screaming fans the night before, back to New York City for two shows at Carnegie Hall tonight in 1964, their 2nd and 3rd concerts on American soil. Ticket demand was high, and promoter Sid Bernstein managed to squeeze in some more seats, but the long era of “festival seating” was still a few years away, and seats closer to the stage were more expensive, as they are today…but not so much: Tickets ranged from $1.65 to $5.50, and did not include “service” or “convenience” fees. “Festival seating”, where all tickets were the same price and if you wanted to sit up front you got there early (the way many of us grew up), would come later in the 60’s with big rock “festivals”, and end mostly after 11 fans of The Who were trampled to death in a mad rush at a show in Cincinnati.
Pye Records in England announced today in 1965 that they’d signed the “British Bob Dylan”, who was actually from Glasgow, Scotland. Donovan Leitch would be socially and musically connected with most big British acts of the day, and meet the actual Bob Dylan in May (while the British press and American folkie purists would try to establish a rivalry between the two, they got on quite well), but find most of his successes in the next few years when he started working with producer Mickie Most and leave the folk for a decidedly more psychedelic sound.
15 police officers raided “Redlands“, the West Sussex home of Keith Richards today in 1967, toward the end of a weekend blowout party. Tipped by the News Of The World tabloid, who’d started a crusade against drug-taking rock stars in a 3-part exposé with the title Pop Stars and Drugs: Facts That Will Shock You (the first piece targeted Donovan, who’d already been raided and charged), the cops made no arrests at the time, but later charged Mick Jagger and their art-dealer friend Robert Frasier with possession of amphetamines without a proper prescription (Mick had one, but from a foreign country), and Richards with “allowing his premises to be used for the smoking of cannabis resin”. News of The World, who were paying Richards’ Chauffeur for the info, were careful to make sure he let police know when George and Pattie Harrison left the party, as no one wanted to arrest a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE). Both Mick and Keith were eventually sentenced to long prison terms, of which they both served one day (Jagger in London’s Brixton prison, Richards in the more notorious Wormwood Scrubs), but public opinion was turning away from the sensational fear-mongering of News of the World after an article in the more traditional Times of London ran a piece called Who Breaks a Butterfly on a Wheel? that pointed out that the Stones were being treated far more harshly than anyone not-so-famous would be for a first offense. Mick and Keith would write a pretty good and quite psychedelic song, We Love You, thanking fans for supporting them during their prison ordeal, in which the sound of a closing cell door can be heard:
Jimi Hendrix, returning to his native Seattle for the second time since becoming famous in England, played the Seattle Center Arena (Now the disused “Mercer Arena”) tonight in 1968 with The Jimi Hendrix Experience. He’d played the Eagles Hippodrome shortly after his electrifying Monterrey Pop Festival appearance, mistakenly billed as “Jimmy Hendricks”, the year before to great reviews, but the Arena show was plagued by sound problems. Author Tom Robbins, then writing for Seattle counterculture newspaper The Helix, wrote “Listening to rock in the Arena is like making love in a file cabinet”. Jimi would play three more shows in his hometown, two at the Seattle Center Coliseum (now the Key Arena), and one at Sick’s Stadium on Rainier Avenue (one-year home to Major League Baseball’s 1969 Seattle Pilots…now a Lowe’s hardware store) a little over a m0nth before his death at 27.
John Lennon appeared on the BBC’s Top of the Pops tonight in 1970, becoming the first of The Beatles to do so since 1966. He did his new single Instant Karma, which he had written, arranged, recorded, and mixed in a then-record one day, saying “I wrote it for breakfast, recorded it for lunch, and we’re putting it out for dinner”.
Pink Floyd released their 10th studio album Animals in the U.S. today in 1977, where it was immediately purchased and dubbed to cassette by your intrepid This Day In Classic Rock reporter for heavy play in his Ford Econoline “Spicoli Van”. Roger Waters had loosely based the concept album, the first recorded in Floyd’s new studio, on George Orwell’s 1945 book Animal Farm, though while Orwell’s tale was of the ideals of the Russian Revolution led astray under Joseph Stalin, Waters’ songs were reworked as a scathing indictment of capitalism. Animals contained only 5 songs, either too long or too short to get much radio airplay, but nevertheless climbed to #3 on the U.S. album charts.
U2 announced their upcoming Pop Mart world tour today in 1997 with a press conference held in the lingerie department of New York’s Greenwich Village K-Mart.
A prototype for what would later be called “shock rock”, pianist, singer, songwriter, and former middleweight boxing champion Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (born Jalacy Hawkins) died today in 2000 at age 70 during an operation for an aneurysm.
The Doors drummer John Densmore began legal action against his former bandmates Ray Manzarek and Robbie Kreiger today in 2003, seeking breach-of-contract damages for their tour with The Cult singer Ian Astbury and The Police drummer Stewart Copeland, saying “It shouldn’t be called The Doors if it’s someone other than Jim Morrison singing”.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Lorne Greene would be 102 if he hadn’t died at age 72. The former Canadian Broadcasting Corporation newsman was mostly famous as an actor (Ben Cartwright on Bonanza and Commander Adama on the original Battlestar Galactica), but released several albums as a singer, including 1964’s Welcome to the Ponderosa, which cashed in on the TV show’s popularity and included a western-themed song called Ringo, which many Beatles fans bought as a single thinking it had some connection to their drummer.
The Doors keyboard player Ray Manzarek would be 78 if he hadn’t died of cancer in 2013.
Three Dog Night bass player Joe Schermie would be 71 if he hadn’t died of a heart attack at 56.
Black Oak Arkansas guitarist Stanley “Goober Grin” Knight is 68.
Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett is 67. He quit the band in 1977, shortly after the departure of singer Peter Gabriel, but played a stunning show two years ago at Seattle’s Moore Theater of mostly old Gabriel-era Genesis. Lots of people credit Eddie Van Halen for the guitar technique of “hammering on”, but Steve did it when Ed was a baby.
Former Steely Dan and Doobie Brothers singer Michael McDonald is 65.