The Beatles played two shows in Liverpool today in 1961. The first, at the Cassanova Club was standard Beatles fare, but the second at the Litherland Town Hall in Merseyside was a special Valentine’s Day show, where Paul McCartney sang a cover they had worked up of Elvis Presley’s Wooden Heart. Paul had a satin-covered wooden heart pinned to his jacket, embroidered with the names John, Paul, George, and Pete, that was raffled off after the show. The winner also got…gasp…a kiss from Paul.
The Who played a show at the Refectory at Leeds University tonight in 1970 in…duh….Leeds, in between Manchester and York in Northern England. The band were quite aware at the time what a good live show they were doing, and intended to release an album from recordings of shows from their 1969 American tour, but Pete Townsend decided he didn’t want to listen to all those recordings to decide which were the best performances, and ordered his soundman to burn the tapes. They instead planned to record the shows at Leeds tonight and one the next night in nearby Kingston-Upon-Hull. Both shows were plagued by technical difficulties: In Hull, somehow John Entwhistle’s bass was not recorded at all on most of the songs, and at Leeds a faulty cord made crackling and popping noises, both of which were fixed using modern digital techniques for the album’s re-releases in 1995, 2001, and 2010, each of which included more of the two performances than the last. The original vinyl release was only six songs, with packaging inspired by a bootleg of a Rolling Stones show in Oakland called LIVE’r Than You’ll Ever Be: An opening “gate-fold” with the record in one pocket and memorabilia in the other, including a photo from the My Generation shoot, facsimiles of Pete’s handwritten lyrics to the Listening To You chorus from Tommy, a rejection letter from EMI Records, a receipt for smoke bombs purchased by Keith Moon, the first 500 copies had a copy of their contract to play at Woodstock, and all came with the iconic “Maximum R&B” poster from their early days showing Townsend windmilling his Rickenbacker guitar, even though by this time Pete was playing a Gibson SG through Hiwatt’s specifically-designed CP-130 “Super Who” amplifiers, which contributed greatly to the album’s sound. Live At Leeds has been recognized again and again as the best live rock album ever made, and the Refectory at Leeds University has been designated a British National Landmark because of it.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono started a week-long run as co-hosts of The Mike Douglas Show tonight in 1972.
“New Wave” band The B-52’s played for the first time tonight in 1977, at a Valentine’s Day party in a greehouse in their native Athens, Georgia. When John Lennon heard the squeaky vocal noises singers Kate Pierson and Cindy Williams made on their hit Rock Lobster two years later, he publicly complained that people had criticized Yoko Ono for doing the same thing.
Dire Straits were at Basing Street Studios in London today in 1978, starting work on their debut album with former Spencer Davis Group bass player and older brother of Steve, Muff Winwood handling the production.
Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed married Sylvia Morales in a ceremony in his New York apartment today in 1980.
Elton John married a woman today in 1984, German recording engineer Renate Blauel, in Sydney Australia. Elton had “come out” as bisexual in a 1976 interview in Rolling Stone magazine, and there was much speculation that the marriage was a cover for his homosexuality. They divorced in 1988, after which Elton said that he was quite comfortable being gay. He started a relationship with advertising executive David Furnish in 1993, and the two entered a “civil partnership” in 2005. The British House of Commons voted to legalize gay marriage in 2013, and Elton and David were first in line.
Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia married for the third time to an old girlfriend from the 70’s, Deborah Koons today in 1994 in Sausalito California. He died 18 months later.
The Sweet’s drummer Mick Tucker died of leukemia today in 2002.
The reel-to-reel master tapes of The Beatles Abbey Road and White Album were recovered today in 2003 by Australian police after they were advertised for sale in a Sydney newspaper. They’d been stolen from Abbey Road studios in the late 60’s, and Scotland Yard had been investigating in “Operation Acetone” ever since.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Steve Miller Band and Boz Scaggs guitar and keyboard player Doug Simril is 71.
Seattle’s own Heart’s founding lead guitarist Roger Fisher is 66.