A British company cashing in on Beatlemania shipped a solid half-ton of Beatle wigs to America today in 1964. The band were still in Florida after making their 2nd appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show live from Miami, and a reporter asked John Lennon how he felt about teenagers imitating them by wearing Beatle wigs, and John said “They’re not imitating us because we don’t wear Beatle wigs”.
Harry Nilsson started a 4-week run at #1 on the U.S. charts today in 1972 with Without You, a song he’d heard on the stereo at a party and thought was a Beatles tune, but it was in fact written by Pete Ham and Tom Evans of Badfinger, who’d recorded it for their No Dice album on The Beatles Apple label two years earlier.
Led Zeppelin played the show they’d cancelled the night before due to heavy downpour tonight in 1972 in Adelaide Australia, with the largest sound system ever assembled, making it the loudest rock and roll show ever to that point. The next morning the Adelaide Advertiser ran a review that read, “Singer Robin Plant overcame an Australian bug in his throat, and came into his own on Black Dog and Stairway to the Stars“.
Rick Stevens, who’d been the lead singer for Tower of Power on their 2nd album Bump City (Which included their first hits Down to the Nightclub and You’re Still a Young Man), was arrested today in 1976 with the drug-related murder of three men in San Jose. He’d be convicted and sent to prison in November. Tower of Power have had some 60 members over the years, but are still very much active.
Manfred Mann’s Earth Band were at #1 on the U.S. singles chart with Blinded By The Light today in 1977, a cover of the first single from Bruce Springsteen’s 1972 debut Greetings From Asbury Park NJ. Bruce didn’t much care for the English band’s version, which had changed one of the lines: “Cut loose like a deuce” came out as “Revved up like a deuce”, but Mann’s slurred pronunciation of the word “deuce” later caused Bruce to remark that his song hadn’t become popular until “Manfred Mann rewrote it to be about a feminine hygiene product”.
AC/DC lead singer Ronald Belford “Bon” Scott was found in the Renault 5 he’d been left to sleep in after a heavy night of drinking in London today in 1980. He was taken to a hospital, but pronounced dead on arrival, having asphyxiated on his own vomit, listed by the coroner as “death by misadventure” (see related story here). Intrepid Seattle disc-jockeys Gary Crow and Mike West conducted on-air auditions with many suitable replacements in the Puget Sound area, but after considering breaking up, the band settled on a singer Bon and Angus Young had seen in England, Brian Johnson of the band Geordie.
Ozzy Osbourne had played the night before in San Antonio Texas today in 1982. His wife Sharon had hidden all his clothes to prevent him from leaving the hotel room and getting in trouble, but an extremely inebriated Ozzy decided to put on one of her dresses and go out for a stroll anyway. At one point he felt the call of nature, and relieved himself on a pile of rubble that turned out to be one of Texas’ most sacred monuments, The Alamo, where all 189 Texas separatists had died in a 13-day siege by 1800 Mexican Army troops in 1836. Ozzy was immediately arrested and banned from ever playing in San Antonio again, a ban that was lifted 10 years later.
Guns-N-Roses played the first of three nights at the Tokyo Dome baseball stadium in Japan tonight in 1992, part of their Use Your Illusion tour. The video of their long-winded cover of Bob Dylan’s Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door should have got them barred from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but it didn’t.
Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee married Baywatch actress Pamela Anderson just 4 days after meeting her on the beach in Cancun Mexico today in 1995. The two decided to videotape their honeymoonal consummation on board a yacht. The tape was later stolen from their home and quickly became the most widely viewed video in the then-young history of the Interwebs. Tommy and Pam sued the Internet Entertainment Group, Inc. who put it up, leading to an out-of-court settlement that had even more people watching it, but at least they were getting paid for getting laid. Here it is, with all the naughty bits removed. This is a family show, after all.
The family of the late Johnny Cash, who had died the year before, sued to prevent his 1963 hit Ring Of Fire from being used in a hemorrhoid ointment commercial today in 2004. The song had been written for Johnny by his wife June, who’d died several months before Johnny, and Merle Kilgore, who wouldn’t pass for another two years and apparently needed the money, as he’d given his approval.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Both Smokey Robinson and Bobby Rogers of The Miracles have the same birthday. Smokey is 77 and still performing, Bobby died three years ago.
Focus drummer Pierre van der Linden is 71.
Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi is 69.
Canned Heat, Spirit, and 80’s Heart bass player Mark Andes is 69.
Wishbone Ash guitarist Andy Powell is 67.