21 year old Cavern Club cloakroom attendant Cilla Black was at #1 in England today in 1964 with a song Burt Bacharach and Hal David had originally written for Dionne Warwick, Anyone Who Had A Heart. The former hairdresser had taken the job knowing she wanted to have a career as a singer, and had impressed John Lennon, who encouraged his manager Brian Epstein to give her an audition, which she blew on the first go-’round, as The Beatles backed her up but they hadn’t rehearsed at all, and the boys played the songs in their key, not hers. Still, she went on to be a famous singer, actress, and TV personality, and Queen Elizabeth II made her an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE), one rank higher than all of the Fab Four except Paul McCartney, who was eventually made a full Knight.
The Rolling Stones made their second appearance on the BBC’s Top of the Pops tonight in 1964, playing Buddy Holly’s Not Fade Away. While John Lennon and Paul McCartney had let them record I Wanna Be Your Man after they wrote it in front of them, the Jagger/Richards songwriting team had yet to come up with a song on their own.
Pink Floyd were nearing the end of their first full week at EMI’s St. John’s Wood Studio (later to be known as Abbey Road for the street it was on) recording their first album Piper At The Gates of Dawn today in 1967. With the exception of two band-written instrumentals and one Roger Waters song, the whole thing was the brainchild of founder Syd Barrett.
Janis Joplin started a 5 week run at #1 on the U.S. album charts with Pearl today in 1971. Unfortunately for Janis she had died 5 months earlier.
Led Zeppelin played to 25,000+ at the Sydney Showgrounds in Australia tonight in 1972, and Jimmy Page, having been growing a two year beard that would make any hipster in Portland proud, had shaved it off and would never sport facial hair again.
15 Royal Canadian Mounted Police Dudley Do-Rights raided the Toronto hotel room of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards today in 1977 and found an ounce of high-quality heroin. They charged him not only with possession, but “intent to traffic”, which carried a possible life-in-prison sentence. As in America, standards for justice vary greatly depending on how much money one has. Keith was eventually allowed a medical visa to go to the U.S. to enter rehab, given a one year suspended sentence, and after hearing court testimony from a blind fan, allowed to perform community service in the form of a benefit concert for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.
The godfather of soul James Brown was paroled today in 1991, having served over two years of a six year sentence relating to a high-speed car chase that crossed the Georgia-South Carolina border, possession of a firearm, assault of a police officer, and possession of drugs presumed to be PCP. As the supposed chase had crossed state lines, the F.B.I. had investigated, and in 2007 the Washington Post received a copy of his file under the Freedom of Information Act and found that no chase had taken place, that local officers had fired on Brown’s car, and beaten him after he surrendered, but the local cops who’d arrested him denied it all. The case didn’t go further, as Brown had died in 2006.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
? and the Mysterians lead guitarist Bobby Balderrama is 67.
Santana and later Journey and Bad English guitarist Neal Schon is 63. Carlos Santana released Santana IV in 2016 with the original Woodstock-era lineup of his band diving into their latin jazz fusion rock roots, including Schon, former Journey bandmate Seattle-born keyboard player and lead singer Greg Rolie, and Seattle-based drummer Michael Shrieve.
Iron Maiden guitarist and songwriter Adrian Smith is 60.