Buddy Holly and the Crickets began their first and only tour of England today in 1958, at the Tracadero in London’s Elephant and Castle district. The Brits were crazy for the Crickets two guitar, bass and drums sound that became the template for rock and roll. The Beatles and Rolling Stones would have hits with covers of his songs a few years later. After 25 shows Buddy and the Band went back to New York, where Buddy met a hot receptionist he proposed to on the first date. They’d get married back home in Lubbock that summer, but he’d fallen in love with New York and the hip Greenwich Village nightclub scene. The Crickets wanted to stay in Texas, and that was the end of the original lineup. Buddy went back to New York and wanting to get into movies like his friends and mentors Elvis Presley and Eddie Cochran, took acting classes at the Greenwich Village Actors Studio where Marlon Brando and James Dean learned their craft.
Gene Clark, who wrote or co-wrote with Roger McGuinn most of The Byrds hits that weren’t Bob Dylan covers, quit the band today in 1966 because he was deathly afraid that if he continued touring in airplanes he was going to end up like Buddy Holly. He rejoined for three weeks the next year when they sacked David Crosby.
The Beatles were at work at their Abbey Road office today in 1967, recording possibly the most psychedelic song of all time, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, which naturally a lot of people took as a reference for the acronym for Lysergic acid diethylamide, considering John Lennon going on about Plasticine porters with looking glass eyes and all. They had been experimenting with that substance, but they weren’t about to admit it with Scotland Yard treating British rock stars the way they were at the time. John said the song was actually inspired by a drawing his 3-year-old song Julian had brought home from preschool, of his class mate Lucy O’Donnell. Which was true, and they were actually able to produce the drawing, in crayon, which is pretty psychedelic in its own right. Julian later said, “I don’t know why I called it that or why it stood out from all my other drawings, but I obviously had an affection for Lucy at that age. I used to show dad everything I’d built or painted at school, and this one sparked off the idea.” The BBC banned the song anyway, but had changed their tune by 2007 when they interviewed Lucy: “I remember Julian and I both doing pictures on a double-sided easel, throwing paint at each other, much to the horror of the classroom attendant… Julian had painted a picture and on that particular day his father turned up with the chauffeur to pick him up from school.” Paul McCartney in a 2004 interview said it’s “a song like Got to Get You Into My Life, that’s directly about pot, although everyone missed it at the time. Day Tripper, that’s one about acid. Lucy in the Sky, that’s pretty obvious. There’s others that make subtle hints about drugs, but, you know, it’s easy to overestimate the influence of drugs on the Beatles’ music.”
Elton John released his first single today in 1968. I’ve Been Loving You Baby came out on the Phillips label and went nowhere.
The Doors mild-mannered frontman Jim Morrison, who by now had grown a full beard and gained weight to the point where he’d abandoned his trademark leather pants, thought it might be fun to whip the audience at the Dinner Key Auditorium in Miami into a good old-fashioned riot tonight in 1969. It turned out to be a very small and boring riot, but three days later the Dade County Police issued a warrant for his arrest on a charge of indecent exposure, claiming he had shown “Little Jim” to the audience. He died in Paris before his trial, but drummer John Densmore denied that Jim had exposed his unit to anyone. Outgoing Florida governor Charlie Crist was a Doors fan, and granted Jim a posthumous pardon in 2007.
His Detroit Michigan band The Stooges had fizzled (they would get immensely popular and eventually reform later mostly through word-of-mouth from musicians), but David Bowie had seen something in frontman Iggy Pop, and produced two albums for him in Germany, and the two did a tour together, which played in Aylesbury England tonight in 1977.
Nirvana played their last live show tonight in 1994 in an airport hanger in Munich, Germany. It held only 3000 people, a small venue for a band that big at that time. Bass player Krist Novoselic told the crowd ““We’re not playing the Munich Enormodome tonight. ‘Cos our careers are on the wane. We’re on the way out. Grunge is dead. Nirvana’s over…our next record’s going to be a hip-hop record!” They started out with a cover of The Cars My Best Friend’s Girl. Kurt Cobain would overdose and go into a short coma two days later in Rome.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
The Who’s lead singer and Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE), Roger Daltrey is 73.
Manfred Mann singer and songwriter Mike d’Abo is 73. He wrote many of the bands songs, and some others: Handbags and Gladrags would be huge for Rod Stewart, and Build Me Up, Buttercup would get big for The Foundations and be sung by the entire cast of the movie There’s Something About Mary.