The Rolling Stones were in Hollywood today in 1966, starting in on their 10th single Paint It, Black. The comma was added by a proofreader at Decca Records, for the record. With lyrics credited to Mick Jagger and music to Keith Richards, the song started with a “funk” rhythm that they couldn’t make work until Bill Wyman started playing around with the bass pedals of a Hammond organ trying to “fatten up” the sound, and as usual Brian Jones brought it all together by finding an instrument laying around the studio and figuring out how to play it on his own in short order. In this case it was a Sitar, which Keith said “made” the song. George Harrison had already used one on The Beatles Norwegian Wood, but didn’t have Brian’s natural ability and took lessons from Indian master Ravi Shankar.
The Beatles were at Abbey Road today in 1967, and today’s task was the sound effects at the beginning of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Some of them (the audience murmuring and orchestra tuning up) were created especially for the track, while the audience screaming was taken from their attempts at a live album at the Hollywood Bowl in ’64 and ’65, which turned out so badly the weren’t released until 1977 after all kinds of studio-tweaking.
Charles Manson released an album today in 1970, hoping to raise funds for his defense in the Tate/LaBianca murder trial in which he had just been told by the court he could no longer serve as his own attorney. Titled LIE, the cover was made to look like that of LIFE magazine with the “F” removed. The songs were all Manson originals, and one of them (Cease to Exist) had been recorded by The Beach Boys (who changed the lyrics some and the title to Never Learn Not To Love) during the brief period Charlie had befriended their drummer Dennis Wilson, who in short order figured out he was nuts. Of the 2000 copies printed, Manson only sold about 300.
Though In The Summertime was their only hit in the U.S., Mungo Jerry had a second #1 hit in England today in 1971 with Baby Jump.
Led Zeppelin played Ireland’s National Boxing Stadium in Dublin tonight in 1971, the first time they had played there, the second stop on their “Thank You” tour of the British Isles and the only one not in one of the small nightclubs they’d played on their fist tour in ’68. Manager Peter Grant still managed to keep admission at ’68 ticket prices, and fans were treated to the second-ever live performance of Stairway to Heaven.
Seattle’s Pearl Jam were “Down Under” for the first time tonight in 1995, playing a show at the Perth Entertainment Centre in Australia.
Already inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Yardbirds and Cream, Eric Clapton was inducted as a solo artist today in 2000, making him the only person inducted three times.
David Crosby was staying at a hotel in new York City today in 2004 when he realized he’d left a bag in the luggage room behind the front desk. He called the hotel to tell them he’d come get it, but an employee had already gone through the bag looking for identification or some clue as to who the owner was, and instead found two hunting knives, a .45 automatic handgun, ammunition, and about an ounce of pot, and called the police who were waiting for him at the hotel when he showed up. He was arrested and held in jail for 12 hours before being released on $3500 bail. He was later fined an additional $5000, but got no more time in the pokey. It was the second time Crosby had been busted for having a concealed weapon. After his first in 1985, a reporter had asked why he was carrying a gun, and he’d replied simply, “John Lennon, man.”
Ten Years After guitarist Alvin Lee died in Spain at age 68 today in 2013 of “complications during a routine surgical procedure”, though no one has ever said what that routine procedure was.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
The Supremes singer Mary Wilson is 73.
The Zombies drummer Hugh Grundy is 72.
Pink Floyd guitarist David Jon Gilmour (CBE) is 71.
This Is Spinal Tap writer-director Rob Reiner is 69. Rob is the son of The Dick Van Dyke Show’s creator Carl Reiner, and started his own career as a writer on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, then landed a role on All In The Family before moving on to direct other hit films like The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Misery, A Few Good Men, and The Bucket List.