The Beatles were back home in England filming A Hard Day’s Night today in 1964, but back in the U.S. where they’d been for the first time the previous month, Billboard reported that Meet The Beatles had set a new world sales record crossing the 3.5 million copy mark, and their singles accounted for 60% of all singles sold in America.
Eric Clapton quit The Yardbirds today in 1965, to join John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, where he would meet bass player Jack Bruce with whom he would later start Cream. Eric was unhappy with the band’s move away from pure blues to a more psychedelic pop direction. Clapton recommended his friend Jimmy Page as a replacement, but Pagey was doing quite well for himself as a session musician and record producer, was worried about the effects of touring on his health, and in turn recommended his friend Jeff Beck, who was playing with The Yardbirds just two days later. A year later Page would finally join, first as a replacement for bass player Paul Samwell-Smith, later moving to guitar, which we’ve noticed he’s pretty good at.
Pink Floyd played London’s West End Marquee Club tonight in 1966 for the first time, signaling their “arrival”. Virtually every major British (and quite a few American) rock band of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s played there until the original Wardour Street location was demolished in a building project and it closed in 1988. There have been several attempts to reopen it, including one led by Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics, but none managed to stay open for more than a couple of years.
Brewer and Shipley landed on the U.S. charts with One Toke Over The Line today in 1971. The song would get to #10 despite being banned from radio stations in more conservative parts of the country for “drug references”, even though Mike Brewer and Tom Shipley had gone to lengths to explain that in the song the word “toke” was short for “railway token” and it was about waiting in a train station, not getting stoned. Hardly anyone believed them, especially since they had Jerry Garcia from The Grateful Dead playing pedal steel guitar on it, but their explanation seemed to be good enough for Lawrence Welk.
Twenty eight years to the day after quitting The Yardbirds, Eric Clapton was at #1 with his Unplugged solo album today in 1993.
The Sex Pistols, who’s brief but very loud career in the late 70’s had snowballed into a massive reunion tour that stopped at Seattle’s Bumbershoot festival in 1996, posted on their website today in 2006 that they would not be attending their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, referring to the Cleveland museum as “A piss stain” and “Urine in wine”, and adding “We’re not your monkeys. We’re not coming. You’re not paying attention”.
Another British band much more popular in America than they had been in their heyday, The Kinks, were atop the list of bands making the most money from their songs being used in commercials today in 2006, with Kinks non-radio-hits being used to sell computer printers, laundry detergent, and pharmaceuticals.
Starbucks Coffee announced today in 2007 that they would be turning their Hear Music “media bars” into a full-blown record label. Two weeks later they would announce a major coup, luring Paul McCartney away from EMI Records. He’s now done 5 records for them, none of them selling anywhere near the level he did with The Beatles or Wings.
A car being driven by a very intoxicated man being chased by police turned right tonight in 2014, onto a street barricaded for the annual SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas, and plowed into a crowd of people trying to get into a show by L.A. band X at some 70 mph, killing two instantly and injuring dozens more.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Songwriter Mike Stoller is 83. With his partner Jerry Leiber, who died in 2011, they wrote a remarkable number of early rock and roll hits including Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock, Stand By Me, Love Potion #9, and Young Blood. The two were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
U2 bass player Adam Clayton is 56.