The Beatles started in on recording George Harrison’s über-psychedelic Within You, Without You at Abbey Road today in 1967. George was the only Beatle to play on it (Paul was the first to do that with Yesterday), and he’d recruited a group of Indian musicians living in London. He taught himself how to write the melody he’d written on a pump organ at his friend Klaus Voorman’s house in Indian script so they could follow along. George Martin arranged a string section, and it was released on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in June, just in time to fuel many a Summer Of Love acid trip 5371 miles away in San Francisco. George would visit there that summer, and be just a little freaked out by the whole thing.
T-Rex frontman Marc Bolan released his first book of poetry, The Warlock Of Love, today in 1969.
Cream were at #1 on the British charts today in 1969 with their 4th and final album, Goodbye Cream. Part live, recorded at the Forum in L.A. in October, and part studio in London (including the George Harrison written mega-hit Badge), it only went to #2 in the U.S.
Led Zeppelin were working almost as hard as the Beatles had earlier in the decade today in 1969, playing two shows in two different cities in Denmark.
Led Zeppelin were the Kings of the Rock World today in 1975, when they went to #1 in Britain with their 6th studio album and first on their own Swan Song label, Physical Graffiti. They weren’t around to enjoy it though, they were living as tax exiles in Los Angeles, ingesting prodigious amounts of intoxicants, buying hotrods, riding motorcycles up and down the halls at the “Riot House” hotel, and flying between shows on a private Boeing 707 variant dubbed “the Starship”. There’s a picture of them standing by the wing of that plane that’s in the lobby at The Edgewater Inn here in Seattle. Robert Plant took a picture of himself in front of it when he played here on his “Band Of Joy” a few years ago.
Pink Floyd played the first of 6 nights at the Empire Pool at Wembley in London tonight in 1977, on the British leg of their In The Flesh tour, which featured a heavy dose of their new album Animals. During the show a large inflatable pig soared over the audience, then was switched with a smaller cheaper one filled with propane that created a nice blue fireball to the ohhs and ahhs of the crowd, but on one occasion an over-eager stagehand thought it might be fun to fill porky instead with some good old-fashioned welder’s oxy-acetylene, creating a rather large explosion that left everyone’s ears ringing for weeks.
Mick Jagger was coming off a long Rolling Stones Hiatus tonight in 1988, playing the first date of his first ever solo tour in Osaka Japan. His first full concert performance since 1982 was mostly Stones songs, including a few they hadn’t done in a very long time (Bitch, Sympathy For The Devil, Gimme Shelter, Ruby Tuesday), and a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Foxy Lady.
Exactly one year later in 1989, all of The Rolling Stones were in a lawyer’s office in New York, signing a contract to play a 50 date North American tour for $70 million dollars, at the time the most lucrative tour contract in history.
Bruce Springsteen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame tonight in 1999, with a nice little speech by U2’s Bono Vox.
Yoko Ono was on hand to unveil a bronze statue of her late husband today in 2002 at the newly re-branded Liverpool John Lennon International Airport. Near a sketch of his face with the words “Above Us Only Skies”, he stands gazing over the check-in area at 7 feet tall, when in reality John was 5′ 11″. The place is lousy with Beatles, naturally.
Disney Studios scrapped their plans for a 3-D remake of The Beatles Yellow Submarine today in 2011, to be directed by Forrest Gump oscar winner Robert Zemeckis using remastered soundtracks from the original film. Reasons given to the Entertainment press included budget concerns and the fact that the surviving Beatles weren’t particularly keen on the idea.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Texas electric blues pioneer and major rock and roll influence Sam “Lightning” Hopkins would be 105, but only made it to 69.
Grateful Dead bass player Phil Lesh is 77, and still touring regularly.
Beach Boys singer Mike Love is 76.
Sly and the Family Stone frontman Sly “Stone” Stewart is 74.
War guitarist and band leader Howard Scott is 71.
Guitarist #8 on the Rolling Stone Top 100 Greatest list, Ry Cooder, is 70.
Twisted Sister singer Daniel “Dee” Snider is 62.