21 year old Elvis Presley played for 4000 people at the YMCA gymnasium in Lexington North Carolina tonight in 1956. Opening the show was Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters, led by 27 year old hottie June Carter, who would marry Elvis’ friend Johnny Cash in ’68.
The Beatles made the big time tonight in 1961, or at least in Liverpool. They played the Cavern Club in the evening for the first time, opening for The Swinging Bluegenes, who’d adopted the name as an homage to American rockabilly star Gene Vincent and his band The Blue Caps. Gene had been badly injured in the Wiltshire car crash that had killed Eddie Cochran the year before, but they later changed their name to The Swinging Blue Jeans because of the pants that would become the rage a few years later.
The Beatles achieved a remarkable American chart feat today in 1965, when after having had I Want to Hold Your Hand at #1 for 7 weeks, it was knocked to #2 by their own She Loves You.
Led Zeppelin played another show tonight in 1971 of their Thank You tour of small clubs they’d played on their first in ’68, for the same cheap price, as manager Peter Grant’s thanks for making them the biggest band out of England since The Beatles. They were the first shows the band played new songs from their forthcoming best-seller ever Led Zeppelin IV. Tonight’s show wasn’t the usual dingy bar, but The Boat Club, warehouse of the rock and roll fans of the Nottingham Rowing Club on the banks of the River Trent, who put on occasional shows with bands they like such as Black Sabbath, Elton John, Rod Stewart, going all the way to The Sex Pistols.
The BBC banned all “teenybopper” acts today in 1973, following last night’s Top Of The Pops riot during a performance by America’s Partridge Family idol David Cassidy. David’s TV little brother 13 year old Danny Bonaduce did not play bass, and was back in California learning to drink and smoke with Dave “Reuben Kincaid” Madden.
David Bowie, touring with his good friend Iggy Pop, were in Rochester, New York tonight in 1976 when the two were caught in their room with an impressive variety of illegal drugs.
New York Mayor Ed Koch announced today in 1984 that an area directly across Central Park West Boulevard from the Dakota apartments in Central Park would be made into a memorial to John Lennon to be called Strawberry Fields, financed by Yoko Ono, who still lives there to this day. It was finished and would be formally dedicated by Koch and Ono and opened on October 9th of ’85, on what would have been John’s 45th birthday. The 2.5 acre garden includes a mosaic around the word “Imagine” that was a gift from the city of Naples, Italy, and has millions of visitors every year, who leave flowers, often in the shape of peace signs, candles, glasses and other tokens of appreciation, and often musicians will be playing there, sometimes famous ones even: both George Harrison and Jerry Garcia have played there unannounced.
Clarence Leonidas “Leo” Fender died today in 1991 at age 82. He was the inventor of some of rock’s most iconic tools: Guitars such as The Fender Telecaster (favored by Keith Richards, Bruce Springsteen, Terry Kath, Jimmy Page in the Yardbirds and early Led Zeppelin), the Fender Stratocaster (tool of choice for Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Ritchie Blackmore); The Fender Precision and Jazz bass guitars (John Entwhistle, Geddy Lee, and just about everybody else); and Fender amplifiers are some of the most-often used in rock as well. Leo sold his Fullerton, California company to CBS in ’65 for 13 million, and started the Music Man amplifier and G&L guitar companies, and while those are excellent instruments too, “pre-CBS” instruments and amps sell today for thousands more than their original price. CBS’s musical instrument division president Bill Shultz led a successful drive in ’85 in which the employees bought Fender, and today they sell everything from very high quality and very expensive “Custom Shop” instruments made in California, mid-level Fender guitars made in Mexico, and cheaper Squier models made in Southeast Asia. Fender has also purchased other notable manufacturers over the years including Gretsch drums and guitars, Sunn amplifiers (originally from Portland), and Tacoma’s high quality Tacoma acoustic guitars.
Yahoo! News announced the results of their recent poll today in 2004: Who would you want to represent Earth as an ambassador to alien life? The overwhelming winner, getting 26% of the vote among the many choices was 55-year old Black Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Viv Stanshall, ukulele playing singer of The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band would be 74 if he hadn’t been killed in a 1995 house fire. The Bonzo’s were the only other band to appear in The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour, where they played a song called Death Cab For Cutie, which would later be adopted as the name for a nationally-popular band from Bellingham.
Sly and the Family Stone keyboard player Rosemary Stone is 72.
Mungo Jerry frontman Ray Dorset is 71.
Supertramp guitarist, singer and songwriter Roger Hodgson is 67.