Rockabilly guitarist Carl Perkins was in Delaware, on his way to New York for appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Perry Como Show when the car he was riding in crashed into the back of a pickup truck and landed in a ditch today in 1956, breaking his collarbone, four of his neck vertebrae, and killing his brother Jay. Cars in 1956 were much heavier than today, and there were no seat belt laws. Carl remained unconscious for a day. When he woke up, he found Scotty Moore, D.J. Fontana, and Bill Black from Elvis Presley’s band waiting. “Of all the people, I looked up and there you guys are. You looked like a bunch of angels coming to see me.”, he said. Black told him, “Hey, man. Elvis sends his love.”, and lit a cigarette for him, even though the patient in the next bed was in an oxygen tent. Luckily, Carl lived until 1998.
Bob Dylan’s 5th studio album, Bringing It All Back Home, was released today in 1965. It would go to number 6 on the Billboard album chart, the first time Bob would break the top 10, and the lead-off track, Subterranean Homesick Blues would become Bob’s first single to chart at all. The cover features Bob holding albums by Robert Johnson and The Impressions. The woman lounging and smoking in the background is the wife of his manager Albert Grossman, Sally.
All six members of The Allman Brothers band were arrested today in 1971, charged with possession of marijuana and heroin.
Led Zeppelin started a 6-week run at #1 on the U.S. album charts today in 1975 with their 6th studio album, Physical Graffiti. Atlantic Records had shipped a million copies on the day of it’s release. It was the most successful album in the label’s history, eventually selling over 16 million.
The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash was shown for the first time on American television tonight in 1978. In a “rock mockumentary” later copied by Rob Reiner’s This Is Spinal Tap, Monty Python’s Eric Idle joined The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band’s Neil Innes in a parody of The Beatles that marked a collaboration between members of the Python troupe and NBC’s Saturday Night Live cast, as well as cameos from the likes of Mick and Bianca Jagger, Paul Simon, Ronnie Wood (as a Hell’s Angel), and Monty Python fan George Harrison (as a reporter interviewing a parody of the many interviews he’d done as a Beatle).
Reggae influenced “New Wave” band The Police, with Britons Gordon “Sting” Sumner, Andy Summers, and American drummer Stuart Copeland signed a contract with A&M records today in 1978. The “M” of A&M, Jerry Moss, would later name one of his Thoroughbred racing horses after one of their albums. Zenyatta became the most successful Filly of all time.
Pink Floyd went to #1 on the U.S. singles chart today in 1980 with Another Brick In The Wall from Roger Waters’ The Wall. It would be their only #1 hit in The States, and also go to #1 in many other countries.
Queen were at a film studio in London today in 1984, making a video for their song I Want To Break Free. The concept was a parody of the extremely popular BBC soap opera Coronation Street (the longest running show in television history), that featured the band members dressed in drag. Guitarist Brian May later said the video ruined the band in America when it was banned by MTV.
Seattle’s own Heart were in the midst of a major comeback when their single These Dreams went to #1 in America today in 1986, but Ann and Nancy Wilson didn’t write it. It was a couple of Brits, Martin Page and a lyricist already famous for his collaboration with Elton John, Bernie Taupin (the two also wrote Jefferson Starship’s hit We Built This City). Heart got to #6 for them back home in England despite their massive 80’s hair.
Singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist Dan Hartman died of a brain tumor today in 1996, at age 43. He had written Free Ride as a member of The Edgar Winter Group, and his 1976 debut solo album Who Is Dan Hartman And Why Is Everyone Saying Wonderful Things About Him featured contributions from Johnny and Edgar Winter, Ronnie Montrose, Rick Derringer, and the E-Street Band’s “big man” Clarence Clemmons.
Foghat guitarist Rod Price, known in England as The Magician of Slide Guitar, died at his new home in New Hampshire today in 2005 when he fell down the stairs.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
The Yardbirds lead singer Keith Relf would be 74. He died at 33 when he was electrocuted at home while playing an improperly grounded guitar amp.
The Easybeats co-guitarist Harry Vanda is 71. He and George Young wrote most of the band’s hits, and their meeting was described as “the most significant event in Australian music history” by an Aussie music magazine. George would go on to produce even bigger albums for his little brothers’ band AC/DC.