The Beatles played the Casbah Coffee Club in Liverpool tonight in 1961, their last show in their hometown for a while as the next day they were headed to Hamburg for the second time. Proprietor Mona Best had opened the members-only music club, after seeing a TV report on a private nightclub in London where several prominent singers had been discovered, in the basement of her house to provide a place for her son Pete’s band The Black Jacks to play. The Quarrymen were regular fixtures there, and had helped Mona paint the place the night before it opened, and by the time they changed their name, Paul McCartney had convinced Pete to join The Beatles on their first trip to Germany by promising a full fifth of the band’s pay of £15 a week. Mona would manage the band until they singed on with Brian Epstein and kicked her son out. Mona’s basement has been on Britain’s National Register of Historic Places since 2006, and there are still Beatle-painted spiders, dragons, rainbows, and stars on the walls .
The Rolling Stones were playing in Denmark tonight in 1965 when an ungrounded electrical circuit sent massive shocks to Mick Jagger’s microphone and the electric guitars of Brian Jones and Bill Wyman. The jolts were strong enough to knock Wyman unconscious for several minutes.
Marvin Gaye was at #1 in England today in 1969 with his version of Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong’s I Heard It Through The Grapevine. The song had been recorded first by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles in ’66, but Motown Records honcho Berry Gordy gave it the thumbs-down, and had Gladys Knight and the Pips do it. Their version would go to #2 in ’67, and Creedence Clearwater Revival would have an FM radio hit a year later with their extended 11-minute psychedelic treatment of the Motown classic.
Pete Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and Mary was in court in Washington DC today in 1970, pleading guilty to taking immoral liberties with a 14 year old girl. He was sentenced to three months in jail. Just a few days before the group had won the “Best Recording for Children” Grammy award for their Peter Paul and Mommy album.
Italian-born actress and model Anita Pallenberg gave birth to her third child with The Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards today in 1976. Keith was her second Stones guitarist, she’d originally hooked up with Brian Jones when she met them in Munich, but left him for Keith ten years earlier. Sadly, the boy, Tara, died of pneumonia 10 weeks later.
The Police became the first Western Pop group to play Mumbai, India in over 10 years with a one-off show there tonight in 1980.
Stevie Wonder records were banned by all South African radio stations today in 1985 after he’d dedicated his Oscar to Nelson Mandela at the Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood the night before.
Seattle’s own Soundgarden entered the U.S. album charts at #1 today in 1994 with their 4th album, Superunknown. Recorded at Heart’s Bad Animals studio in Belltown, it sold over 300,000 copies in it’s first week, and would win two Grammy awards.
Controlled Demolition Incorporated carried out it’s contract today in 2000 and imploded Seattle’s largest public arena, The Kingdome. It’s major summertime tenant, the Seattle Mariners, had already moved across Royal Brougham Way to Safeco Field, and the boys of Fall, the Seattle Seahawks were having what is now Century Link Field built on the same spot, and were about to spend one of the most dismal seasons of their existence at Husky Stadium. The Kingdome had been the site of many a rock show starting with Paul McCartney and Wings, and including The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Who, The Clash, and many more on the Monsters of Rock and Rock and Roll Grand Slam tours.
Jan Berry of the 60’s surf-duo Jan and Dean died at 62 today in 2004. He’d been having head injury related health problems ever since crashing his Corvette in Beverly Hills in 1966, a stone’s throw from the Dead Man’s Curve they’d sung about in their hit of two years earlier.
U2 guitarist The Edge donated his favorite Gibson Les Paul today in 2006 to be auctioned to support a charity he’d co-founded to replace musical instruments destroyed in Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Stax and Sun records soul singer Rufus Thomas would be 100. He died in 2001, long after his ’63 hit Walkin’ The Dog was made popular again by Aerosmith.
The Supremes singer Diana Ross is 73.
Electric Light Orchestra keyboard player Richard Tandy is 69.
Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler (real name Steven Victor Tallarico) is 68. Though he’s mostly known as the band’s vocalist and harmonica player, he can also play guitar, drums, bass, keyboards, mandolin, flute, saxophone, violin, cello, and even the hammered dulcimer.
Original Boston bass player Fran Sheehan is 68.