CBS Records announced the invention of stereophonic records today in 1958, which is interesting in that the technology to put a two-channel signal on a vinyl disc had been invented in the 1930’s by an engineer at Britain’s EMI records, stereo electronics went all the way back to 1881 when a Paris fair used Alexander Graham Bell’s newfangled telephone equipment to pipe the symphony into another room, and a much smaller company had been selling stereo records for two years, but what CBS meant to say was that they’d made it affordable.
Roy Orbison was a motorcycle lover, as was his wife “Pretty Woman” Claudette, who’d grown up around them and said she’d turned him on to them even though Roy later said it was his friend Elvis Presley who’d got him riding. So while he was on tour in England today in 1966 it’s no surprise he jumped at the chance to participate as a celebrity in a “scramble” off-road race (the word “motocross” hadn’t been invented yet) at Hawkstone Park, but it went badly when he crashed in front of thousands of screaming fans and broke his foot. He played a show that night, and for the rest of the tour, in a cast, but his moto-lust would turn even more tragic in June when he and Claudette were out riding near their home in Tennessee and she was struck and killed by a semi truck.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney were presented with a prestigious Ivor Novello Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors today in 1967 for their mostly-Paul song Michelle. The Novello is the Brit equivalent of an American Grammy, which they would also win that year.
Bruce Springsteen and the Friendly Enemies opened for The Allman Brothers Band in Asbury Park New Jersey tonight in 1971. Bruce had just broken up his band Steel Mill, and the Friendly Enemies weren’t long for this world as Bruce would start yet another band just a few weeks later, Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom, his first with later E-Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt.
Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia was speeding in a rental car in New Jersey today in 1973 when he got pulled over, and being Jerry Garcia naturally the car was searched and he was discovered to be in possession of LSD and cocaine. While acid was already a staple of Grateful Dead shows, he’d only recently been introduced to the nose candy and also heroin, which luckily for Jerry the cops didn’t find.
Carlos Santana was a huge fan of The Mahavishnu Orchestra, and it was their guitarist John McLaughlin who turned him on to the guru Sri Chinmoy. Carlos was so into it that Rolling Stone magazine announced today in 1973 that Carlos had changed his name to Devadip, which supposedly meant “The lamp, light, and eye of God.” By 1982 Carlos was back to being Carlos after falling out with Chinmoy.
Monty Python member Eric Idle and his songwriting partner Neil Innes of The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band had already conceived their Beatles-parody band The Rutles as a sketch for Idle’s BBC program Rutland Weekend Television, which Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels had caught wind of and talked them into making an hour-long “mockumentary” out of the sketch, which they did, airing tonight in 1978 on the BBC as The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash. The actual Beatles were very amused, and George Harrison had already appeared on Rutland Weekend Television, and would go on to finance the Monty Python movies.
Eric Clapton finally married the object of his longtime affection Pattie Boyd in Tucson Arizona today in 1979. She’d legally divorced his good friend George Harrison, who’d married her shortly after meeting her on the set of A Hard Day’s Night in ’64 just two years earlier, but she and George had been on the outs since ’73, when she had an affair with Faces guitarist Ronnie Wood. Pattie and Clapton would divorce in ’88.
Van Halen were in Shreveport Louisiana tonight in 1986, starting a 112-date tour that would be their first with new lead singer Sammy Hagar.
U2 were trying to recreate the magic of The Beatles last show on top of the Apple building in London when they set up on the roof of a liquor store in downtown Los Angeles today in 1987 to shoot a video for their song Where The Streets Have No Name from their bestselling Joshua Tree album. Their video featured area disc jockeys talking about the impromptu performance and how 30,000 people were expected to show up, but just over 1000 did. They’d also planned for the police to show up and shut them down, even bringing along a gas-powered generator in case the authorities cut the power, but in fact the police were very polite and gave them numerous extensions, and the confrontation as it appears in the video was highly exaggerated.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Genesis keyboard player Tony Banks is 67.