KZOK’s kind and benevolent parent company CBS Radio was first in rock and roll today in 1956 with Alan Freed’s Rock ‘N Roll Dance Party, the first nationally broadcast show to feature what many at the time were calling “the devil’s music”.
The Beatles were at Abbey Road today in 1966, and it’s a fair bet that cannabis was involved. They were doing overdubs on John Lennon’s psychedelic masterpiece Tomorrow Never Knows for their upcoming Revolver album, and then started in on a Paul McCartney number that on the surface seemed to be another Beatles love song, but Paul later admitted that the “you” in Got To Get You Into My Life was the pot Bob Dylan had turned them on to. Interestingly Paul later chose to do that song for America’s first President to admit inhaling when he played the White House.
Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore announced he was leaving Deep Purple today in 1975, to start a new band to be called Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. He’d been taking cello lessons from Hugh McDowell of The Electric Light Orchestra, was tired of the more commercial direction Deep Purple had been taking with their third lead singer David Coverdale, so he enlisted operatic singer Ronnie James Dio for the new band and took most of the backing musicians from Dio’s band Elf. Deep Purple would replace Blackmore with former James Gang guitarist Tommy Bolin from Sioux City Iowa, but they’d only last a year, after which Bolin would overdose at age 25 following a solo show opening for Jeff Beck and Peter Frampton.
The Doobie Brothers would be almost unrecognizable to one of the most hard-core elements of their early 70’s fan base…the Hell’s Angels…by today in 1979 when they scored their only #1 hit with Minute By Minute. Their frontman and principal songwriter Tom Johnston had been in poor health after years of touring and hard partying, and hospitalized with bleeding ulcers while they were under contract to produce more albums, so guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter had brought in his old Steely Dan bandmate Michael McDonald, who took them in a decidedly more “soft rock” direction. Johnston would recover and rejoin the band in the late 80’s.
Producer and manager Kit Lambert died at his Mom’s house in London today in 1981 of cerebral hemorrhage after falling down a flight of stairs. He’d produced The Crazy World of Arthur Brown’s Fire in 1968, managed The Who from ’64 to ’67, and produced their Tommy album in 1969 after an aborted attempt at making a film about them, as noted in the 2014 documentary Lambert and Stamp.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band played in Hamburg Germany tonight in 1981, at the start of their first major tour outside the U.S. that would eventually take them to 10 countries.
Alice Cooper was touring Europe today in 1988 when in an afternoon rehearsal a safety rope snapped that was supposed to make it look like Alice was being hung. It took few seconds for one of the road crew to notice that he actually was being hung, and cut him down, saving his life.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
The Jefferson Airplane and later New Riders of the Purple Sage drummer Spencer Dryden would be 79 if he hadn’t been taken by cancer at 66.
Original Jethro Tull guitarist Mick Abrahams is 74. He quit the band after falling out with Ian Anderson after their first album, to be replaced for several weeks by Tony Iommi, who quit to start Black Sabbath, and then by Martin Barre, who played on every Tull album to follow.
Florian Schneider, founding member of the world’s first electronic-music band (1970) Kraftwerk is 70, but wasn’t with them when they played a “3-D” show at the Paramount Theater three summers ago: He quit the band in 2008.
John Oates of Hall and Oates is 68.
The Knack’s drummer Bruce Gary would be 66. He died of Lymphoma at 55.