The Beatles were off to Hamburg Germany again for the third time today in 1962. This was a 48 night residency at The Star Club, and during the 7 weeks they had all of one day off. In his 2008 book Outliers: The Story of Success, author Malcolm Gladwell points out that in order to become truly expert at something, one needs to put in at least 10,000 hours, and The Fab Four, far from being an overnight success in the ’64 British Invasion, had slogged well over that many in the nightclubs of Hamburg and Liverpool.
The Beatles spent tonight in 1965 recording the John Lennon song that they’d use as the title for their second feature film that he would later say was his reaction to the band’s supposedly overnight success that had him “subconsciously crying out for Help!”
The Rolling Stones released the opening track to their Sticky Fingers album, Brown Sugar, as a single today in 1971. Mick Jagger had written it in Australia while filming Ned Kelley, inspired by his secret girlfriend and mother of his first child Marsha Hunt. They’d recorded it at the famous Muscle Shoals studio in Alabama, and debuted it live at their ill-fated concert at the Altamont Speedway outside San Francisco, but legal wrangling had delayed it from being the very first release on Rolling Stones Records until today.
Elton John had his second American #1 hit today in 1974 when Bennie and The Jets from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road topped the singles charts. Elton and his band thought it was the strangest song they’d ever done, so producer Gus Dudgeon added the live crowd effects, but Sir John still didn’t want it released as a single. He’s never played it live the same way twice.
Van Halen were pimping their second album II, 13 nights into their World Vacation Tour tonight in 1979, when they played the second of two shows at the Seattle Center Coliseum. It was their first as headliners (they’d opened for Black Sabbath on their first major tour), and clearly they loved the Pacific Northwest. They’d already done the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma on the 3rd, after two shows in Portland would return for one more at the Seattle Center Arena on the 18th before one at the Spokane Coliseum the next night where singer David Lee Roth would collapse on stage from exhaustion.
David Crosby was backstage at a show in Dallas tonight in 1982 when a wandering policeman noticed he was busily prepping himself with a few prodigious lines of nose-candy and arrested him.
Aerosmith were well on the way to a comeback from the depths of Steven Tyler and Joe Perry’s “Toxic Twins” drug-fueled period, largely led by Run DMC’s rap-cover of Walk This Way today in 1993, when governor William Weld declared it “Aerosmith Day” throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Rage Against the Machine were the musical guest on NBC’s Saturday Night Live tonight in 1996 when their scheduled two-song set was cut to one when they hung upside-down American flags, a recognized symbol of distress and/or protest, from their amplifiers. One fan who was apparently watching was a conservative politician who would be elected to the House of Representatives two years later, and be nominated by the GOP as Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential candidate in 2012. In an interview during that campaign Paul Ryan let slip that Rage Against the Machine was his favorite band, which led guitarist Tom Morello to write in Rolling Stone magazine that Ryan “didn’t get it…He is the embodiment of The Machine our music has been raging against for two decades”. Ryan later backpedaled, saying he liked their sound, but not their lyrics, which led Morello to respond “Well I don’t care for Ryan’s sound or his lyrics”.
Über-producer Phil Spector was convicted of murdering his girlfriend, actress Lana Clarkson today in 2009 at the end of a 5-month long re-trial. He’d be sentenced to 19-years-to-life in the California State Prison System at the end of May, where he lamented, “I used to have The Beatles knocking on my door to produce their albums, now I get Charlie Manson“.
5 vintage guitars were stolen from the Culver City California studio where Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers were rehearsing today in 2012: A 1967 Blonde Rickenbacker, a 1967 Epiphone Sheridan, a 1965 Gibson SG, an extremely rare Fender Broadcaster (later to be called the Telecaster), and a custom-built Dusenberg Mike Campbell guitar. Though Petty would publicly offer a $7500 no-questions-asked reward for their return, they never were.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
The Jefferson Airplane’s bass player Jack Casady is 73.
Little Feat guitarist Lowell George would be 72 if he hadn’t died of a heart attack at age 34.
Soul singer Al Green is 71.
The Flamin’ Groovies singer Roy Loney, who now lives among us here in Seattle, is 71.
Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band drummer Max Weinberg is 66.
Blondie keyboard player and songwriter Jimmy Destri is 63.
The Black Crowes lead guitarist Marc Ford is 51.