The Rolling Stones played a show at the Crawdaddy Club in Southwest London tonight in 1963. They’d been signed to Decca Records recently, and though their first single wouldn’t come out until June, in attendance that night were all four members of a band who’d signed with EMI after being turned down by Decca: The Beatles.
Things had gotten crazy for The Stones by tonight in 1967, when they played their first time behind what Winston Churchill had called “The Iron Curtain” at the Palace of Culture in Warsaw Poland. They wouldn’t be invited back for almost 10 years, as Polish authorities felt the evening had ended badly, what with their riot police having to use tear gas on the 2000+ fans and all.
The Ronettes front-gal Veronica Bennett married her producer Phil Spector today in 1968. Lucky for her she’d been able to sow some wild oats with The Rolling Stones (Keith Richards in particular) on tour in England and hanging out with The Beatles, because Phil hadn’t let her sing in her own band when they opened for them because he was so jealous and controlling. Ronnie Spector would later say in her autobiography Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Mini Skirts, and Madness that by 1971 she’d had to smash a sliding glass door at their mansion where she’d been held prisoner, cutting her feet up on the glass because Spector had hidden all her shoes, but she fled and never went back, claiming Phil had once showed her a gold coffin with a glass top in the basement, saying if she ever left him he’d put her on display.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney recorded John’s brilliant minstrel-tale of his wedding to Yoko Ono and the worldwide reaction to their corresponding antiwar publicity events at Abbey Road today in 1969, The Ballad of John and Yoko. George Harrison was off on holiday, and Ringo Starr was on the set of The Magic Christian with Peter Sellers, but Lennon was inspired and wanted it done now, so Paul took over on drums. It would be released as a single in May, and be instantly edited and/or banned outright by radio stations across the U.S. “Bible Belt” for the chorus, which was actually pretty funny considering what had happened in ’66 after John’s controversial “bigger than Jesus” comments.
The Illinois Crime Commission release a list of “drug-oriented” songs today in 1971 as part of a national campaign against them led by Vice President Spiro T. Agnew. The top 3 were White Rabbit by The Jefferson Airplane, A Whiter Shade Of Pale by Procul Harum, and Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds by The Beatles.
Mick Taylor had quit The Rolling Stones in December, and ever since the rumors had been flying about who would get the old Brian Jones spot: Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Chris Spedding, and Steve Marriott were all mentioned frequently, but today in 1975 they made it official, announcing Ron Wood of the recently disbanded Faces as their third second guitarist.
Bass player Pete Farndon of Hereford, England, who’d been the first member American Chrissie Hynde recruited for her band The Pretenders when she arrived there to get famous a-la Hendrix, was found dead of a heroin overdose today in 1983 at age 30. He’d been booted from the band almost a year before for his drug use, coincidentally just two days before the cocaine-induced heart attack of their lead guitarist James Honeyman-Scott. Farndon was in the midst of starting a new band with drummer Nick “Topper” Headon, who’d just been kicked out of The Clash for doing smack as well.
8 years after his death, The Beatles lead guitarist George Harrison was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today in 2009 at a ceremony attended by his widow Olivia and son Dhani (who looks just like him), Paul McCartney, fellow Traveling Wilburys Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, actor Tom Hanks, and his good friend from Monty Python, Eric Idle.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Deep Purple and Rainbow guitarist Ritchie Blackmore is 72.