The Beatles recorded a TV Special called Around The Beatles in London tonight in 1964. They played songs as you would expect, but they also performed Act V Scene I of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with Paul as Pyramus, George as Moonshine, Ringo as Lion, and John in the female role of Thisbe, which Paul was so amused with he named his cat Thisbe.
The first Broadway musical rooted in 60’s hippie counterculture opened tonight in 1968. Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical was written actors James Rado and Gerome Ragni starting in ’64, and was a largely autobiographical portrait that included opposition to the Vietnam war, drugs, free love, nudity, and swearing, so naturally it was quite controversial, but it ran for 1,729 performances, closing on July 1st of 1972, and was finally released as a movie in 1979, but productions by small theater troupes continue to this day, most recently here at the Arts West Playhouse in West Seattle.
Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon went to #1 on the U.S. album charts today in 1973. It would stay on the charts for over 1500 weeks and move over 45 million copies, making it the second-best selling album of all time behind Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
T Rex bass player Steve Currie was killed in a car crash in Portugal today in 1981, just under 4 years after the band’s frontman Marc Bolan had died in a car crash in London. Currie quit T Rex in ’76 to become a session musician, most notably on Chris Spedding’s Motorbikin’.
The California State Assembly’s Consumer Protection Committee heard testimony from some religious zealots today in 1982 claiming that when Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven was played backwards, a “backmasked” message could be heard to say “I sing because I live with Satan. The Lord turns me off, there’s no escaping it. Here’s to my sweet Satan, who’s power is Satan. He will give you 666. I live for Satan”. Former Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl recently referenced that testimony when he was quoted as saying, “When you listen to Nickelback backwards you can hear Satanic messages. Even worse, when you play it frontwards you can hear Nickelback“.
Guns-N-Roses mild-mannered frontman Axl Rose married Erin Everly, daughter of the Everly Brothers Don Everly at Cupid’s Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas tonight in 1990. They would divorce 9 months later.
A fire completely demolished James Brown Enterprises today in 2000. Nobody was injured, but wardrobe, memorabilia, and tapes of live performances were destroyed at the offices that handled The Godfather of Soul’s tours in what was determined to be arson perpetrated by a disgruntled employee.
The British Advertising Standards Authority determined that a recent TV spot for Swiftcover Ltd. was misleading today in 2009, as it had used Detroit singer Iggy Pop claiming he had a policy with the insurance company, who at the time specifically excluded musicians, and did not offer policies in the U.S. Swiftcover was able to avoid penalites by extending coverage to British musicians.
The Scorpions American drummer James Kottak was in court in Dubai today in 2014, being sentenced to one month in jail for an incident at the airport earlier this month. Apparently he was under the influence of alcohol, raised his middle finger, and insulted Islam.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show drummer John Wolters would be 72, he died in 1997.
Kim Gordon, bass player with influential New York band Sonic Youth and friend and mentor to many a Seattle “grunge” era band is 64.