The Rolling Stones were on tour in Florida today in 1965 and Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were holed up in their hotel working on what would be their biggest hit, Satisfaction. Keith had been listening to a lot of soul music, and intended the guitar riff he came up with to be played by a horn section on the final recording, but he’d been playing with the only effect pedal he ever used, a brand-new Gibson Maestro Fuzz Box, and they stuck with it. Mick later said, “”it was the song that really made the Rolling Stones, changed us from just another band into a huge, monster band… It has a very catchy title. It has a very catchy guitar riff. It has a great guitar sound, which was original at that time. And it captures a spirit of the times, which is very important in those kinds of songs… Which was alienation.”
Meanwhile back in England, singer Marianne Faithfull married her second husband, artist John Dunbar today in 1965. She didn’t quite live up to her surname: Less than 6 months later she would be living with Mick Jagger. He and Keith Richards wrote her first hit As Tears Go By (which the Stones also did), and she co-wrote Sister Morphine from the Sticky Fingers album with Mick.
The Beatles were at Abbey Road today in 1966, working on John Lennon’s I’m Only Sleeping, which sported George Harrison trying a new studio trick on his guitar lead. George Martin would turn the tape upside-down on the recorder, and Harrison would play along to the song as it ran backwards. When the tape was put back the right way it sounded quite psychedelic indeed.
In an interview in Melody Maker magazine today in 1967, The Who’s Keith Moon offered some advice to aspiring drummers: “To make your playing more forceful, hit the drums harder”.
Paul Simon was just starting his first tour without his longtime partner Art Garfunkle tonight in 1973 in Boston. Most of the shows on the American and European tour were recorded, and the best made it onto the album Live Rhymin’.
The Rob Reiner directed “mockumentary” This Is Spinal Tap had premiered just 4 days earlier, when the “band”, actors Christopher Guest (as lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel), Michael McKean (as lead singer and rhythm guitarist David St. Hubbins, of late rekindling fame as Bob Odenkirk’s lawyer big brother in Better Call Saul), and Harry Shearer (bass player Derek Smalls), played New York’s CBGB nightclub tonight in 1984. They would play a number of shows that summer, including Seattle’s Bumbershoot. The giant horned paper maché skull that hung behind them in the movie and at that show ended up in a back room at Seattle Center for several years until it was found by members of Soundgarden, who enlisted Pearl Jam’s bass player Jeff Ament to construct a new horn, and they used it at their Bumbershoot performance. They later gave it to Alice in Chains, who planned to use it as well, but it ended up rotting in the rain outside their West Seattle rehearsal space.
The Internal Revenue Service sent agents to the Nesbit, Mississippi home of Jerry Lee Lewis today in 1993 to seize his belongings in an attempt to make up some of the $1.6 million he owed in unpaid taxes.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted 60’s legends Joni Mitchell and Neil Young (with Buffalo Springfield) tonight in 1997 without them. Joni wanted to avoid media attention over her recent reunion with the daughter she gave up for adoption 32 years earlier, and Neil was pissed that the Hall would only give him one free ticket to the induction dinner.
A stagehand setting up for a David Bowie concert in Miami fell to his death tonight in 2004. Bowie cancelled the show.
Christie’s Auction House in London had one of their most lucrative days ever today in 2005, selling items like the signed management contract between The Beatles and Brian Epstein ($202,000), a leather collar of John Lennon’s ($193,000), A Vox guitar played by both John and George Harrison ($165,000), and other Beatle bits which raised the grand total to about $1.2 million.
Starbucks refused to sell Bruce Springsteen’s 13th studio album Devils and Dust today in 2005, citing in a press release the graphic sex-with-a-prostitute song Reno as overtly offensive. But the real reason was politics: The album’s title track was anti-war song about an American soldier in Iraq and it’s occupation, Bruce had been vocally decrying the corporatization of the American political system, and most importantly Bruce had not granted permission to co-brand the album with the Starbucks “Hear Music” label.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Mungo Jerry keyboard player Colin Earl is 75.
Bob Seger is 72.