It was today in 1963 that The Beatles appeared on the BBC’s Pops and Lenny children’s TV programme. Not exactly up to J.P.Patches standards, Pops was a smiling ventriloquist, Lenny was his hand-puppet lion ventriloquist dummy. The kids in the live audience were treated to “From Me To You” and “Please Please Me”, which they mostly listened to without screaming. Sadly the footage does not survive, the only footage of the early 60’s show we have is of Isle of Wight pop singer Craig Douglas.
It was tonight in 1965 that the Rolling Stones were leaving their gig at the Long Beach Civic Hall when the roof of the limousine they were riding in caved in from the weight of fans climbing on top. The Stones tried to hold the roof up while the driver sped off with bodies flying off onto the pavement.
It was today in 1966 that the Beach Boys released Pet Sounds. Rolling Stone magazine ranked Brian Wilson’s masterpiece #2 on their Top 500 Albums Of All time List, behind only The Beatles Sgt. Pepper, which the Beatles freely admitted was heavily influenced by Pet Sounds.
It was today in 1969 that Jack Casady of the Jefferson Airplane was arrested for possession of a small amount of cannabis. He was given a two and a half year prison sentence, suspended on condition that he never misbehave like that again.
Pete Townsend was also arrested today in 1969, though not for weed. Pete was never friendly toward anyone who got on his stage when The Who were performing, most famously political activist Abbie Hoffman at Woodstock, but this time he spent the night in jail and was fined $30 for beaning a man who jumped on stage at the Fillmore East over the head with his guitar. Pete had no way of knowing, and probably didn’t much care that the man was a plainclothes police officer trying to warn the crowd that a fire had broken out.
It was today in 1977 that the London Evening Standard reported that Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant had been arrested at the airport in Atlanta, GA for drunkenly pulling a knife. This was a surprise to Robert, who was at home in Wales at the time. Turned out the knife-wielding man was a Led Zeppelin fan who’d told police he was Plant, the paper printed a retraction the next day.
It was today in 1984 that Ozzy Osbourne was arrested in Memphis TN for staggering drunkenly down Beale Street.
Ronnie James Dio of Elf, Blackmore’s Rainbow, and Black Sabbath lost his battle to stomach cancer at age 67 today in 2010.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Guitarist #42 on the Rolling Stone Top 100 list is 71 today. Robert Fripp of King Crimson has his birthday the day after his friend Brian Eno.
Nazareth drummer Darrell Sweet would be 70 today, he died of a heart attack in 1999.
Singer-songwriter-guitarist Jonathan Richman is 66. You know him best from his appearance in the Ben Stiller-Cameron Diaz RomCom There’s Something About Mary, but his Boston band from the early 70’s The Modern Lovers was highly influential, and the drummer David Robinson would go on to start The Cars, and the Keyboard player Jerry Harrison went on to The Talking Heads.
And perhaps the tallest bass player in rock, and the only one to hit himself in the head with his instrument on national television, the delightful Krist Novoselic of Nirvana is 52, and still being encouraged by us to run for statewide political office.