Jerry Lee “The Killer” Lewis arrived in London today in 1958 for a 37-date tour of The United Kingdom. American rockabilly was quite popular there, and reporters met him at Heathrow, and one of them managed to suss out that his recent third marriage was to his 13 year old first-cousin-once-removed Myra Brown. The Brits were outraged. The London Morning Star ran an editorial labeling him an “undesirable alien” and called for his immediate deportation, and though the Crown didn’t act, the box office did. Jerry’s tour was cancelled after just three shows, and his career never really recovered.
The Beatles hit #1 again today in 1965 with Ticket To Ride. The singles initially released here in The States said on the label “From the upcoming United Artists release Eight Arms to Hold You“, which by the time it was released had it’s name changed to Help!, so these first-run singles are now quite valuable.
The Monkees released their third album Headquarters today in 1967. It was radically different from the first two in that drummer Mickey Dolenz, who hadn’t known how to play when he landed the role, had by now learned to keep a beat, and some guitar as well. Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork, the actual musicians in the band, were beginning to assert themselves as songwriters, and Mickey added one of his own, his first, called Randy Scouse Git, written about a party The Beatles threw for them on their first trip to England. It would go to #5 on the British charts, released as Alternate Title, because “Randy Scouse Git” is apparently a rather nasty thing to call someone in English slang.
Winnipeg, Manitoba band The Guess Who were here in Seattle tonight in 1972, recording their Live at The Paramount album. Guitarist Randy Bachman evidently enjoyed making an album in our fair city, because he’d be back twice the next year recording the first two Bachman Turner Overdrive releases at Belltown’s Kaye-Smith Studios.
Roy Orbison was enjoying a massive resurgence in popularity tonight in 1987 when he was the featured musical guest on Saturday Night Live, largely thanks to the others in rock’s superest supergroup The Travelling Wilburys fawning over him. Jeff Lynne had produced an album for him, and a song he and Tom Petty wrote for him, You Got It, would be a huge hit, but sadly Roy would die of a heart attack a year and a half later.
Fleetwood Mac played the first of two MTV Unplugged sessions they did that year tonight in 1997. Unfortunately MTV hasn’t seen fit to release it to YouTube viewers, so here they are, plugged.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Bernie Taupin is 66. In 1967 he answered an advertisement in Britain’s New Musical Express magazine seeking songwriters, placed by Liberty Records artist and repertoire agent Ray Williams, who got another reply from a young pianist named Reginald Dwight. Neither passed their auditions for Liberty, but Williams thought Dwight might be able to do something with the lyrics Taupin had dropped off, starting the songwriting relationship that made Elton John one of rock’s biggest stars.