Buddy Holly and the Crickets released their first single today in 1957. That’ll Be The Day was the often-repeated comedic catch phrase of the John Wayne film The Searchers, which Buddy and bandmates Sonny Curtis, and Jerry Allison had gone to see and the song was born. It would hit #3 on the U.S. charts, sell thousands of copies Fender’s new Stratocaster guitar, and hit #1 in England, where a brand new band in Liverpool calling themselves The Quarrymen would cover it in their very first recording session a year later.
Bob Dylan released his second album today in 1963. Bob’s first album hadn’t sold well, and because Columbia Records artist and repertoire agent John Hammond had made such a big deal of signing him, Dylan had started to be called “Hammond’s Folly” around the office, but while it had had only two original tunes, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan had only two covers, and the opening track Blowin’ In The Wind would go on to be one of the anthems of the 60’s and solidify Bob’s reputation as one of America’s greatest-ever songwriters.
Eleven boys were suspended from school in Coventry, England today in 1964, sent home for showing up having got haircuts like Mick Jagger.
One of England’s most notorious “Pirate” radio stations, Radio Sutch, began broadcasting today in 1964 from the abandoned Shivering Sands Army Fort: One of three World War II Guy Maunsell designed metal gun tower complexes, built on land then towed out and sunk in the Thames estuary ( With a pretty good record too: 22 Luftwaffe aircraft and some 30 Nazi”Buzz Bombs” destroyed). It was the brainchild of protoype shock-rocker David “Screaming Lord” Sutch, “The Third Earl of Harrow“. The BBC was famously ignoring the vast majority of rock and roll music, and Radio Caroline had gone on the air a few months earlier from a ship in the Channel, and Sutch wanted his own. He enlisted the help of engineer friends, who re-purposed an old transmitter from a Handley-Page Halifax bomber and hooked it up to a mountain of car batteries and a long pole replete with skull-and-crossbones flag. By September Sutch grew tired of radio, and sold the whole thing to his manager Reginald Calvert, who brought in better equipment, sold advertising, and moved into all the Fort’s towers, renaming the whole operation Radio City. Several other Maunsell sea-forts were occupied by pirate broadcasters, but the British government shut them all down in 1967, while expanding the BBC to include rock and roll and hiring many former Pirate DJ’s.
The Sex Pistols single God Save The Queen was released today in 1977. It was their second single, and the public debut was timed to coincide with Queen Elizabeth II’s “Silver Jubilee”. Conservative Britons were horrified, the song was immediately banned by both the BBC and the British Independent Broadcasting Authority, cause a mini-strike among workers at A&M records pressing plant who refused to have anything to do with it, and while A&M would dump the band, they were immediately picked up by Richard Branson’s Virgin label (the few A&M copies are among the most collectible records ever made, fetching up to £13,000). Nevertheless it would sell some 200,000 copies in it’s first week, and hit #2 on the charts, but The Pistols would outrage England even more a couple of weeks later, playing the song live on a boat on the Thames within earshot of Buckingham Palace.
The Eagles played their first show in 14 years tonight in 1994 in Los Angeles, the start of their Hell Freezes Over tour. While Don Henley insisted that the band had never broken up, they’d “just taken a 14-year vacation”, the real reason they got back together was country star Travis Tritt had covered their song Take It Easy and insisted on having them all in the video he made for the song, and they found they didn’t hate each other quite as much as they’d thought.
Paul McCartney had never attended college, but nevertheless he was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Music by Yale University today in 2008.
American Express insisted that Courtney Love leave home without her gold card today in 2009, filing a lawsuit seeking some $350,000 owed that she had “failed and refused” to make payments on.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Cilla Black (OBE…real name Priscilla White), the former coat-check girl at the Cavern Club in Liverpool who was taken on as a singer by manager Brian Epstein at the urging of The Beatles, and is still a huge TV and movie star in England, is 74.
Alice In Chains drummer and all around great guy who grew up in Renton Sean Kinney is 51.