Capitol Records opened it’s first office in a second floor room of a building on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood today in 1942. Started by songwriter Johnny Mercer, record and film producer Buddy De Sylva, and Glenn Wallichs, the owner of L.A.’s biggest record store, who also today gave the first-ever free promotional copy of a record to a disc jockey, Peter Potter. Capitol would later move to the iconic “stack of records” building on the Sunset Strip that EMI records of England built after they bought the label in 1955. It would be home to Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Seattle’s own Heart, all the way to today’s visionaries like Katy Perry. Wallich’s practice of free promotional records would be picked up industry wide, in the 50’s up until the “payola” scandal of the early 60’s the records would include cash payments, and later in the 70’s and 80’s sometimes include care packages of nose candy, though those were always routed through “independent” promoters.
The Beatles played two shows in Denmark as a warmup for their imminent trip to Australia and New Zealand today in 1964 with studio drummer Jimmie Nicol filling in for Ringo Starr, who was back in a London hospital having his tonsils out. Jimmie would play 11 shows before Ringo rejoined them Down Under, and interestingly has since shied away from publicity and has never tried to make even one thin dime from his time with the band.
The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album had been out for all of three days when Paul McCartney and George Harrison went to the Saville Theater in London tonight in 1967 to see Procul Harum, and a wild guitarist from Seattle named Jimi Hendrix, who did a cover of the title track to their record and they watched with their jaws hanging down to their pointy Italian boots.
A petition signed by hundreds of residents of Glenrowan, Australia was delivered to the offices of producers of a new film about Australian bush ranger and folk hero Ned Kelley today in 1969 to protest their selection of Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger to play the lead role. The movie, directed by Tony Richardson, came out…..with Mick as Ned…in October of 1970.
Bruce Springsteen released his best-selling album ever today in 1984. The title track to Born in the USA was taken by many to be a chest-beating anthem of American exceptionalism, but Bruce wrote it about the negative effects of the Vietnam War, both on the men who fought it and the country at large.
American punk rock vocalist Stiv Bators of The Dead Boys (he was played by The Hangover trilogy star Justin Bartha in the recent CBGB movie) and The Lords of the New Church was hit by a taxicab in Paris today in 1990. He was a bit shaken, but didn’t think anything was seriously wrong and refused treatment, but died in his sleep that night of a massive concussion-induced brain hemorrhage. Being a huge fan of The Doors singer Jim Morrison, he’d told his girlfriend if anything ever happened to him to scatter his ashes over Jim’s grave in Paris, which she later said she did.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Jimmy McCulloch, the Scottish-born lead guitarist for Wings who’d previously played in the Pete Townsend created band Thunderclap Newman, would be 65 if he hadn’t died of heroin-related heart failure at age 26.