The Rolling Stones played their first-ever show on American soil tonight in 1964, at the Swing Auditorium on the Orange Fairgrounds in San Bernadino California. Far from the greeting The Beatles got at JFK Airport in New York earlier that year, no one knew who they were. Bass player Bill Wyman later noted that first tour was “A disaster…When we arrived, we didn’t have a hit record or anything going for us”. But being English during the “British Invasion” was enough to get the ball rolling. The next day they would tape an appearance on The Hollywood Palace, where they were openly mocked by host Dean Martin, and then were off for more shows in Texas, where among other things they met their future saxophone player and Keith Richards born-on-the-same-day best friend for life, Bobby Keys. It was a short visit, only 13 shows, but they’d be back in the fall and twice more the next year, including their first in Seattle in December of ’65.
The musical guest on the It Must Be Dusty show on England’s ITV tonight in 1968 was The Jimi Hendrix Experience. They did Voodoo Child, Stone Free, and did Mockingbird with host Dusty Springfield.
Grand Funk Railroad broke a record set by The Beatles today in 1971 when they sold out their show at New York’s Shea Stadium in 72 hours.
Pink Floyd were at Abbey Road Studios today in 1975. They were working on their 9th album Wish You Were Here, and celebrating guitarist David Gilmour’s recent wedding, when while they mixing Shine On You Crazy Diamond, an overweight man with no visible body hair (including eyebrows) entered the room holding a plastic bag. Gilmour thought he was another EMI employee, Rick Wright thought he was a friend of Roger Waters, but they soon realized he was, in fact, their founder and former frontman Syd Barrett, the subject of the entire album. They were shocked, several of them reduced to tears, and later remarked that he was there, but not really “there”. One asked how he’d gained so much weight, and he replied that he had a large refrigerator and ate a lot of pork chops. He joined the guests for Gilmour’s reception at the studio’s canteen, but left without saying goodbye, and none of them ever saw him again. Syd died from complications of diabetes in 2006.
Alice Cooper’s co-star for live shows, a rather large boa-constrictor, died after being bitten by a rat it was being fed for breakfast today in 1977. He eventually got a new snake, but had to make do in the interim.
U2 played a show at America’s nicest outdoor amphitheater tonight in 1983, which they recorded and released as U2 Live At Red Rocks: Under A Blood Red Sky. The venue outside Denver would remain the best for two more years, when Vince and Carol Bryan opened The Gorge on their winery outside Vantage WA.
64 year old blues legend Muddy Waters married Marva Jean Brooks on her 25th birthday today in 1979. He died 4 years later.
The Small Faces and The Faces bass player Ronnie “Plonk” Lane died after a 21-year battle with Multiple Slerosis today in 1997 at 51.
Sir Paul McCartney released his 21st solo album Memory Almost Full today in 2007 on the brand-new Hear Music label launched by Seattle’s Starbucks Coffee. Though the record was being played non-stop front-to-back in some 10,000 Starbucks coffee shops in some 29 countries, at home in England it was announced that it would not be eligible to be included on the UK charts because the 533 Starbucks stores there were not registered with the organization that minded them.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Sly and the Family Stone guitarist and co-founder Freddie Stone is 70.
Tom Evans, bass player, singer, and songwriter with Badfinger, would be 70 if he hadn’t taken his own life at 36.