The Beatles were used to getting big welcomes already, but when they flew into Adelaide Australia today in 1964 they were greeted by a quarter of a million screaming Aussie teenagers, at the airport and lining the entire ten-mile route to their hotel….the biggest greeting they ever got! By now word had got out, but no one seemed to care that Ringo Starr was still back in London after having his tonsils out, and the four shows they played there the next two nights would be the last for stand-in studio drummer Jimmie Nicol. It almost didn’t happen. George Harrison at first refused to play with anyone but the others with manager Brian Epstein had talked him into not canceling, and Nicol was hand-picked by producer George Martin. For his part, Nicol was well-paid at the time (£4000), but since has never sought money or fame from his short time as a Beatle, though later commented, “I thought I could drink and womanize with the best of ’em, but these guys took it to another level”.
The Beatles were included in Queen Elizabeth II’s “Birthday Honours List” today in 1965, slated to made Members of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for their “services to music” (meaning bringing millions of Tax-Pounds into the royal coffers). They’d been nominated by Prime Minister Harold Wilson, who George Harrison would later lament in Taxman. It was the first time musical riff-raff were given the honor usually reserved for war heroes and British aristocracy, and previous recipients were outraged, with Member of Parliament Hector Dupuis famously writing, “British royalty has put me on the same level as a bunch of vulgar numbskulls”. Though John Lennon would later send his medal back in an anti-war protest (…”And for Cold Turkey slipping down in the charts”.), at the time the boys were a bit nervous about meeting Her Majesty, and ducked into a Buckingham Palace restroom to smoke a joint to ease their anxiety.
Pink Floyd manager Peter Jenner saw the band for the first time tonight in 1966 at the legendary Marquee club in London.
With help from her Mom, a barefooted Ronnie Spector fled the Beverly Hills mansion of husband Phil for the last time today in 1972. She would file for divorce two days later, claiming Spector had kept her a prisoner there, and kept a gold coffin with a glass top in the basement, which he said he would display her dead body in if she ever left him. The divorce was granted two years later.
Pink Floyd announced today in 2005 that they would reunite with bass player Roger Waters for the first time since he’d quit the band in 1985 for the Live 8 concert in London in July. It would be the first time the four members played together since The Wall tour in 1981.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Roy Harper is 76. The English folk singer was a huge influence on Pete Townsend, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin, who took their hats off to him in a song, and Pink Floyd who had him sing guest lead vocal on Have a Cigar.
The Troggs lead singer Reg Presley would be 76 if he hadn’t died from a stroke at 71.
King Crimson, Roxy Music, UK, Uriah Heep, and Wishbone Ash bass player John Wetton is 68.
Boston lead singer Brad Delp would be 66 if he hadn’t taken his own life at age 55.
Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos (real name Brad Carlson) is 66. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of Fame with them in 2016, and is still listed…and presumably paid…as a full member of the band who maintains their website and serves as their archivist, though when he got sick briefly in the early 2000’s lead guitarist Rick Neilsen took the opportunity to replace Bun in the playing department with his son Daxx, and in 2016 Bun has released a fairly brilliant solo album Welcome To Bunzuela, working with members of Hanson, Smashing Pumpkins, and Guided By Voices.
The Pretenders bass player Pete Farndon would be 65 if he hadn’t been killed by cocaine-induced heart failure at age 30.