John Lennon’s second book of poetry and drawings was released today in 1965. Like his first from a year earlier, In His Own Write, the title was an indication of the word-play contained inside: A Spaniard In The Works takes off on the British word “spanner”, what Americans would call a “wrench”.
The Rolling Stones were in New York today in 1965 to hold a press conference on a yacht on the Hudson river to announce their fifth North American tour, which would start tonight in Lynn, Massachusetts with The Standells and The McCoys. The only photographer on board was Linda Eastman, the receptionist at Town and Country magazine, who’d studied horse-photography at an art school in Arizona, but her shots of the Stones turned out so well she was asked to be the house photographer at the Fillmore East, ended up snapping shots of the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Eric Clapton, The Who, The Doors, The Animals, John Lennon, and Neil Young for Rolling Stone magazine. She also reportedly became something of a groupie, which ended when she met Paul McCartney a year later in London and ended up marrying him, turning him vegetarian, and breaking his heart when she died of breast cancer in 1998.
Procul Harum’s song A Whiter Shade of Pale entered the Billboard charts at #5 today in 1967, with words by singer Gary Brooker written around a melody by organist Matthew Fisher based on Bach’s Orchestral Suite in “D”. The two would end up in court fighting over royalties in 2005, as Brooker had received all the money and Fisher wanted half, which he eventually got after three appeals.
Eric Clapton put 100 of his guitars up for auction at Christie’s in New York today in 1999 to raise money for his Crossroads drug rehab clinic on the Caribbean Island of Antigua. He got nearly 5 million, the largest portion coming from the brown 1956 Fender Stratocaster he’d played in Derek and the Dominoes, nicknamed “Brownie“, which sold to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen for a then world-record $497,500. It now resides in a glass case at his Experience Music Project museum at Seattle Center.
Having done pretty well the last time, Eric Clapton had another guitar up for auction at Christie’s today in 2004, again to raise money for the Crossroads center. He’d bought six 1950’s Strats for about $300 each around the same time as “Brownie” in Nashville , giving one each to his friends George Harrison, Pete Townsend, and Steve Winwood, and had the best parts of the others assembled into this one he named “Blackie“. It broke Paul Allen’s previous world-record when it sold to Mike Pratt, the CEO of the Guitar Center chain, for $959,500.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Prototype shock-rocker Arthur Brown is 75.
The middle of The Yardbirds “holy trinity” of rock guitar, Jeff Beck, is 73.
The Zombies singer Colin Blunstone is 72.
Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood is 70.
Yes and The Moody Blues keyboard player Patrick Moraz is 69.
Dire Straits bass player John Illsley is 67.