The Rolling Stones songwriting brain trust were in court in London today in 1967, being sentenced in a highly-publicized drug sting operation aimed at making an example of them. After a “shocking” tabloid exposé on rocker’s drug use, Scotland Yard had been tipped off by Keith Richards’ disgruntled former chauffeur, and raided a party at his “Redlands” house where the dreaded cannabis was being smoked by more than a few, but it was Keith that was arrested and charged with allowing his premises to be used for that sinful purpose. He was fined £500 and sentenced to one year in London’s notorious Wormwood Scrubs Prison, while his singer Mick Jagger was charged with possession of amphetamines ( for which he had a prescription, but from a foreign doctor) and was fined £100 and given 3 months in the slightly less notorious Brixton Prison, but after the conservative William Rees-Mogg wrote an opinion piece in the London Times denouncing the witch hunt and noting that the two were given much harsher sentences than was normal, public opinion turned in their favor and both were released after spending one night in jail. Mick and Keith would soon write We Love You (which opens with the sound of closing jail doors) to thank their fans for their support.
Pink Floyd marked the release of their second album A Saucerful of Secrets the day before with a free concert in London’s Hyde Park today in 1968, with opening acts Jethro Tull, Tyrannosaurus Rex, and Roy Harper. It was the first free show there, but not the last: The Rolling Stones would do the same thing a year later.
Peter Frampton was nearly killed in a car crash in the Bahamas today in 1978. He broke an arm and several ribs, and his year-long recovery kept him from playing and added to the downward career spiral that began earlier that year with the release of director Robert Stigwood’s gawd-awful film version of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band that Peter starred in with The Bee Gees.
Former Little Feat main man Lowell George died of a drug-related heart attack in his room at the Twin Bridges Mariott in Arlington Virginia today in 1979. He was just 34.
A 1965 Rolls Royce Phantom V Limousine once owned by John Lennon sold at auction at Sotheby’s in New York for $2.3 million dollars today in 1985, making it the most expensive automobile in the world at the time. At the suggestion of Ringo Starr, John had hired the Dutch artist’s collective “The Fool” to give it a psychedelic paint job based on those of Gypsy caravans, installed a bed in the back, a television set, state of the art sound system with shock absorbing record player and P.A. system, and…extremely costly and rare at the time, a telephone . At one point it had been attacked by an old woman at a London crosswalk who beat it with her umbrella shouting “You swine! You swine! How dare you do that to a Rolls!”. John donated it to The Smithsonian in 1977 in lieu of a $250,000 tax bill, and they sold it today to the owner of a Ripley’s Believe It Or N0t museum in South Carolina, who would later gift it to The Royal British Columbia Museum just North of us in Victoria, where it resides to this day when they’re not loaning it to some other museum.
David Bowie and Mick Jagger recorded an ill-advised cover of the Martha and the Vandellas hit Dancin’ In The Streets today in 1985. They’d originally planned it as a live performance to be part of the Live Aid fundraising event, with Bowie doing his part at Wembley Stadium in London and Jagger his at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, but engineers were unable to get the satellite link up to work without a delay.
The Beatles record producer George Martin was made a Knight of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) by Queen Elizabeth today in 1996 for his “services to music” (bringing mind-boggling amounts of tax-pounds into the royal coffers).
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice is 69, and recovering from a stroke last year that made him miss the first Deep Purple shows of his career since the band started.