The Beatles played 4 songs live on the British TV show Thank Your Lucky Stars tonight in 1964. It was a rare honor, even the biggest acts to that point had been allowed only two, and the band had become so popular that hundreds of fans were waiting outside the Teddington Studio Centre the Associated British Corporation hired a boat to take them down the Thames river and sneak them in the back door.
David Bowie released Space Oddity, a song inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s film of the previous year, 2001: A Space Odyssey today in 1969. The debut was shrewdly timed to coincide with the launch of the Apollo 11 lunar expedition, but the BBC refused to play it until all three astronauts had returned safely to Earth…and been cleared in quarantine of having contracted any “space diseases”, but they later relented and played it during their coverage of the mission. Uber-producer George Martin had turned the project down, but soon to be Yes keyboard player Rick Wakeman was happy to add Mellotron, and the song finally became a hit…but not until it was re-released in 1973.
Randy Newman’s song Mama Told Me Not To Come started a 3-week run at #1 in the U.S. today in 1970 as performed by Three Dog Night. The song had already been covered in England by Eric Burdon and the Animals and Tom J0nes.
Peter Frampton was impressed by Humble Pie’s opening act in Asbury Park, NJ tonight in 1971. He told the manager of The Bruce Springsteen Band he’d like them to open the rest of the tour, and wanted to get them an audition with their label, A&M. Bruce’s star might have risen a bit earlier, but unbeknownst to him his manager turned down both offers on the spot.
Def Leppard announced today in 1982 that the guitarist replacing Pete Willis, who they’d just fired for continuous above-and-beyond-the-call drunkenness, would be Phil Collen of the British glam band Girl.
While the lineup that was eventually inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame had broken up…largely due to off-stage relationships between members going bad…several years earlier, Seattle’s own Heart had the biggest hit of their careers today in 1987 when Alone started a 3-week run at #1 on the U.S. charts, and made it to #3 in England, but since moving to Capitol Records they were recording more formulaic 80’s style “power-ballads”, most often written by someone else, in this case Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, who’d recorded it themselves in ’83 and given it to the CBS TV sitcom Dreams.
It was today in 1992 that the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia began marketing 8 hand-designed neckties, aimed at the Deadhead-executive who wanted to make the statement “Sure I’m a powerful businessman, but I might also be on acid right now“. President Bill Clinton bought the entire set.
It was tonight in 2000 that Jimmy Page played Your Time Is Gonna Come on the Conan O’Brien Show with The Black Crowes. Pagey hit it off with the host, calling Conan “A really bright guy, extremely personable, and a muso” (Muso being an antiquated British term for “musician”…Conan plays drums, and was once in a band called The Bad Clams), and that “the Black Crowes brought so much to the Zeppelin songs we did in our time together”.
Seattle’s own Pearl Jam showed they still had it today in 2013 when their new album Lightning Bolt went to #1.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band guitarist and singer Jeff Hana is 68.
Bon Jovi guitarist and former Mr. Heather Locklear Richie Sambora is 58.