A 19 year old Elvis Presley signed a contract with Sun Records today in 1954. He also quit his day job as a truck driver for an electrical equipment distributor. Label head Sam Phillips had been looking for a white kid who could sing like a black man, and believed he’d found him.
The Rollin’ Stones played their first show at the Marquee Club in London tonight in 1962. The lineup at this time was Mick Jagger on vocals, Keith Richards and Brian Jones on guitars, Ian Stewart on piano (Keith considered him the band’s leader at this time, but manager Andrew Oldham later booted him for being too old, though he would continue as their road manager and keyboard player), Dick Taylor (later of The Pretty Things) on bass, and depending on who you ask, either Tony Chapman or Mick Avory (later of The Kinks) on drums. They played nothing but covers of the American blues records they loved. They hadn’t written an original song yet, and didn’t even know they were capable of it. They were paid £20…pretty good money back then.
The Beatles played in the seaside resort town of Brighton tonight in 1964, with opening bands The Foremost and The Shubdubs, whose drummer Jimmy Nichol would fill in for Ringo when he came down with tonsillitis on the eve of their first tour down under. On the way to the show, George Harrison crashed his brand new Jaguar “E” in London. He was unhurt, but the Jag was, and fans who’d spotted him scooped up bits of broken glass as souvenirs.
Zager and Evans scored a #1 hit in the U.S. and Britain today in 1969 with In The Year 2525, the only time a “one hit wonder” has done that on both sides of the Atlantic simultaneously.
Traffic’s saxophone and flute player Chris Wood died of pneumonia today in 1983 at the way too young age of 39.
Ronnie Wood (no relation) of The Faces and Rolling Stones left his second wife of 23 years Jo today in 2008 for 18 year old Russian cocktail waitress Ekaterina Ivanova. He was 61 at the time. Ronnie moved on to wife Sally Humphrys, with whom he had twin girls at the end of May, the day before his 69th birthday. He has 6 grandchildren older than the youngest two of his 6 kids. “Katia” Ivanova went on to BBC reality show Celebrity Big Brother 7, where she was the first “housemate” to be voted out, even before Ivana Trump.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Fleetwood Mac keyboard player, singer, and songwriter Christine Anne Perfect, who kept her first husband’s last name McVie is 74.
Iron Butterfly bass player Phillip Taylor Kramer would be 65. After his stint in the band he went back to school and studied aerospace engineering, later working on the guidance system for the MX missile, but at 38 started a company that developed a way to put video on CD-Rom. On the way to LAX to pick up an investor in 1995 he disappeared, sparking a massive hunt and features on America’s Most Wanted and The Oprah Winfrey Show. His Ford Aerostar van with his skeletal remains inside was found 4 years later at the bottom of a canyon in Malibu by a photographer snapping shots of old car wrecks. His death was believed to be a suicide.