Sun Records released the first record from Elvis Presley today in 1954, a cover of the 1946 blues song That’s All Right by Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup. Label owner Sam Phillips had said that if he could find a white kid who could sing like a black man, he’d make a fortune…and he did eventually, but not from this record…he only pressed 7000 copies, but the song became a regional hit in Memphis, and the rock and roll era was born.
The Beatles went to #1 today in 1967 with a song John Lennon had written specifically for the world’s first live international satellite TV program, Our World, a month earlier. The two and a half hour show featured performers from 19 countries and was watched by some 400 million people worldwide. Not every nation picked a musical artist. While Austria featured the Vienna Boys Choir, and Italy had an opera singer, Spain featured the painting of Salvador Dali, Canada showed a rancher cutting out cattle on his horse, and Japan showed the construction of the subway system in Tokyo. But the BBC had asked the Beatles to represent the United Kingdom, and John took the opportunity to protest the war in Vietnam with All You Need Is Love.
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were arrested again today in 1972, but this time it wasn’t drugs, but a fight with an annoying newspaper photographer in Warwick Rhode Island.
The Ozark Music Festival began today in 1974 at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia. It was the biggest festival to date, with over 350,000 people showing up for the three day event that featured performances by Bachman–Turner Overdrive, Blue Öyster Cult, The Eagles, America, Marshall Tucker Band, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Boz Scaggs, Ted Nugent, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Electric Flag, Joe Walsh, Aerosmith and Spirit.
On the eve of the start of the Born To Run tour, his biggest to date, Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band rehearsed their set for a full 19 hours today in 1975 at the Record Plant Studios in New York City.
Residents of the town of Washington, Connecticut organized a group called “Roll The Stones Out Of Town” today in 1989. Keith Richards owns a house near there, and the band had begun rehearsals for a tour with a massive entourage. The group said it was like the army had moved in and taken over, with security guards stopping locals and asking what they were doing there.
Former Guns-N-Roses drummer Steven Adler filed a lawsuit against the band today in 1991, claiming not only that he’d been booted illegally, but that the band had forced him to take heroin and he’d become addicted. They settled out of court, and Steven got two and a quarter million dollars and 15% of the royalties for the recordings he’d played on.
Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi settled their lawsuit out of court today in 2010 over ownership of the name Black Sabbath. Iommi had claimed sole ownership, Ozzy said the name belonged to the four original members equally. No numbers were given for the settlement in their press release, only that it had been “amicable”, but two years later when drummer Bill Ward asked for a full fourth of the proceeds from that summer’s reunion tour, he was booted from the band by Ozzy’s wife and manager Sharon.
Paul McCartney christened his third Seattle sports arena tonight in 2013 when he played the first ever rock show at the Mariners Safeco Field. Paul had played the first rock show at the Seattle Center Coliseum with The Beatles in 1964, and the first rock show at The Kingdome with Wings in 1976.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
War percussionist and singer Thomas “Papa Dee” Allen would be 86 if he hadn’t died of a heart attack on stage in 1988.
Commander Cody (George Frane) of Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen is 73.
Former Eagles guitarist Bernie Leadon is 70.
Queen guitarist, songwriter, and Doctor of Astrophysics Brian May (CBE), is 70.
Seattle-born former Grateful Dead keyboard player Keith Godchaux would be 69, he was killed in a car crash at age 32.