The Beatles played the last show of their second visit to the U.S. today in 1964 at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium in New York. After the show at the Delmomnico Hotel music writer Al Aronowitz who’d already met and interviewed them had arranged to bring another of his interviewees, Bob Dylan, by the hotel to meet them. According to Al’s own journals it was he, not Dylan, who brought along the big fat reefer that ended up being the first pot the Beatles smoked, but the meeting would have huge cultural and artistic significance. Within months the Fab Four would start moving away from love songs in favor of deeper lyrics, and Bob Dylan would buy a Fender Stratocaster and a flashy new wardrobe on London’s Carnaby Street on his subsequent visit to England, and the clear delineation between the Rock and Roll and Folk audiences would begin to fade.
The Beach Boys hit #3 on the U.S. charts today in 1965 with California Girls, which Brian Wilson said wasn’t inspired so much by all the beautiful women in the Golden State as it was by his first experience with LSD. The song would be a hit again 20 years later when David Lee Roth covered it after splitting from Van Halen.
Having just played two shows in Seattle, The Beatles were doing their 2nd to last ever live concert tonight in 1966 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Promoters had hired an armored truck to whisk them away from the crowd of fans eager to meet them afterward, but when the gate was found to be locked they sweltered in back for two hours while someone located the keys. They would play one last show at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, and then become a studio band exclusively, not playing live together in front of an audience again until they set up on the roof of the Apple building in London in January of 1969.
Elvis Presley played the last night of a four-week engagement at the International Hotel in Las Vegas tonight in 1970. Earlier in the day a Hotel security guard got a phone call from someone saying The King would be shot during the show, demanding $50,000 to reveal the name of the gunman. Later in the day a Hotel menu with Elvis’s likeness was found in his mail with the face scratched out and a gun drawn pointing to his heart, but the show went off without incident.
The Alice Cooper Group hit #1 in England today in 1972 with the title track to their 5th album School’s Out. Released at the end of the school year in the U.S. the song had only gone to #7, but hit the top spot in the U.K. just as the school year was starting. Singer Vince Furnier, later to take the band’s name as his own, said the musical riff was guitarist Glen Buxton, and that he’d come up with the lyrics while thinking “What are the greatest three minutes of your life? There’s two times during a year. One is Christmas morning, when you’re just getting ready to open the presents….The next is the last three minutes of the last day of school when you’re sitting there and it’s like a slow-burning fuse. I said, ‘If we can capture that three minutes in a song, it’s going to be so big!”
Issac Hayes, who’d written the Sam and Dave and Blues Brothers hit Soul Man, sent a cease-and-desist court order to the presidential campaign of Republican senator Bob Dole today 1996 after they’d been playing a lyrically changed version, “Dole Man” at his appearances.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
British drummer Clem Cattini is 80. His musical career started in 1962 with the Tornados hit Telstar, and he went on to be a session musician, playing on hundreds of recordings including a record 44 #1 hits from everyone from Cliff Richard to Lou Reed, and after working with Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones on Donovan’s hit Hurdy Gurdy Man, was on Pages’s “short list” of potential Led Zeppelin drummers before they settled on John Bonham.
Velvet Underground guitarist Sterling Morrison would be 76 if he hadn’t been killed by Lymphoma at 53.
Chicago drummer Danny Seraphine is 69. He was booted from the band in 1990 over “musical differences” as the band continued to move in a “soft rock” direction, and now lives in Los Angeles, where his Chicago heyday tribute band The California Transit Authority is more like the old Chicago than Chicago.
Actor, comedian, and guitarist and singer of the duo Tenacious D, Jack Black is 48.