ABC Television debuted a new show as part of it’s fall lineup called The Music Scene tonight in 1969. Slated for the early-evening time slot right after the news but before network programming began when many local affiliates ran local programming, the show was sold to them with a promo film that featured an improv-comedy group called The Committee (including the future Dr. Johnny Fever of WKRP in Cincinnati Howard Hesseman), used promo song- films (later called “rock videos” in the MTV era) from The Rolling Stones, heavily implying they would be regulars on the show, but when the show hit the air The Committee and The Rolling Stones were nowhere to be seen. The show never did settle on one host, but used up-and-coming comedians like David Steinberg and Lily Tomlin, and showed videos and performances from The Beatles, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Janis Joplin, and many more big names before it was cancelled in January, not so much for it’s poor Neilsen ratings as it’s unusual 45 minute length, which left affiliates with 15 minutes of programming to fill.
David Bowie was promoting both his Aladdin Sane and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars albums with the American tour that started in Cleveland tonight in 1972. The band included the brilliant guitarist Mick Ronson (Rolling Stone magazine Top 100 of All Time guitarist #41), Uriah Heep bass player Trevor Bolder, Procul Harum keyboard player Matthew Fisher, and drummer Aynsley Dunbar, who’d worked (or would) with Eric Burdon, John Mayall, Frank Zappa, Ian Hunter, Lou Reed, Jefferson Starship, Sammy Hagar, UFO, and Journey. The tour would stop at Seattle’s Paramount Theater on November 1st.
The Rolling Stones started a two-week run at #1 on the album charts with their 13th American album Goats Head Soup today in 1973.
Sheffield England band Def Leppard got their first major press today in 1979 with a largely positive review in England’s Melody Maker, which made note that the band’s drummer Rick Allen was only 15 years old.
The very first Farm Aid concert took place tonight in 1985 at the University of Illinois Memorial Stadium in Champaign. Organized by Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Neil Young, who’d been inspired by comments Bob Dylan had made at the Live Aid concert earlier that year about Reagan administration policies that saw many small American family farmers losing their land to large corporations through foreclosure, the lineup of those four plus a lineup that included The Beach Boys, Bon Jovi, The Blasters, Don Henley, Billy Joel, BB King, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Lou Reed, X, and Van Halen who were debuting their new lead singer Sammy Hagar. It raised over $9 million to save family farms, and Nelson and Mellencamp would testify before congress and bring many of those family farmers to the microphone. The concert has taken place in a different location every year since, including Auburn’s White River Amphitheater in 2004.
Nirvana were just starting to draw national attention when they played their biggest show to date tonight in 1990 at the abandoned Motorsports International Garage on Stewart Street. They had recently fired their drummer Chad Channing, and were using Mudhoney’s Dan Peters while their future drummer Dave Grohl watched from the audience of 15,000.
A fundraiser for victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and The Pentagon in D.C., A Tribute To Heroes, aired commercial free on all major TV Networks tonight in 2001 with a lineup that included Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, U2, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Neil Young backed by Pearl Jam. Viewers were encouraged to phone in with donations to a bank of telephone pledge-takers that included celebrities like Tom Hanks, Robin Williams, Jack Nicholson, Whoopie Goldberg, Cameron Diaz, Tom Cruise, Robert DeNiro, Clint Eastwood, and Muhammed Ali.
Cat Stevens, now going by the name Yusuf Islam, was denied entry into the U.S. today in 2004, and sent back to England after he turned up on the F.B.I’s “no fly” list of potential terrorists as his flight landed in Maine.
Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page was made an honorary citizen of Rio de Janeiro Brazil today in 2005. He had opened Casa Jimmy in 1998, which helped hundreds of homeless street kids.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Deep Purple and Whitesnake singer David Coverdale is 66.
Joan Marie Larkin is 59, better known by her stage name as the rhythm guitarist with The Runaways and later as a solo artist, Joan Jett. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year (should have been with the Runaways), but is now wondering what to do this Sunday after The Who cancelled the Key Arena show she was supposed to open.