It was today in 1962 that The Beatles began a partnership that would work out quite well. It was their first session at EMI’s Abbey Road recording studio with producer George Martin, who immediately complained to their manager Brian Epstein about the “poor drumming” of Pete Best. The band was already contemplating sacking him. By August he would be replaced by Ringo Starr. George Martin complained about his drumming too.
It was today in 1966 that the original “Pretty Woman” was killed. Roy Orbison and his wife Claudette shared a love of motorcycles: She’d grown up around them, Roy said Elvis Presley turned him on to them. They often went riding together. They’d divorced in ’64, but Claudette returned to Roy after he broke his foot in a bike wreck in ’65. Tragedy struck a year later in the form of a semi truck that pulled out in front of her.
Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett played his first and only solo show since leaving the band tonight in 1970 at the Olympia Exhibition Hall in London, as part of a music and fashion festival. His backup band was Humble Pie drummer Jerry Shirley and his old school friend David Gilmore on bass, the group who with Floyd’s Rick Wright had been working at Abbey Road on Syd’s solo album Barrett. The sound man was having difficulty, and the band only managed 4 songs before Syd politely took off his guitar and walked off stage. He never played another show.
Decca Records bigwig Dick Rowe died of complications from diabetes today in 1986. He is the man who famously told Beatles manager Brian Epstein, who had paid Decca for an audition, that “Guitar groups are on the way out”. He later signed the Rolling Stones to a contract, as well as Van Morrison’s Them, The Moody Blues, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, The Zombies, The Small Faces, and The Animals.
It was today in 2006 that keyboard player Billy Preston died of kidney failure. Originally from Houston, Preston met The Beatles in Hamburg in ’62 while he was playing in Little Richard’s band. He would later join Brit crooner Tony Sheridan as the only other performer credited on a Beatles recording: Get Back went to number one as The Beatles With Billy Preston. He played with The Rolling Stones, allowed Steven Stills to use his phrase “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with” in a song, wrote You Are So Beautiful for Joe Cocker, and had his own hits with Will It Go Round In Circles, Nothing From Nothing, Space Race, and the George Harrison produced That’s The Way God Planned It.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Big Brother and the Holding Company guitarist Peter Albin is 68.
Byrds guitarist Clarence White would also be 68, he was killed by a drunk driver in 1973.
And another pretty good guitarist, Steve Vai, is 52. He’s recorded or toured with Frank Zappa, David Lee Roth, Ozzy Osbourne, Public Image Limited, Alice Cooper, and 80’s buttrock band Whitesnake to name a few.
Be safe, Crowski.