The Beatles spent at least part of today in 1964 on a balcony in Liverpool, surveying the 200,000+ Beatlemaniacs below them like they were dictators.  They were back home for the Northern-England premier of their new movie, A Hard Days NightJohn Lennon, quick to note the absurdity of their situation, extended his arm in a few strictly-in-jest “Seig Heil” salutes, but not everyone appreciated his warped sense of humor.

It was today in 1968 that Eric Clapton announced that Cream would be calling it quits at the end of their American tour, but said nothing about how Ginger Baker was increasingly resentful over having to keep up with Jack Bruce’s ever-increasing volume, or how he felt the bands shows had deteriorated to the point where the three “were just showing off”.

Keith Emerson’s band The Nice were banned from ever playing the Royal Albert Hall again tonight in 1968 after burning an American flag on stage in protest of the Vietnam war. The Nice broke up shortly after, Emerson would start Emerson, Lake, and Palmer two years later.

Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones was buried today in 1969 in Cheltenham, England. A lavish casket, reportedly sent by Bob Dylan, was set at twice the usual depth: 12 feet, to prevent fans from digging him up. Former bandmates Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman attended the funeral, while Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithful traveled to Australia to begin filming Ned Kelly, and Keith Richards holed up in a recording studio.

Chuck Berry was in court today in 1979, being sentenced to 5 months in prison for income tax evasion.

Jimmy Page was on stage with The Black Crowes tonight in 2000, at an amphitheater in Jones Beach, NY.

Cristie’s Auction House in London had a large collection of rock memorabilia on the block today in 2008.  Items up for grabs to the highest bidder included: The marching bass drum head from the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s (Sold for $1 million), John Lennon’s hand-written lyrics to Give Peace A Chance ($832,000), one of Jimi Hendrix’s Marshall amplifiers ($50,000), and a pair of his striped bell-bottoms ($49,000).  The last two items were purchased by a very wealthy Seattle software company co-founder and Hendrix fan, who enshrined them for public view in his Experience Music Project.

Rock and Roll Birthdays

Tacoma-born guitarist Jerry Miller is 69.  He played briefly with the Kingsmen and The Bobby Fuller Four, and became friends with Jimi Hendrix at the Spanish Castle before moving to San Francisco and starting Moby Grape in 1966.

Arlo Guthrie is 65, son of folksinger Woody and author of the 18 minute, 34 second talking-blues classic Alice’s Restaurant Masacree, which Arlo points out is the same exact length as one of the famous gaps in Nixon’s Watergate tapes, but is less of an anti-Vietnam War song and more of an “Anti-Stupidity Song”. Arlo has been known to stretch Alice’s Restaurant out to 45 minutes live, and as much of the song takes place on the holiday,  it has become a KZOK tradition to play it every Thanksgiving at noon.

Ronnie James Dio would be 69 today. The lead singer of Elf, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and Dio is widely credited with making the “devil horns” gesture synonymous with Rock.  He died of stomach cancer in 2010.

Greg Kihn Band guitarist Greg Kihn is 63.

The Runaways drummer Sandy West would be 53. She died of lung cancer at 47, precluding a reunion of the original lineup of the influential 70’s all-girl group, even though Joan Jett and Lita Ford appear to have finally made up.


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