Hail The Harp, George’s Concert For Bangladesh, MTV Debuts On Jerry Garcia’s Birthday: This Day In Classic Rock [Video]

Today’s edition of Billboard Magazine in 1964 reported that the Harmonica was making a huge comeback, thanks to its use by Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, and The Beatles. You can experience the majesty of this simple wind instrument Labor Day Weekend, when two of its masters (Richard “Magic Dick” Salwitz of the J. Geils Band, and War’s Lee Oskar) perform at a “Harmonica House Party” at Bumbershoot, Sunday September 2nd at 3:45pm.

A strange  and fairly dull British crime drama featuring The Rolling Stones Mick Jagger in his acting debut, Performance, had its London premier tonight in 1970.

40,000 people were at Madison Square Garden in New York today and tonight in 1971 for George Harrison’s two Concerts For Bangla Desh (one at noon and one at 7pm). The shows were organized by George to raise awareness and funds (eventually about $250,000) for refugees of the former East Pakistan after the 1970 Bhola Cyclone (one of the worst natural disasters ever, killing around a half million) and the atrocities of the Bangladesh Liberation War (in which millions were killed). Performers billed as George Harrison and Friends included Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Badfinger, Ravi Shankar, Leon Russell, Billy Preston, and George’s old bandmate Ringo Starr.  It was George’s first performance in front of a paying audience since the Beatles last tour in 1966, and was about as close as we ever got to a Beatles reunion.  J0hn Lennon had agreed to play without Yoko, but left town after an argument with her two days before the show.  Paul McCartney was the lone holdout, telling Rolling Stone years later “I thought, blimey! What’s the point? We’re just broken up, and now we’re joining up again? It seemed a bit crazy.”

Def Leppard made their U.S. concert debut tonight in 1980, opening for AC/DC in New York City.  It happened to be singer Joe Elliot’s 21st birthday (see below).

MTV (Music Television) launched in the United States today in 1981 on cable TV systems all over the country with the words “Ladies and gentlemen, Rock and Roll.” The first video played was The Buggles Video Killed The Radio Star.

MTV Europe launched today in 1987, exactly six years after its American counterpart. The first video was Dire Straits Money For Nothin‘, with its appropriate line, “I want my MTV” sung by Sting.

Rock And Roll Birthdays

Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia would be 70.  He died at 53. His noodly-psychedelic style took him to #13 on the Rolling Stone Top 100 Guitarists of All time list.

Bad Company bassist Boz Burell would be 66.  He died at 60.

Tubes bass player Rick Anderson is 65.

James Gang and Deep Purple guitarist Tommy Bolin would be 61 if he hadn’t “let his mind post-toastie” at age 25.

Def Leppard lead singer Joe Elliott is 53.

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