The 33 1/3 Long-Playing (LP) Record format most of us grew up on (and making a comeback among audiophiles) was first introduced today in 1931 by the RCA Victor company at the Savoy Plaza hotel in New York. The record players were prohibitively expensive at $95 (well over $1000 in today’s dollars), and all but disappeared until 1948.

The Beatles set a record for the most money ever paid for a single musical performance today in 1964, when the owner of the Kansas City Athletics gave them $150,000 to play Municipal Stadium. They pulled the 1952 Leiber-Stoller song Kansas City they’d played so many times in Hamburg out of their repertoire, the only time they ever played it in America.

The Doors were banned for life from CBS’s Ed Sullivan Show tonight in 1967, after Jim Morrison reneged on his pledge to change the offensive lyrics to Light My Fire. Before the show he seemed to go along with CBS censors and told them he’d change the supposed drug reference to “Girl we couldn’t get much better“, but when they went live he either forgot or never intended to change the original “higher“. A furious Ed Sullivan cancelled six scheduled appearances, but Jim seemed unconcerned, telling a producer “Hey man, we just did the Sullivan show.”

The Who taped an appearance for The Smothers Brothers TV variety show today in 1967. Drummer Keith Moon had his crew pack a little extra gun powder into the flashpots set to go off at the end of My Generation, the resulting explosion injured Moon’s leg, burned Pete Townsend’s hair, and caused him permanent hearing loss.

Queen shot a video for Freddie Mercury’s Tour-De-France inspired Bicycle Race today in 1978 at the Wimbledon Greyhound track in London. 65 professional models rode rented bikes around the track completely naked. When the company they’d rented the bikes from found out, the demanded that Queen buy the seats.

Rob Tyner, the man who had so famously screamed “Kick Out The Jams Motherf***ers!” as the lead singer of Detroit’s MC5, died of a heart attack today in 1991 at 46.

David Lee Roth was touring to promote his final solo album Diamond Dave tonight in 2003. He’d worked some martial arts into his act, but somehow managed while attempting a samurai move to whack himself in the head with a stick, requiring 21 stitches.

Rock and Roll Birthdays

Steely Dan’s original drummer Jim Hodder would be 65 today. He drowned in his own swimming pool at 42.

The Tubes lead singer John “Fee” Waybill is 62.


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