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Elvis Presley performed in public for the first time today in 1945 at age 10 in a talent contest at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show. He sang Old Shep dressed in a cowboy outfit standing on a chair to reach the microphone. He was awarded second place: $5 and a ticket good for all the rides at the fair.

The Beatles were at the technically superior (over Abbey Road) Trident Studios in London today in 1968 laying down basic tracks for a new George Harrison song, Savoy Truffle. Paul, George, and Ringo nailed it on the first track, and they started in on overdubs. The song had been inspired by George’s friend Eric Clapton’s love of chocolates, particularly Mackintosh’s “Good News”.

Some 30 of Aerosmith’s fans were arrested for smoking cannabis at their show in Fort Wayne, Indiana tonight in 1978. On hearing the news, the band put up the money to bail them out of jail.

Texas governor Ann Richards today in 1991 declared Stevie Ray Vaughn’s birthday to be an official state holiday, with an annual motorcycle ride and concert that benefits the Stevie Ray Vaughn Memorial Scholarship fund.

Irish singer Sinead O’Conner wrapped up  singing an acappella version of Bob Marley’s War on Saturday Night Live tonight in 1992, and out of nowhere produced a photograph of Pope John Paul II, which she proceeded to tear into little pieces and throw at the camera, shouting “fight the real enemy!” in protest of the Catholic church’s efforts to ban birth control and abortion, and coverups of sexual abuse. NBC quickly went to a commercial. They claimed no prior knowledge of the stunt, in fact Sinead had held up a photo of a refugee child during the dress rehearsal. Contrary to popular rumor, NBC was not fined by the FCC (some put the fine as high as 2.5 million dollars). While offensive to devout Catholics, O’Conner’s protest was clearly political speech and protected by the 1st amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Akio Morita, the founder of the Sony electronics corporation died today in 1999. Their Walkman personal cassette player changed the way we listen to music before giving way in sales to the iPod.

The Cars bass player and singer Ben Orr died of pancreatic cancer at home in Atlanta today in 2000. He was just 53.

Mark David Chapman, who had shot John Lennon because he really, really liked him, was eligible for parole for the first time today in 2000. It was denied.

Rock and Roll Birthdays

Rockabilly pioneer Eddie Cochran would be 74. He was killed at 21 in a car crash in Southwest England while on tour with Gene Vincent, who survived but was severely injured. On the tour Eddie’s guitar was schlepped to the car by a fan named Mark Feld who would later be known as Marc Bolan of T-Rex. The Who and Blue Cheer would have hits with covers of his Summertime Blues, and John Lennon said that he let Paul McCartney into The Quarrymen because he knew all the words to Cochran’s 20 Flight Rock.

Ernest Evans is 71, better known by his stage name Chubby Checker.

Fleetwood Mac guitarist, singer, and songwriter of their biggest hits Lindsey Buckingham is 63.

Stevie Ray Vaughn would be 58, he was killed in 1990 when the helicopter he was flying in crashed into a mountain in heavy fog.

Motley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee is 50.  Hello Tacoma!

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