The Beatles made their first appearance on the British music show Ready! Steady! Go! tonight in 1963 where they were interviewed by singer Dusty Springfield and lip-synced to several songs.

The Yardbirds original lead guitarist Anthony “Top” Topham was replaced today in 1963 by a 17 year-old by the name of Eric Clapton.

The Beatles to number one with their album Abbey Road today in 1969. A tongue-in-cheek review of the new album in the University of Michigan’s student newspaper played off rumors that Paul had died in a car crash in 1967 and was replaced by a lookalike, sporting the headline McCartney Dead: New Evidence Brought To Light. It focused on the album’s cover photograph:  Said to be a “funeral procession”, John Lennon, leading the band dressed in white represented “The Preacher”; Ringo, dressed in black was “The Undertaker”; Paul, barefoot and out of step with the other Beatles was “The Corpse”, and George, in jeans and a work shirt was “The Gravedigger”.  The license plate on the Volkswagen beetle in the shot read LMW 281F, which supposedly stood for “Linda McCartney Weeps” and “Paul would be 28 IF he was still alive”. The author, Fred LaBour, who had made up most of the “clues” was astonished when the story was picked up by national news agencies. The Beatles statement came later in month: “A load of old rubbish…we get letters from all sorts of nuts, but Paul is still very much with us”.

Crosby Stills and Nash released the single Suite: Judy Blue Eyes today in 1969, written by Stephen Stills for his girlfriend of the last two years, singer Judy Collins, who was leaving him for actor Stacy Keach.

When Janis Joplin failed to show up for a recording session in Hollywood today in 1970, the Full Tilt Boogie Band’s road manager drove to the Landmark Hotel where she was staying. He spotted her psychedelically-painted Porsche in the parking lot, and rushed to her room, where he found her dead on the floor beside the bed of a heroin overdose. She was 27, the same age as Jimi Hendrix who had died only 16 days earlier.

The Black Crowes began rehearsals for a tour with Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page today in 1999. A live album of Zeppelin songs and blues covers, recorded at L.A.’s Greek Theater, came out of the tour. Page was disappointed that lawyers would not allow any Black Crowes songs to be included.

Jimi’s half-sister Janie Hendrix was reported today in 1999 to be planning to exhume his body and move it to a pay-to-view mausoleum, and sell gravesites near it to fans. Jimi eventually got a much nicer memorial at the Greenwood Cemetery in the Renton highlands, but no such moneymaking schemes were ever realized.

Badfinger’s original drummer Mike Gibbins died in his sleep tonight in 2005 of natural causes at 56.

Rock and Roll Birthdays

Blood Sweat and Tears bass player Jim Fielder is 65.


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