An 18 year old Richard Penniman was at an Atlanta radio station today in 1951 recording some of his songs for RCA. He had already taken to calling himself “Little Richard“. In 1964 he added a guitar player to his band who was calling himself Maurice James. Maurice would later go back to his real name, Jimi Hendrix, but once said “I want to do with my guitar what Little Richard does with his voice”. (Jimi is one of the “Buckingham Palace Guards” in this video)
The Beatles were at EMI’s Abbey Road studios today in 1965, recording one of their most famous early songs Day Tripper, which they did in three takes and finished in one day, complete with overdubs.
Folkie Joan Baez was arrested today in 1967, along with 123 others, for blocking the entrance to the Armed Forces Induction Center in Oakland California in protest of the war in Vietnam.
Creedence Clearwater Revival had been fighting for several years already when they announced their breakup today in 1972. The other band members had complained about John Fogerty’s dictatorial leadership, and John had responded by declaring the band a democracy, and insisting that the other members contribute songs. Rhythm guitarist and John’s brother Tom had already quit the band, and the resulting album Mardi Gras was widely panned by critics, including Rolling Stone’s Jon Landau, who called it “the worst album I have ever heard from a major rock band.”
Chuck Berry was celebrating his 60th birthday two days early on stage in St. Louis today in 1986, joined by admirers including Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Julian Lennon, Linda Ronstadt, Etta James, and Tacoma’s Robert Cray. The resulting concert was released on record and a film called Hail Hail Rock and Roll.
Bob Dylan was celebrating the 30th anniversary of his recording debut on stage at Madison Square Garden in New York City tonight in 1992, joined by admirers including Eric Clapton, George Harrision, Roger McGuinn, Tom Petty, and Ronnie Wood.
Legendary Greenwich Village New York nightclub CBGB closed it’s doors forever tonight in 2006 after a final gig by Patti Smith due to a rent dispute. Started in 1973 by Hilly Kristal, the club’s name was an acronym for the kinds of music he envisioned there: Country, Bluegrass, and Blues. But it was the punk rock of the late 70’s that made the place famous worldwide: Patti Smith, The Talking Heads, The Ramones, The New York Dolls, Blondie, The Dead Boys, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, The Cramps, The B-52’s, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, and Television to name but a few. Kristal had plans to revive the club in Las Vegas and cash in on its sizable reputation, but he died in 2007 at age 75.
Auburn University graduate student Justin Havird named a fish he’d discovered working on his thesis Lepidocephalichthys Zeppelini today in 2010, because the fish’s split pectoral fin reminded him of the double-necked Gibson SG guitar used by Jimmy Page.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Singer, songwriter, actress, supermodel, occasional Velvet Underground member, and Warhol crowd hanger-on Nico (born Christa Päffgen) would be 74. She died after a bicycle crash in 1988.
Bachman Turner Overdrive bass player Fred Turner is 69.
Grateful Dead singer and guitarist Bob Weir is 65.