A 21 year old Elvis Presley pulled into a Memphis gas station today in 1956, and being one of rock’s first stars already began to attract a small crowd of autograph seekers. After repeatedly asking him to move on, the gas station manager slapped Elvis on the head. In return he was greeted with a knuckle sandwich. A uniformed station attendant came to his boss’ aid, but Elvis beat the crap out of both of them. Police were called, and arrested both the manager and the employee who were fined for assault.
Paul McCartney played his first show with John Lennon’s Quarry Men tonight in 1957, at the New Clubmoor Hall in Liverpool. John had invited him into the band because he could actually tune a guitar, and knew all the words to Eddie Cochran’s Twenty Flight Rock.
Eric Burdon and the Animals were on the Ed Sullivan show tonight in 1964 performing their version an old “traditional” folk song, The House Of The Rising Sun.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience played their first show ever tonight in 1966, opening up for French pop star Johnny Halladay in Paris.
All four of the Beatles attended the London premier of British-based American film director Richard Lester’s new movie How I Won The War, which starred John Lennon, tonight in 1967. Lester had directed A Hard Day’s Night and Help! for the Beatles, and would go on to do the Christopher Reeve Superman movies, among others.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono were arrested today in 1968 and charged with “obstruction” after cannabis was discovered in the apartment they were staying in. When the case went to trial a month later, John plead guilty and was fined £150.
Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes‘ band The Buggles went to number 1 in England today in 1979 with their single Video Killed The Radio Star. It would eventually go to number one in 15 other countries, famously be the very first video ever played on MTV, and get Horn and Downes invited to join Yes.
Guns-N-Roses were opening for the Rolling Stones at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum tonight in 1989 when singer Axl Rose announced that this would be the last G&R show ever unless the band members “got their s*** together”. He was referring to their heroin use, which Izzy Stradlin and Slash had written about in the song Mr. Brownstone.
The famous Annie Leibovitz photograph of a naked John Lennon curled around Yoko Ono taken on the last day of his life and used on the cover of Rolling Stone was picked by a panel of designers, artists, and magazine editors as the most important magazine cover of the last 40 years today in 2005.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Possibly the most influential guitarist in the history of rock and roll, Chuck Berry, is 85.
Steelers Wheel singer and songwriter Joe Egan is 66.