Being the King Of Rock And Roll in the United States of America did not exempt Elvis Presley from it’s military draft. He got his notice today in 1957. The Armed services would have been all too happy to put him in some form of public relations battalion, but Elvis wanted to be in the Army, and be treated “like any other soldier”. He was inducted as a private at Ft. Chafee, Arkansas in March with hundreds of cameras following, went through basic training at Ft. Hood Texas, then joined the 3rd Armored Division in Freidberg Germany. There he was introduced to Amphetamines, Karate (which he would later work into his live performances), and a 14 year old Priscilla Beaulieu, who he would marry 7 and a half years later. Like any other soldier, he donated all his pay to charity, bought new TV sets for the base, and bought an extra set of fatigues for everyone in his outfit. His record label was well prepared for his two-year absence, having stockpiled recordings that were released periodically until he got back.
The Beatles 7th and final Christmas 7 inch “flexi-disc”, was sent to fan club members in Britain and the US today in 1969. As they had for all intents and purposes broken up already, each member had recorded their bits separately. John and Yoko recorded an extensive bit of games and interviews from their Tittenhurst Park estate, Paul included an ad-libbed “Merry Christmas” song, George Harrison appeared only briefly, and Ringo popped in to plug his new movie with Peter Sellers, The Magic Christian.
Mick Jagger was at the Marlborough Magistrates Court in London today in 1969, being fined £200 for possession of cannabis.
Elton John had his first US hit today in 1970 with Your Song. Elton and lyricist Bernie Taupin had offered the song to The Hollies, who didn’t do it, and Three Dog Night, who did…releasing it back in April, the same month Elton’s version came out as the B-side to Take Me To The Pilot. American disc jockeys preferred the B-side, and it eventually it went to #8 on the charts.
Jim Stafford was in an Atlanta recording studio today in 1973, doing a song that would go all the way to number 7 on the US charts the next year. Wildwood Weed made light of the increasing popularity of recreational cannabis use, which would remain illegal until last month in Washington and Colorado.
In an interview with the UK Daily Mail today in 1976, the mother of Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook said that he was no longer welcome at home, and that she had turned his bedroom into a dining area.
Elvis Presley’s personal physician George “Dr. Nick” Nichopoulos was charged with “Illegally and Indiscriminately” prescribing over 12,000 uppers, downers, and painkillers today in 1979 during the 20 months that preceded his untimely death in 1977. The good doctor would be acquitted this time, but after two more trials was eventually stripped of his license to practice medicine in 1995.
Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers drummer Michael Clarke died of alcohol-related liver failure today in 1993. His girlfriend Susan Paul followed through with his last wish, establishing the Campaign For Alcohol-Free Kids to keep children from ending up like him.
Sir Elton Hercules John tuned down an offer today in 2005 of £5.7 Million from an American TV network for exclusive broadcast rights to his upcoming civil union to partner David Furnish. Elton and David briefly considered taking the cash to donate to an AIDS charity, but instead opted for a “low key” ceremony followed by a £1 million party at their mansion in Berkshire.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Ten Years After guitarist and frontman Alvin Lee is 68.
Lovin’ Spoonful lead guitarist Zal Yanovsky would be 68, if hadn’t had a heart attack in 2002.