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Rockabilly guitarists Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent arrived in England today in 1960 to begin a tour that would have profound influence on a host of British rockers from the Beatles (Paul McCartney said the reason John Lennon let him in the band was because he knew all the words to Cochran’s Twenty Flight Rock) to UFO to the Sex Pistols. Cochran would die in a car crash there in April that would leave Vincent permanently damaged and shorten his career and life. The driver of the Ford Consul taxi they were riding in would lose his driver’s license for 15 years.

Charlie Watts joined the Rolling Stones today in 1963. While the band played it’s first show (as the Rollin’ Stones) at London’s Marquee Club in July of ’62, they were no doubt inebriated as no one can remember who played drums. It was either Tony Chapman (who went on to play with Peter Frampton in The Preachers and The Herd) or Mick Avory (who went on to play in The Kinks). Keith Richards said during last year’s media sh**storm, that they didn’t become the Rolling Stones until Charlie joined, so today is their official 50th anniversary.

Led Zeppelin marked Jimmy Page’s 26th birthday with a show at the Royal Albert Hall in London tonight in 1970. The two hour and fifteen minute set was recorded and filmed, but didn’t see the light of day until 2003 when it was released on DVD. Naturally it eventually made its way to YouTube.

The Rolling Stones had to cancel their planned Japanese tour today in 1973, on account of Mick Jagger’s 1969 drug conviction in England, for which he was denied entry to Japan.

David Bowie held his 50th birthday party, the day after his 50th birthday, tonight in 1997 at Madison Square Garden. Opening acts were a host of performers who Bowie had influenced or helped along the way: Lou Reed of The Velvet Underground, Robert Smith of The Cure, Frank Black of The Pixies, Sonic Youth, and Dave Grohl’s Foo Fighters.

Motley Crüe’s singer Vince Neil married for the 4th time today in 2005, to Playboy Playmate Lia Gherardini in a touching ceremony officiated by rapper-turned-preacher M.C. Hammer.

Rock and Roll Birthdays

James Patrick “Jimmy” Page, O.B.E. (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and #3 on  Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 100 Greatest Guitarist Of All Time List for his work as a studio musician, with the Yardbirds, and the man who changed rock music forever with Led Zeppelin, is 69 today. And to think he once wanted to research germs.

Bill Cowsill, lead singer and guitarist of The Cowsills would be 65. He died at 58 of emphysema. The Cowsills were a family-band that was the inspiration for TV’s The Partridge Family.

New York Dolls lead singer David Johansen is 62.

South African born Seattle resident Dave Matthews is 45.

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