Rock and Roll came to television tonight in 1956 when Elvis Presley made his first appearance with his guitarist Scotty Moore and bass player Bill Black on Big Band leaders Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey’s Stage Show. Produced by Jackie Gleason from CBS’s studios in New York, Stage Show would have Elvis and his band back 5 more times that year.
The Moody Blues had their only #1 hit in England today in 1965 with a cover of a soul number written by Larry Banks for his wife Bessie. Go Now! was sung by guitarist Denny Laine, and would be their only hit until 1968’s Nights In White Satin, and would lead to him leaving the band to be replaced by Justin Hayward, though Laine would continue to perform Go Now! when he joined Wings.
The Who made their first appearance on the BBC’s Ready! Steady! Go! tonight in 1965. With a hand-picked audience of Carnaby Street Mods chosen for their stylish looks, the show was supposed to be hipper and more informal than the BBC’s other music show Top Of The Pops. Host Cathy McGowan was chosen out of some 600 applicants to an ad searching for “a typical teenager” because she correctly answered the screening question “what’s more important to today’s teens? Music, sex, or fashion?” She answered “fashion”, and was later parodied in the Beatles film A Hard Days Night, when George Harrison, when cornered by the producer of a teen TV show tells him “She’s that posh bird who gets everything wrong.” He replied “She’s a trendsetter, it’s her profession”. And George said “No she’s not, she’s a drag, and a well known drag.”
Doors frontman Jim Morrison was arrested for public drunkenness after harassing a security guard at a Las Vegas adult movie theater tonight in 1968.
Released just 5 days earlier, Pink Floyd’s Animals album entered the album charts at #2 today in 1977. Loosely based on George Orwell’s book Animal Farm, the songs were a critique of Capitalism, British class society, and a response to the punk rock that was becoming huge in England. While Floyd were often targets of Punk Rockers railing against musical complacency (Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols famously wore a Pink Floyd T-Shirt with the words “I Hate” scrawled on), drummer Nick Mason later said he welcomed the “punk rock insurrection”, and noted it’s return to the underground scene from which Pink Floyd had come. He produced the second album for The Damned at the Britannia Row studios Pink Floyd built to record Animals.
Motley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee found out that his then-girlfriend had posed for the current issue of Penthouse magazine when a fan commented on it to her after a Crüe show tonight in 1984. Tommy knocked the fan unconscious with one punch.
Seattle jazz musician Quincy Jones was in the producer’s chair at A&M studios in Hollywood today in 1985, recording a song written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie, We Are The World, that was inspired by Bob Geldof’s Do They Know It’s Christmas British fundraiser. Over 40 singers from rock, soul, jazz, and country came together, including Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Lindsay Buckingham, Bob Geldof, Huey Lewis, Steve Perry, Waylon Jennings, and Quincy’s old friend from his Seattle days, Ray Charles. A little over a year after it’s release, the song had met it’s goal of raising $50 million dollars for famine relief in Ethiopia.
Paul and Linda McCartney attended the London premier of the second film to come out of Mike Myers and Dana Carvey’s Saturday Night Live sketch, Wayne’s World II tonight in 1994, afterward heading to a reception at the London Hard Rock Cafe (home to perhaps the world’s worst hamburger….boiled…ugh) where Myers presented them with a check for £25,ooo for the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.
Traffic’s drummer and songwriter Jim Capaldi, who also played with Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, and Alvin Lee, died of stomach cancer at age 60 today in 2005.
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s heyday keyboard player Billy Powell died of a heart attack today in 2009.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Pretty Things guitarist and singer Dick Taylor is 69. Before starting the Pretty Things he preceded Bill Wyman playing bass breifly with Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys and The Rollin’ Stones.