It was day 5 of the British Invasion today in 1964. Having played their first show on American soil at a hockey arena in Washington DC, The Beatles were on a train back to New York City for two shows at Carnegie Hall. They would then fly to Miami for a show at a hotel ballroom that would be broadcast for a second straight week to some 70 million viewers of the Ed Sullivan Show. There were just 4 stops on that first tour, they flew back to England on February 22nd, but they’d be back in August to hit the American West Coast, including Seattle, where a child psychologist reporting for the Seattle times would call the spectacle “truly frightening”.
Pye records announced today in 1965 that they’d signed “The British Bob Dylan”. Donovan Leitch was actually from Glasgow, Scotland, but was indeed a Dylanesque folkie…at first. The two met the next year and got along famously despite a made-up rivalry in the music press. Two years later Donovan was working with Animals and Herman’s Hermits producer Mickie Most to create some of the most psychedelic hits of the 60’s. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.
15 British police officers armed with a search warrant issued under the “dangerous drugs act” raided Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards Sussex estate “Redlands” during a weekend party today in 1967. They took away various substances for forensic tests, charging Mick Jagger with possession of 4 amphetamine tablets and Keith with allowing his residence to be used for the smoking of cannabis. George and Patti Harrison had been at the party, but they were apparently tipped off and allowed to leave as the authorities did not want the publicity around arresting an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire). Mick and Keith were taken directly to separate prisons: Mick to Brixton prison in South London, Keith to the notorious Wormwood Scrubs in West London. Both were released the next day pending appeals, which were successful, as popular opinion was turning against draconian drug laws.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience were on their “60 Cities in 66 Days” tour tonight in 1968 when they played the Seattle Center Arena here in Jimi’s hometown.
John Lennon played his new song Instant Karma on the BBC’s Top Of The Pops today in 1970, becoming the first Beatle to appear on that show since 1966. John had written, recorded, and mixed that single all in one day, later saying “I wrote it for breakfast, recorded it for lunch, and we’re putting it out for dinner”.
Pink Floyd released their 10th studio album Animals in the U.S. today in 1977. It would go to number 3 on the album charts despite not having any songs short enough for significant radio airplay. The iconic cover sports a giant inflatable pig suspended between two of the smokestacks of The Battersea Power Station on the Thames river in London that Roger Waters drove past every day.
U2 held a press conference to announce their “Pop Mart” world tour today in 1997, in the lingerie department of the K-Mart in Greenwich Village New York.
Wild-man blues singer Screamin’ Jay Hawkins died today in 2000 at age 70. He’d been a golden gloves boxing champion at 16, and spent WWII in the Pacific where he was captured by the Japanese. He claims to have, on liberation, taped a hand grenade into the mouth of his chief tormenter and pulled the pin. He was married 9 times, spent 2 years in prison, and temporarily blinded himself with a flaming stage prop: he was one of rock’s prototype “shock rockers”, and his song I Put A Spell On You was a huge hit for Creedence Clearwater Revival.
The Doors drummer John Densmore filed a lawsuit against his former bandmates Ray Manzarek and Robbie Kreiger today in 2003, for performing as The Doors with singer Ian Astbury of The Cult. The two insisted that Densmore was always invited, but that he wouldn’t play as The Doors without Jim Morrison. Drum duties were handled for a while by Stewart Copeland of The Police, but after the legal action Ray and Robbie can no longer use The Doors as their band name.
The Police held a press conference at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood today in 2007 to announce they were re-forming for a tour. It would go on to be the third-highest grossing concert tour of all time, bringing in over $340 million.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
The Doors keyboard player Ray Manzarek is 74.
Three Dog Night’s bass player Joe Schermie would be 67. He died in 2002.
Black Oak Arkansas guitarist Stanley Knight is 64.
Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett is 62. He quit the band not too long after Peter Gabriel left in the late 70’s, but is fronting an old-school Genesis tribute band on Yes’ Cruise To The Edge in late March.
Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan singer the soft-rockin’ Michael McDonald is 60.