By Scott Vanderpool

A British company no one remembers the name of shipped 1000 pounds of Beatle wigs to the United States today in 1964. The band would be back for their first full American tour later in the spring, and a reporter asked John Lennon how he felt about teenagers imitating them by wearing Beatle wigs. Being his usual smart-ass self, John replied, ” They’re not imitating us, because we don’t wear Beatle wigs.”

Chuck Berry began serving a three-year sentence at a Federal prison in Indiana today in 1962 for “transporting a minor across state lines for immoral purposes”. It was the second time he’d been convicted, but the first trial’s verdict was thrown out after the judge was shown to have used racial slurs. He would be released after serving 20 months of the sentence.

It was a bit of reverse-British invasion today in 1966, when Oklahoma bred psychedelic country-rock singer-songwriter-producer Lee Hazelwood’s song These Boots Were Made For Walking, as sung by the incredibly sexy Nancy Sinatra, was at number one in England. The song made “go-go boots” the year’s most popular fashion trend, next to the shocking “mini skirts”.

Led Zeppelin played Adelaide on their first-ever Australian tour tonight in 1972. A review the next morning in the local newspaper written by someone not paying much attention read, “Singer Robin Plant overcame an ‘Australian Bug’, and broke into his own on Black Dog and Stairway To The Stars“.

Kiss made their television debut on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert tonight in 1974.

Tower of Power’s original lead singer Rick Stevens was arrested today in 1976 for the drug-related murder of three men in San Jose, California. He would be found guilty and sent to prison in November.

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band was at number one today in 1977 with a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s first single from his 1973 album Greetings From Asbury Park New Jersey. They took liberties with some of the lyrics, but it was the slurred pronunciation of the line “Revved up like a deuce”, which they had changed from “Cut loose like a deuce” that led Bruce, who didn’t care for the British band’s version at all, to comment that Blinded By The Light didn’t become popular until “they rewrote it to be about a feminine hygiene product”.

Ozzy Osbourne was in San Antonio today in 1982 on his first solo tour of the U.S. As he was severely inebriated most of the time, his manager-wife Sharon had hidden his clothes so that he wouldn’t venture out of the hotel and get in trouble. So he put on one of her dresses, and ventured out of the hotel. Pausing to urinate on what he thought was a pile of rubble, he was immediately arrested for defiling one of the State of Texas’ most sacred monuments, The Alamo, and banned from ever playing the city again. The ban was lifted 10 years later.

AC/DC’s lead singer Ronald Belford “Bon” Scott was found dead in a Renault 5 automobile in London this morning in 1980, where he’d been left by a friend after a night of heavy drinking. The official cause of death was listed as “acute alcohol poisoning” and “death by misadventure”, but conspiracy theories suggested that the car’s exhaust fumes, Bon’s asthma, and the fact that temperatures in London were below freezing that morning could also have been the cause.

Motley Crüe’s drummer Tommy Lee married Baywatch actress Pamela Lee, who he had met just 4 days earlier, on a beach in Cancún, Mexico, today in 1995. After the ceremony, for which Pam wore a white bikini, the couple retired to a yacht where they videotaped the consummation of the marriage. The tape was later stolen, and became one of the most widely viewed videos in the short history if the internet. They sued the company that distributed it, and settled out of court for an undisclosed sum before divorcing in 1998. This being a family show and all, what you’ll see here is a highly sanitized version.

The family of the late Sun records rockabilly star Johnny Cash sued to block his hit Ring Of Fire from being used in an ad for a hemorrhoid-relief product today in 2004. Merle Kilgore, who had written the song with Johnny’s wife June Carter-Cash, had attempted to sell the song, but their daughter Rosanne said the family would never allow one of Johnny’s hits to be demeaned like that.

Rock and Roll Birthdays

Motown singer-songwriter-producer and record executive William “Smokey” Robinson Jr. is 73, and still performing. He was one of the first inductees into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1987.

Black Sabbath (and ever so briefly Jethro Tull)lead guitarist Tony Iommi is 65. He was inducted into the Rock Hall with the band of which he is the only continuous member in 2006, and is ranked at #25 on Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Greatest Guitarist Of All Time list. Tony lost the tips of two of his fingers in an accident at a sheet-metal plant as a young man, and compensated by using rubber sewing thimbles to finger chords, using lighter gauge strings, and loosened their tension with the “drop tuning” for which he is widely credited with inventing “Heavy Metal”.

Wishbone Ash guitarist Andy Powell is 62.


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