Paul McCartney was backstage at the Royal Albert Hall in London tonight in 1963, just after The Beatles had performed for the radio show Swingin’ Sound ’63, when they were interviewed by actress, model, and radio/television presenter Jane Asher. They began dating immediately, and quickly became the English tabloid’s most-celebrated couple, the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie of their day. There were engaged to be married in ’67, but after returning from the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s transcendental meditation school in India, she found him in bed with American scriptwriter Francie Schwartz and called it off. Jane continued to act, and has written three best-selling novels as well as lifestyle and cake-decorating books that have made her essentially the Martha Stewart of England.
The Beatles played one of Britain’s hottest TV Comedies, the Morcambe and Wise Show tonight in 1964, busting out This Boy, I Want To Hold Your Hand, and All My Loving. They also were good sports in playing along with hosts Eric Morcambe and Ernie Wise’s comedy sketches.
Pink Floyd were on tour in in Italy tonight in 1968, playing two shows at the Piper Club in Rome. Their first album had been called Piper At The Gates of Dawn, and Roger Waters would later refer to frontman Syd Barrett as “You Piper” in the song Shine On You Crazy Diamond, but Syd’s departure from the band had been realized in late March and officially announced on April 6th. Syd’s old school chum David Gilmore had been added to the band’s lineup in December, to cover for Barrett’s increasingly erratic behavior, but it had come to a head in January when they were headed to a gig in Southhampton, when Gilmore had asked, “Shouldn’t we be stopping to pick up Syd?”, and the rest of the band had answered, “Nah, let’s not bother”.
Neil Young’s film directorial debut, the 16mm Journey Through The Past featuring archival performances by Buffalo Springfield and Crosby Stills Nash and Young, backstage footage, and “art-film sequences”, had it’s premier at the Dallas Film Festival tonight in 1973. Critics hated it.
Alice Cooper wrapped up production of a TV special, Alice Cooper: The Nightmare today in 1975. A showcase for his first album since firing the rest of the Alice Cooper Band, Welcome To My Nightmare, the production featured singer Vince Furnier, who had by then adopted the band’s name as his own, as “Steven” who is trapped in a bad dream he can’t wake up from, and actor Vincent Price as “The spirit of the nightmare”. It aired on ABC-TV the next week, but wouldn’t be seen again until 1983 when it was re-released on VHS and Betamax. It has never been released on DVD, but not surprisingly parts of it have made it to the Interwebs.
The former British South African colony Rhodesia became the independent nation of Zimbabwe today in 1980, with a celebration headlined by Bob Marley and The Wailers attended by Britain’s Prince Charles, India’s Indira Gandhi, and Zimbabwe’s first Prime Minister Robert Mugabe. Marley called it “the greatest honor of my life”.
Yes announced today in 1981 that they were breaking up after 13 years. Drummer Alan White and bassist Chris Squier had already been working on a new band with Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page to be called XYZ (for ex-Yes and Zeppelin). Page had intended that Robert Plant be involved, but Plant lost interest after one rehearsal, finding the music Squier had written “too complex”, and the project fell apart. Yes reformed two years later for the album 90125.
Michael Jackson was in a Los Angeles hospital today in 1984, undergoing reconstructive scalp surgery after having been badly burned in the filming of a Pepsi commercial in January.
Four lookalikes were signed today in 2000 to portray The Monkees in a film about the rise and fall of the 60’s “pre-fab-four” to be called Daydream Believers, complete with a recreation of the scene when the sheepish band met The Beatles, expecting to be snubbed only to have John Lennon tell them, “I think you’re the greatest comedic talent since the Marx Brothers. I’ve never missed a show”.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Paul Rothchild would be 78. He’s famous for producing the first 5 Doors albums, Crosby Stills and Nash, Neil Young, Janis Joplin, the debut album from The Outlaws, and too many more to name. He also did the soundtrack for Oliver Stone’s 1991 film The Doors, in which he was portrayed by Canadian actor Michael Wincott, but appears as well in a “cameo”. He died at 59 of lung cancer.
Manfred Mann multi-instrumentalist Mike Vickers is 73. He’s also famous for conducting the orchestra that played on The Beatles All You Need Is Love.