A local Memphis Tennessee truck driver auditioned with The Hi-Hat Club’s house band there tonight in 1954. Elvis Presley was told not to quit his day job, and that he would never make it as a singer.
Bob Dylan cracked the top 40 for the first time today in 1965 when Subterranean Homesick Blues went to #39 on the American charts. John Lennon said in an interview at the time that he didn’t know how he could write a song to compete with it.
Paul McCartney went to London’s Bag ‘O Nails nightclub tonight in 1967 to see singer Georgie Fame, one of England’s early rock and roll crooners managed by Larry Parnes, who had hired the Silver Beetles to back Johnny Gentle in 1960 (and passed on managing Paul’s band). At the show he met for the first time an American who’d stumbled into a career as a rock photographer when she was working as a receptionist for Town and Country magazine and was allowed to take shots of The Rolling Stones on their first U.S. tour. He and Linda Eastman would be married two years later.
George and Pattie Harrison and Ringo and Maureen Starr were in Cannes, France tonight in 1968 for the film-festival premier of the Joe Massott directed movie George had done the soundtrack for, Wonderwall. It starred Jack MacGowran, Jane Birkin, and featured a cameo by actress and model Anita Pallenberg who’d recently left Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones for Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. George’s Indian music laden soundtrack Wonderwall Music was the first solo album by any of The Beatles, and would inspire a massive hit in 1995, oddly enough called Wonderwall, written by Noel Gallagher of the British band Oasis.
Frank and Gail Zappa had their third child today in 1974. Ahmet Emuukha Rodan Zappa got his third name from the Japanese flying monster, no one’s really sure about the others. He would go on to a successful career in Hollywood as an actor, writer, producer, and occasional musician with his older brother Dweezil, and was briefly married to actress Selma Blair.
By far the most successful lineup of Fleetwood Mac (Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine “Perfect” McVie, Lindsey Buckingham, and Stevie Nicks) played their first live show together tonight in 1975 in El Paso Texas.
The Rolling Stones went to #1 on the U.S. album charts with their 15th American studio album Black and Blue today in 1976. It was the first Stones album with former Faces guitarist Ronnie Wood replacing the departed Mick Taylor, who’d won out over other hopeful potential Stones, including Steve Marriott and Peter Frampton of Humble Pie. They had already gained worldwide attention by promoting the album with a controversial billboard on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood that featured a spread-legged, bound, bruised, and battered model reading “I’m Black and Blue from The Rolling Stones…and I Love It!” later torn down after protests from the group Women Against Violence Against Women. The billboard was later famously parodied in the rock-mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap for their album Smell The Glove.
Former Sex Pistol John “Johnny Rotten” Lydon’s new band Public Image Ltd. “played” at the Ritz Club in New York tonight in 1981. Claiming that they were not a “rock band”, they set up behind a projection screen and played the band’s records while Lydon taunted the audience on the microphone, who pelted the stage with bottles until promoters shut the whole thing down.
Asia was at #1 on the U.S. album charts today in 1982 with their self-titled debut. The progressive rock supergroup’s lineup consisted of guitarist Steve Howe from Yes, keyboard player Geoff Downes of The Buggles and Yes, bass player and lead singer John Wetton of King Crimson, Roxy Music, Uriah Heep and Wishbone Ash, and drummer Carl Palmer of Emerson Lake and Palmer, who recently reunited on a prog-rock cruise ship in the Caribbean with Yes.
Courtney Love sold the Denny-Blaine mansion where her late husband Kurt Cobain had killed himself today in 1997, collecting $3 million from a software developer. She’s lived in Hollywood ever since, but as she never established a formal grave-site for Kurt, the small Viretta Park next door has become a pilgrimage site for Nirvana fans worldwide.
Founding Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive guitarist Randy Bachman was made an officer of The Order of Canada today in 2008, that country’s highest civilian honor.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Former Roxy Music keyboard player Brian Eno is 65. He went on to produce records for David Bowie, Paul Simon, Devo, The Talking Heads, and U2, and in 1994 went to Redmond to compose the 6-second startup sound for the Windows ’95 operating system still referred to as “The Microsoft Sound”.
Uriah Heep bass player Gary Thain would also be 65 if he hadn’t overdosed on heroin at…..age 27.