By Scott Vanderpool

Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite apparently wasn’t considered “Christmas Music” in England in 1962, because B Bumble and the Stingers were at #1 on the charts today with their Nut Rocker instrumental, which was later covered and made a KZOK Holiday Classic by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.

The Beatles played a BBC kids show today in 1963. Pops and Lenny was filmed in front of a live audience, and they played From Me To You and an even shorter version of their 2 minute single Please Please Me. unfortunately the only video on the interwebs of Pops and Lenny’s musical acts is of some guy named Craig Douglas.

The Rolling Stones played the Civic Hall in Long Beach California tonight in 1965, and as they were leaving for the hotel their limo was mobbed by fans who climbed onto the roof, caving it in. The band got on their backs and pushed up with their feet as the driver punched it as crazed Stones fans toppled onto the street.

Brian Wilson stayed home when The Beach Boys went on tour months earlier to focus on writing and recording, experimenting with strange instruments, recorded sound effects, the Wrecking Crew of A-list L.A. studio musicians, and LSD. Capitol Records released the result today in 1966, widely considered one of the greatest records of all time, Pet Sounds. It would have a huge influence on popular music. George Martin freely admitted, “Without Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper wouldn’t have happened… Pepper was an attempt to equal Pet Sounds“. Paul McCartney went further: “It was Pet Sounds that blew me out of the water. I love the album so much. I’ve just bought my kids each a copy of it for their education in life … I figure no one is educated musically ’til they’ve heard that album … I love the orchestra, the arrangements … it may be going overboard to say it’s the classic of the century … but to me, it certainly is a total, classic record that is unbeatable in many ways … I’ve often played Pet Sounds and cried. I played it to John so much that it would be difficult for him to escape the influence … it was the record of the time. The thing that really made me sit up and take notice was the bass lines … and also, putting melodies in the bass line. That I think was probably the big influence that set me thinking when we recorded Pepper, it set me off on a period I had then for a couple of years of nearly always writing quite melodic bass lines. God Only Knows is a big favourite of mine … very emotional, always a bit of a choker for me, that one. On You Still Believe in Me, I love that melody – that kills me … that’s my favourite, I think … it’s so beautiful right at the end … comes surging back in these multi-coloured harmonies … sends shivers up my spine”. But what The Beatles didn’t know was Brian’s inspiration had been their Rubber Soul. He said, “I really wasn’t quite ready for the unity. It felt like it all belonged together. Rubber Soul was a collection of songs … that somehow went together like no album ever made before, and I was very impressed. I said, “That’s it. I really am challenged to do a great album”.

Columbia Records released a pretty good record today in 1966 too, Bob Dylan’s 7th studio album Blonde On Blonde, also widely considered one of the greatest of all time. It had 2 top 20 hits on it, I Want You, and probably the biggest stoner anthem of all time, Rainy Day Women #12 & 35.  But Bob Dylan later said of Pet Sounds, “That ear – I mean, Jesus, he’s got to will that to the Smithsonian”.

Jack Casady of the Jefferson Airplane was trying to follow Bob’s clear instructions when he was arrested for Marijuana possession today in 1969. He was given a two and a half-year prison sentence, which the judge thankfully suspended provided he never smoke the evil weed again, which he did not do until he got home.

On the other side of the country, The Who were in the middle of playing the Fillmore East in New York tonight in 1969, when a man came on stage and went for Pete Townsend’s microphone. Pete treated him as he always did anyone who dared step on his stage while he was performing (Ask political activist Abbie Hoffman what happened to him at Woodstock), he beaned him with his guitar and a boot to the arse as he literally kicked him off stage. Unfortunately for Pete, the man was a plainclothes police officer, trying to warn everyone that a fire had broken out. He spent the night in jail and was fined $30.

Queen were on stage in New York tonight in 1974 when guitarist Brian May collapsed on stage. He immediately flew back to London to be treated for Hepatitis.

The London Evening Standard reported tonight in 1977 that Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant had been arrested at the Atlanta airport for being drunk and pulling a knife on an airline employee. When Robert informed them that he was at home in Wales at the time, they found that a drunk guy with a knife at the Atlanta airport had told the police he was Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin, and printed an apology the following night.

Ozzy Osbourne was arrested for being staggering drunk in downtown Memphis Tennessee tonight in 1984. Unfortunately for Ozzy he was nowhere near Wales, in fact he wasn’t quite sure where he was, but it was Memphis Tennessee.

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards was in his Connecticut house’s expansive library today in 1998, reaching for a book of nude art, when he fell and broke several ribs, causing The Rolling Stones to postpone a fair amount of their Bridges To Babylon tour.

Singer Ronnie James Dio lost his battle with stomach cancer today in 2010. His musical career started in 1957 with The Vegas Kings, then Ronnie and the Rumblers, Ronnie and the Redcaps, Ronnie Dio and The Prophets, and The Electric Elves, who had shortened their name to Elf when they opened for Deep Purple, which led Ritchie Blackmore to recruit Dio and several others from Elf for his new band Rainbow. He’d go on to play with Black Sabbath and become the solo artist widely credited as the first to hold up his fingers in the “Devil Horn” gesture synonymous with rock and roll.

Rock and Roll Birthdays

King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp is 66.

Nazareth drummer Darrell Sweet would be 65, he died of a heart attack at 51.

Modern Lovers guitarist and songwriter Jonathan Richman is 61, and currently enjoying a campaign to make his song Roadrunner the State Song of Massachusetts.

Nirvana’s extremely tall bass player Krist Novoselic is 48.


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