The Rolling Stones were on their first American tour today in 1964. Bill Wyman referred to it as a “disaster”, because they didn’t have a hit record, and the week before found themselves playing San Antonio Texas with trained seals between them and the audience. But they were “well chuffed” today as they got to record, at the suggestion of Phil Spector, at the home of some of the musicians they idolized most: Chess Studios in Chicago. They even got to meet some of them. Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, and Chuck Berry all came by while they were recording what would be their first #1 hit, It’s All Over Now, a Valentinos song first played for them by New York disc jockey Murray “The K” Kauffman 9 days earlier. Valentinos frontman and the song’s writer Bobby Womack said years later that he’d told Mick Jagger to “get his own song”, but his manager talked him into letting The Stones have it, and when the first royalty check came in he changed his tune: “You tell Mick Jagger he can have any song he wants”.
The Small Faces frontman Steve Marriott collapsed while performing on the BBC’s Ready Steady Go! today in 1966. Exhaustion was cited as the reason, though at the time British Mods’ drugs of choice were a combination of alcohol and amphetamines (“Leapers”), and this may have had something to do with it. The band cancelled the rest of the week’s shows while he recovered.
Big Brother and the Holding Company played their first show with new lead singer Janis Joplin tonight in 1966 at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco.
Jimi Hendrix was denied entry into London’s stodgy and conservative Royal Botanical Gardens today in 1967 because “people in fancy dress aren’t allowed”.
Denver police used tear gas on what they deemed an unruly crowd at a Jethro Tull concert tonight in 1971, and even though some band members had trouble seeing their instruments the band kept playing.
The Rolling Stones double album Exile On Main Street, considered by many to be their best, went to #1 in England today in 1972, the 7th time they’d occupied that spot. A remastered and re-released version of the album went to #1 in 2010, almost 38 years to the day later, the only time any band had ever topped the charts twice with the same album.
Paul McCartney and Wings played the first-ever rock concert at Seattle’s new multi-purpose domed stadium The Kingdome tonight in 1976. Paul had been part of the first rock show at the Seattle Center Coliseum when the Beatles played there in 1964, and will be the first rock show at Safeco Field on July 19th (see related story). The show was recorded, and many songs from the Kingdome show made it into the concert film Rockshow.
Joe Strummer and Nicky “Topper” Headon of The Clash were fined £5 each by a London court today in 1977 for spray painting “The Clash” on a wall.
The Grateful Dead had to cancel their planned tour today in 1986 when guitarist Jerry Garcia went into a diabetic coma that lasted 5 days.
Singer, songwriter, and keyboard player Ray Charles, whose career had begun in Seattle Central District jazz clubs in the 50’s when he had moved from his native Florida because it was the farthest spot on the map away in the lower 48, died today in 2004 at age 73.
The surviving members of Led Zeppelin, along with the son of their late drummer John Bonham, began super-secret rehearsals tonight in 2006 for their reunion show at London’s 02 arena celebrating the life of Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun. That performance did not lead to a reunion tour, as many had hoped, but it was released as a concert film called Celebration Day.
The Rolling Stones played their first big show on British soil in over 30 years today in 2007 at the Isle of Wight Festival. They arrived at the island on their own privately chartered ferry with an entourage of over 200 people.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Chester Arthur Burnett would be 103. Better known by his stage name Howlin’ Wolf, he died at 65, but not before becoming a huge influence on The Rolling Stones, Cream, Led Zeppelin, and The Doors to name but a few.
The Move’s bass player Rick Price is 68.
Kim Deal, bass player of influential Boston band The Pixies, is 51.