By Scott Vanderpool

Drummer Tommy Moore probably made a bad career move when he decided to quit The Silver Beetles today in 1962, and return to his job as a forklift driver in Liverpool. He’d been playing with them since May, and went on their short tour of Scotland backing up the Larry Parnes-managed crooner Johnny Gentle, who was driving the van when it crashed busting out Moore’s front teeth. John Lennon and the tour’s manager had insisted he leave the hospital that night to play their scheduled show, which may have contributed to his decision, plus he was about 10 years older than the rest of them. The band then hired Norman Chapman, who was conscripted into the British Army after only three shows, and went drummerless briefly until hiring Pete Best on August 12th, one day before leaving for Hamburg. In 1984 George Harrison dropped that “Tommy Moore was the best drummer we ever played with”. He died of a brain hemorrhage in 1981.

Now called The Beatles, the band played a BBC radio programme called “Here We Go” at a theater in Manchester today in 1962 in front of an audience of Cavern Club regulars who’d made the trip south. It marks their last recording with Pete Best on drums.

The Rolling Stones had their third American #1 single today in 1966 with Paint It, Black, a song that had started with a riff played by Bill Wyman on the bass pedals of an organ while making fun of the band’s first manager, who’d started out as a theater organist, but what really made the song different was Brian Jones adding a sitar, and instrument he’d been turned on to by George Harrison via Ravi Shankar.

Several radio stations around Europe reported the death of The Who’s lead singer Roger Daltrey today in 1966. This was news to Roger Daltrey, who was aware that Pete Townsend had suffered minor injuries in a car crash a few days earlier, but was completely unaware that he’d been in the car, let alone killed.

British music magazine Melody Maker featured an ad in today’s 1967 issue that read, “Freaky lead guitarist, bass, and drummer wanted for Marc Bolan’s new group. Also any other astral flyers like with car’s amplification and that which never grows in window boxes, phone Wimbledon 0697.” The band Bolan assembled would record 4 “underground folk” albums as Tyrannosaurus Rex before evolving into glam-rock progenitors T-Rex.

AC/DC started their first tour of The United Kingdom tonight in 1976 at the Glasgow City Hall in Scotland, where singer Bon Scott and the Young Brothers (George of The Easybeats and AC/DC’s manager-producer, Malcolm, and Angus) had been born before moving to Australia with their families when they were kids.

A day after being fined £5 each for spray-painting their band’s name on a London wall, Joe Strummer and Nicky “Topper” Headon of The Clash were arrested and put in jail overnight tonight in 1977 for failing to appear in court in May to answer for a charge of stealing a pillowcase from a Holiday Inn. They were both fined £100.

Van Halen drummer Alex Van Halen married his girlfriend of two years, Valeri Kendall, in Los Angeles today in 1983 with his brother Eddie Van Halen as best man. They divorced just two months later.

Wembley Stadium in London was the site for a 70th birthday tribute concert tonight in 1988 for South African lawyer and anti-apartheid political activist Nelson Mandela, with Eric Clapton, Dire Straits, Phil Collins, Stevie Wonder, The Eurythmics, George Michael, UB40, Tracy Chapman, Simple Minds, and Whitney Houston. The show was broadcast on BBC2 and in over 40 countries to an estimated 1 billion viewers. Unfortunately for Mandela, he was unable to attend as he would be in prison in South Africa for two more years. Nelson served as President of that country from ’94-’99, and is said to be currently in ill health at age 94.

Paul McCartney married his girlfriend of two years, one-legged model Heather Mills today in 2002 in an elaborate ceremony at Castle Leslie near Monaghan, Ireland. Paul had been impressed that after losing her leg from being hit by a police motorcycle in London, she’d used her settlement to start a foundation that got used prosthetic limbs to amputees unable to afford them, and fought against the proliferation of land mines. He was less impressed when they separated 4 years later, and she cleaned him out of some £25 million.

Elizabeth II, Queen of England, Head of the Commonwealth, and Defender of the Faith, made two British musicians members of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire today in 2005. Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page was made an Officer (OBE), while Queen guitarist Brian May was made a Commander (CBE), which is one rank above…probably because she liked the band name Queen better.

Rock and Roll Birthdays

John Lawton, lead singer of Uriah Heep from ’76 to ’79, is 67.

Temptations singer Glenn Leonard is 66.

Pretty Things drummer Skip Allen is 65.

ZZ Top drummer Frank Beard, the member most often seen without one, is 64.


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