American Bandstand made it’s national debut tonight in 1957. It had been running in Philadelphia as Bandstand since ’52 with host Bob Horn, but he’d been fired a year earlier after a drunk driving conviction and morals charges after he’d been found to be involved with a prostitution ring, and was replaced by Dick Clark, who hosted the show until it’s demise in 1989. The show featured teenagers dancing, “rating records”, and usually at least one musical performance by at least one popular band that over the years ran from Jerry Lee Lewis to Pink Floyd to The Bee Gees to Run-DMC. “America’s Oldest Teenager” Clark was planning on reviving the show when he suffered a stroke in 2005, and he finally died in 2012 at 82.
The Beatles were done with touring and playing live, concentrating on working in the recording studio, and their work was unveiled today in 1966 when they released Revolver, their 7th. Gone were happy pop songs about girls and love, replaced with political statements (George’s Taxman), lyrical imagery set to a string quartet (Paul’s Eleanor Rigby), songs about drugs (Dr. Robert and Got to Get You Into My Life), and the opening shot of the psychedelic era, John’s Tomorrow Never Knows.
Aerosmith signed a contract with CBS Records today in 1972, after label honcho Clive Davis saw them play at Max’s Kansas City nightclub in New York. He paid them $125,000 up front, and recoup that investment many times over with an incredible string of multi-platinum albums, hit singles, and concert tours making them one of the most successful American rock bands of all time.
Guitarist Joan Jett and drummer Sandy West formed one of the first all-female rock bands with The Runaways today in 1975 after being introduced by producer Kim Fowley. They signed with a major label the following year, and toured extensively but never got much radio airplay in America (though their song Cherry Bomb was a major hit in Japan). They’d broke up in 1979, and Jett and lead guitarist Lita Ford would have successful solo careers, but their legend would grow over the years and in 2010 were the subject of a major motion picture.
David Crosby was sentenced to 5 years in prison in Texas today in 1983 for possession of heroin, cocaine and a .45 handgun. He slept through most of his trial, but when asked why he had the gun, he replied “John Lennon, man”. He served 9 months of the sentence before being paroled.
DNA testing on some dozen people hoping for a piece of the estate of the late Godfather of Soul James Brown claiming he was their father showed that at least two of them were telling the truth today in 2007.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Rick Huxley, bass player for the Dave Clark Five would be 73, he died in February.
Greg Leskiw, guitarist for The Guess Who is 66.
Pat Smear, (real name George Ruthenberg) guitarist with L.A. punk band The Germs is 54. He was added to the live lineup of Seattle’s Nirvana by Kurt Cobain in 1993, playing with them for the first time on Saturday Night Live.
He joined the other surviving members on stage with Paul McCartney at Safeco Field.
Adam “MCA” Yauch of The Beastie Boys would be 49, he died of cancer last year.
Jennifer Finch, bass player for the all-female L-7 is 47. In the heyday of “Grunge” she dated Nirvana’s Dave Grohl