Rockabilly guitarist Eddie Cochran was in the studio today in 1958, recording what would be his second hit single in England. He did two versions of his song Let’s Get Together, but on the second take changed the lyrics of the chorus to C’mon Everybody, which he liked better. The song would go to #6 in Britain, and together with his previous hit Summertime Blues, would lead to the 1960 tour with Gene Vincent that would influence The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and lead to Cochran’s death in a car crash, which also badly injured Vincent and cut short his life. C’mon Everybody would be covered live by Led Zeppelin, Humble Pie, NRBQ, and the Sex Pistols’ barely-a-bass-player Sid Vicious.
Ray Charles started a 2-week run at #1 on the U.S. charts with the Percy Mayfield song Hit The Road Jack today in 1961. By this time Ray was living in New York, where he’d moved from Seattle after moving there in 1947 in order to get as far away from Florida as possible, and where he met and played Central District jazz clubs with a 14-year-old Quincy Jones.
The Beatles started a 4-week run at #1 on the U.S. singles charts with the Paul McCartney song Yesterday (like all Beatles songs, credited to Lennon-McCartney) today in 1965. The tune was included on the soundtrack to Help!, but wasn’t released as such in single-happy Britain until 1976, which allowed crooner Matt Monro to have a hit there with his cover of it. The song would eventually be recorded by other artists some 2,200 times, making it the most-covered song of all time. John Lennon would show just how far their relationship had deteriorated with his 1971 song How Do You Sleep?, which included the line “The only thing you done was yesterday…and since you’ve gone you’re just another day”. Paul asked Yoko Ono if they could change the credit on The Beatles Anthology to McCartney-Lennon in 2000, but she refused.
For the first time in the history of the BBC’s Top Of The Pops, the show refused to air the #1 song on the British charts today in 1969. ‘Je T’aime…Moi Non Plus by Serge Gainsbourg and actress Jane Birkin was basically an instrumental, with a bit of a chorus and the recorded sounds of Serge and Jane “doing it” over the top, which was considered totally over the top for record label Fontana, who dropped it even though it had already climbed to #2 on the charts, which allowed the small label Major Minor to pick it up as it climbed to #1, the first French-language song to hit that mark.
The Who played a small show at the University of Surrey tonight in 1971, with former Lovin’ Spoonful frontman John Sebastian joining in on harmonica for Magic Bus. Other than drummer Scot Halpin, who was picked out a crowd in 1973 at San Francisco’s Cow Palace to fill in for the passed-out Keith Moon, Sebastian was the only other person to get on stage with the original lineup of The Who that wasn’t beaned by Pete Townsend’s guitar. He would later play harmonica with The Doors, Crosby Stills and Nash, and have a #1 hit with his theme song to the TV show Welcome Back Kotter.
Elvis Presley divorced his wife Priscilla today in 1973. They’d met while he was in the Army in Germany in 1959, and she was the 14 year old daughter of an Air Force pilot, but they hadn’t married until 1967, as Col. Tom Parker hadn’t wanted to scare off The King’s female fans. The six year marriage produced a daughter, Lisa Marie. Priscilla would go on to an acting career, appearing on the TV series Dallas, and three Naked Gun movies with Leslie Nielson.
The Sex Pistols signed to EMI Records today in 1976 for £40,000. They dumped them 3 months later over the controversy around their songs Anarchy in the UK and God Save The Queen. The band would break up two years later, but remain highly influential, resulting in a reunion tour in 1996 that stopped at Seattle’s Bumbershoot festival.
The Rolling Stones were 7 shows into their Tattoo You tour tonight in 1981, with opening acts George Thorogood, The J. Geils Band, and Prince at the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles. Prince wore nothing but bikini briefs, high-heeled boots, and a trench coat, and was booed and pelted with beer cans to the point where he left the stage after 15 minutes. By the next stop on the tour…two shows at Seattle’s Kingdome…Thorogood and Prince had been dropped in favor of J. Geils and The Greg Kihn Band.
Yoko Ono marked what would have been John Lennon’s 45th birthday by going across the street from the Dakota apartments to Central Park in New York to formally dedicate the 3 1/2 acre Strawberry Fields Garden today in 1985. She donated $1 million to plant it with trees, flowers, and shrubs gathered from all over the world.
Nirvana entered the U.S. album charts with their 3rd and final album In Utero today in 1993. Kurt Cobain had originally wanted to call the record I Hate Myself And I Want To Die, which he did the following April 5th.
Having become a vegetarian 30 years earlier at the urging of wife Linda, Paul McCartney angrily blasted a Liverpool McDonald’s restaurant for displaying his picture today in 2008, saying “What kind of morons do McDonald’s think Beatles fans are?”
Rock and Roll Birthdays
The Beatles leader and founder John Lennon would be 73. He was shot to death at age 40 in 1980 by the nutter Mark David Chapman, who will eligible for parole again next year, and will hopefully again be denied.
The Who’s bass player John “The Ox” Entwhistle would be 69. He died of a cocaine-induced heart attack at the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel at age 57 after spending the night with two strippers, two nights before the start of the band’s 2002 tour. Pete Townsend later said that it wasn’t until John’s funeral that he discovered he had spent most of his life as a Freemason.
Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Jackson Browne is 65.
Sharon Osbourne, wife of Black Sabbath singer Ozzy, the band’s manager, media mogul, and television personality is 62.
Sean Taro Ono Lennon, the only child of John and Yoko, and half-brother of Julian, is 38. He was born on John’s 35th birthday, and his godfather is Sir Elton Hercules John.