Keith Richards had Mick Jagger come to his hotel room in Clearwater Florida today in 1965 to begin flushing out the song he’d come up with the simple riff for the night before, recording it on a small tape deck. He said later, “there was about two minutes of acoustic guitar before you hear me drop the pick, and then me snoring for the next 40 minutes”. Mick came up with the lyrics of sexual frustration and anti-commercialism, and they were off to Chicago to record it a few days later at the home to many of their American blues idols, especially Willie Dixon, Chess Records. Keith had envisioned the main riff to be played by a horn section, but not having one available, they had Brian Jones play it on harmonica. Two days later, unhappy with the Chess version, the rerecorded it at RCA studios in Hollywood, and this time Keith used a new device he’d bought, Gibson’s new Maestro “fuzz box”, as a place holder for the horn section, but they ended up liking it and keeping it. (I can’t Get No) Satisfaction was initially only played on “pirate” FM stations when it came out in June because of it’s supposedly suggestive lyrics, but would go on to be their first U.S. #1 hit and be named song #2, behind Bob Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone, on the Rolling Stone magazine Top 500 Greatest Rock and Roll Song of All Time list, and by the end of the year the Gibson Guitar Co. had sold every Maestro fuzz box they’d made.
The Beatles were at Abbey Road today in 1966 working on John Lennon’s I’m Only Sleeping, and producer George Martin and George Harrison were in full innovation mode. The Georges had come up with the idea of physically turning the recording tape over, so that it ran backwards, then Harrison played a guitar lead, which when the tape was turned back the right way made the decay of each note fade into, rather than out of it, for a decidedly psychedelic sound that would be copied by many.
A re-released, repackaged version of Tyrannosaurus Rex’s first album from 1968, coupled as a double album with their second, went to #1 today in 1972. Frontman Marc Bolan had by then changed the name of the band to T Rex, and gone to a more electric sound, but his folkie incarnation of the band had given birth to two of the longest album titles ever: My People Were Fair and Had Sky In their Hair…But Now They’re Content to Wear Stars On Their Brows, and the other was called Prophets, Seers, and Sages: The Angels of the Ages.
Paul Simon set off on tour without his singing partner Art Garfunkel today in 1973. The shows in the U.S. and Europe would be recorded and released as Live Rhymin’. Simon and Garfunkel had already broken up and reunited twice, and would do so again two years later on NBC”s Saturday Night Live.
Christie’s Auction House in London had their most successful sale to date today in 2004 with items on the block including a leather collar worn by John Lennon in The Beatles Hamburg days (£117,250), the signed management contract between The Beatles and Brian Epstein (£122,850), a Vox Kenisngton guitar played by Lennon and George Harrison (£100,000), and various Lennon artworks and other Beatle memorabilia, which brought in nearly a million British Pounds. Interestingly none of the items were purchased by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, a well-known as the richest rock and roll fan in the world and a guitarist who apparently doesn’t like The Beatles that much.
A pissing contest between Bruce Springsteen and Starbucks Coffee became public today in 2005, when the chain refused to stock his new album Devils and Dust. Starbucks claimed it was the adult content of the song Reno that led to the ban, but it later became apparent that the real reason was Bruce’s anti-corporate political stance, his refusal to co-brand the album with their logo featured prominently, and Bruce’s label Columbia Records refusing to grant Starbucks exclusive rights to sell it. Bruce would later introduce the song Reno in concert saying the album “would be available at Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme stores everywhere”.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Mungo Jerry keyboard player Colin Earl is 72.
Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Bob Seger is 69.