David Bowie Releases Song For Apollo 11 Launch, Jerry Garcia Launches Neckties: This Day In Classic Rock [Videos]

Author: Scott Vanderpool

The Beatles played Britain’s Thank Your Lucky Stars TV show tonight in 1964, but had a hard time getting to London’s Teddington Studio Centre due to the huge crowd of fans gathered outside. Producers hired a boat to take them down the Thames river and in through the back door.

David Bowie’s song Space Odditty was released in England today in 1969. Though the song was largely inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001 A Space Odyssey from the year before, the release was timed to capitalize on the launch of NASA’s Apollo 11 in 5 days, but the BBC refused to play it on any of it’s music channels until Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins returned safely to earth. The song would win the coveted Igor Novello Award (something like a British Grammy) that year, but wasn’t released in the U.S. until 1973, and wouldn’t be a hit in England until it’s re-released in 1975. It would enjoy a resurgence in popularity when it was covered by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield on board the International Space Station in 2013 for the first ever music video made in space with the blessing of Bowie and under a 1 year license from his record company.

Three Dog Night started a two week run at #1 on the charts with their cover of a song L.A. lover Randy Newman wrote for Eric Burdon and The Animals, Mama Told Me Not to Come today in 1970. Despite the seemingly anti-drug stance of the lyrics, one of the band’s three lead vocalists, Chuck Negron, would manage to get himself arrested in Kentucky with a large pile of cocaine.

Humble Pie played Asbury Park New Jersey tonight in 1971, and guitarist Peter Frampton was mightily impressed with the local openers The Bruce Springsteen Band. After the show he offered them the opening slot for the rest of the tour, and said he could get them an audition with their A&M record label, but Bruce’s manager Tinker West declined both offers on the spot.

Def  Leppard fired guitarist Pete Willis for excessive on-the-job boozing today in 1982 and replaced him with Phil Collen, who’d played in British glam-rock band Girl, and had made an appearance on the cover of Deep Purple’s live album Made In Japan in the photo that was shot at a show at London’s Brixton Academy and not Tokyo’s Budokan arena where it was recorded.

Seattle’s own Heart had been declining in popularity since their 70’s heyday, but were back on top of the charts with extremely big hair and the Bill Steinberg and Tom Kelly written song Alone today in 1987. It would stay in the top spot for three weeks, and get to #3 in England.

A collection of 8 different neckties designed by Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia went on sale today in 1992. One of the first customers was President Bill Clinton, who bought all 8, and they would gross millions by the end of the year.

The Rolling Stones released their 20th British and 22nd American studio album Voodoo Lounge today in 1994, their first without founding bass player Bill Wyman, who’d quit the band the year before.

Rock and Roll Birthdays

Bon Jovi guitarist Ritchie Sambora is 55.

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