Elvis Presley was at #1 on the British charts with Devil In Disguise today in 1963, his 14th top of the pops hit there. When the song was debuted on the BBC’s Juke Box Jury, celebrity panelist John Lennon voted the song “A Miss”, saying that Elvis sounded “like Bing Crosby now”.
The Beatles second movie Help! premiered at London’s Pavilion Theatre tonight in 1965. Ringo Starr later admitted that the film had been shot “In a haze of marijuana smoke”, and that while they were in the Austrian Alps shooting a scene at a curling rink, Paul McCartney had slipped over a hill to smoke a fat joint.
Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, and Ginger Baker played their first live show together as Cream tonight in 1966 at the Twisted Wheel in Manchester.
Bob Dylan was riding his Triumph Tiger motorcycle near his home in Woodstock New York today in 1966 when he crashed. Bob claimed at the time he had broken several vertebrae in his neck, though no ambulance was called and he did not go to a hospital, and later in his autobiography admitted “I had been in a motorcycle accident, and I had been hurt, but I recovered. Truth is, I wanted out of the rat race”. He’d been touring and recording relentlessly, and aside from a few select performances he didn’t tour again for 8 years. Promoters of the famous Woodstock festival admitted in ’69 they’d selected the upstate New York location in order to lure Bob to play, but he’d already been peeved at the number of hippies showing up at his house, and the day the festival started boarded the Queen Elizabeth II and sailed to England to play the Isle of Wight Festival.
Gram Parsons quit The Byrds today in 1968. The band was scheduled to leave the next day for a tour in South Africa, where “apartheid” was still very much the law of the land, but Gram refused to play to a segregated audience.
Screaming Lord Sutch was arrested today in 1972 as he jumped off a bus with four naked women in front of the Prime Minister’s residence at #10 Downing Street in London in a promotional stunt for a series of shows he’d planned. The prototype “shock rocker” had already run for political office several times, and holds a British record for having lost all 40 elections in which he ran.
Led Zeppelin played the last of three nights at Madison Square Garden in New York tonight in 1973 at the end of a 33 date North American tour that had included a show at the Seattle Center Coliseum the week before, and the band had flown for the first time from show to show on a modified Boeing 707 they dubbed the “Starship”. The Madison Square Garden shows were filmed, and used in the 1976 film The Song Remains The Same, but after tonight’s show tour manager Richard Cole discovered that the money they’d made there, some $203,000 had disappeared from The Drake Hotel’s safe. Cole was arrested and questioned, but later released, and the real thief was never found.
The Mamas and The Papas singer Cass Elliott died of a heart attack in the London apartment she’d borrowed from American singer Harry Nilsson today in 1974.. Police told reporters that a partially-eaten sandwich had been found and may have been the cause of death, which the press eagerly picked up on as she had been overweight for much of her career, but her band had broken up and she was performing as a solo artist and had lost 80 pounds by not eating for four days a week, the real cause of death. Four years later The Who’s drummer Keith Moon would be found dead in Nilsson’s flat.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
E-Street Band backup singer, guitarist, and Mrs. Bruce Springsteen, Patti Scialfa is 61.
Rush bass player and singer Geddy Lee is 61. His real name is Gary Lee Weinrib, and his nickname “Geddy” came from his friends picking up on his Polish immigrant mother’s pronunciation of “Gary”.