The Troggs went to#1 on the U.S. singles chart with Wild Thing today in 1966. Due to a legal dispute it came out simultaneously on the Fontana and Atco record labels. Since both pressings were taken from the same original master recording, Billboard magazine combined the sales on their charts, making it the only record ever to hit the top spot for two different companies.
The Beatles gave up on one of the first business ventures their Apple Corps Ltd company had launched today in 1968. The Apple Boutique at the corner of Baker and Paddington Streets in London had been envisioned as a place where everything in it was for sale, or as Paul McCartney put it, “A beautiful place where beautiful people could buy beautiful things”, which ended up being mostly clothing and accessories, but also artwork, much of which came from the Dutch artist’s collective known as”The Fool“, who had painted John Lennon’s psychedelic Rolls Royce, now in the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, and Eric Clapton’s psychedelic Gibson SG guitar he played in Cream. The store had been launched in December of ’67 and was run by their old Quarrymen bandmate Pete Shotton and Jenny Boyd, sister of George Harrison’s wife Pattie, who didn’t think it proper to accuse patrons, staff, and artists of shoplifing, which everyone did, and the store lost some £200,000 in it’s year-and-change, and they decided to close it, running a newspaper “advert” announcing that everything in it would be given away, first-come-first-served with a limit of one item per person.
RCA records dropped John Denver from it’s roster today in 1986, not because his records weren’t selling, but because of his latest single, What Are We Making Weapons For? RCA had recently been acquired by General Electric, one of America’s largest defense contractors, who were profiting mightily from Ronald Reagan’s military build-up.
Sam Phillips died of respiratory failure in Memphis Tennessee today in 2003 at age 80. He’d started his career in the 40’s as a disc jockey in Muscle Shoals Alabama at one of the rare radio stations that would play music from both black and white artists, then moved to Memphis where he started the Memphis Recording Service, which produced what many historians consider the first-ever rock and roll record Rocket 88 by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats, led by 19 year old Ike Turner. Changing the name of his company to Sun Records, he discovered and produced the first recordings of Howlin’ Wolf (who he called his greatest discovery ever), Elvis Presley (his second greatest), B.B. King, Rufus Thomas, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Roy Orbison. He was also one of the first investors in the Holiday Inn hotel chain that would ban The Who for life after a particularly debaucherous party in which Keith Moon drove a car into a swimming pool.
The former owner/editor of Seattle’s weekly music magazine The Rocket, Charles R. Cross, published a biography of Jimi Hendrix called Room Full of Mirrors today in 2005. Though Jimi had always said he’d been given a medical discharge from the U.S. Army’s 101st “Screaming Eagle” Airborne Division after breaking his ankle in a parachute jump, Cross dug through his military records and concluded that he’d actually been booted for “unsuitability”, and found some evidence that Jimi had hated the Army so much he’d feigned homosexuality, ala the Max Klinger character in TV’s M*A*S*H, to get himself kicked out.
Procul Harum organist Matthew Fisher was finally victorious in his third lengthy court battle over royalties for their ’67 hit
A Whiter Shade of Pale today in 2009. Singer Gary Brooker had kept all the money for himself after the band broke up, but Fisher first sued in 2006, saying his Bach-inspired organ riff was central to the song and won, but an appeal overturned that in 2008, saying he’d waited too long…38 years… to make a claim, but on the third try the British Courts said there were no time limits on royalties, and that Brooker had already benefited enough as sole owner to that point.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Blues guitarist George “Buddy” Guy is 78.
Jethro Tull’s bass player Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond is 68.
Drummer Chris Millar is 59, better known by his stage name in the influential punk band The Damned… Rat Scabies.