The Shirelles became the first all girl group to have a number one US pop hit today in 1961 with Will You Love Me Tomorrow? written by the Gerry Goffin/Carole King songwriting team, supposedly in response to Carole’s ex-boyfriend Neil Sedaka’s Oh Carol, and I know you’re rolling your eyes at the name Neil Sedaka, but consider this my rock and roll dirtbags: This song was covered the next year and released as a single by The Prophets, who’s lead singer was none other than Mr. Devilhorns himself, Ronnie James Dio, who also did it later with Rainbow. It’s also been covered by Joe Walsh, Elton John, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Cincinatti Sub Pop band The Afghan Whigs, and L.A. punkrock supergroup Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.
Another song we think of as more an “oldie” was at number 1 today in 1964. Needles and Pins was a big hit for The Searchers, written by the future Mr. Cher, Sonny Bono. It was later a hit again for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and The Ramones.
The Beatles played live together for the last time today in 1969, joined by Billy Preston on the keys on the roof of the Apple building on Saville Row in London. Traffic in the street below came to a screeching halt as the crowd spilled into the street, and fans crowded the windows and rooftops of adjacent buildings as they played for just over 40 minutes, with John famously ending with “I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the group and myself and I hope we passed the audition”. The whole thing was filmed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg and his crew who were making the Let It Be documentary, rereleased in 2013 on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Paul McCartney wrote and recorded a protest song today in 1972, Give Ireland Back To The Irish, just two days after the Bloody Sunday or Bogside Massacre in Derry, Northern Ireland in which 26 unarmed protesters were shot by the British Army. He released it as the first single from Wings. Paul said, “It was the first time people questioned what we were doing in Ireland. It was so shocking. I wrote ‘Give Ireland Back to the Irish’, we recorded it and I was promptly ‘phoned by the Chairman of EMI, Sir Joseph Lockwood, explaining that they wouldn’t release it. He thought it was too inflammatory. I told him that I felt strongly about it and they had to release it. He said, ‘Well it’ll be banned’, and of course it was. I knew ‘Give Ireland Back to the Irish’ wasn’t an easy route, but it just seemed to me to be the time. All of us in Wings felt the same about it. But Henry McCullogh’s brother who lived in Northern Ireland was beaten up because of it. The thugs found out that Henry was in Wings.”
Having just changed their name from Wicked Lester, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, Peter Criss, and Paul Stanley played for the first time as KISS tonight in 1973 at The Popcorn Club in Queens New York.
Blues guitarist Sam “Lightning” Hopkins died of cancer at 70 today in 1982. #71 on the Rolling Stone magazine Top 100 Greatest guitarist of All time list, he was a huge influence on quite a few rock and rollers above him on that list.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Jefferson Airplane founder and singer Marty Balin is 72.
Small Faces and Humble Pie guitarist and frontman Steve Mariott would be 68, he was killed when his house burned down in 1991.
Genesis drummer, background and later lead singer Phil Collins is 63.