The Beatles played the Litherland Town Hall in Liverpool tonight in 1961, and two members of Rory Storm and The Hurricanes who had just returned from Hamburg Germany came to watch: Ty “Johnny Guitar” O’Brien and Ritchie Starkey, who would soon replace Pete Best as their drummer and change his name to Ringo Starr.
Pink Floyd played London’s prestigious Marquee Club tonight in 1967. A prominent music journalist no one remembers wrote about the show: “The two guitarists looked moody, the drummer thrashed about wildly, and the lights kept flashing. After about 20 minutes it became very boring, and after a half an hour I left.”
Paul McCartney recorded his lead vocal line for Penny Lane today in 1967.
Jimi Hendrix spent the night in Jail in Stockholm Sweden tonight in 1968 after being arrested for perhaps trying to emulate the behavior of his friend and acquaintance Who drummer Keith Moon in getting drunk and trashing his hotel room.
Having already played a completely unheralded gig the Seattle Center Arena the day after Christmas opening for Vanilla Fudge, Led Zeppelin finished the last of four nights at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go night club on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood tonight in 1969. These shows were their first as headliners on their first North American excursion, billed at “Led Zeppelin featuring Jimmy Page formerly of The Yardbirds“, with their own opening act The Alice Cooper Group.
Bruce Springsteen released his debut album Greetings From Asbury Park New Jersey today in 1973. Two songs from it would be released as singles, but Blinded By The Light and Spirit In The Night would go completely unnoticed until they were covered by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band in 1977, and become huge hits. Bruce didn’t much care for the English band’s versions, and resented the fact that they didn’t become hits until “Mann changed the lyrics to be about a feminine hygiene product” (Manfred’s pronunciation of the word “Deuce” comes out sounding an awful lot like “Douche”).
The Beatles roadie, tour manager, occasional singer and percussionist, and friend Mal Evans was shot to death by Los Angeles police today in 1976. The girlfriend that had broken up with him just before Christmas had called them, saying he was deeply confused, was on Valium, and had a rifle, which turned out to be an air rifle, but the four cops who responded didn’t know that and killed him instantly when he didn’t put it down as ordered. Evans hadn’t left his heirs much, and the Los Angeles Times called him “The jobless former road manager for The Beatles”, but he had amassed quite a collection of Beatles lyrics, recording notes, and other documents that were later sold by his family for several million dollars.
Singer, songwriter, record producer, and U.S. congressman Salvatore “Sonny” Bono was skiing at South Lake Tahoe’s Heavenly ski resort today in 1998 when he hit a tree and was killed instantly. The 62 year old was not wearing a helmet, but his death led thousands of skiers and snowboarders to start wearing them.
Love bass player Ken Forssi died of a brain tumor today in 1998 at age 54.
59 year old singer, songwriter, guitarist, and frontman for The Kinks, Ray Davies (KBE) was walking with his girlfriend in New Orleans today in 2004 when two robbers pulled guns and demanded her purse, which she handed over, but when the gunmen fled Ray gave chase and was shot in the leg. After minor reconstructive surgery and physical therapy he was fine, but later admitted sheepishly that he’d learned a valuable lesson about America’s gun culture. Ray was knighted by the Queen just before New Year’s, but even King Arthur’s sword wouldn’t have done him much good.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
The man who discovered Howlin’ Wolf, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash, Sun Records and Sun Studios founder Sam Phillips would be 94 if he hadn’t passed at 80.
Blondie guitarist Chris Stein is 67.