We often talk “British Invasion” here at KZOK, but remember…rock and roll began in the 50’s, in America dammit. Case in point, today in 1955 when Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and his Comets entered the British charts, and no doubt a pimply faced John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, and Mick Jagger, among others, were paying close attention.
The Beatles recorded a seven-song performance for the BBC’s Saturday Club radio programme today in 1964. Unlike most of their media appearances, this show was about as long as one of their gigs for a paying audience. The BBC aired it on February 15th, while the band was conquering America and getting stoned with Bob Dylan.
Black Sabbath released their second and best-ever album in the U.S. today in 1971. Although the second single from it, Iron Man, would surprisingly pop up on some Top-40 AM stations, the album got very little airplay, but would nonetheless go to #12 on the American album chart by March. The band wanted to call it War Pigs after the lead-off track, but Warner Bros. Records were afraid of offending Vietnam War supporters (precious few of whom bought rock and roll records), and changed the title to Paranoid.
Aerosmith opened their 56 date Get Your Wings tour in Detroit tonight in 1974.
Pink Floyd released Another Brick in the Wall (Part II), from their “rock opera” The Wall of the previous year, as a single today in 1980. It would be their only hit single, but it went to #1 in the U.S., England, Canada, Australia, Germany and Italy. The band had been adamant that “we don’t do singles”, but Canadian producer Bob Ezrin had already scored with Alice Cooper’s Schools Out, heard a hit in the making, and stretched the minute-and-a-half song by sending engineer Nick Griffiths to talk to the music teacher at the Islington School around the corner from the studio about borrowing his chorus. While the school was paid a lump sum of £1000, there was no contract for royalty payments…until the U.K. changed a law in 1996, leading an agent to track the now-grown members of the kid-choir on the interwebs, and collect broadcast royalties (after taking a hefty cut) for them in 2004.
R.E.M. began a three-year hiatus from live performances tonight in 1993 with a benefit show for Greenpeace to a crowd of just 500 at the place it had all began for them 13 years earlier: The 40 Watt Club in Athens Georgia.
Publisher Sean O’Mahoney put out the final edition (#321) of The Beatles Book today in 2003, 40 years after hearing Please Please Me and asking manager Brian Epstein if he, already the publisher of the Beat Monthly music magazine, could do one devoted to The Fab Four.
Gary Glitter had been held in custody by Vietnamese officials since November when he was finally and formally charged today in 2006 with having sexual relations with 11 and 12 year old girls. Gary’s troubles had started in 1997 when he took a laptop for repairs at home in England and child pornography was found on it’s hard drive, leading him to flee the country on his sailboat, landing then sent sailing unwelcome in some 12 countries before settling in Southeast Asia. The age of consent being 18 in Vietnam, Glitter faced a shooting death by firing squad, but was able to reduce his sentence to 3 years in prison by making payments to the girl’s families, after which he was deported back to England and placed on the sex offender’s register.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Paul Revere and The Raiders organist Paul Revere Dick would be 79. He passed two years ago in Rocktober, but spent much of 2014 still playing live on the Casino circuit.
Unsuccessful rock singer and moderately successful photographer Mike McGear is 73. He’s mostly famous for being the younger brother of Paul. Born Michael McCartney, he adopted the stage name “McGear” as early as 1962 to avoid being seen as a “coat-tail rider” as The Beatles took off, though on his second album McGear in 1974 he was backed by Paul and Wings.
Everett-born singer Kenny Loggins is 69. He’s the youngest of three brothers, the whole family moved to Southern California where Ken started playing in bands after high school, but if anyone here at KZOK were still interested in doing wacky song parodies, we might change the lyrics of this big hit to be about the “Convergence Zone“.
Kathy Valentine, bass player for the most successful all-female band of all time The Go-Go’s, is 58.