Drummer Charlie Watts became an official member of The Rolling Stones today in 1963, and officially left Alexis Corner’s Blues Incorporated. They had been playing with Mick Avory, who went on to join The Kinks, and Tony Chapman, who would later drum for Peter Frampton in The Herd, but Keith Richards has said repeatedly that Charlie is such an integral part of the band that, even though they had played shows already he considers January 9th 1963 the “birth” day of the Stones.
Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page spent the night of his 26th birthday playing with the band at The Royal Albert Hall in London tonight in 1970, to an audience that included fellow former guitarists from The Yardbirds Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, and their good friend John Lennon. Zeppelin’s two and a half hour set was recorded and filmed, but sat on a shelf collecting dust until it was released on DVD in 2003.
The Rolling Stones were forced to cancel their planned tour of Japan today in 1973 when singer Mick Jagger was denied entry into the country because of a 1969 drug conviction in Britain.
Queen were at #1 on both sides of the Atlantic with Bohemian Rhapsody today in 1976. Unlike most of the band’s songs, which were usually worked out by the whole group no matter who’s idea started it, this one was all Freddy Mercury according to guitarist Brian May, who said the song was “all in his head before we started”. They rehearsed it for three weeks, then took another three weeks to record it, with Mercury, May, and drummer Roger Taylor singing their multiple parts over and over again, for 10-12 hours a day on some days, and the song eventually used some 180 recording tracks (mostly vocal overdubs), which required “bouncing”, or mixing down in-process, as recording studio technology at the time peaked at 24-recordable tracks. It’s Queens biggest hit of all time, and would go to #1 again in 1991 after Freddie died.
On the day after his birthday , David Bowie held his 50th Birthday Bash Concert tonight in 1997 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Performing along with Bowie were alt-rock darlings Sonic Youth, Frank Black (of The Pixies), Lou Reed, Robert Smith (of The Cure), The Foo Fighters, and Billy Corgan (of The Smashing Pumpkins). All proceeds went to the Save The Children fund.
Elvis Presley’s Jailhouse Rock went to #1 in England today in 2005, re-released to coincide with what would have been his 70th birthday the day before. It’s remarkable in that it hit the “Top of the Pops” selling only 21, 262 copies, the lowest sales figure on record (heh heh) for a #1, showing how few people were still buying them.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Singer Joan Baez is 76.
The Cowsills guitarist and singer Bill Cowsill would be 69 if he hadn’t died of complications of emphysema at age 58. The family band were the inspiration for TV’s The Partridge Family, one member of which we’ve gotten to know quite well over the last three years. Sadly, the Cowsill family learned of Bill’s death at the memorial service for family and band member Barry Cowsill, who drowned in Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005, but his body wasn’t found until the following year.
The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin, and The Firm guitarist, producer, songwriter, and at one time the most-used session musician in England Jimmy Page is 73.