Elvis Presley made his first-ever TV appearance tonight in 1956 on CBS’s The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show, with his stand-up bass player Bill Black and guitarist Scotty Moore, but no drummer. Sadly footage of this show doesn’t exist on YouTube, but the show garnered such high ratings that he’d get invited on many more musical variety shows in the next few years, and this was more or less the beginning of rock and roll on television.
The Moody Blues were at #1 in England with Go Now! today in 1965. It would be their only #1 hit at home, and like a lot of British hits of the time, it was originally written and performed by an American soul singer, and as such went unplayed on American radio, and author Bessie Banks was nearing the end of her career, but when Denny Laine was recruited into Wings by Paul McCartney he made the song a part of their set. It was also covered in 1972 by Danny Bonaduce’s TV big brother David Cassidy.
The Who made their first TV appearance ever on the British TV show Ready, Steady Go! tonight in 1965, introduced by the über-mod hostess Cathy McGowan and playing to a crowd of hand-picked Carnaby Street teen hipsters dressed in the latest fashions.
The Doors mild-mannered frontman Jim Morrison was arrested and charged with public intoxication tonight in 1968 when he got in a scuffle with a security guard at a Las Vegas adult movie theater.
Fleetwood Mac had already hit #1 in the U.S. with their 11th studio album Rumours when it went to #1 in England today in 1977. By this point the band that had started in the late 60’s in England had become a British-American hybrid, and they recorded it just North of San Francisco in Sausilito California.
Backstage at a Mötley Crüe concert tonight in 1984, drummer Tommy Lee was informed that his current girlfriend had posed nude in the current issue of Penthouse magazine. Lee responded by punching the fan who’d commented square in the face, knocking him out cold, but after some cajoling and possibly some cash from their manager, the fan agreed not to press charges.
Inspired by Bob Geldof’s success with Band Aid, a gaggle of American stars were at A&M Studios in Hollywood today in 1985 recording We Are The World as a charity fundraiser. The song was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie, produced by Seattleite Quincy Jones, and sung by The USA For Africa “supergroup”, which included Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Ray Charles, Kenny Rogers, Tina Turner, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Cyndi Lauper, Bob Dylan, Huey Lewis, Diana Ross, The rest of The Jackson 5, Hall and Oates, Blues Brother Dan Aykroyd, and Mr. inspiration Bob Geldof to name a few. It went on to sell some 20 million copies worldwide, but according to rock writer and Springsteen biographer Dave Marsh, the song was despised in the rock community for not being a rock record and for not addressing the government polices that had created the famine in Africa in the first place.
Paul and Linda McCartney were on hand for the London premier of Wayne’s World II tonight in 1994, then went to a reception at the Home of the World’s Worst Hamburger (do they boil them?), The London Hard Rock Cafe, where star Mike Myers presented them with a check for £25,000 for the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts.
Traffic drummer and songwriter Jim Capaldi died of stomach cancer today in 2005 at age 60.
Longtime Lynyrd Skynyrd keyboard player Billy Powell died of a heart attack today in 2009 at age 56. Billy had been working for the band as a roadie for two years when he spotted a piano backstage at a gig, and during some downtime started playing Freebird. Ronnie Van Zant was astonished: “You mean to tell me you’ve been working for us for this long, and you can play like that? Did you know we were looking for a keyboard player?” He didn’t, but he got the job immediately.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Early Rolling Stones bass player later with The Pretty Things, Dick Taylor is 74.
The Box Tops bass player Rick Allen is 71.