George Harrison was made an official member of The Quarrymen today in 1958. Paul McCartney had brought him in for an audition back in March. John Lennon thought while he was a good player, 14 was just too young, but he just kept hanging out, and had even joined in on few songs at shows here and there, and by now he was just a couple of weeks shy of 15, so he was in.
The Rolling Stones second album, Rolling Stones No. 2, started a 3 week run at #1 on the British album chart today in 1965. Like the first one, it was mostly covers of songs from black American artists most white Americans hadn’t heard, but it also had three numbers written by the just-blossoming Jagger/Richards songwriting team.
Pink Floyd did a photo shoot for the cover of Jackie magazine today in 1967. It was the best-selling teen heartthrob magazine of it’s day, but it’s best-selling issue ever was not Floyd, but Danny Bonaduce’s TV big brother David Cassidy in 1972.
Led Zeppelin were starting to get huge when they took the unprecedented step of announcing a British tour of small nightclubs and colleges today in 1971, which their manager Peter Grant thought would endear them more to real music fans than large arena shows.
The J. Geils Band scored their only #1 hit today in 1982 with Centerfold, which sent the album it was on, Freeze Frame, to the top of the album charts as well. While the song was written by the band’s keyboard player Seth Justman, lead singer Peter Wolf had earlier dated the Woody Allen-discovered model and actress Angel Tompkins, who did appear in the February ’72 edition of Playboy.
Feargal Sharkey, lead singer of Irish band The Undertones, was alarmed to hear that his mother and sister were being held at gunpoint by Irish Republican Army terrorists in Londonderry Northern Ireland today in 1986, but luckily they were released unharmed.
Former Generation X singer and solo artist Billy Idol was riding his Harley in Hollywood today in 1990 when he ran a stop sign and was hit by a car. He wasn’t wearing a helmet and was severely injured. Doctors thought they might have to amputate a leg, but managed to patch him up with steel rods. Film director James Cameron had cast him as the T-1000 character in Terminator 2: Judgement Day a few days earlier, but Billy had to turn down the part because of the accident. He would later buy a Triumph and start wearing a helmet.
Some 200 women filed a lawsuit against Chuck Berry today in 1990 after it was found that he’d installed video cameras in the women’s restroom of his Southern Air restaurant in Wentzville Missouri. He claimed the cameras had been installed to catch a restaurant employee suspected of theft, but nonetheless settled a class-action suit with 59 of them out of court for a reported $1.2 million, but a later police raid on his house found videotapes of women (one of them a minor) using the restroom, along with 62 grams of marijuana. Chuck’s lawyers worked a plea-bargain deal where the sex-crime charges were dismissed in exchange for a guilty plea for pot possession for which he was given a 6 month suspended sentence, 2 years probation, and ordered to make a $5000 donation to a local hospital.
Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler, bass player and drummer for one of England’s most beloved bands, too English for American audiences to catch on in huge numbers, but their discs can still be found on any jukebox in the U.K., The Jam, filed a lawsuit against guitarist, frontman, and principal songwriter Paul Weller today in 1996 seeking some £100,000 in unpaid royalties. The three settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. While many have hoped for the band to reunite, Weller said it would never ever happen. “Me and my children would have to be destitute and starving in the gutter before I’d even consider it, and I don’t think it’d happen anyway. The Jam’s music still means something to people, and lot of that’s because we stopped at the right time”. The band’s heavily Who and Kinks inspired version of the punk movement brought Britain a revival of the early 60’s “Mod” scene: Snappy suits, Italian scooters, and American soul music. Weller went on to start the “blue-eyed soul” band The Style Council in the early 80’s, then become a solo artist, but his legacy and influence earned him the nickname “The Modfather“.
The Beach Boys lead guitarist, singer, and occasional songwriter Carl Wilson died of lung cancer today in 1998 at age 51.
The Eagles original lead guitarist Don Felder was fired from the reunited band today in 2001. He would file a lawsuit seeking $50 million for wrongful termination and breach of contract against Don Henley and Glen Frey, who would counter-sue claiming Felder had written and attempted to sell rights to a tell-all book about the band. Both parties settled for an undisclosed sum.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Reggae guitarist and songwriter Bob Marley would be 72 if he hadn’t died of a brain tumor at age 36.
Guns-N-Roses mild-mannered singer Axl Rose (real name William Bruce Rose Jr.) is 55, and will probably be at least an hour late for his birthday party.
British disco singer Rick Astley is 50. His one 1987 hit Never Gonna
Give You Up has been at the heart of a more recent interweb “meme” called “Rickrolling“, a classic bait-and-switch gag in which something seemingly relates to a topic at hand, only to be switched to the insipid video for the song.