By Scott Vanderpool

Big Records released a very Everly Brothers-sounding single, Our Song today in 1958, from a teenage duo who called themselves Tom and Jerry. They’d had a minor hit the year before with Hey, Schoolgirl, but this one went nowhere, and they wouldn’t have a hit again until reverting to their real names, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel.

By now fixtures in the Greenwich Village folk scene, Simon and Garfunkel recorded a song Simon had written inspired by the assassination of John F. Kennedy, The Sound of Silence today in 1964. The two would split up shortly after, and Simon would move to England, but in June without informing them at all Columbia Records would take the recording of the two as an acoustic duo and add electric guitars, bass, and drums, and ship it out to radio stations who made it their first really big hit. Simon, with his freshly recorded Paul Simon Songbook in the can, would rush back to the States and re-form with Garfunkel.

Pink Floyd released their 8th studio album The Dark Side of The Moon in the U.S. today in 1973. Using the absolute latest in technology including multi-track tape machines, synthesizers, and tape loops at Abbey Road studios in London, engineer-producer Alan Parsons and the band created a masterpiece that would only stay at #1 on the U.S. charts for only a week, but would stay on the charts for a remarkable 741 weeks, and become the second-best selling record of all time behind Michael Jackson’s Thriller. It would also make Pink Floyd extremely wealthy. All of them would soon go buy large new country houses, drummer Nick Mason began his hobby of collecting high-end cars, and the band joined with The Beatles George Harrison as investors in the Monty Python comedy troupe’s first movie, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

In a 7 AM publicity stunt, The Sex Pistols gathered at a folding table set up outside the gates of Buckingham Palace to sign a contract with the American A&M Records today in 1977, even though they’d already signed a real contract the day before. They’d already been dumped by Britain’s EMI Records, and things went downhill with A&M almost immediately. They got drunk and headed for the company offices, where Sid Vicious broke a toilet and cut his foot open doing it, getting blood all over the place. Johnny Rotten verbally abused the A&M staff, guitarist Steve Jones took a young lady into a restroom where they got it on loudly, the band got in a fist-fight with another band at a club that evening, and the next day one of Rotten’s friends was on the phone threatening the life of the label’s British director. Part of the A&M roster for all of six days, the band were dumped, and 25,000 already-pressed copies of their new single God Save The Queen, were destroyed.

Jimmy Page joined his old Yardbirds bandmate Jeff Beck on stage in London tonight in 1981 for three encores at Beck’s show. It was the first time Pagey had played guitar live since the death of Led Zeppelin’s drummer John Bonham and the breakup of the band.

The Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde was arrested today in 2000 for leading a group of Animal Rights protesters into a Manhattan GAP store, who were using leather obtained “illegally and cruelly”. It wasn’t her first arrest, nor would it be the last for the life-long vegetarian who ran one of the nation’s top 5 Vegan restaurants in her native Akron, Ohio.

The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas had announced they were remodeling and expanding their 4000-seat music venue  “The Joint“, and that it’s debut show on April 18th would be a one-off performance by Sir Paul McCartney. Despite the tickets costing $750 each, the entire show sold out in 7 seconds today in 2009.

Pink Floyd won a landmark battle with EMI Records in court today in 2010 that prevented the label from selling single songs and “ringtones” as digital downloads. Floyd felt their fans should buy their entire albums, the way they were meant to be heard, and their back catalog is downloaded more often than any other performer save The Beatles.

Rock and Roll Birthdays

Dean Torrance of the surf-duo Jan and Dean is 77. His partner Jan Berry died in 2004.

Boston guitarist, songwriter, and producer Tom Scholz is 70.

Bass player Jeff Ament is 54. He moved here from Montana in 1983, just in time for the short-lived scene at the birthplace of the Seattle sound, The Metropolis all-ages nightclub in Pioneer Square, where he met the like-minded music fans with whom he started Green River, Mother Love Bone, and later Pearl Jam, who’ll be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next month.

The first of Pearl Jam’s 5 drummers, Dave Krusen is 51.

Editor’s special: In this video from the Seattle Metropolis, almost every one in the audience here was either in or later started their own band. The performers are Berkeley California band Fang, two of whom stayed in my apartment after the show. “Grunge” era enthusiasts will notice Mark Arm and Steve Turner of Mudhoney toward the front, and it’s likely Krist Novoselic and Kurt Cobain of Nirvana had come out from Aberdeen with The Melvins. Both Mudhoney and Nirvana would later record covers of this song, The Money Will Roll Right In. –Scott Vanderpool



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