Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had one of their first charting hits as songwriters today in 1966 when Blue Turns to Grey hit #15 on the British charts, but The Rolling Stones version from December’s Children wasn’t the hit. It had been covered by Dick and Dee Dee, The Mighty Avengers, and Tracey Dey, but Cliff Richard (no relation) was the one who’s version charted. Cliff would become the third top-selling singles artist in British history and be made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1995.
The Doors played their biggest show to date tonight in 1967 for 3000 people at the Santa Monica Pier not far from where Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek had first talked of starting a band in Venice Beach. Opening act was The Jefferson Airplane.
Queen had just been signed to EMI Records, and played a “showcase” for them tonight in 1973 at London’s famous Marquee Club.
Iggy Pop had never played Seattle with his proto-punk band The Stooges when he headlined Seattle’s Paramount Theater tonight in 1977. The theater was barely half-full, but the crowd was very enthusiastic as he showed off tunes from his new solo album The Idiot, produced by his friend David Bowie who almost no one noticed was playing keyboards in the band, which also featured a rhythm section made up of Tony and Hunt Sales, sons of TV comedian Soupy Sales. The whole entourage had booked a suite of rooms at the Edgewater Inn, but after some fans showed up and invited them to a party in Ballard, where Iggy and members of opening band Blondie jammed with locals, but Bowie remembered driving up and down the cobblestone streets of Old Ballard looking for the place but never found it. Bowie had sold out the Seattle Center Coliseum the year before, and be back to sell out the very first rock show at the then-new Tacoma Dome in 1983.
David Bowie had his first #1 hit on both sides of the Atlantic today in 1983 with the title track to his Let’s Dance album. The song featured lead guitar by American Stevie Ray Vaughan, though Bowie didn’t include him in the video he made for the song.
Dave Prater of the soul-singing-duo Sam and Dave was killed today in 1988 when he crashed his car into a tree on the way to visit his Mom in Georgia. He was 50.
The Rolling Stones 53 year old bass player Bill Wyman announced today in 1989 that he would be marrying his 19 year old girlfriend Mandy Smith. He also dropped that they’d been dating for 6 years, but Mandy was quick to point out that she’d been fully 14 when their relationship was sexually consummated. They would divorce in 1993, but while they were still married that year, Bill’s son Stephen from his first marriage announced his engagement to Mandy’s mother.
Paul McCartney played in Manchester England tonight in 2003 on his Back in The World Tour. It was the first time he’d played there in 24 years.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner is 91. The world’s most famous nudie magazine has always featured articles on music, his short-lived TV show Playboy After Dark (1969-1970) showcased many of the rock and roll acts of the day, and his famous Beverly Hills Playboy Mansion has seen tons of rock stars at it’s innumerable parties, most famously The Rolling Stones, who’s famously faithful drummer Charlie Watts retired to the game room to play pinball while the others cavorted with Bunnies in the grotto. Hugh put the mansion up for sale last year, it sold for somewhere just over the asking price of $200 million, with a stipulation that the new owner has to let Hugh live there until he dies.
Rockabilly guitarist Carl Perkins would be 85 if he hadn’t passed at 65. He had a huge hit with Blue Suede Shoes in 1955, a song he wrote after a conversation with his fellow Sun Records “Million Dollar Quartet” member Johnny Cash, and it was an even bigger hit for another member, Elvis Presley. He thought his career was all but over in 1964 when he was asked to tour England with Chuck Berry using The Animals as a backing band, and was surprised to find himself surrounded by fans The Beatles at the end-of-tour party, when Ringo Starr asked him if the could record his song Honey Don’t. “Man, go ahead. Have at it”, he replied, and they went on to cover Matchbox and Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby as well.
Gene Parsons is 73. He was The Byrds drummer for four years in their heyday, but also played guitar and banjo on their albums, and later invented the “B-Bender” for the Fender Telecaster guitar, in which the player uses the guitar strap to activate a lever that changes the B-string to C-Sharp, now very common especially among country guitarists. Gene also played with The Flying Burrito Brothers, Arlo Guthrie, The Everly Brothers, Randy Newman, and played on the soundtrack to the 1970 art-film Performance, which included Mick Jagger’s first solo effort on a song called Memo From Turner.