The Rolling Stones had to pony up £1500 in airfare to fly from the U.S. back to England so they could play a show for £100 today in 1964. They’d agreed to play the show at Magdalen College in Oxford over a year earlier, The Stones always try to play gigs they’ve committed to, and for the most part their first trip to America had been kind of a drag and they were happy to be going home, but they’d be back.
The Beatles played Paperback Writer and Rain live on the BBC’s Top of The Pops tonight in 1966. They didn’t know it at the time, but it would be their second-to-last ever live TV appearance. Sadly it’s not currently available on the interwebs. The last one would come a year later when they played All You Need Is Love, which they’d written especially for the World’s first Worldwide Satellite TV broadcast.
The Monterey International Pop Music Festival started tonight in 1967. The 3-day festival came just one week after what’s considered the first major rock festival ever in Marin County to the North of San Francisco with The Doors and The Jefferson Airplane as headliners, but this charity event is considered the focal point of The Summer of Love, and featured the first major American performances by The Who and The Jimi Hendrix Experience, who were both getting huge in England but fairly unknown here. They flipped a coin backstage to decide who would go on last, as both planned on destroying their equipment. The Who lost the toss, but Pete Townsend smashed the hell out of his guitar and amplifier, Keith Moon kicked over his drum set, and they’d planted smoke bombs all over the stage for the finale at the end of My Generation. Americans had never seen anything like that before. Jimi followed, and laid his Fender Stratocaster on stage, made love to his whammy bar, and set it on fire with lighter fluid. The charred wreckage of that instrument was later bought by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen for several arms and legs, and is now on display at the EMP here in Seattle.
Mungo Jerry were at #1 in England with In The Summertime today in 1970, which was also a major hit in some 26 other countries including our own. The song includes references to the motorcycle culture around London’s Ace Cafe, where the term “Cafe Racer” came from. When they sing “cruise along the lane, do a ton or a ton and twenty five, they’re talking about “cracking the ton”, which is slang for going over 100 miles per hour.
A movie based on John Belushi and Dan Akyroyd’s Saturday Night Live musical sketch opened tonight in 1980 in Chicago where it had been filmed to the delight of Chicagoland’s citizenry. Several film studios had been involved in a bidding war for the rights to make the sketch into a movie, with Universal winning a giving the directorial nod to Animal House director John Landis, who destroyed some 70 police cars and one Ford Pinto dropped from a helicopter hovering a quarter mile above the set. The Blues Brothers would go on to gross some $115 million.
The Pretenders guitarist James Honeyman-Scott died of an overdose of cocaine and heroin today in 1982.
Rod Stewart got married for the third time today in 2007 to supermodel Penny Lancaster at a star-studded ceremony on the Italian Riviera, negating what he’d said after his divorce from second wife, supermodel Rachel Hunter: “Instead of getting married again, I’m just going to find a woman I don’t like and buy her a house”.
Black Sabbath’s new album 13 went to #1 at home in England today in 2013. It marked the longest time in Brit chart history between #1 albums…their 2nd, Paranoid, had hit the top spot 42 years and 8 months earlier.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Singer songwriter and guitarist Iain Matthews is 71. In the late 60’s he was the lead singer for England’s biggest folk-rock band Fairport Convention, and had some success at home with Matthews Southern Comfort, but in the early 80’s he was a bit ahead of his time in seeing something special in Seattle’s music scene. He moved here and started a power-pop band called Hi-Fi, who shared local nightclub stages with similar high energy skinny tie wearing bands like The Heats and The Cowboys who were pivotal to the developing musical community that would conquer the world a few years later.