Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps made their national TV debut on the Perry Como Show tonight in 1956. Gene had joined the Navy in 1952 and reenlisted in ’55, spending his bonus on a new Triumph motorcycle which he promptly crashed, injuring his left leg to the point where doctors wanted to amputate, but he’d insisted on keeping it, leaving him in pain, walking with a limp, and unsuitable for military service. So he’d turned to rockabilly, using the nickname for Navy recruits…Blue Caps… as his band name, and written Be-Bop-A-Lula, which became a top 10 hit. He’d be a huge influence on aspiring British rockers who he played for on an ill-fated tour there in 1960, when he was in a car crash that killed fellow rockabilly star Eddie Cochran and left him even more disabled, and cut his life short…He’d be dead at 36.
The Beatles made their second trip to Sweden, playing two shows in an ice hockey arena in Stockholm tonight in 1964. Electronic technology was still primitive, and when John Lennon and Paul McCartney went to the microphones they both got a jolt from the ungrounded circuit from the guitar amps met the ungrounded circuit of the P.A.system.
Police in Moscow reported that thousands of phone booths were being robbed of electrical parts today in 1969 after a Russian youth magazine had run an article on how to convert your acoustic guitar into an electric using pieces from a telephone.
The Watkins Glen Outdoor Summer Jam took place today in 1973. Somewhere over 600,000 people turned up to see headliners The Allman Brothers Band, The Band, and The Grateful Dead at the Grand Prix race track in upstate New York, but promoters had sold only 150,000 tickets at $10 each, the rest were gate crashers and there were so many of them a large portion of the crowd was unable to see the stage, but officials figured it was the single largest gathering of people at a rock show in American history to date.
Irish band The Boomtown Rats had their biggest hit ever when I Don’t Like Mondays went to #1 today in 1979. Singer Bob Geldof had written it immediately after doing a radio interview in Atlanta. He’d been sitting next to the station’s Telex machine, when news reports of a shooting in San Diego came in: 16 year old Brenda Ann Spencer had opened fire with a rifle on an elementary school across the street from her house, killing two adults, wounding eight children and one police officer. When asked why she did it, had replied “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day”.
Seattle’s Al Hendrix, father of the greatest guitarist of all time Jimi who died at age 27 in 1970, was in court today in 1995 being awarded the rights to his son’s music, name, likeness, and image. Jimi’s records continued to sell well after his death, but the money had gone to various record industry shysters and weasels until one of his biggest fans, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, had put up the money for a team of lawyers. When Al died in 2002 another legal battle ensued between Jimi’s younger brother Leon and his half-sister Janie who won.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Pink Floyd keyboard player Rick Wright would be 72 if he hadn’t been taken by cancer in 2008.
Free and Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke is 68.