Concerned with his sloppy play and unwillingness to wear the cool clothes and German “mop top” hairstyles they had adopted (He had curly hair that wouldn’t conform and preferred the greased-back 50’s style they’d started with), it was today in 1962 that The Beatles and their manager Brian Epstein…prodded along by producer George Martin, decided to sack their drummer Pete Best, though they wouldn’t tell him until after the following night’s show at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. Epstein delivered the news, giving Best no reason or explanation, which John Lennon later admitted was “cowardly”. Another Liverpool band, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, were nearing the end of a summer-long engagement at a Butlin’s Holiday Camp, and John Lennon put in a call to their drummer, Ringo Starr, asking him to join. He would play his first show with them 4 days later.
Rockabilly pioneer Johnny Burnette, whose songs “You’re Sixteen” and “Train Kept A Rollin‘” were later hits for Ringo Starr, The Yardbirds, and Aerosmith, was killed tonight in 1964 when the unlit fishing boat he was in was struck by a cabin cruiser on Clear Lake in California.
Steven Stills was found crawling on hands and knees in the hall of a San Diego hotel tonight in 1970. He was deemed “incoherent and combative”, and arrested for possession of cocaine and barbiturates, but later released on bail.
Recorded and released with a loan of £400, So It Goes by Nick Lowe became the first single released by England’s Stiff Records today in 1976. They’re famous for their marketing slogans (“The World’s Most Flexible Record Label”, “We Came… We Saw… We Left”, and “If It ain’t Stiff It Ain’t Worth A F***”) and the roster of artists who started there including Elvis Costello, The Damned, Devo, Ian Dury and The Blockheads, and Mötorhead.
Michael Jackson purchased the ATV Music Publishing company today in 1985. ATV had acquired Pye records of England, whose roster included nearly every song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney up to the breakup of the Beatles in 1970. Paul McCartney did not bid, thinking the price tag of $47.5 million a bit ridiculous. Yoko Ono did not bid “for astrological reasons”. Paul later commented that it was he who told Jackson of the importance of owning publishing rights, but “I think it’s dodgy to do things like that, be someone’s friend and then buy the rug they’re standing on”.
Former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl’s new band The Foo Fighters made their national TV debut on the David Letterman show tonight in 1995. They ended up one of Dave’s favorite bands, and he had them as his last ever musical guest on the last show when he retired.
Also today in 1995 following the death of their guitarist and spiritual leader Jerry Garcia, the Grateful Dead decided to officially call it quits.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Singer, songwriter, and guitarist of The Byrds and Crosby Stills Nash and sometimes Young (he’s been inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame with both) , David Crosby is 76.
Sly and the Family Stone and Graham Central Station bass player Larry Graham is 70. He was the first to play in a style he called “thumpin’ and pluckin'”, but the legions of players who copied it (think Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers) have come to refer to it as “Slapping”.
Climax Blues Band drummer George Newsome is 70.
Minnesota guitarist Slim Dunlap is 66, best known for replacing Bob Stinson in Minneapolis rock revivalists The Replacements when he was kicked out of the band he started for the excessive drunkenness that killed him in ’95.
One of best female guitarists of the 90’s Tanya Donnelly of Throwing Muses, The Breeders (who Kurt Cobain freely admitted stealing from), and Belly, is 51.