The Hollies were headed back to Lancashire from a gig in Scotland tonight in 1963, when one of them noticed one of the van’s back doors rattling. Graham Nash reached back to check it. It wasn’t locked, and he tumbled out on to the road at 40 mph.
Promoters of a Rolling Stones show in Liverpool tonight in 1964 hired 25 Professional Rugby players to form a barrier in front of the stage. The human chain was quickly absorbed by a wave of 5,000 fans as the band hit the stage.
The Beatles released Yesterday, credited as a Lennon-McCartney composition but all Paul (he played acoustic guitar backed by an EMI studios string section), as a single today in 1965 in America, where it quickly went to #1, but they didn’t put it out in single-happy England. The other members felt it was fine for inclusion on the Help! soundtrack, but too unlike their other stuff, a blatant solo effort, which allowed London crooner Matt Monro to record the first of some 2,500 cover versions over the years, making it one of the most-covered songs of all time. Matt’s version stayed in the U.K. top ten for weeks, but the Beatles made it to number 8 when they finally released it long after most people had stopped buying singles in 1976.
The Beatles set up a new company today in 1967 for their friend Yanni Alexis Mardas, a greek immigrant and supposed electronics genius they called Magic Alex, who’d impressed John Lennon after being introduced by Brian Jones with his installation at London’s Indica Gallery. In fact John had been on acid, and stared at the Kinetic Light Sculptures for hours while Alex told him all about his planned 72-track tape recorder (Abbey Road still used 4-tracks at the time, but were in the process of upgrading to 8). The company was called Fiftyshapes Ltd., but Magic Alex was also made an Apple employee, the head of Apple electronics, and charged with designing the new Apple Studios at the headquarters on Saville row. He became part of The Beatles posse, went with the band to the Maharishi’s Ashram, and told them of all the cool stuff he could build, like an invisible force field to replace the baffles around Ringo’s drums, force fields to protect their houses, car paint that could change color with the flick of a switch, and at one point supposedly asked for the V-12 engines out of John’s Rolls Royce and George’s Ferrari so he could build a flying saucer. Unfortunately Magic Alex had little idea what he was doing, and the 16-track studio he built after spending tons of their money was unusable, and they’d had to call George Martin to the rescue. George called the venture a total disaster, but the Indica Gallery’s owner had observed from the start, “He was quite cunning in the way he pitched his thing. He knew enough to know how to wind people up and to what extent. He was a f***ing TV repairman: Yanni Mardas, none of this ‘Magic Alex’ sh**.” Mardas eventually moved back to Greece and sold bullet-proofed Mercedes to clients like The Sultan of Oman and King Hussien of Jordan, who field tested them with live fire, and when they exploded demanded refunds.
Live Peace in Toronto, the only album credited solely to The Plastic Ono Band, was recorded tonight in 1969 at that city’s Rock and Roll Revival Show, which also included Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent, Bo Diddley, The Doors and Alice Cooper. The lineup joining John and Yoko, of Eric Clapton, future Yes drummer Alan White, and the Beatles old Hamburg pal Klaus Voorman on bass, had been assembled so quickly they had to learn the songs and rehearse on the plane.
Geffen Records rented out Seattle’s Re-Bar nightclub tonight in 1991 for a release party for Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit single. Friends, other bands, and acquaintances from Seattle’s music scene mingled with radio disc jockeys and record weasels and the drinks flowed freely, and a severely inebriated Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, and Dave Grohl thought it might be fun to start a food fight with the sumptuous spread Geffen had provided, which did not amuse the staff at the Re-Bar at all, and Nirvana were 86’d from their own party.
Sir Elton John was getting ready to play a sold-out show at the Estoril Casino outside of Lisbon, Portugal tonight in 2000, but became enraged when the audience were slow in leaving a special VIP dinner set up as a pre-function, and threw a temper tantrum, got on his private jet and flew home without playing a note.
The Seattle Central District home where Jimi Hendrix grew up was saved from demolition today in 2005 when city officials and the James Marshall Hendrix Foundation agreed to move it near the entrance to the Greenwood Cemetery in Renton where he was buried in 1970.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Blood Sweat and Tears singer David Clayton-Thomas is 76.
Original Chicago bass player and “soft-rock” solo artist Peter Cetera is 73.
Steven Kilbey, guitarist and frontman for Australian band The Church, is 63.
Megadeth frontman and former Metallica member Dave Mustaine is 56.
Zak Starkey, the son of Ringo Starr and first wife Maureen, godson of Keith Moon, and current drummer for The Who and Oasis, is 52.