A “doo-wop” song called Stay by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs was released today in 1960. It would enter the charts a few days later, and hit the #1 spot in November and “stay” there for a week before being bumped off by Elvis Presley’s Are You Lonesome Tonight, but clocking in at 1 minute and thirty seven seconds, it set a record as the shortest song ever to top the charts. Jackson Browne would tack a cover of it on to the end of his song The Load Out on his Running on Empty album in 1977, and that version would hit #20, but was considerably longer at 8:51.
Union City Indiana band The McCoys hit #1 today in 1965 with a cover of a Wes Ferrell and Bert Russell song recorded by The Vibrations a year earlier, Hang On Sloopy. It would hit #5 in England where it was released on The Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham’s Immediate Records label, beating The Dave Clark Five into stores and the charts with their own version, which they’d heard performed by Australian band The Strangeloves who they’d been touring with. The McCoys leader, a then 16 year old guitarist named Rick Zehringer would later adopt the stage name Rick Derringer and have some success as a solo artist, but Hang On Sloopy would be covered by The Ohio State University marching band at a game that year, and has been played at the start of the 4th quarter of every Buckeyes game since, and in 1985 when a Columbus newspaper reporter heard of Almost Live host Ross Shafer’s attempt to make Louie Louie the official state rock song of Washington, managed to get the Ohio counterpart to do what Washington wouldn’t. It’s since been adopted as the official song of the Cleveland Indians, and was also picked up by the Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers.
11 residents of The Grateful Dead’s house at 710 Ashbury Street in San Francisco, including bassist Bob Weir and keyboard player Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, two managers, and 7 girlfriends were handcuffed together and hauled off by that city’s narcotics squad today in 1967 after they raided the house acting on a tip from an informant and found over a pound of marijuana and hashish. All would be released after paying a small fine, but the San Francisco Chronicle gave the story a headline of the size usually reserved for the outbreak of war, and labeled the band “Hippies“, a flag they proudly waved for years.
Pink Floyd released their 5th album Atom Heart Mother today in 1970. It would hit the #1 spot on the British album charts despite the fact that the cover showed a photograph of a cow and nothing else, no label or anything else indicating what might be inside. The picture taker, Storm Thorgerson of the art collective Hipgnosis had been inspired by Andy Warhol’s “cow wallpaper” piece and driven out of London to shoot the first cow he saw, later identified by it’s owner as “Lulubelle III“.
The bodies of Elvis Presley and his mother Gladys were exhumed from the Forest Hill Cemetery in Memphis today in 1977 and reburied on the grounds of Graceland after an attempt to steal both bodies two weeks after Elvis had died on August 16th.
Former Genesis members Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett reunited with the band for the first time since leaving in 1977 today in 1982 at a one-off performance in Milton Keynes England in order to raise funds for Gabriel’s floundering WOMAD touring world-music festival. Though they would reunite again for photographs and another one-off show coinciding with the release of their boxed-set, Gabriel would bow out of a much hoped for reunion when the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.
Pearl Jam’s show in Hartford Connecticut devolved into a riot tonight in 1996 after a massive fight broke out in the “mosh pit”.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Don McLean is 72.
Influential punk rock singer Richard “Hell” Meyers of Television and The Voidoids, said to be the first to wear his hair in the spiky style later favored by bands like The Sex Pistols, is 68.
Genesis bass and guitar player Mike Rutherford is 67.
Gordon Sumner (CBE) is 66, better known by his stage name Sting, the singing bass player of The Police.