The Rolling Stones were at De Lane Lea Studios in London’s Soho neighborhood today in 1963, recording a song given to them by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, indeed though Paul had the basic idea already, he and John finished it with them in the room, and the Stones future songwriting braintrust paid close attention. I Wanna Be Your Man was a pivotal point for Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, who discovered afterward that they too could write pretty good songs, but some 50 years later they’ll still bust this one out once in a while. Bill Wyman later said, “We kind of learned it pretty quickly ’cause there wasn’t that much to learn. Then Brian got his slide out, his steel (guitar) out and dadaw… dadaw… and we said, Yeah, that’s better, dirty it up a bit and bash it out, and we kind of completely turned the song around and made it much more tough, Stones- and Elmore James-like”, but Lennon wasn’t impressed: “It was a throwaway. The only two versions of the song were Ringo and the Rolling Stones. That shows how much importance we put on it: We weren’t going to give them anything great, right?”
Johnny Kidd and The Pirates frontman Frederick Albert Heath, a.k.a, “Johnny Kidd” was killed in a head-on car crash today in 1966 on the A58 outside of Lancashire England at age 30. Their bass player Nick Simper escaped with a broken arm, and would go on to be an original member of Deep Purple. The Pirates hit Shakin’ All Over would later be covered by The Who on the greatest live album of all time, Live at Leeds.
New York promoter Sid Bernstein had brought The Beatles to Shea Stadium in the previous two years, but the band was done with touring and playing live, and rejected his offer of $1 million to play there again today in 1967.
John Lennon was near the top of President Richard Nixon’s “enemies list”, having written songs like Give Peace A Chance and Happy Xmas (War Is Over) that were critical of America’s involvement in Vietnam, and had scheduled a concert in San Diego that would coincide with the Republican National Convention that Nixon felt could cost him an election, and at the urging of Republican Senator Strom Thurmond had started deportation hearings against the former Beatle, but Lennon could afford lawyers of his own, and was awarded his “Green Card” (allowing him permanent residency) today in 1975. John would live at the Dakota Apartments across the street from New York’s Central Park until the bull-goose-looney Mark David Chapman shot him there 5 years later.
Guitarist Steve Hackett quit Genesis today in 1977. He’d been the first member of the band to release a solo album, Voyage of the Acolyte, and the next Genesis record would reflect his departure in the title …And Then There Were Three.
The Rolling Stones were the featured musical guest on NBC’s Saturday Night Live tonight in 1978, when they played their latest single Beast of Burden.
Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page was in court in London today in 1982, being given a 12 month conditional discharge and probation for possession of cocaine.
The documentary Imagine: John Lennon opened in North America tonight in 1988.
KISS drummer Peter Criss (born George Peter John Crisculola) had already quit/been fired…depending on who you ask…in 1980, and was at the end of their first reunion tour tonight in 2000 when he destroyed his drum kit on stage at the end of their show in Charleston South Carolina. Fans thought it was part of the act, but he was frustrated that his contract hadn’t been renewed and he was again replaced by drummer Eric Singer, who assumed his “catman” persona. He and original lead guitarist Ace Frehley would rejoin again in 2002, and be fired again in 2004. Criss later said, “No matter who they get to put stuff on their face, it ain’t us. You can take the mask off the Lone Ranger and put it on someone else, but it ain’t the Lone Ranger.”
Mick Jagger donated £100,000 to his Alma Mater the Dartford Grammar School today in 2002, so they could build a performing arts center, open not just to students but the whole community called The Mick Jagger Centre. It has two performance spaces, a recording studio, rehearsal rooms, an art gallery, and a bar, in case Keith drops by.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
10cc drummer Kevin Godley is 71, and is now a big-shot British music-video director, with his most famous work being the Band Aid fundraiser Do They Know It’s Christmas?
Kansas bass player Dave Hope is 68. He left the band after their first breakup in ’83 and became an Anglican Priest in Florida, where he still plays occasionally in Christian bands.
Guitarist, singer, and songwriter John Mellencamp is 66, and ever-appreciative of you not calling him John “Cougar” anymore.
Radiohead singer and frontman Thom Yorke is 50. Many classic rock fans consider their ’97 album OK Computer to the the “Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon of the 90’s”.