Little Richard joined a British tour with Sam Cooke tonight in 1962. He’d been on a tour of Australia in 1957 with Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent (who were killed and seriously injured respectively in a car crash in England in ’60) when he’d seen the engines of the plane he was flying on turn red hot, and felt they were being kept aloft by angels, and during a Sydney concert had seen a fireball streaking across the shy which he also took as a sign from God (he later found it was the launch of the Russian satellite Sputnik),and mid-tour announced he would no longer play rock and roll and would become a Christian Minister. He’d been told that the tour with Cooke would be gospel music, but when British kids went crazy for Cooke’s non-gospel set, he decided to return to rock and roll himself.
The Beatles were at Abbey Road today in 1964 recording Paul McCartney’s song She’s A Woman, which they did in just 7 takes, spending, with overdubs, a total of 5 hours on a three minute and three second song. As it was with many of his early songs, Paul’s singing was heavily influenced by American singer Little Richard, who he’d seen on tour in England with Sam Cooke 2 years earlier. The single’s A-Side was John Lennon’s I Feel Fine, notable in that it was one of the first uses of guitar feedback in popular music. It would go to #1 in December, knocking The Rolling Stones first single Little Red Rooster from that spot.
The Florescents, who nobody remembers, headlined a show at the I.B. Club in Howell, New Jersey tonight in 1965. Some people will remember the opening band, The Castilles, who were playing their first advertised show ever, mostly on account of their lead singer would later become quite famous under his own name, Bruce Springsteen.
Cream were playing a show at Sussex University tonight in 1966 when their drummer, Ginger Baker, collapsed on stage after a 20-minute solo. He was taken to a local hospital, where he recovered when the drugs and/or booze wore off.
Led Zeppelin were in their 100th week of having their second album II in the number one spot on the British album charts today in 1971. It had also been their first to hit the top spot in the U.S., where it knocked The Beatles Abbey Road from #1 twice, staying there for a remarkable 7 weeks.
David Soul, better known to TV watchers as “Hutch” from the buddy-cop show Starsky and Hutch, had his second and last #1 hit in England today in 1977 with the disco song Silver Lady. Soul had been cast as Joshua Bolt in the set-in-Seattle show Here Come The Brides, and had bit parts in Flipper, Star Trek, The Streets of San Francisco, and the Clint Eastwood movie Magnum Force, but had always wanted to be “known for his music” since his first TV appearance singing in a mask on the Merv Griffin Show in the mid 60’s. He never caught on musically in the U.S., and moved to Britain, becoming one of The Queen’s subjects officially in 2004.
Little Richard passed out while driving in West Hollywood tonight in 1985, crashing into a telephone pole, being seriously injured and missing his own induction into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The accident shook him and he again returned to evangelism, but this time was able to reconcile his love of gospel music with rock and roll, which he said could “be used for good or evil”.
All three members of ZZ Top booked themselves in advance today in 1987 for the first planned commercial flight to the moon. The amount they paid wasn’t disclosed, but the company promising the flight still hasn’t made it, and the band is still waiting, but in 2011 they gave the first copy of a new single, Flyin’ High, to their astronaut friend Michael Fossum to listen to on his trip to the International Space Station, so in a way they have been to space.
Keith Richards was the featured musical performer on NBC’s Saturday Night Live tonight in 1988. Backed by his band The X-Pensive Winos, they played his first solo single Take It So Hard.
A documentary film chronicling two 60th birthday concerts honoring Chuck Berry premiered in Hollywood tonight in 1987. Hail! Hail! Rock and Roll! featured performances by Keith Richards and his best friend and Stones sax player Bobby Keys, Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, Linda Ronstadt, Etta James, and Julian Lennon. Earlier in the day, Chuck was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Pink Floyd’s Dark side of the Moon album finally left the Billboard magazine Top 200 album chart today in 1988, 15 years after it’s release and after spending a world-record 741 weeks there.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
George Bellamy is 76. He was the rhythm guitarist with the first British band to have a major hit in America, The Tornados, with the instrumental Telstar. His son Matthew Bellamy has found even more success with the band Muse.
Original Procul Harum guitarist Ray Royer is 72. He was replaced in 1968 by singer Gary Brooker’s old bandmate from The Paramounts, who would later have considerable success as a solo artist, Robin Trower.
John Cummings would be 69. Better known by his stage name Johnny Ramone, guitarist of The Ramones, he died of cancer in 2004.