Alan Alexander Milne’s children’s book Winnie The Pooh was published today in 1926, inspired by a black bear at the London Zoo named “Winnepeg” that had been a gift from a Canadian soldier who’d fought in WWI. The book has little connection to rock and roll, except that the character made Milne a substantial pile of money which he used to buy the Cotchford Farm country estate near Sussex that would be purchased after his death by Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones, who would famously drown in it’s swimming pool.
Elvis Presley had his 9th chart topping hit when his cover of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller’s Jailhouse Rock hit #1 today in 1957. Written for his third movie of the same name, the song-and-dance routine cooked up for the movie is now considered the world’s very first-ever “rock video” (though some would argue it’s Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues) . Leiber and Stoller later said they were trying to write something as silly and nonsensical as they had for The Coasters, but Elvis sang it straight, putting no emphasis on the obvious prison-homo-eroticism of lyrics like “Number 47 said to number 3/You’re the cutest jailbird I ever did see/I sure would be delighted with your company/C’mon and do the jailhouse rock with me“, in fact many were surprised that the censors let that slip, but the decidedly heterosexual King probably didn’t notice, as he was carrying on with the movie’s female lead, Judy Tyler. Actress Mary Tyler Moore later noted that Elvis had slept with all of the leading ladies in all of his movies, save one: “What was I thinking? I could have had sex with Elvis!”
The Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts married Shirley Ann Shepherd today in 1964, who he’d met before the band took off. They are still married, with one 46 year old daughter, who has since provided them with one granddaughter, but Charlie has through the years been a notoriously faithful husband, turning down sexual favors offered by groupies, and at a famous party at Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion, spent the entire time playing pinball in the game room while his bandmates cavorted with Playmates in “the grotto”.
Pink Floyd played their first show at one of the key venues of London’s burgeoning “underground” music scene, The All Saint’s Hall in Notting Hill tonight in 1966. They were just beginning to “psychedelisize” their usual set of blues covers with extended jams, long solos, and a light show of blobby liquid shapes projected onto war-surplus parachutes.
The second season of The Monkees started on the BBC in England tonight in 1967. The show’s American producers hoped that Brits would be able to see it in color like we did in the U.S., but there were so few color TV’s there at the time the BBC showed it in black-and-white. The “pre-fab-four” had been worried that many there would see them as a cheap knock-off of The Beatles, and indeed the show had been inspired by their first movie A Hard Day’s Night, but when The Monkees visited England during the recording of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles made them guests of honor at a party, and invited them to the studio, where John Lennon famously told Michael Nesmith, “I think you’re the greatest comic talent since the Marx Brothers. I’ve never missed one of your programmes”.
Music-rights publishing company Arco Industries filed a half-million dollar lawsuit against Creedence Clearwater Revival songwriting frontman John Fogerty today in 1971, claiming that he’d stolen substantial parts of their hit Travelin’ Band from Little Richard’s 1958 song Good Golly, Miss Molly, which was a stretch considering CCR had covered Good Golly Miss Molly on their 1969 album Bayou Country, and paid full royalties to Arco. The suit was eventually dropped.
Eric Clapton was driving his Porsche 911 Turbo near Merceuil, France, about halfway between Paris and Marseilles, today in 2004 when he was pulled over by Gend’armes and cited for going 134 mph. In France fines must be paid immediately. Slowhand’s was €750 ( about $860 ). After billing his credit card, confiscating his U.K. license, informing him he was banned from French roadways for a year, and being old Cream fans posing with him for photos, released him…with his secretary driving the Porsche.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Billy Harrison, guitarist with the Belfast Ireland band Them, is 75.
Nazareth singer Dan McCafferty is 71.
The Moody Blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter Justin Hayward is 71.