James Brown and The Famous Flames recorded a demo of Please Please Please today in 1955, crowded around a couple of microphones at a Macon, Georgia radio station, as proper recording studios were out of reach for unsigned performers back then, but they did get a contract with King Records with the tape.
Elvis Presley had a very good day today in 1956. He used some of his new-found wealth to buy a brand new Harley Davidson FLH, and spent the rest of the day riding around Memphis with actress Natalie Wood on the back.
The Doors played the first night of a month-long residency at the Ondine Discotheque in Manhattan tonight in 1966.
George Harrison became the first Beatle to release a solo album with Wonderwall Music today in 1968. Put out on the Apple label, the almost all instrumental record was the soundtrack to the first film from Joe Massot (he would later direct Led Zeppilin’s Song Remains the Same) Wonderwall, a psychedelic love triangle between an eccentric scientist, and his neighbors: a pop-photographer and his model girlfriend. Part of it the sitar-obsessed George recorded in Mumbai India, and part in London as a rock band with Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr, and though he wasn’t credited, Peter Tork of The Monkees played banjo.
The Beatles hit #1 on the U.S. album charts for the 13th time today in 1969 with Abbey Road, amid swirling rumors of Paul McCartney being dead.
Going down under for the first time, Wings kicked off an 11 date tour in Perth Australia tonight in 1975.
Bruce Springsteen got his first American #1 album with The River today in 1980, which included the hit single Hungry Heart.
In an interweb first, U2 set up a streaming link today in 1996 so that fans could watch them work from their recording studio in Dublin.
Grand Funk Railroad’s longtime manager and former musician himself Terry Knight was at home in Killeen Texas when he tried to break up a fight between his daughter and her 26 year old boyfriend who ended up stabbing him to death today in 2004.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Sgt. Barry Sadler would be 77. The former Green Beret combat medic in Vietnam who scored a #1 hit in 1966 with The Ballad of the Green Berets was shot in a robbery in Guatemala City in 1989.
Family, Traffic, Blind Faith, and Ginger Baker’s Air Force bass player Rick Grech would be 71. He died of alcohol related kidney and liver failure at 43.
America singer songwriter and guitarist Dan Peek would be 67. He died of heart disease in 2011.
Def Leppard’s one-armed drummer Rick “The Thunder God” Allen is 54.