Promoter Bill Graham put on his first show at a dance hall at the corner of Fillmore Street and Geary Boulevard in San Francisco tonight in 1965 with The Grateful Dead and The Jefferson Airplane. The Fillmore would become world famous, with it’s swirling psychedelic light shows and posters, as the focal point for the “Summer of Love”, with all of the great Bay Area bands of the day gracing it’s stage, along with international acts like Pink Floyd, The Who, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Doors, Cream, and the Allman Brothers Band. In 1968 it would outgrow that location and Graham would move to a larger space he called the Fillmore West to distinguish it from the Fillmore East he’d opened in New York’s Greenwich Village, but the spot at Geary and Fillmore would continue as the Elite Club, and become the focal point for San Francisco’s punk scene until the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 damaged the building. Graham loved that original location, and was spending his own money to rebuild the Fillmore when he was killed in a helicopter crash in 1991, but his estate finished the project and it reopened in 1995. It’s now leased and managed by Live Nation, who have expanded use of the “Fillmore” brand with clubs in Detroit, Denver, Philadelphia, New York, Miami, and Washington D.C.
The Beatles were at Abbey Road today in 1967, where they mixed four songs: Your Mother Should Know, Magical Mystery Tour, Hello Goodbye, and John Lennon’s ultra-psychedelic I Am The Walrus.
Joe Cocker was at #1 in England today in 1968 with his cover of The Beatles With A Little Help From My Friends. He would remain mostly unknown in America until the movie version of Woodstock hit theaters, making both him and Carlos Santana nationally famous overnight.
The Monkees feature length film Head opened in New York City tonight in 1968. Targeted at a 60’s counterculture audience instead of the teenyboppers who’d been fans of their TV show, the Bob Rafelson and Jack Nicholson written stream-of-consciousness psychedelic adventure comedy featured appearances by Nicholson, Dennis Hopper, Frank Zappa, Victor Mature, Annette Funicello, Sonny Liston, Terri Garr, and used a choreographer that would have her own hit in the 80’s (Mickey) Toni Basil. Critics hated it, and it did not do well at the box office.
Aerosmith played their first-ever show tonight in 1970 at Nipmuc Regional High School in Mendon, Massachusetts, in between Boston and Providence Rhode Island, not far from where the New England Patriots Foxborough stadium is today. They would go on to become one the most successful American rock bands ever.
Two employees and friends of the late country-rock pioneer Gram Parsons were in court in Los Angeles today in 1973, charged with stealing the guitarist’s coffin from LAX, taking it to Joshua Tree National Monument, and attempting to set in on fire. Phil Kaufman and Michael Martin claimed they were only carrying out Gram’s last wishes in pouring five gallons of gasoline in the coffin, which created a huge fireball but did not completely burn his remains, but theft of a body was not a crime, and the two each paid $300 fines for the theft of a coffin and littering in a National Park.
The Sex Pistols began their short but loud career tonight in 1975, with their first-ever show at St. Martin’s School of Art in London, playing for all of 10 minutes opening for Bazooka Joe, a band fronted by Stuart Goddard, who in the 80’s would find some success under the name Adam Ant.
Seattle’s Pearl Jam went to #1 on the U.S. album charts with their sophomore release Vs. today in 1993. It had sold just under 1 million copies in it’s first week, setting a record that still stands.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Belgian musician Adolph Sax would be 203. He died in Paris at age 79, but not before inventing the most-used woodwind instrument in rock and roll that bears his name, the Saxophone.
The Easybeats guitarist George Young is 71. He’s perhaps even more famous for producing the early records by the band started by his younger brothers Angus and Malcolm, AC/DC.
The Eagles singer, guitarist, and songwriter Glenn Frey would be 69. He passed in January of 2016.