For the first time ever a rock and roll single sold more than three million copies in the U.S. today in 1958, Elvis Presley’s cover of Big Mama Thornton’s Hound Dog. It was only the third time any single had broken 3 mil, the other two being Christmas songs: Gene Autrey’s Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and a single by a guy who grew up in the Olympia area and went to college at Gonzaga, Bing Crosby doing a song called White Christmas that remained the best-selling single of all time until Elton John’s 1997 Princess Diana remake of Candle In The Wind.
Brian Epstein closed his record store in Liverpool for lunch today in 1961, and headed over to the Cavern Club for a matinée show by this band The Beatles whose records he’d had kids coming in to find. He went on to manage them somewhat successfully until his death in 1967. In typical fashion the Beatles played a second show that night, at the Litherland Town Hall in Liverpool.
Cynthia Lennon’s husband John went to see an exhibit called Unfinished Paintings and Objects at the Indica Gallery in London today in 1966 where he met a Japanese artist named Yoko Ono for the first time.
The first issue of the magazine Jann Wenner borrowed $7500 from his family to start (and like the English band borrowed the name from a Muddy Waters song), Rolling Stone published its first edition today in 1967 in San Francisco. The cover featured a photo of John Lennon in character as Musketeer Gripweed from the set of How I Won The War, and cover stories about local band The Jefferson Airplane (“Airplane High, But No New LP Release”) and the recent Monterrey Pop Festival (“The High Cost of Music and Love: Where’s the Money From Monterrey?”). Each issue came with a free roach clip.
Led Zeppelin played their first show in London tonight in 1968 at the Roundhouse, a mid 1800’s train engine turntable turned music hall. The gig was also serving as the reception for Robert Plant’s wedding to Maureen Wilson earlier that day. Also on the bill: The Tyres, The Deviants, John James, and one of their idols, John Lee Hooker. Robert and Maureen divorced in 1983.
Bachman Turner Overdrive went to #1 in the U.S. today in 1974 with You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet, a song they recorded here in Seattle at Kaye-Smith Studios, owned by the soon-to-be first owners of the Seattle Mariners: Actor Danny Kaye, and a local rock and roll radio magnate who died in 2012, Lester Smith. On hearing the stuttering vocal line many in the music press labeled it a rip-off of The Who, but writer Randy Bachman insisted he wasn’t copying My Generation, but making fun of his brother Gary, who suffered from the speech impediment. They’d recorded two versions, and only intended the one with the stutter to be sent to Gary, but the record company liked it better.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Creedence Clearwater Revival rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty would be 76. He quit the band in 1971 after constant fighting with his brother John, and died in 1990 of the AIDs he got from blood transfusions he got after back surgery.
Pretty Things singer Phil May is 73.
Blue Oyster Cult’s original bass player Joe Bouchard is 69. He quit the band in 1986, and now plays in a band with his brother, original B.O.C. drummer Albert and Alice Cooper Band guitarist Dennis Dunaway that oddly enough play early B.O.C. and Alice Cooper songs.