Johnny Dean (real name Sean O'Mahoney), a British music fanatic who already published a magazine called Beat Instrumental, put out the first issue of The Beatles Book ( also called The Beatles Monthly) today in 1963. He'd immediately rung up Brian Epstein when he first heard Please Please Me, and asked if he could do a "fanzine" devoted to the Fab Four. The first run of 80,000 turned into 330,000 a month at the end of the first year, and so it ran for 77 editions until the band broke up in '69. Sean, along with Beatles roadies Mal Evans and Neil Aspinall wrote most of the articles, and artist Bob Gibson contributed cartoons and caricatures that the Fabs liked so much they had him do the booklet that came with Magical Mystery Tour.
Billboard magazine reported today in 1964 that Harmonicas, especially those made by the German Hohner Musikinstrumente GmbH & Co. KG, were flying off the shelves of music stores thanks to it's use in hit songs from Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, and The Beatles. Hohner introduced The Beatles Harmonica Kit that year, a blister-pack assortment of the standard Marine Band that John Lennon's uncle had given him as a kid in rock-friendly musical keys that retailed for $2.95.
The three-day Atlantic City Pop Festival started today in 1969 (just two weeks before Woodstock) at the race track there, with to some, a better lineup that included Led Zeppelin, the Chicago Transit Authority, Booker T. and the MG's, The Chambers Brothers, Little Richard, Cass Elliot, BB King, Janis Joplin, Santana, Three Dog Night, Dr John, Procol Harum, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Iron Butterfly, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Little Richard, Tim Buckley, The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, Frank Zappa and The Mothers Of Invention, Canned Heat, and poor Joni Mitchell, who was so much quieter than the rest that the audience stopped paying attention and began talking to each other to the point that she left the stage in tears. This likely influenced her decision to heed her manager's advice to blow off her invitation to play Woodstock in favor of one to appear on The Dick Cavett Show, but she ended up writing a pretty good song about it in her Manhattan hotel room, based on TV News reports on the festival upstate, and direct phone reports from then-boyfriend Graham Nash.
Mick Jagger made his acting debut in the London premier tonight in 1970 of the Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg directed crime drama Performance. Mick played the part of "Turner", a reclusive, eccentric former rock star who's "lost his demon" and lives in a non-possessive bisexual ménage à trois with two female friends: Lucy (Michele Breton), and Pherber (Anita Pallenberg, Keith Richards' girlfriend and later common law wife he'd stolen from Brian Jones). The plan was for The Rolling Stones to write a complete soundtrack, but they only managed the song Memo From Turner, possibly because of the widespread rumor that Mick and Anita were playing out their sex scenes for real, and Keith, who's relationship with Anita was also "non-possessive" by necessity when the band was on tour, was actually quite jealous. The film remains a curiosity for Rolling Stones fans, and the graphic-for-the-time sex drew some attention, but it's actually a fairly boring movie.
The Concert For Bangladesh at Manhattan's Madison Square Garden was actually two shows (2:30 and 8pm) today in 1971. Organized by George Harrison and his sitar teacher Ravi Shankar to raise relief funds and political awareness for refugees of the Bhola Cyclone that killed over a half-million in the former East Pakistan the year before, and the Bangladesh Genocide that was part of the civil war that followed (estimates were that some 3 million lost their lives). They were joined by Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Eric Clapton, Klaus Voorman, Jim Keltner, Leon Russell, part of Badfinger, and Ali Akbar Khan who opened the shows with Shankar for a set of Indian music that master of ceremonies George urged the crowd to "really try and get into" . Despite logistical and organizational problems, the concerts raised $250,000, and the subsequent live album and film raised another $12 million, all administered by UNICEF.
Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott spent his 21st birthday tonight in 1980 playing on American soil for the first time in New York City opening for AC/DC.
MTV Europe started broadcasting to Old World cable systems today in 1987, with the first rock video played being Dire Straits Money For Nothing, naturally because it featured Sting from The Police's guest vocal line "I want my MTV", the slogan of the American version which had debuted exactly six years earlier with The Buggles Video Killed The Radio Star.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
Grateful Dead guitarist Jerome John "Jerry" Garcia would be 76. He died of a heart attack at a rehab clinic at 53.
Bad Company and King Crimson bass player Raymond "Boz" Burrell would be 72. Another heart attack, but he made it to 60.
The Tubes bass player Rick Anderson is 71.
The James Gang, Deep Purple (Mk IV), and solo guitarist Tommy Bolin would be 67. He died at 25 after several hours of hard-core partying after a show opening for Jeff Beck where his last song had been his Post Toastie, with the chorus "Don't let your mind Post-Toastie...", which is exactly what he did on a combination of Alcohol, Heroin, Cocaine, and Barbiturates.
Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott is 59.