This Day In Classic Rock [Videos] 1/15

The Beatles warmed up for their 18 night run at the Olympia Theater in Paris tonight in 1964 with a one-off gig at the Cinema Cyrano in the palace city of Versailles.

The Who released their first record as The Who today in 1965, though they'd already put out the Mod anthems I'm The Face / Zoot Suit as The High Numbers. Pete Townshend was 18 and a half when he wrote I Can't Explain, and admitted freely "It can't be beat for straightforward Kink-copying". He used The Kinks producer, Shel Talmy, Perry Ford on piano, the three singers from The Ivy League, and a popular session guitarist on rhythm by the name of Jimmy Page. Deep Purple's Jon Lord (who also said it was him, not Ford that played piano on it) and others claimed Pagey, not Dave Davies, had played on the prime example of the sound being copied, You Really Got Me. But Page later said, "I didn't play on You Really Got Me, and that's what pisses him (Ray Davies) off!"

The Rolling Stones were asked by a producer of tonight's Ed Sullivan Show in 1967 to change the one of the lyrics in the title of their hit Let's Spend The Night Together to the less sexually suggestive word "Time". Singer Mick Jagger complied with the request, but when they went live he would roll his eyes at the camera every time he sang it, which made Ed furious. Jim Morrison of The Doors would be less compliant 7 months later when he sang "Higher" anyway.

George Harrison called a formal meeting with the other three Beatles today in 1969 to tell them he definitely didn't want to play live anymore, that all the cameras around filming the Let It Be thing were giving him bad vibes, and he was fully prepared to quit the band for good if they didn't all quit bickering. They talked for 5 hours, and George would last almost another year when his I Me Mine became the last song they recorded as a band the following January, though John and Yoko were on Holiday in Denmark.

Don McLean's 8 1/2 minute ode to the "day the music died" when Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valenz, and The Big Bopper died in a plane crash, American Pie hit #1 on the U.S. charts today in 1972. It would stay there for a month. Making it's entry on the charts the same day, to show how diverse Top 40 Radio was back then, was Black Dog by Led Zeppelin.

The Eagles went to #1 on the U.S. album charts with Hotel California today in 1977. It was their 5th record, and 3rd to top the charts, but it would stay at numero uno for 8 weeks despite the fact that while they were recording it they had to start over repeatedly because Black Sabbath were in the room next door recording Technical Ecstasy, and were so loud the sound bled through the walls.

A new music show on BBC 4 premiered tonight in 1982 called Gastank. Hosted by Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman, it sported interviews and impromptu jams with rockers from the 70's the likes of Deep Purple drummer Ian Pace, Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, Animals singer Eric Burdon, and Thin Lizzy bassist Phil Lynott.

Elton John's heyday bass player Dee Murray died of a stroke today in 1992 at age 45 in his adopted home of Nashville Tennessee where he'd moved to become a session country player after quitting Elton's band in the 80's.

Singer, songwriter, and multi instrumentalist Harry Nilsson died in his sleep of a heart attack at 52 tonight in 1994. He had several hits in several genres of music, and was a rock and roll socialite famous for having Cass Elliott and Keith Moon die in his London apartment, and getting kicked out of nightclubs in Hollywood with John Lennon on his famous "lost weekend".

Rock and Roll Birthdays

Don Van Vliet, better known by his stage name Captain Beefheart, would be 78, he only made it to 69 thanks to MS.

Lynyrd Skynyrd singer and writer Ronnie Van Zant would be 71 if it weren't for that '77 plane crash.

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