Bill Haley and the Comets were at Pythian Temple Studios in New York City today in 1954, recording Rock Around The Clock. It wasn't the first rock and roll song, that honor usually goes to Ike Turner's Rocket 88, but the Freedman/Myers written tune, first recorded by Italian-American band Sonny Dae and his Knights, was the first monster hit of the rock and roll era, selling over 25 million copies. It was used as the opening theme to the film Blackboard Jungle, and later the TV comedy Happy Days.
Lonnie "The King of Skiffle" Donegan was at #1 in the U.K. with Cumberland Gap today in 1957.
The Cavern Club had almost got over it's Jazz-and-Skiffle-Only-No-Rock-and-Roll policy tonight in 1963. A Shot Of Rythm And Blues featured The Beatles and eight other bands no one remembers.
Jan Berry of surf group Jan and Dean crashed his Corvette into a parked truck today in 1966 a stone's throw from the famous Dead Man's Curve in Hollywood they had sung about three years earlier. He was partially paralyzed, suffered brain damage, and was only able to walk again after grueling physical therapy.
The Rolling Stones were at the Le Bourget Airport just north of Paris today in 1967. They'd been busted for drugs in England, and customs officials decided to conduct a very thorough search, which caused the band to miss it's flight. Mick Jagger became very angry and started shouting at an airport official, who then punched him in the face.
The British film That'll Be The Day, starring David Essex, Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, and Billy Fury premiered in London tonight in 1973.
David Bowie issued a press release today in 1975 stating, "'I've rocked my roll. It's a boring dead end, there will be no more rock 'n' roll records from me." It was already the second time he'd retired.
Two disc jockeys at Los Angeles's KLOS were running down a list of celebrity birthdays when one asked the question "Whatever happened to David Cassidy?" this morning in 1989. They were surprised when David called to tell them, and they invited him on their show. He came in and played three songs, which in turn were heard by a record company who signed him to a new contract.
Metallica filed a lawsuit against Napster, Yale University, The University of Southern California, and Indiana University for illegal song downloading and copyright infringement today in 2000.
L'Osservatore Ramano, the official newspaper of The Vatican, published an editorial today in 2010 praising the musical genius of The Beatles, and forgiving John Lennon for his 1966 comment about the Beatles being more popular than Jesus.
Rock and Roll Birthdays
60's celebrity freakshow Tiny Tim, the falsetto voiced ukulele player would be 87 if he hadn't died of a heart attack on stage at a ukulele festival in Massachusetts at age 64.
Jazz-Funk-Rock keyboard player Herbie Hancock is 79.
Guitarist John Kay of Steppenwolf (real name Joachim Fritz Krauledat) is 75. Interestingly he was born in East Prussia, now part of Russia, but then part of Nazi Germany. His father Fritz was killed a month before he was born, his mother fled the Soviets, and ended up immigrating to Canada when he was 14. Though the band's Born To Be Wild, used in the opening scenes of Easy Rider is considered the biggest Biker song of all time, John freely admits the biggest bike he's ever been on was a Schwinn.