George Martin (KBE) had his first #1 hit in Britain today in 1961 with You're Driving Me Crazy by the prohibition nostalgic jazz band The Temperance Seven. He would go on to have a few more of those, and be knighted by the Queen for his work with a certain band from Liverpool.
Blues harmonica player Sonny Boy Williamson II (real name Aleck Miller) died in his sleep tonight in 1965 at age 52. A huge early rock and roll influence, The Who, The Animals, The Yardbirds, and Led Zeppelin all covered his songs. He may have influenced The Who and Led Zeppelin in other ways: On a tour of England in the 60's, Williamson set his hotel room on fire while trying to cook a chicken in a coffeemaker. He's not to be confused with Sonny Boy Williamson I (real name John Lee Curtis), who died in 1948 at age 34. Also an influential harmonica player, his songs were covered by The Rolling Stones.
There was a pretty great little rock show at the Merriweather Post Pavillion in Columbia Maryland tonight in 1969, with Led Zeppelin opening for the band who's drummer had unwittingly given them their name, The Who. It was the only time the two bands ever played together. Zep manager Peter Grant had changed the spelling of Keith Moon's "go over like a lead zeppelin" quip to L-E-D so people wouldn't mistakenly pronounce it like "lead guitarist", but that's how it was printed on tonight's tickets anyway.
The caped wonder of the keyboards, Rick Wakeman of Yes' 40 minute orchestral homage to Jules Verne's science fiction novel of the same name, Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, his 3rd solo album, went to #1 in England today in 1974, a first for anyone from that band.
Dire Straits were at #1 on both sides of the Atlantic with their 5th studio album Brothers in Arms today in 1985. It was one of the first albums to be marketed in the newfangled "Compact Disc" format, and one of the very fist rock albums to be recorded all-digitally, and the MTV video they made for it's biggest hit was a fine example of early digital animation.
Bob Dylan was admitted to a hospital today in 1997, suffering from a lung infection called histoplamosis pericarditis. He'd be released June 2nd, and back on the road in 10 weeks, but he got a scare today, the day after his 56th birthday, and later said "I really thought I'd be seeing Elvis soon."
Rock and Roll Birthdays
The lead singer of The Scorpions, Klaus Meine, is 72. He has recuperated nicely from being hit in the throat with a camera one of you threw at him on the Monsters Of Rock tour in the Kingdome in 1988. Who the **** throws their camera?
Co-lead singer and violinist Robby Steinhardt of Kansas is 70.
Paul Weller is 62. A household name in England, he first gained fame in the late 70's as the leader of The Jam, who had great success reviving the British scooter-riding Mod scene of the early 60's and The Who. At home he is commonly referred to as "The Modfather", but they never really caught on in America, which is a shame.