Good Morning from the College of Rock n’ Roll Knowledge where the inhabitants of The Mermaid Lounge rarely sleep. Or so it seems. This is a pretty busy day in rock n’ roll, as you will see.
Here are the facts, children:
January 3, 1955: 20-year-old Elvis Presley appeared live in Boonesville, Virginia. He was still only a regional success but, by the end of 1956, he would explode into a national sensation.
January 3, 1957: Fats Domino records I’m Walkin’ (one of the greatest songs ever made, in my opinion). He wrote the song after his car broke down and he heard a fan yell, “Hey, look at Fats Domino, he’s walking!” The song would reach #4 on the US Pop chart and #1 on the R & B chart.
January 3, 1963: After placing 30 songs on the Billboard chart with Imperial Records, Rick Nelson signed a $1 million, 20-year contract with Decca (you know, the label that turned the Beatles down). He would generate six more Top 40 hits for Decca before his tragic death.
Speaking of The Beatles, they kicked off a five-day tour of Scotland on this day at the Two Red Shoes Ballroom in Elgin.
January 3, 1964: The Beatles were seen on television for the (first? second?) time (nobody has the definitive answer except them) when a BBC clip from a show called The Mersey Sound showing the band singing She Loves You was released on the Jack Paar Show. Old Jack, of course, made fun of them, particularly their hair cuts. In short order, The Beatles would teach them a lesson and shut them the fuck up.
January 3, 1967: The Beach Boys’ Carl Wilson refused to report to his local draft board after receiving his draft notice. He would eventually win conscious objector status. In the meantime, Good Vibrations was in its fourth week in the #1 slot.
January 3, 1970: The Beatles’ final recording session was held at Abbey Road Studios on this day. The final song they played together was I Me Mine, which would also be the title of George Harrison’s autobiography ten years later.
Also on this day, Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head, from the Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid soundtrack, would become B.J. Thomas’ third US Top 10 hit, and his first #1.
January 3, 1972: Don MacLean’s American Pie receives a Gold record. It reached #1 in both America and the UK, eventually selling three million copies.
January 3, 1974: Bob Dylan & The Band reunite for a US tour. Dylan was promoting his Planet Waves LP, while The Band had just released Moondog Matinee (last week’s Album of The Week) and the single Ain’t Got No Home. The tour was chronicled six months later with the release of the double album set Before The Flood.
January 3, 1976: Bob Dylan’s song about former boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter (called Hurricane), which peaked at #33 on the Billboard chart, caused enough negative publicity to eventually get Carter released from prison. The song protested Carter’s innocence and his wrongful conviction on murder charges, as well as the authorities’ failure to even consider another perpetrator because Carter was black.
January 3, 1987: Aretha Franklin becomes the first woman inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. It seems like ridiculous amount of time for women to get the recognition they deserved in this business, and consider that it would take Linda Ronstadt until 2014 to be inducted, one of the biggest travesties in the music business.
Born On This Day
January 3, 1926: Sir George Martin, British record producer, arranger, composer, conductor, audio engineer and musician who nurtered The Beatles’ creative side and was known appropriately, according to McCartney, as The Fifth Beatle, was born in Highbury, London.
January 3, 1943: Van Dyke Parks, songwriter and producer who worked with Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys on the Smile album (a great album, by the way), played keyboards on The Byrds’ Eight Miles High, and produced Ry Cooder, Randy Newman, and Judy Collins, was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
January 3, 1945: Stephen Stills, singer-songwriter who was a member of Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Manassas, and who released an album with Neil Young as The Stills-Young Band, was born in Dallas, Texas.
January 3, 1946: John Paul Jones, bassist, keyboardist, and producer with Led Zeppelin, was born in Sidcup, London.
And that is all today from The College. We’ll be back with the line-up in a bit.