Inspiration for “A Day In The Life”

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John Lennon would come across an article that would inspire parts of the iconic closing song on Sgt. Peppers on January 17, 1967.

The Beatles began recording the song on January 19 but the inspiration came two days earlier. John Lennon was reading the local newspaper and the articles would inspire the first two verses and later parts. The article was about the coroner’s verdict into the death of Tara Browne.

Browne was a friend of Lennon and McCartney and crashed his car in December of 1966 after he did not notice a red light. Browne hit a stationary van after swerving to avoid a Volkswagen that was in the way.

The song mentions how he blew his mind out in a car, though members of the band claim the song was not directly written about the incident.

Paul McCartney said on the incident in 1997:

The verse about the politician blowing his mind out in a car we wrote together. It has been attributed to Tara Browne, the Guinness heir, which I don’t believe is the case, certainly as were were writing it, I was not attributing it to Tara in my head. In John’s head it might have been. In my head I was imagining a politician bombed out on drugs who’d stopped at some traffic lights and didn’t notice that the lights had changed. The blew his mind was purely a drugs reference, nothing to do with a car crash

The final verse was also taken from an article Lennon read. The article detailed that there were 4,000 holes on the roads in Blackburn, Lancashire, which would be the center point of the final part of the song. John Lennon noted that the 4,000 holes part was basically a fill in at the end of the song. Lennon thought it was nonsense, but he couldn’t think of the verb so he decided to add this in.

Read more at Beatles Bible

Listen to the song below to hear the references:

The day Bruce Springsteen performed in front of 25 people

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Bruce Springsteen is known for putting on some of the best shows in the World with some shows lasting more than four hours. Springsteen has been able to sell out any venue for the past 40 years and continues to do so with his high profile Broadway shows. The boss would however play to his smallest crowd on January 15, 1973.

Springsteen and The E Street Band were booked to play at Villanova University at the St. Mary’s Hall Auditorium. Bruce just released his debut album “Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.” eleven days ago. The band was just starting to make a name for themselves after a few years of playing local gigs around New Jersey and Virginia.

The campus newspaper, The Villanovan, went on strike and because of this the band suffered. The concert had no advertising so only 25 people showed up to the concert. This would be one of the smallest crowds the band performed in front of, and in just a matter of years they would begin selling out large arenas.

Watch Bruce and The E Street Band perform in LA in 1973 below:

The Rolling Stones lyric change on The Ed Sullivan Show

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The Rolling Stones would appear on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on January 15, 1967 but would have to change their raunchy lyrics for the performance.

The Stones had appeared on the show three times before this appearance, and were all set for the fourth appearance in the midst of their massive popularity. The band was going to play two songs with “Ruby Tuesday” and “Let’s Spend The Night Together.” The band would later find out they would have to change the lyrics to their second song because a song about spending the night together took things too far.

As with many of those who perform on the Sullivan Show, The Stones would perform to a pre-recorded track with live vocals. The band came out in their normal attire and launched into the song. While The Stones were known for their rebellious attitude, their rebellious spirit was not on display this night.

The band would change the lyrics of “Let’s Spend The Night Together” to “Let’s Spend Some Time Together.” Mick Jagger did show his displeasure with the decision as he would roll his eyes everytime he sung the line during the performance.

This would not be the first time an artist was asked to change lyrics on the show. The Doors were famously asked to change the lyrics in “Light My Fire” from “Girl We Couldn’t Get Much Higher” to “Girl We Couldn’t Get Much Better.” Jim Morrison initially agreed to this but later went with the original lyrics which got the banned from the show.

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Watch the performance below:

The Sex Pistols Last Concert

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The Sex Pistols would play their last concert with original members during their short run on January 14, 1978.

The show was the last show on the band’s first and last US Tour. The tour started a few days after the new year and would only last over a week. The band’s manager Malcolm McLaren decided to focus on the deep south instead of big cities like LA and New York. The band would make stops in San Antonio, Baton Rouge, Memphis, Atlanta, Dallas, and Tulsa.

The short tour would show the destruction of the band and bassist Sid Vicious. During the show in San Antonio he called the crowd “A bunch of faggots,” and later hit an audience member with a bass guitar. During the tour he also simulated oral sex on stage and spat blood on woman. Offstage he would get beat up by body guards and kicked female photographers.

The final show in San Francisco was opened by two local bands with The Avengers and The Nuns before The Sex Pistols came on. They took the stage with Johnny Rotten screaming “Welcome To London!” before launching into “God Save The Queen.”

The band held their own throughout the night, but knew the end was near. The band came out for the encore and sang The Stooges “No Fun,” which in a way was how the entire band felt throughout their entire time together. As the song ended Johnny Rotten let out “Ah-ha-ha. Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated? Good night.” Rotten then threw the microphone on the ground and the band walked off stage.

The band would split up just three days later and made the break up public the next day. They would all go their separate ways with some continuing with music while others distanced themselves. The band would reunite in 1996, only without Vicious who passes away in 1979.

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Watch the performance below:

The Beatles National TV Premiere

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The Beatles had a huge breakthrough on January 13, 1963 when they recorded a performance on “Thank Your Lucky Stars.”

The show was produced by ABC and shown on ITV Network. The show was very popular across London and this performance would be huge for the band. The entire appearance was secured by former singer, Dick James, who would later become the band’s publisher.

The Beatles were the last act of a seven artist bill. They performed just one song with “Please Please Me” their second single which was released just two days earlier. The band performed the song just before the commercial break at the end of the first half of the show. The performance would later be shown on January 19.

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The Beatles return to Val Parnell’s Sunday Night

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The Beatles performed on Val Parnell’s Sunday Night At The London Palladium on October 13, 1963 and returned on January 12, 1964.

The Beatles popularity and demand would become much bigger between the two performances. The band charged $750 more for this performance. The cost would be worth it when ATV brought in a large number of viewers for the performance.

The show was broadcast at 8:25 PM and lasted for an hour. The show included performances by singer Alma Cogan and comedian Dave Allen. After rehearsals The Beatles took part in a short skit and then played a five song set.

The set included I Want To Hold Your Hand, This Boy, All My Loving, Money (That’s What I Want), and Twist and Shout.

The show ended with The Beatles and all the other acts of the night waving goodbye with the tune of Startime in the background.

Listen to the recording below:

 

Led Zeppelin warmed up for their 1975 tour, 43 years ago today

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As a warm up for their 1975 North American Tour, Led Zeppelin played at the Ahoy Hallen in Rotterdam on January 11. 1975.

The band was perhaps the biggest band in the World at this point and was prepping for the release of “Physical Graffiti” just days after the incident in Boston. The incident caused Boston to be taken off the 39 North American Tour that would begin in just a week.

The setlist for the night included: Rock and Roll, Over The Hills and Far Away, When The Levee Breaks, Stairway To Heaven, Black Dog, Whole Lotta Love, No Quarter, The Song Remains The Same, and Over The Hills and Far Away. The band also previewed music from Physical Graffiti with performances of Sick Again, Moby Dick, Trampled Underfoot, The Wanton Song, and Kashmir.

The performance would be the band’s first in 18 months which was the band’s longest break during their tenure. Many suggested the band sounded sluggish due to the long break.

The day Ringo Starr was in the audience at a Beatles performance

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The Beatles returned to their hometown with a future member of the band in the audience on January 5, 1961.

This was the second time the band was playing at Litherland Town Hall for the second time in the last two weeks. This show would also be noted for the first time that Paul McCartney played bass with the band. The band’s regular bassist, Stuart Sutcliffe stayed in Hamburg which forced McCartney to pick up the bass.

In the audience during the show that night were two members of Rory Storm and The Hurricanes. The first being Johnny Guitar and the second being someone the band would soon become familiar with, Ringo Starr. They were both returning from Hamburg the day before and decided to catch the show.

The band would play 18 more shows at the venue throughout the next year earning around 10 pounds per show.

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The day Merle Haggard saw Johnny Cash in San Quentin Prison

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Johnny Cash played one of his first prison shows at San Quentin Prison on January 1, 1959.

The reason this show is so notable is because of the man in the crowd who would be inspired by Cash. That man would be an inmate by the name of Merle Haggard. Merle grew up in Bakersfield, California which was where many poor farmers ended up. Haggard had his first stint in prison at the young age of 11. Haggard would go on to serve three more prison sentences throughout his teenage years.

Haggard would serve a 15 year sentence for burglary at the age of 18 which would bring him here. During his sentence Haggard would be one of the many inmates who got see the man in the black. This would be a life changing event for Haggard. Everyone in attendance became a fan of Cash because of his attitude and playing.

Haggard said on the performance,”He had the right attitude. He chewed gum, looked arrogant and flipped the bird to the guards, he did everything the prisoners wanted to do.”

Haggard would only have to serve two years instead of fifteen. Afterwards Haggard began his musical career at the age of 21. Haggard’s law breaking and prison stay ended up being where Haggard found the inspiration to be one of the biggest names in country music history.

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Watch Merle Haggard perform with his inspiration in 1970 below:

The Doors Live TV Debut

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The Doors made their debut on live television on January 1, 1967. The band performed on the local Los Angeles teenage music show “Shebang”  which was hosted by a young Casey Kasem. The show had similarities to shows such as “American Bandstand” and “Hullabaloo.”

The band was going to lip-sync to the studio version of their new single “Break On Through.” The band seemed rather nervous during the filming as this was their first TV performance. The band remained pretty still, especially Jim Morrison who only moved his lips and never looked at the cameras. It’s very interesting to see Jim go from someone who was scared of the cameras to someone who embraced and adored the front and center stage.

Ray Manzarek said on the performance,”It was our first time doing a TV show and we really had no idea what we were doing. When the director started telling us what to do, we just looked at each other and said, I guess that’s how it is. We learned later that wasn’t the case, but it was a great initial experience.”

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Watch the performance below: