This Day in Music History: Blondie makes their live debut, Rod Stewart plays his last show with The Faces
1955 – Chrysler introduces the world’s first in-car sound systems – record players, complete with an assortment of classical vinyl, mounted under the dashboard. The unit measures about four inches high and less than a foot wide. The seven inch discs spin at 16 2/3 rpm and require almost three times the number of grooves per inch as an LP. The players are discontinued in 1961.
1956 – Radio DJ Alan Freed’s second film, Don’t Knock The Rock – starring Little Richard, Bill Haley, and the Treniers – opens in New York.
1957 – Little Richard renounces rock & roll and embraces God, telling the crowd at his show in Sydney about a dream of his own damnation after praying when his plane caught fire. He says, “If you want to live for the Lord, you can’t take rock ‘n’ roll, too. God doesn’t like it.” The singer throws four diamond rings, valued at $8,000, into the Hunter River and gives up secular music, gets ordained as a minister, and records Gospel. He doesn’t return to rock until 1962, when …
1962 – Little Richard headlines a package bill at the Tower Ballroom in New Brighton, England. He meets The Beatles for the first time, who are also on the bill.
1966 – The Moody Blues split up. Denny Laine signs a solo deal with their label, Deram, and the group re-forms a month later with new members Justin Hayward and John Lodge.
1968 – John Sebastian leaves The Lovin’ Spoonful to start his solo career.
1969 – Russ Gibb, a DJ at WKNR in Detroit, takes a call from a listener who tells him that if you play The Beatles song “Revolution 9” backwards, a voice says, “Turn me on, dead man.” Gibb plays the record in reverse on the air, and the phone lines light up with astonished listeners offering more clues as to why Paul McCartney might be dead. For about a week, Gibb entertains a stream of rumors on the show, as ratings explode and the story goes national. Other clues include a voice at the end of “Strawberry Fields Forever” that says “I Buried Paul” (actually John Lennon saying “Cranberry Sauce”) and the cover of the Sgt. Pepper album, where Paul is wearing an armband that says “OPD” – “Officially Pronounced Dead.”
1972 – Lady Sings The Blues, a musical biopic of singer Billie Holiday that launches Diana Ross’ movie career, opens in New York.
1974 – Blondie appears at CBGB’s in New York City under the name “Blondie” for the first time. The name is derived from comments made by truck drivers who catcalled “Hey, Blondie!” to singer Debbie Harry as they drove by.
1975 – Singer Rod Stewart ends his longtime association with The Faces by playing one final gig with them at Nassau Coliseum in New York.
1978 – Sid Vicious of The Sex Pistols is arrested for the murder of his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, who he found dead in the bathroom of their hotel room with stab wounds to her stomach. Vicious dies of a heroin overdose before he can be tried for the murder.
1997 – John Denver, an avid amateur pilot who loves flying experimental aircraft, is the victim of a fatal plane crash. The airplane he flies has a fuel selection valve behind the pilot’s head, forcing him to balance on the right rudder in order to switch tanks. That day, Denver leaves the airport with less fuel than he should have. He hits the right rudder when attempting to switch tanks, causing him to crash into the Pacific Ocean.