Today in Rock History – May 25

1965, Blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter, Sonny Boy Williamson died in his sleep. Van Morrison, Aerosmith, The Who, The Animals, Yardbirds, and Moody Blues all covered his songs. According to the Led Zeppelin biography Hammer of the Gods, touring the UK in the 60’s, Sonny Boy set his hotel room on fire while trying to cook a rabbit in a coffee percolator.

1965, The Rolling Stones perform “How Many More Years” with their hero Howlin’ Wolf on ABC’s Shindig!

1967, Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade Of Pale,” entered the UK charts for the first time, it went on to be a number one hit. The first video for the song was shot in the ruins of Witley Court in Worcestershire, England. Directed by Peter Clifton whose insertion of Vietnam War newsreel footage caused it to be banned from airplay on the Top Of The Pops TV show. The band subsequently made another video.

1967, Pink Floyd appeared at the Gwent Constabulary (‘A’ Division) Spring Holiday Barn Dance, held at The Barn, Grosmont Wood Farm in Cross Ash, near Abergavenny,Wales, England. Support acts were Volume IV with MC Eddie Tattersall.

1967, Janis Joplin performed at the Carousel Ballroom i San Francisco with the Clara Ward Singers and H. P. Lovecraft.

1968, The Yardbirds appeared at Fillmore West in San Francisco.

1968, Pink Floyd performed at Mayfair Suite, The Belfry Hotel, Wishaw, Sutton Coldfield, near Birmingham, England. Support acts were Young Blood and Pineapple Incident. Admission included dinner.

1968, Simon and Garfunkel scored their second US number one album with Bookends.

1968, The Doors performed at Patio Gardens in Farmington, Utah.

1969, Jimi Hendrix played at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in San Jose, California.

1969, A benefit concert was held for Fairport Convention at The Roundhouse, London to raise money for the families of the bands drummer Martin Lamble, Richard Thompson’s girlfriend, and clothes designer Jeannie Franklyn who were all killed in an accident driving back from a gig. Also on the bill, Family, Pretty Things, Soft Machine and John Peel.

1969, The Who and Led Zeppelin appeared at the Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, Maryland, USA. This was the only time the two group’s ever performed together, with Zeppelin opening the show. On the tickets Led Zeppelin was spelled Lead Zeppelin.

1971, King Crimson appeared at Free Trade Hall, Manchester, England.

1972, David Bowie played at Chelsea Village, Bournemouth, England.

1973, During a 21-date UK tour Wings played the first of three sold out nights at the Hammersmith Odeon in London.

Deep Purple

1973, Deep Purple’s single “Smoke On The Water” was released.

1974, Aerosmith performed at Cape Cod Coliseum, South Yarmouth, Massachusetts.

1974, Rick Wakeman became the first member of the group Yes to have a number one album when Journey To The Centre Of The Earth went to the top of the UK charts.

1975, Rush played at the Paramount Theatre, Seattle, Washington.

1976, The Who perform at the Palais Des Sports in Lyons, France.

1976, Bob Dylan appeared at the Salt Palace, Salt Lake City, Utah.

1976, The Rolling Stones performed at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre in London.

1977, The Broadway tribute Beatlemania opens at the Winter Garden Theater.

1977, The Grateful Dead appeared at The Mosque, in Richmond, Virginia.

1978, After seeing The Hype (soon to become U2) appearing at the Project Arts Centre, in Dublin, Paul McGuinness became their manager.

1979, Yes appeared at the Long Beach Civic Arena, Long Beach, California.

1980, Black Sabbath played at the Odeon, Birmingham, England.

1983, Roxy Music performed at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

1984, David Gilmour appeared at the Orpheum Theater, Boston, Massachusetts.

1985, Dire Straits scored their second UK number one album with Brothers In Arms, also a chart topper in the US and 24 other countries. Brothers In Arms was one of the first albums to be directed at the CD market, and was a full digital recording (DDD) at a time when most popular music was recorded on analog equipment.

1990, Fleetwood Mac played the first of 42 North American dates on their Behind The Mask world tour at the PNE Coliseum in Vancouver, Canada. Squeeze were the opening act.

1997, A report showed that Elvis Presley was now the world’s bestselling posthumous entertainer with worldwide sales of over one billion, over 480 active fan clubs and an estimated 250,000 UK fans who still buy his records. Ironically he had died owing $3 million (£1.76 million).

1998, Coldplay released their first ever record, an EP called Safety, which featured 3 tracks, “Bigger Stronger,” “No More Keeping My Feet on the Ground,” and “Such a Rush.” The EP was intended as a demo for record companies and is now such a rarity that it is known to fetch in excess of £2000 ($3000) on eBay.

2003, Marilyn Manson were at number one on the US album chart with The Golden Age of Grotesque, a number four hit in the UK and the bands second US chart topper.

2005, The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office in California announced that it was officially closing the stabbing case of Meredith Hunter, the 18-year-old American who was killed at the 1969 Rolling Stones Altamont Free Concert. Investigators, concluding a renewed two-year investigation, dismissed the theory that a second Hell’s Angel took part in the stabbing.

2006, Jamaican reggae singer, songwriter Desmond Dekker died of a heart attack at his home in London, England. Had one of the first international Jamaican hits in 1968, with the song “Israelites.”

2013, American rock and roll bassist, Marshall Lytle, died aged 79. He was best known for his work with the groups Bill Haley & His Comets and The Jodimars in the 1950s. He played upright slap bass on the iconic “Crazy Man, Crazy,” “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” and “Rock Around the Clock.”

Born on this day: Hal David (1921); Tom T. Hall, country music singer-songwriter (1936); Brian Davison, The Nice (1942); John Palmer, English keyboard player, Family (1943); Mitchel Margo, The Tokens (1947); Klaus Meine, German singer-songwriter, guitarist, The Scorpions (1948); Robert Steinhardt, American violinist, singer, Kansas (1950);  Paul Weller, English singer-songwriter, guitarist, The Jam, Style Council (1958); Glen Drover, Canadian guitarist, songwriter, Megadeth, Eidolon, King Diamond (1969); Joe King, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, The Fray (1980)

Get more Today in Rock History.

Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, David Gilmour, Deep Purple, Dire Straits, Elvis Presley, Fairport Convention, Fleetwood Mac, Jimi Hendrix, King Crimson, Marilyn Manson, Pink Floyd, Procol Harum, Rick Wakeman, Roxy Music, Rush, Sonny Boy Williamson, The Doors, The Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, U2, Wings, Yes.