Today In Oldies Music History: August 16--
Births1915: Al Hibbler
1922: Ernie Freeman
1924: Fess Parker
1931: Eydie Gorme
1938: Ketty Lester
1942: Barbara George
1945: Kevin Ayers (Soft Machine)
1945: Gary Loizzo (The American Breed)
1946: Gordon Fleet (The Easybeats)
1948: Barry Hay (Golden Earring)
1949: Scott Asheton (Iggy Pop and the Stooges)
1953: James "J.T." Taylor (Kool and the Gang)
Deaths1938: Robert Johnson
2000: Alan Caddy (The Tornadoes)
2005: Vassar Clements (Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys)
Events1957: Buddy Holly and The Crickets, still being billed by the band name only, begin a six-night engagement at Harlem's famed Apollo Theater, the first white rock act to play the venue. Although crowds boo a little at first -- many, including the venue, assumed they'd be seeing R&B vocal group The Crickets -- by the third night of the engagement Buddy's energy and songs have won them over.
1962: Detroit harmonica prodigy "Little" Stevie Wonder releases his first single, "(I Call It Pretty Music, But...) The Old People Call It The Blues," featuring another newcomer, Marvin Gaye, on drums. It fails to chart.
1962: Brian Epstein, manager of the Beatles, fires drummer Pete Best on the orders of the other members of the group, with no clear explanation and no other members present. Incredibly, Epstein then asks Best to fulfill his commitment and play the group's show that night in Cheshire's Riverpark Ballroom, but when he doesn't show, the group is ready with a replacement: Johnny Hutchinson of fellow Merseybeat group The Big Three. Fans will react badly to the news, pummeling the group at their next few shows, sending petitions to local papers, and shouting "Pete Best forever, Ringo never!" at the Cavern.
1968: The Jackson Five perform their first official live gig, oipening for Diana Ross and the Supremes at the (Great Western) Forum in Los Angeles.
1969: CBS premiers the sitcom The Debbie Reynolds Show.
1969: During the Who's performance of their rock opera Tommy at Woodstock (specifically, during the instrumental "Underture") activist and hippie leader Abbie Hoffman leaps on stage, grabs the microphone, and yells "I think this is a pile of s**t, while John Sinclair rots in prison!" (Sinclair, a fellow activist, had been sentenced for ten years for two marijuana joints.) Pete Townshend, not knowing who Hoffman is, hits him over the head with his guitar and orders him to "**** off my ****ing stage!"
1977: At his home in Graceland, Elvis Presley takes the book he's been reading, Frank Adams' The Scientific Search For The Face Of Jesus, and goes into his bathroom, "Don't fall asleep in there," says girlfriend Ginger Alden, knowing his propensity to nod off. "Okay, I won't," he says. Ginger goes back to sleep.
At 1:30 pm CST, Ginger awakens and sees Elvis is still gone. When knocking on the bathroom door produces no reply, she enters and finds his lifeless body on the floor in front of the toilet.
Alden screams for Elvis associates Al Strada and Joe Esposito, who arrive and call the fire department. An ambulance is dispatched. Daughter Lisa Marie and father Vernon arrive in the bathroom, but Lisa Marie is quickly removed from the scene. Elvis is rushed to nearby Baptist Memorial Hospital, where, after several attempts to revive him, he dies at 3:30 pm CST. His autopsy is performed at 7:00 pm.
The official coroner's report lists "cardiac arrhythmia" as the cause of Presley's death, but this was later admitted to be a ruse entered into by the Presley family along with autopsy physicians Dr. Jerry T. Francisco, Dr. Eric Muirhead and Dr. Noel Florredo to cover up the real cause of death, a cocktail of ten prescribed drugs, taken in doses no doctor would prescribe: The painkillers Morphine and Demerol. Chloropheniramine, an antihistamine. The tranquilizers Placidyl and Vailum. Finally, four drugs were found in "significant" quantities: Codeine, an opiate, Ethinamate, largely prescribed at the time as a "sleeping pill," Quaaludes, and a barbituate, or depressant, that has never been identified. It has also been rumored that Diazepam, Amytal, Nembutal, Carbrital, Sinutab, Elavil, Avental, and Valmid were found in his system at death.
The phrase "cardiac arrhythmia," in the context of the coroner's report, means little more than a stopped heart; the report initially tried to attribute the arrhythmia to cardiovascular disease, but Elvis' own personal physician has stated that Presley had no such chronic problems at the time.
1983: Paul Simon of Simon and Garfunkel marries Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher at his New York duplex. The couple would divorce just two years later.
1995: Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys performs live for the first time with his daughters Carnie and Wendy, recently famous for their stint in the trio Wilson Phillips.
2003: The USPS unveils a new commemorative postage stamp of recently-deceased composer Henry Mancini, famous for the Pink Panther theme and several other film works.
Releases1964: Peter, Paul, and Mary, "If I Had A Hammer"
1966: The Monkees, "Last Train To Clarksville"
1968: Mary Hopkin, "Those Were The Days"
Recording1940: Frankie Masters, "Marching Along Together"
1957: Ricky Nelson, "Be-Bop Baby"
1957: The Everly Brothers, "Wake Up Little Susie"
1968: The Beatles, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"