Today in rock history: On this date in 1977, up-and-coming new wave act Elvis Costello and the Attractions appeared as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. The band was selected as a last minute replacement for Sex Pistols which wasn't able to get to the U.S. from England thanks to a bungled visa application blamed on Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren. Costello and his fiery three piece just happened to be touring in the New York City area supporting a highly touted debut album, My Aim Is True, which led to the SNL gig. Exposure on a national, highly rated television show meant millions of viewers would have a chance to get turned on to the new singer-songwriter, so drummer Pete Thomas wore a shirt with the words "Thanks Malc" on it (a nod to McLaren's goof, which opened the door for The Attractions).
Costello's U.S. label instructed the band to perform "Less Than Zero" — a song that spoke to political strife in England caused by Oswald Mosley, the leader of the Union of Fascists. Costello, however, abruptly stopped the performance mid-song on live television, apologized and stated that there was "No reason to do this song here" before launching The Attractions into a revved up version of the still-unrecorded "Radio Radio."
The show's producers were livid; it's been reported that SNL producer Lorne Michaels held up his middle finger on the set the whole time that Elvis and the Attractions performed the unrehearsed and unscheduled song. Costello was banned from SNL until 1989 when he returned as a musical guest 12 years after causing chaos on the show's set.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1971, David Bowie released his fourth studio album, Hunky Dory. The album many Bowie fanatics refer to as their favorite release also largely ushered in the era of glam rock. Featuring Bowie classics like "Life On Mars?," "Oh! You Pretty Things," "Queen Bitch" and his anthem "Changes," this is by far one of Bowie's most genius works, and it still sounds wonderful 47 years after its release.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1969, offbeat singer and musician Tiny Tim caused a national sensation when he got married to his young fiancé, "Miss Vicki," on a broadcast of Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show. The episode was the highest rated episode of Carson's career (until his final episode in 1992) and drew 45 million viewers, which also made it one of the highest viewed television events to date. The show's set was decorated with 10,000 imported tulips (a nod to Tim's 1968 Grammy-nominated hit, "Tiptoe Through The Tulips") and the ceremony lasted only six minutes. Afterwards, the couple sat on Carson's set, chatted with him and toasted the event. The couple divorced eight years later, but did have one child together — a daughter they named Tulip.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1978, Destiny, the 14th studio album by The Jacksons — which had recently changed its name from a previous moniker, The Jackson 5 — was released. The album marked the first time the band of brothers was given full creative control of its music, and the results were astounding. The record was a multi-platinum selling success that contained two monster hits: the disco classics "Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)" and "Blame It On The Boogie."