Today in rock history: On this date in 1964, the very first David Bowie recording was released. The single "Liza Jane," credited to Davie Jones with the King Bees was released on Vocalion Records in England and, despite being hyped, promoted heavily and appearing on several British pop-music programs, the single was a flop on British sales charts. Vocalion Records quickly dropped the band from its roster after the single's disappointing performance. Bowie, who went by his birth name at the time, was only 17 years old when "Liza Jane" was released and, after the single bombed, was left to pursue another avenue in music. In a few years his legendary solo career would get underway and, soon after that, he'd become one of the biggest international rock stars of the time.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1989, Paul McCartney released his eighth solo album, Flowers in the Dirt. This strong, melodic record contained several songs Paul co-wrote with British singer and songwriter extraordinaire, Elvis Costello. The result was McCartney's strongest, most consistent album in years. Regarded as a comeback of sorts for Paul, Flowers in the Dirt reached No. 1 on album sales charts in England and produced several hit singles like "My Brave Face" and "Figure of Eight," which performed well in Britain, too. Most significant about this fantastic record was the fact that it inspired a massive world tour by Paul and his newly formed backing band. For the first time in many years, audiences were treated to a lengthy, dazzling show that featured many selections from Paul's solo years as well as from the Beatles catalog. In fine vocal form, McCartney's 1990 tour in support of this record was, for many younger fans, the first opportunity to see Paul McCartney live and in concert.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1956, Richard Butler, the inimitable and unique lead singer of new wave band Psychedelic Furs, was born in London, England. Getting underway with a magnificent 1980 self-titled album that won unanimous praise upon its release, the Furs started with a bang with a record that is hailed as a post-punk classic. Drawing heavily from vocal influences like David Bowie, Butler's voice is as distinctive as it is intriguing. The band's popularity continued and hit albums like Talk Talk Talk from 1981 and 1982's Forever Now saw the band receiving worldwide acclaim and increased record sales. Butler still tours with the Furs and his onstage delivery and his charisma hasn't waned a bit.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1964, The Rolling Stones played their very first concert in the United States. The band was booked at the Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino, California, which held a capacity of 5,000. Amazingly, the gig was a little more than half-full, but that didn't stop the band from turning in a memorable performance. The initial intent was to book The Beatles on that date but the deal fell through. As an alternative, the promoter of the show booked The Stones, who he had admittedly never heard of but went on his teenage son's word that the band was cool. The band performed a song they'd play a lot in their early days, "Route 66," which happens to mention the city of San Bernardino in its lyrics — it's alleged that the place went wild when that occurred.