Today in rock history: On this date in 1969, country music legend Johnny Cash released his acclaimed live album, At San Quentin. Recorded live at the San Quentin State Prison just north of San Francisco, California, the album followed in the footsteps of another one of Cash's incredibly successful live prison albums, 1968's At Folsom Prison. At San Quentin was a rousing success for Johnny; the album topped both the country and pop albums charts and achieved gold sales status not long after its release. The concert was also filmed for television broadcast and resulted in Johnny losing his temper with the camera crew that wasn't complying with his wishes. An iconic photo of Cash raising his middle finger in disgust stems from this performance. The album contained the first appearance of Cash's version of the Shel Silverstein classic "A Boy Named Sue," which was a No. 1 hit on Billboard's country music singles chart and earned Cash a Grammy award for Best Male Country Performance in 1969.
TODAY IN ROCK HISTORY
Johnny Cash goes to prison again, goes No. 1, too
Today in rock history: On this date in 1984, Bruce Springsteen released his seventh album, Born in the U.S.A. An unprecedented success, the record became Bruce's best-selling album of all time with overall worldwide sales figures exceeding 30 million copies sold. The album produced a whopping seven Top 10 hit singles, continued to sell well into 1985 and prompted a massive world concert tour. Released to generally positive reviews, Born in the U.S.A. got a boost thanks to the massive exposure its accompanying music videos were given via music video channel, MTV. A live concert video was filmed for the album's first hit, "Dancing in the Dark," and featured a young, pre-Friends Courtney Cox acting as a random audience member called up on stage to dance with The Boss. Other hit singles from the album included "Cover Me," "I'm Goin' Down," "My Hometown," "Glory Days" and, of course, the angry title track that shed light on the unfair and sometimes unjust treatment war veterans were welcomed with when returning to their home country after defending it in war. Born in the U.S.A. was the best-selling album in America for the year of 1985 and wound up topping several album sales charts all around the world.
TODAY IN ROCK HISTORY
The Boss kicks off the Born in the USA tour
Today in rock history: On this date in 1990, a true punk rock legend was lost. Stiv Bators, the notoriously wild and charismatic lead singer who fronted Cleveland, Ohio punk pioneers The Dead Boys, died as a result of an unfortunate accident in Paris, France. Bators was hit by a car and afterwards, went for treatment at a nearby hospital. After waiting for several hours and not being seen by a doctor, Bators left of his own accord. After going to sleep for the night, Stiv passed away as a result of a traumatic brain injury he'd sustained from being struck by the vehicle. Stiv's post-Dead Boys years consisted of solo projects and a stint as lead singer for rock and roll supergroup Lords of the New Church, which released several strong, consistent albums throughout the 1980s. Bators also enjoyed a short acting career that found him appearing in the 1981 John Waters film Polyester as well as in the 1988 comedy Tapeheads. Bators was one of a kind and made each and every live performance of his career truly memorable and unforgettable.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1976, what's widely considered one of the most crucial and important concerts to ever occur in England happened. Although the British punk rock explosion hadn't quite ignited yet, a show at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester served as a major catalyst in the rise of the movement. The Sex Pistols performed at the hall, located north of London, although the band hadn't been together for very long. Mancunians Pete Shelly and Howard Devoto (who'd later form another legendary punk band, Buzzcocks) had witnessed the Pistols in London and invited them to perform at the hall in their hometown. Although the hall was capable of accommodating several hundred patrons, it's been rumored that the actual attendance number at this show, which is often referred to as "the gig that changed the world, " totaled just over 40 observers. Besides serving as the inspiration for the formation of Buzzcocks, reportedly in attendance were Ian Curtis, Peter Hook and Bernard Sumner, who'd go on to form another legendary Manchester band, Joy Division (Peter Hook plays State Theatre in St. Petersburg today). Others in attendance were Steven Morrissey, future lead singer of The Smiths; Mark E. Smith, who'd form The Fall; and Mick Hucknall, who'd later become the lead singer of soul-influenced pop band, Simply Red. By the end of the following month, The Sex Pistols would return to the venue and would attract several hundred patrons; the band’s return engagement would mark the official arrival of the punk-rock mayhem that would dominate the English music press for the next several years to come.