Today in rock history: On this date in 1979, Frank Zappa released Joe's Garage, Act I, the first act of a three-part rock opera he conceived. While the record was praised and revered for its ambitious nature and musical achievements, some critics lambasted it for its subject matter and its explicitness. The saga chronicles the story of a young musician who gives his money to a government-sponsored religion, goes to prison and then finds music has been criminalized and goes insane. The record's follow-ups, Acts II and III were released in November of 1979 and, later, all three acts were packaged together and re-released as a complete piece of work. Act I sold well upon its release and made it as high as No. 27 on Billboard's top album sales charts.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1979 pioneering heavy metal group Judas Priest released its first live album, Unleashed In The East. The record was recorded while the band was on tour in Japan while supporting its fifth album, Killing Machine (a record that was retitled Hell Bent For Leather to avoid controversy). The record was the first Priest album to achieve platinum sales status in the U.S. and it cracked the Top 10 on British album charts, making it another success for the band in its homeland. For years, rumors swirled about the authenticity of the album truly being recorded live with some critics referring to the release as Unleashed In The Studio. Years later, after his departure from the band, lead singer Rob Halford admitted that, while the music was indeed recorded live, his vocals for the record were later overdubbed in a simulated concert-like setting since the original live vocal tracks had been ruined. The record still stands as one of the best and most integral live heavy metal albums ever released.
TODAY IN ROCK HISTORY
Scream for vengeance, it's the 36th anniversary of Judas Priest's eighth studio LP
Today in rock history: On this date in 1991, Guns N' Roses released Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II. The records were released simultaneously and were incredible successes. Advance shipment orders for the pair of records topped 4 million copies shipped prior to release date and both records also debuted at the two top spots on Billboard's Hot 100 albums chart. The records spawned several hit singles, have sold in excess of 7 million copies each, served as the inspiration for the band's largest and lengthiest world tour and kept the already wildly successful band in the rock and roll spotlight for many years to come.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1967, popular rock band The Doors were banned from the highly rated weekly live television program The Ed Sullivan Show. As legend has it, rehearsals for the live television program went well earlier in the day. The trouble came when the show's producers suggested that the band "smile a little more" and that it change a lyric from its hit "Light My Fire" when performing it on air. The suggestion was that the band change the line “Girl, we couldn’t get much higher” to “Girl, we couldn’t get much better” for fear that the original line be understood as a drug reference. However, when on air, lead singer Jim Morrison opted to sing the original lyric, which led to the band being banned from the show. The intention had been to book the band to appear on the show six more times in the future but this appearance would be its first and last.