The Clash literally shut down Times Square on this day in 1981

Today in rock history

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Today in rock history: on this date in 1949, Wendy Orlean Williams was born in Webster, New York. Rising to prominence as the lead singer and focal point for New York City punk rock band The Plasmatics in the late 1970s, Williams' onstage clothing and antics soon earned her a reputation for being an overt, wild, shocking performer. Known for wearing very little and sometimes just sporting electrical tape or shaving cream to cover her breasts, Williams adopted a maniacal presence that saw her using a chainsaws and explosives on stage to destroy equipment. Called the queen of shock rock, Williams was the most outspoken and daring female performer of her time and insisted on performing her own stunts in music videos the band would eventually film when that medium was in high demand. After several albums with The Plasmatics that straddled the line between punk and heavy metal, Williams embarked on a solo career that saw her remaining active in the music business as well as dabbling in acting. Williams died in 1998 as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot. A staunch animal supporter, vegetarian and wildlife rehabilitator, Williams had stated that she was tired of dealing with people and decided to take her own life at the age of 48.

THE PLASMATICS LIVE
Today in rock history; The Plasmatics' live debut, metal fans riot in Montreal, Billy Joel Innocent and more

Today in rock history: on this date in 1981, The Clash began a run of 17 performances at Bond’s International Casino in New York City. Originally intended to play only a handful of dates at the old, 1930s music hall near Times Square, chaos ensued when greedy promoters decided to oversell the few shows the band had booked, which caused an overwhelming amount of confusion and hassle. The venue was deemed to hold 1,750 patrons as a safe capacity, but promoters sold double that amount of tickets for the shows, fully knowing that many ticket holders would be denied entry once the hall had reached its capacity. Fire marshals were called in to shut down the shows, and the busy Times Square area came to a standstill and the event made national news thanks to protestors, rioters and police being called out to keep the scene under control. Dismayed by the confusion, the band, who always put the interests of its fans at the forefront, decided to extend the run of shows to a total of seventeen performances in order to accommodate each and every person who’d purchased a ticket and make sure they’d each get to attend a performance.

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Today in rock history: on this date in 1945, singer, songwriter and guitarist John Fogerty was born in Berkeley, California. One of the most important and pivotal songwriters to emerge in the 1960s, Fogerty’s powerful words and messages helped fuel one of the most successful bands of that era, Creedence Clearwater Revival. Integral songs that served as the backdrop for the turbulent late 60s, Fogerty’s impassioned delivery and his timely lyrics came at a time when America was dealing with unrest over the Vietnam war, racial tensions and youth culture seemingly overtaking a conservative nation. Songs like “Fortunate Son,” “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” and “Who’ll Stop the Rain” were integral to the time during which they were released. The songs still hold plenty of relevance and significance today. CCR became one of the best-selling bands of the era with many of its albums and singles selling millions of copies during its short but important run. Fogerty eventually disbanded the group and went on to launch a successful solo career that saw him notch his own hits like the baseball tribute “Centerfield” and the very CCR-sounding swampy rocker, “The Old Man Down the Road”. Turning 73 today, Fogerty continued to write, record and tour and remains an energetic and dynamic live performer.

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Today in rock history: on this date in 1991, the debut, self-titled album by Electronic was released. Comprised of former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr and New Order’s lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Bernard Sumner, Electronic featured the best from both of the worlds those two independently successful artists had to offer. Marr’s always melodic and rich guitar work worked brilliantly up against Sumner’s synth work and his unmistakable vocal qualities and, in turn, led to this album becoming a massive success in the group’s native England. Rising to No. 2 on British album sales charts, Electronic was unanimously praised for its originality and groundbreaking sound plus its topical yet catchy and danceable aesthetic. The album produced many hit singles including the intoxicating “Getting Away With It” as well as “Get the Message” and “Feel Every Beat.” Featuring guest appearances by Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe (who also get co-writing credits on some of the record’s tracks), the album appealed to a wide variety of listeners and record buyers and proved to be a winning combination for fans of New Order and of Johnny’s Marr’s endless talents. Electronic would release two more studio albums during its short stint but this, its first release, remains its best-selling and most revered work.

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About The Author

Gabe Echazabal

I was born on a Sunday Morning.I soon received The Gift of loving music.Through music, I Found A Reason for living.It was when I discovered rock and roll that I Was Beginning To See The Light.Because through music, I'm Set Free.It's always helped me keep my Head Held High.When I started dancing to that fine, fine...
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