Today in rock history: on this date in 1968, the Miami Pop Festival took place in south Florida marking the second rock and roll event of its kind to occur on the east coast. The three-day concert took place at Gulfstream Park, a horse racing ground in Hallandale, Florida just north of Miami. The estimated attendance for the event was right about 100,000 paying patrons who came to see acts like Joni Mitchell, Grateful Dead, Terry Reid, Steppenwolf, Marvin Gaye, Fleetwood Mac and Chuck Berry. Admission price for the event was a whopping $7. (Yes, there were two, unrelated, "Miami Pop Festivals." Read about the May 1968 iteration below.)
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Today in rock history; Ian Curtis commits suicide, Miami Pop Festival is born, Simple Minds goes no. 1 and more
Today in rock history: on this date in 1983, Beach Boys drummer and backup singer Dennis Wilson died as a result of drowning. Dennis, the middle sibling of Brian and Carl, was one of the founding members of the popular California rock and roll group. Dennis was the only member of the band who really surfed despite all the popular surf-related singles the band released throughout their early days. Wilson drowned while diving under a boat at a marina to recover items he’d thrown overboard several years prior to this fateful day. Wilson released one solo album, 1977’s Pacific Ocean Blue which received lukewarm reviews upon its release but has since become a cult favorite. Dennis Wilson was 39 years old at the time of his death.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1958, William Alexander Chilton, better known simply as Alex Chilton, was born in Memphis, Tennessee. Chilton’s strong, commanding vocal style and his ability to make great pop songs his own landed him success early on with his 1960s band, The Box Tops. As a teenager, Chilton and his band reached No. 1 with its hit single “The Letter.” Other hits, “Cry Like A Baby” and “Soul Deep” followed and fared well — all before Chilton had reached his 18th birthday. In the 1970s, Chilton formed and fronted the highly influential band Big Star which many argue is the greatest power pop band of all time. Highly impactful to bands like The Posies and R.E.M., Big Star and Chilton’s influence was so strong that Minneapolis band The Replacements went as far as writing a song about him, the aptly titled “Alex Chilton” that appears on the 'Mats 1987 album, Pleased To Meet Me. Alex Chilton passed away in 2010 as a result of a heart attack but left behind an enormous body of work with his bands as well as through many solo albums he released throughout his long career.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1968, The Doors released another single that would become a major hit for the California-based quartet. “Touch Me,” from the band’s The Soft Parade album was unique in that it incorporated various stringed instruments, a horn section and a harpsichord within it. The guitar riff for the song was supposedly borrowed from “C’Mon Marianne,” a 1967 single by pop band The Four Seasons. “Touch Me” was another million-selling single for The Doors and it charted very well in America, Canada and Australia. Oddly enough, despite the band’s popularity in England, the single failed to chart in the U.K.