Today in rock history: on this date in 1975, The Rolling Stones had a press conference scheduled to announce the details of their upcoming concert tour, The Tour of the Americas, which would take the band all over the United States and Canada. The press conference was scheduled to take place at the Fifth Avenue Hotel in the Greenwich Village area of New York City. Journalists and members of the press eagerly awaited the band’s arrival, but the band never appeared. Instead, at the suggestion of the band’s drummer, Charlie Watts, the group hired a flatbed truck and set up with gear and a wall of amps. It was driven around the city while performing live. The truck made its way to the hotel where the press conference was to occur and the band performed a rousing version of its 1971 hit “Brown Sugar” in front of it. Afterwards, the truck drove another block at which time band members jumped into limousines which drove away and the band never attended the press conference it scheduled. The event was also memorable as being the very first time Ron Wood appeared with the band although he wouldn’t be deemed an official member until later in the year. Similar publicity stunts like this would be later mimicked by AC/DC and U2.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1969, Bob Dylan recorded a segment for the very first episode of Johnny Cash’s new weekly musical variety show. The performance took place at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee and consisted of Bob performing two solo songs before pairing with the show’s host for a rendition of his song “Girl From the North Country” (which they'd also recorded as a duet for Dylan’s most current album at the time, Nashville Skyline). Johnny Cash’s show ran for two years and, throughout its run, a variety of guests appeared that were hand-picked by Cash himself like Joni Mitchell, Pete Seeger, Kris Kristofferson, Linda Ronstadt, Merle Haggard, among many others. Kristofferson is scheduled to play a May 5 show at Capitol Theatre — get more info here.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1991, popular MTV series Unplugged decided to go in a different direction than its normal fare and host an all hip-hop edition of the program in an attempt to capitalize on the genre that was becoming incredibly popular. Dubbed Yo! Unplugged Rap (a nod to the popular MTV hip-hop program, Yo! MTV Raps), the program’s guests included MC Lyte, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest and LL Cool J. The program’s highlight and most memorable moment was LL Cool J’s rousing version of “Mama Said Knock You Out” which stole the show.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1930, blues legend and ace harmonica player Little Walter was born in Marksville, Louisiana. Born Marion Walter Jacobs, Walter made his way to Chicago in the mid-1940s and soon became known for his superior harmonica skills. Walter enjoyed several blues and R&B hits of his own besides lending his talents to recording by Bo Diddley, Otis Rush and Memphis Minnie. Little Walter is best known for 1952 hit “Juke” as well as others like “Mean Old World” and “Blues With a Feeling.” Often referred to as the best blues harp player of all time, Walter is an inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well as of the Blues Hall of Fame. Walter died at the age of 37 in 1968 as a result of injuries sustained from a nightclub fight.