Today in rock history: today in rock history, up and coming singer/songwriter/producer/arranger Prince made his television debut when he appeared on Dick Clark’s popular weekly television program, American Bandstand. Having recently released his fantastic, self-titled second album, the singer lip-synced to the hit that was racing up pop and R&Bsingles charts at the time, “ I Wanna Be Your Lover”, as well as the album’s follow-up single, “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?.” Clad in golden lamé pants and strutting his stuff, millions of viewers were exposed to the man who’d become one of the brightest and most enduring pop stars of the next several decades that day. At only 21, Prince already possessed dynamic stage presence and charisma while performing; however, his shyness and coyness made for a very difficult interview with Clark who’d typically talk to musical artists on the show after they’d performed. Prince gave Clark cryptic answers, lied about his age (stating he was only 19) and had trouble making eye contact with the host. Prince, sadly, passed away in 2016 at the age of 57.
THIS ONE HITS HARD
Prince dead at 57
Today in rock history: on this date in 1955, guitar whiz Eddie Van Halen was born in Nijmegen, Netherlands. The Dutch-American musician along with his older brother Alex settled in California in the early 1960s when their parents moved the family to the United States. The sons of a musician, Eddie and his brother became interested in music and soon started piano lessons to fuel their passions. Later, Eddie took up the guitar and went on to become one of the most respected and renowned rock and roll guitarists of all time. Founding the band that carries his namesake, Eddie has enjoyed a long and successful career first with David Lee Roth handling lead vocal duties for the band before Sammy Hagar took over the role. Known for his unique and powerful style, the virtuoso also own patents for innovations he’s invented as guitar accessories that have helped him remain an giant in the world of guitarists.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1973, Elton John released his sixth studio album, Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player. The second straight album by the British musician to go to No. 1 in the United States, Shoot heralded the era of Elton’s commercial peak where his subsequent albums and single releases were all monster hits in the U.S. throughout the bulk of the 1970s. Featuring a couple of John’s classic singles, “Crocodile Rock” which was his first ever U.S. No. 1 hit on Billboard’s pop charts and “Daniel” which made it as high as No. 2, the album was another million-seller for Elton. The title was derived from a social encounter Elton had with comedian Groucho Marx who was poking fun at the up and coming singer in his typical, playful way. Elton’s response to the joking was “Don’t shoot me! I’m only the piano player!” In turn, the front cover of the album that pictures a couple at the front of a movie theater features a poster for the classic Marx Brothers film, Go West. Elton John's 300-date, three-year farewell tour stops in Tampa on November 28 — details on the show are available here.
GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD
Elton John's three-year, 300-date farewell tour is coming to Tampa — here's how to get tickets
Today in rock history: on this date in 1979, British punk rock band Generation X released its second album, Valley of the Dolls. The band’s self-titled, debut album was full of firepower and punk anthems which made it one of the premier records of the era…but for its follow up, the band took a different approach. Led by singer Billy Idol who’d later go on to massive success as a solo artist and bassist and co-songwriter Tony James, the band was often accused of being pretty boys and a poster pin-up band and therefore not taken seriously by a sect of punk fans. For its second act, the band let go of any punk rock trappings and released a bona fide rock and roll album. Hiring ex-Mott the Hoople singer Ian Hunter to handle production duties, the band was once again criticized for employing a musician who was considered to be a dinosaur by the youthful punk rock standards. Nonetheless, the band released a more mature record that featured a more developed and advanced sound and came up with a hit. The record featured three singles that charted well in the band’s native England; among them, the title track, “Friday’s Angels” and the rockabilly rave-up “King Rocker” which gave the band the highest charting single of it’s all too short career. The title was a nod to the controversial and tawdry 1960’s Jacqueline Susann novel (later made into a feature film) that deals with addictions to pills, regarded as “dolls” in the book and the film.