Today in Music History: David Bowie mimes before T. Rex

Black and White David Bowie
David Bowie (David Bowie Official Facebook page)

History Highlight:

Today in 1969, T. Rex kicked off their tour of the U.K. at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester. Their opening act on this night was David Bowie performing a one-man mime act. According to Mental Floss, Marc Bolan "invited Bowie to open for T. Rex on the band's 1969 tour. At Bolan's insistence, Bowie performed his one-man mime routine depicting China's invasion of Tibet. Bowie was an experienced mime, having trained under choreographer (and Marcel Marceau protege) Lindsay Kemp." Concert goers were apparently not fans of the act, and Bowie was often met with boos and heckles. But Bowie would be fine, as Space Oddity was released that summer and the rest was history.

Also, Today In:

1962 - Elvis Presley was at No. 1 on the U.K. singles chart with "Rock-A- Hula Baby / Can't Help Falling In Love." The tracks were from his latest film "Blue Hawaii" and became the singer's tenth U.K. No. 1.

1963 - The Beatles formed their Northern Songs Ltd. publishing company. The company would later be purchased by Michael Jackson in 1985 for $47 million.

1968 - Genesis released their debut single, "The Silent Sun". The song was a fusion of folk & pop, a far cry from the progressive rock they would later be known for.

1969 - The Beatles recorded the basic track and John Lennon's vocal of "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" at Trident Studios in London. The song closes side one on the Beatles' 1969 album Abbey Road. It's an unusual Beatles composition because of its length (nearly eight minutes), few lyrics (the title makes up most of the lyrics, aside from two more phrases; only 14 different words are sung), a three-minute descent through repeated guitar chords, and abrupt ending. It is one of the last songs that the Beatles mixed as a group.

1975 - Grand Funk Railroad peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart with their cover of "Some Kind of Wonderful" which was their third top ten single in the U.S.

1986 - MTV dedicated a full 22 hours broadcast to The Monkees, showing all 45 episodes of the original The Monkees TV series.

1987 - Andy Warhol, the artist who painted the album cover of The Velvet Underground's debut album and designed the cover of The Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers died after a gallbladder operation in New York City. He was 58 years old.

1989 - At the 31st Grammy Awards held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, Jethro Tull won the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental for their album Crest of a Knave, beating Metallica who were widely expected to win.

1993 - Radiohead released Pablo Honey. The band's debut album was released by Parlophone Records in the U.K. and by Capitol Records in the U.S. Three charting singles came off the record - "Anyone Can Play Guitar", "Stop Whispering", and "Creep". The album is named after a Jerky Boys prank call skit in which the prank caller says, "Pablo, honey? Please come to Florida!", which is sampled on the song "How Do You?".

1997 - The Spice Girls started a four week run at No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Wannabe", the first U.K. act to score a No. 1 for over 18 months.

2010, Johnny Marr was said to be "ecstatic" after getting back one of his guitars which had been stolen in 2000 after a gig at the Scala nightclub in Kings Cross, London. Smiths fan Stephen White told a London court he was "disgusted" with himself for taking the p30,000 cherry red 1964 Gibson SG when he went backstage after the gig at The Scala.

2016 - Country music singer and songwriter Sonny James, best known for his 1957 hit, "Young Love" died in Nashville, Tennessee, at the age of 87. Dubbed the Southern Gentleman, James had 72 country and pop chart hits from 1953 to 1983, including 23 No.1 Country hits.


Ernie K-Doe, R&B singer who had a 1961 U.S. No. 1 single with "Mother-in-Law", was born today in 1936.

Jon Brant, bassist for Cheap Trick, is 64.

James Blunt is 45.

Tom Higgenson of Plain White T's is 40.

Highlights for Today in Music History are gathered from This Day in Music, Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, Song Facts and Wikipedia.

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