Okay, I generally hate posting day-specific lists like this. I’ve long viewed “special” days, such as holidays as distractions, including specific dates. But when I ran across these events from August 7th in past years, I felt compelled to share them —and the threads that tie them together for me.
1965: Turtles debut single, “It Ain’t Me, Babe”
The Turtles blended amazing vocals with solid rock & roll, straight from the start with this powerful Bob Dylan cover. When the Turtles came to an end in 1970, vocalists Mark Volman & Howard Kaylan moved on to other pursuits — including as members of the Mothers of Invention (under the names The Phlorescent Leech and Eddie due to legal restrictions on their own names as performers) and a duo act, Flo & Eddie, adapted from characters developed in the Mothers.
You can also hear their voices backing up such diverse performers as John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Ramones, Blondie, Duran Duran, The Psychedelic Furs, T.Rex, and Alice Cooper.
1965: Herman’s Hermits hits #1 with “Henry the VIII”
Herman’s Hermits were a big favorite of mine as a pre-teen in the mid-sixties. It wasn’t just the whimsical songs like this, but the lead guitarist, Derek Leckenby, wore glasses — on stage, no less! They were kinda space-age Buddy Holly frames — and suddenly this geeky “4-eyes” felt cool wearing my glasses.
So, when Herman’s Hermits headlined one of the earliest live rock & roll shows I went to back in 1967, I had to see them. My brother and his bandmates were keen on going as well, mainly to see the two opening acts: the Blues Magoos, with their psychedelic version of “Tobacco Road,” and — the Who.
Oh, yeah —the Who turned this 12-year-old’s head around that day. Thanks for opening the door, Herman!
1970; Armadillo World Headquarters opens
So many tales from the good old Armadillo World Headquarters — and I didn’t even arrive till 2 years later and rarely went there the first several years. Everybody who went there or worked there or performed there oughta write their own personal memories (and yes, I understand many will feature gaps as well as anecdotes) because between the bands & the staff & the crowds & the building itself and the beer garden as well, there’s volumes of Austin history, writ small as well as large.
Maybe someday, we’ll get that Time Machine working again and I sure know when I want to return to!
1971: Billy the Mountain performed/recorded
Frank Zappa first showed up on my personal radar that same day that I saw Herman’s Hermits & the Who. My brother’s buddies & bandmates were a-buzz about this crazy new album called “Freak-Out” by the Mothers of Invention, humming and singing the bits they could remember.
My brother bought it that week and once I heard it, I was hooked, buying the next several albums as they came out.
Shortly after Zappa’s live performance of “Billy the Mountain” appeared as a recorded album, my buddy Mike heard it late one night on the “underground” radio station.
“Yeah, we just got this new album in from Frank Zappa,” the DJ smoothly intoned, “And the whole first side is one song, ‘Billy the Mountain.’ It’s brand new — I haven’t even heard it, so let’s give it a listen…”
After the final cascading three-part harmony chorus of:
“A mountain is something
You don’t know to fuck with,
You don’t want to fuck with —
Don’t fuck around.”
— died down on the radio, a deafening silence took over briefly.
Then, that suave DJ voice oozed in again, saying, “Yeah, that was Frank Zappa’s new one, ‘Billy the Mountain.’ (beat) I don’t think you’ll be hearing that one again on this radio station (Double beat) You may not be hearing me much more on this radio station either…”
Hope your August 7th proves as special as every day should be!