31 March

Pick a Day

31 MARCH

In Music History

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2015 British jazz pianist Ralph Sharon, who brought "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" to Tony Bennett, dies in Boulder, Colorado, at age 91.

2009 Lynyrd Skynyrd releases Live at the Cardiff Capitol Theatre. It features music recorded at Cardiff, Wales' Capitol Theatre on November 4, 1975. It's released alongside the album Authorized Bootleg: Live In Winterland, San Francisco, CA, 3/07/76.

2007 Police issue arrest warrants for Country singer Billy Joe Shaver after he shoots and wounds a man outside a Lorena, Texas, bar. Shaver later turns himself in.

2001 Acker Bilk receives an MBE (Member of the British Empire) medal from Queen Elizabeth for services to the music industry.

2000 The movie High Fidelity, starring John Cusack and Jack Black as record store clerks and featuring a cameo by Bruce Springsteen, opens in theaters.More

1996 After battling a number of health issues, Gun Club guitarist Jeffrey Lee Pierce dies at age 37.

1995 23-year-old Lance Cunningham injures four people at a Jimmy Page/Robert Plant concert in Auburn Hills, Michigan, when he tries to rush the stage with a pocketknife. Cunningham claims he was trying to attack Page, accusing him of being "Satanic."

1993 Mitchell Parish, who wrote lyrics for the songs "Deep Purple" and "Stardust," dies at 92.

1987 Georg Listing (bassist for Tokio Hotel) is born in Halle, Germany.

1986 O'Kelly Isley (of The Isley Brothers) dies of a heart attack at age 48 in Alpine, New Jersey.

1982 After 12 years together, The Doobie Brothers announce their (temporary) breakup.

1981 At the first ever Golden Raspberry Awards (aka The Razzies), Neil Diamond takes home the prize for Worst Actor for his performance as Yussel Rabinovitch in The Jazz Singer. Laurence Olivier, who played Cantor Rabinovitch in the film, also scores a Razzie for Worst Supporting Actor, an honor he shares with John Adames for Gloria.

1974 Tom Petty marries his first wife, Jane Benyo. The couple met when they were both 17, which provides the title for the Stevie Nicks song "Edge Of Seventeen." They have two daughters before their divorce in 1996.

1973 Elton John appears on the front page of Melody Maker, which proclaims "Now Elton's A Teen Idol!"

1972 The official Beatles fan club disbands.

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Jimi Hendrix Sets Guitar On Fire

1967

At the Astoria Theatre in London, Jimi Hendrix sets fire to his guitar for the first time, and goes to the hospital after the show with minor burns. During the rest of the tour, Hendrix makes a habit of playing his guitar with his teeth, and he ignites his axe a few more times.


Despite Hendrix's reputation for destroying instruments during his performances, the audience can hardly be expecting such an inflammatory incident: The Jimi Hendrix Experience are at the bottom of the bill, opening up for three much tamer acts: The Walker Brothers, Cat Stevens and crooner Engelbert Humperdinck.

As the band perform their new song "Fire," Hendrix throws down his guitar onto the stage, creating an inferno of feedback. With the audience suitably distracted, band manager Chas Chandler covers the instrument with lighter fluid (which was dutifully purchased from the local store by a roadie earlier that day). Hendrix then strikes a series of matches until the Stratocaster is eventually engulfed in four-foot flames.

In the heat of the moment, Hendrix fails to realize that he has burned his hands, and after the blaze is extinguished, he completes the song using another guitar. After the show, he attends the local hospital for the treatment of minor burns.

The stunt was suggested by rock journalist Keith Altham, and it certainly fuels media coverage of the hot young star. The burning of a guitar becomes the centerpiece of many Experience shows from that point forward, most notably at Monterey later in the year where the stunt is caught on film.

In 2008, the charred remains of the Fender Stratocaster that was ignited in the Astoria show are auctioned, raising over half a million dollars.

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