This Day in History: 2024-01-31


JANUARY 31st

After weeks of battling The Beatles “Abbey Road” for supremacy of the Billboard 200 “Led Zeppelin II” begins a five-week stay at the top.  1970

Meanwhile, the Led Zep classic “Whole Lotta Love” (from “II”) gets to #4 on the U.S. pop chart. Green Day’s “When I Come Around” is released.  The “Dookie” track peaks at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay.  1995

The 52nd Grammy Awards ceremony at Staples Center in L.A. opens with a duet by Lady Gaga and Elton John – doing her “Speechless” and his “Your Song.” This gaudy exhibition is quickly forgotten when Green Day and the cast of “American Idiot” perform “21 Guns.”

And now the awards: Kings Of Leon win Record of the Year, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance honors for “Use Somebody.” Green Day’s “21st Century Breakdown” lands the Best Rock Album award.  And AC/DC earns the trophy for Best Hard Rock Performance. 2010

MORE TODAY IN ROCK…

Chicago’s original (and best) guitarist, Terry Kath, is born in the Windy City. 1946

Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera enters the world. 1951

You’re rotten Johnny, you are. John Lydon (a.k.a. Johhny Rotten) is born in London. He becomes the frontman for both the Sex Pistols, and later, Public Image Ltd.1956

The Cure’s Jason Cooper has a birthday. 1967

It’s the 22nd and final day of The Beatles “Get Back” sessions (which later comprise the “Let It Be” album). They record final takes of songs not included in the band’s legendary rooftop concert: “Two Of Us,” “Let It Be” and “The Long And Winding Road.”   1969

Led Zeppelin opens for the Iron Butterfly and so thrills the audience the headliners refuse to go on. 1969

The Clash begin their first North American tour in Vancouver, B.C.  1979

“The Tide Is High” (Blondie) is the #1 song in the U.S. 1981

The Presidents Of The United States Of America play their last show before pulling the plug. It’s a charity gig at Seattle’s Paramount Theater. They eventually get back together. 1998

Little privacy for Rock stars. The Edge takes Ireland’s Sunday World newspaper to court over its naming a seriously ill relative in an article about U2 postponing the start of its tour. The Edge gets a temporary injunction keeping the tabloid from printing the relative’s name again. 2005

It takes Cream (that would be Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker) a mere two hours to sell out four shows (May 2nd through 6th) at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The last time the group played together was at their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in ’93. 2005

The widow of Grateful Dead singer-guitarist Jerry Garcia files a civil lawsuit in a California Superior Court against the corporation that manages her late husband’s estate. Deborah Koons Garcia seeks access to unreleased Garcia recordings, which she wants to have professionally restored. Koons Garcia belongs to the limited-liability group she is suing, which is made up of Garcia’s beneficiaries, some of whom oppose her plans. 2007

The Pretenders Chrissie Hynde participates in a PETA demonstration in New York. The animal-rights organization is protesting the use of horse-drawn carriages in the city. “I love horses and hate seeing them reduced to beasts of burden,” says Hynde. 2008

Former Mountain guitarist Leslie West plays his first public performance since his lower right leg was amputated as a result of complications from diabetes. West, who performs while sitting in a wheelchair, gets a standing ovation at New York’s BB King Blues Club. 2012

Socks and bonds. Patrick Carney, the drummer for the Black Keys, tells Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) that he has invested in Richer Poorer brand socks. “I’d never invested in anything outside of stocks and real estate,” says Carney. “Something as wholesome as socks sounded like a great idea to me.” 2013

Singer/bassist John Wetton dies of cancer in his sleep at age 67.  Best known for his work with Asia, Wetton was also in King Crimson, Uriah Heep and Roxy Music.  2017

KISS (Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer) launches their “End of the Road” farewell world tour. Original members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss are invited along as “guests,” not as band members – they will never be again, according to Simmons. COVID-19 halts the tour and later it’s re-scheduled. 2019

A letter written by late AC/DC singer Bon Scott in ’78 sells for over $9,800 at auction.  The letter, written to Scott’s girlfriend Valerie while the band is on the Powerage tour in Pittsburgh, chronicles Scott’s drinking, lack of money and band personnel issues. 2019

The Jimi Hendrix documentary, “Electric Church,” screens in select cinemas worldwide. Footage from the John McDermott directed film documents the guitarist’s Atlanta International Pop concert on July 4, 1970. The film also contains interviews with Hendrix’s band mates Billy Cox and the late Mitch Mitchell. 2019