Stevie Nicks

(Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images For The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

Classic Rock Almanac May 26, 2019

May 26, 2019
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ANNIVERSARIES

1967-The Beatles masterpiece, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" was released in the UK, one week before its American debut. The album took over 700 hours to record under the direction of George Martin and cost $75,000 to produce. A then state-of-the-art four track recorder was used to build each song layer by layer. The LP spent 22 weeks at the top of the UK albums chart and 15 weeks at number one in the US. The iconic album cover, depicting the band posing in front of a collage of celebrities and historical figures, was designed by English pop artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth based on a sketch by Paul McCartney. "Sgt. Pepper" has now sold over 30 million copies worldwide.

1969-John Lennon recorded "Give Peace a Chance" in a room at Hotel La Reine Elizabeth in Montreal, Canada. The voices of Tommy Smothers and Petula Clark can be heard on the chorus. The song was credited to Lennon / McCartney, even though Paul had nothing to do with the record. Lennon may have been showing his appreciation for McCartney's help on "The Ballad of John and Yoko" single, which the two of them recorded without George and Ringo.

1970-George Harrison begins recording his landmark album "All Things Must Pass" at EMI's Abby Road studios. The results will produce his biggest hit single, "My Sweet Lord".

1971-Don McLean records "American Pie". Although he never actually mentions their names, most music lovers assume he is singing about February 3rd, 1959, when Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J. P. Richardson were killed in a plane crash, as 'the day the music died.' When asked about the meaning of the song, McLean responded, "You will find many interpretations of my lyrics, but none of them by me ..."

1973-Deep Purple's "Smoke On The Water" is released. The song is based on the true story of how someone had fired a flare gun into the ceiling of the Casino in Montreux, Switzerland, during a concert by Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention. The resulting fire destroyed the building where Deep Purple was set to record a live album the next day. The single will reach #5 in the US and #21 in the UK.

1973-The Edgar Winter Group held down Billboard's top spot with an instrumental track that had been over-dubbed and patched so many times in the studio, the band ended up calling it "Frankenstein". It reached #18 in the UK.

1976-Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and Robert Plant launch into a drunken verbal assault of first class passengers on a transatlantic British Airways flight. Among those on board were actors Telly Savalas and Dudley Moore.

2008-65 year old Paul McCartney was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Yale University. University President Richard Levin told McCartney "Here, there and everywhere, you have pushed the boundaries of the familiar to create new classics. We admire your musical genius and your generous support of worthy causes."

2013-Paul McCartney visited Graceland and dropped a personal guitar pick on Elvis Presley's grave, saying it was "So Elvis can play in heaven."

BORN TODAY

1940-Levon Helm
drummer and singer with The Band. He died of throat cancer aged 71 on April 19, 2012.

1945-Verden Allen
a founding member of Mott The Hoople

1945-Gary Peterson
drummer from Guess Who

1948-Stevie Nicks
from Fleetwood Mac, solo