This Day in Music History: October 31st

1974 Led Zeppelin throws a Halloween launch party for their new label, Swan Song Records, at Chislehurst Caves in Surrey, England. Legends of the wild party abound: drinks are served by topless nuns in suspenders, a naked woman lies in a coffin filled with jelly, naked male wrestlers grapple for the crowd, while fire-eaters and magicians do their thing. The invitation reads:

“Do what thou wilt…
But know by this summons
That on the night of the full moon
of 31st October, 1974
Led Zeppelin
request your presence
at a
Halloween Party
to celebrate
Swan Song Records’
first UK album release
‘Silk Torpedo’
by
The Pretty Things
in
Chislehurst Caves,
Chislehurst, Kent
Celebrations will commence
at 8:00 pm

Swan Song published music for the next 9 years. The label ceased active operations in 1983; now they occasionally release previously published material.

The Swan Song logo

The Swan Song logo

Other Events on This Day in History

1952 Sir John’s Trio pianist Johnnie Johnson hires 26-year-old Chuck Berry, who continues to work as hairdresser for next 3 years
1958 The Flamingos record “I Only Have Eyes For You”
1959 The Quarrymen change name to Johnny and the Moondogs – Lennon, McCartney and Harrison change band name to “The Beatals” and “The Silver Beetles” before settling on “The Beatles” in August 1960
1960 The Everly Brothers record teen-tragedy song “Ebony Eyes”
1963 The Beatles, returning from their tour of Sweden, greeted on London jet way by throng of screaming fans, photographers and journalists, impressing Ed Sullivan who decides to have them on his show
1964 The Supremes song “Baby Love” hits #1 on the U.S. charts
For first time since January, the Beatles don’t have a song on Billboard Top 100
Ray Charles arrested at Boston’s Logan Airport for heroin – goes through rehab to avoid prison
1965 The Who appear at Liverpool’s Cavern Club, an early haunt of the Beatles
1967 Iggy and the Stooges play first-ever live show at Halloween party in Michigan
1970 Led Zeppelin’s Let Zeppelin III hits #1 on U.S. charts
Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas marries actor Dennis Hopper – marriage annulled 7 days later
James Taylor’s Fire and Rain album certified gold
1972 Curtis Mayfield’s “Freddie’s Dead” certified gold – song refers to character in movie Superfly run over by car
1975 The Marshall Tucker Band headlines fundraiser concert for presidential nominee Jimmy Carter
Queen releases “Bohemian Rhapsody”
1976 Elvis Presley makes last Jungle Room recording at Graceland – song is Jim Reeves’ “He’ll Have to Go”
1980 Bow Wow Wow appears at London’s Rainbow Theatre with young backup singer Lieutenant Lush, who later changes name to Boy George
1986 Roger Waters sues David Gilmour and Nick Mason for using name “Pink Floyd” –settles out of court 1987
1989 First MTV Unplugged” show, featuring UK band Squeeze recorded in New York
1990 Billy Idol pranks band Faith No More during Seattle Halloween concert, dumping 600 dead fish onstage during their set – in return, Faith No More dance naked onto stage as Idol performs “Got to Be a Lover”
1992 Boyz II Men song “End of the Road” racks up 12th week at #1, setting new record
1993 Rapper Tupac Shakur arrested for shooting two off-duty Atlanta police officers – charges dismissed after discovery that cops were drunk and carrying guns pilfered from evidence room
1995 James Brown arrested in South Carolina for assaulting wife with hand mirror
Alice in Chains release vinyl edition of self-titled album
1996 Slash leaves Guns N’ Roses
1997 Jane’s Addiction reunites for Halloween concert in New York
1998 Kiss kicks off Psycho Circus tour with a Halloween concert in LA – Smashing Pumpkins open
2000 18-year old Britney Spears pays £6,000 for Leipzig, Germany bar – she’s old enough to drink in Germany, not in U.S.
Napster joins BMG making illegal file-sharing into paid subscription service
2004 R. Kelly booted from Jay-Z tour after walking offstage during show – allegedly pepper-sprayed by member of Jay-Z’s entourage
2005 The white suit worn by John Lennon on cover of Abbey Road fetches $118,000 at Las Vegas auction – Lennon’s Austin Princess hearse used in Imagine documentary gets $150,000 – some proceeds goes to Amnesty International
Ron Isley of The Isley Brothers convicted of tax evasion
2007 Forbes magazine names Elvis Presley current most profitable dead celebrity – Presley estate took in $49 million over past year
2011 17-year old Justin Bieber hit with paternity suit by Mariah Yeater, 20 – turns out Bieber not “baby-daddy”

Billboard #1 Singles

1950 “Goodnight Irene” Gordon Jenkins and The Weavers
1955 “Autumn Leaves” Roger Williams
1960 “Save the Last Dance for Me” The Drifters
1965 “Yesterday” The Beatles
1970 “I’ll Be There” The Jackson 5
1975 “Bad Blood” Neil Sedaka
1980 “Woman In Love” Barbra Streisand
1985 “Saving All My Love for You” Whitney Houston
1990 “Black Cat” Janet Jackson
1995 “Fantasy” Mariah Carey
2000 “Come on Over Baby (All I Want is You) Christina Aguilera
2005 “Gold Digger” Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx
2010 “Like a G6” Far East Movement featuring The Cataracs and Dev

Births

1912 Dale Evans (American singer-songwriter, actor, writer)
1937 Tom Paxton (folk singer-songwriter)
1944 Kinky Friedman (writer, country rocker)
1947 Russ Ballard (Argent)
1949 Bob Selbenberg (Supertramp)
1952 Bernard Edwards (bassist, Chic)
1957 Robert Pollard (Guided By Voices)
Brian Stokes Mitchell (American singer and actor)
1961 Larry Mullen Jr. (Irish drummer, U2)
Kate Campbell (American folk musician)
1963 Johnny Marr (The Smiths, The The, Modest Mouse, The Cribs)
Mikkey Dee (Swedish drummer, Motörhead)
1964 Colm Ó Cíosóig (Irish drummer, My Bloody Valentine)
Darryl Worley (American country singer)
1965 Annabella Lwin (Burmese singer, Bow Wow Wow)
1966 Ad-Rock aka Adam Horowitz (Beastie Boys)
1967 Vanilla Ice (American rapper)
1970 Linn Berggren (Swedish singer, Ace of Base)
Rogers Stevens (American guitarist, Blind Melon)
Mitch Harris (American guitarist, Napalm Death)
Johnny Moeller (American blues guitarist)
1974 Natasja Saad (Danish hip hop and reggae artist)
1977 Séverine Ferrer (French singer)
1981 Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance, Leathermouth, Death Spells)
1982 Gabriela and Monica Irimia (Romanian-British singers, The Cheeky Girls)
1990 Lil’ JJ aka James Charles Lewis (American actor and singer)

Deaths

1994 Lester Sill (music publisher/record producer), age 76
1995 Alan Dudley Bush (British composer and pianist), age 94
Lloyd Lambert (American R&B bassist), age 67
2002 Claude Johnson (Don and Juan), age 67
2005 John “Beatz” Holohan (drummer, Bayside), van accident, age 31
Skitch Henderson (American pianist, conductor, and composer), age 87
1990 Roger Scott (English DJ), cancer, age 46