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By Rhys Lett

January 1 – Today in Music

January 1 brings some major events for music’s biggest stars and birthdays for legendary performers.

RIP Hank Williams – January 1 – Today in Music

Hank Williams, pioneering country and western singer/songwriter dies on January 1, 1953. Foreshadowing many deaths in rock and roll, Williams passes in the back of a car from drug and alcohol consumption. Williams authored country staples such as Your Cheatin Heart, Hey Good Looking and I Saw the Light. A star like Hank Williams cast the mould for rock and roll artists such as Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly later in the decade and beyond. Here is a rare live performance clip also featuring country royalty June Carter.

The Beatles Failed Audition – January 1 – Today in Music

The Beatles travel to London for a recording contract audition held on January 1, 1962 with Decca Records. With manager Brian Epstein working overtime to secure the band a recording contract, Decca agreed to host a session. The band consisting of Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon and drummer Pete Best. Songs selected showcase the versatility of the band.  Three Lennon-McCartney originals are performed in Hello Little Girl, Love of the Loved and Like Dreamers Do.

The nerves are evident listening to the recording. Lennon’s voice breaks on a take of Money. It is also understandable why drummer Pete Best was replaced. What can be heard is the vocal arrangements crafted through hours of gigs in Hamburg, Germany and locally at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. The Beatles were rejected by Decca, signed later in the year by EMI on their label Parlophone and released their debut album Please Please Me. The rest is history.

Listen to a good sample of the audition below. Would you have signed this band?

January 1 Birthdays

Martin Plaza from Australian band Mental as Anything. Plaza sings on their hits The Nips Are Getting Bigger, If You Leave Me Can I Come Too, Mr Natural and had a solo hit with Concrete and Clay.

Country Joe McDonald who lead the famous Fish Cheer at Woodstock. McDonald formed the psychedelic band Country Joe and the Fish. They performed at two of the major festivals of the 1960s, Monterey and Woodstock.