January 2, 1969 – Led Zeppelin play the first of four nights at the Whisky A Go-Go in Los Angeles during the band’s first North American tour. Alice Cooper is the opening act and the group is billed as “Led Zeppelin featuring Jimmy Page, formerly of the Yardbirds.” Page suffers from a fever and is forced to eliminate the 2nd set from this series of shows. The set list features all covers with songs like “I Can’t Quit You Babe,” “Train Kept A-Rollin’,” “Dazed and Confused” and “For Your Love.”
January 2, 1926 – The first edition of the legendary British music magazine Melody Maker is published, promising news and information for “all who are interested in the production of popular music.” In the first issue, which sells for 3 pence, the features are on Dance Band news, Ukuleles and how to read music by sight.
Classic Rock Birthdays
January 2, 1946 – Chick Churchill (born Michael George Churchill), keyboards (Ten Years After)
January 2, 1997 – Randy California (born Randy Craig Wolfe), guitarist with Spirit, drowns while rescuing his 12-year old son Quinn when he was sucked into a riptide in Molokai, Hawaii. He was 45. Together with Ed Cassidy (his stepfather), front-man Jay Ferguson, bassist Mark Andes and keyboardist John Locke, California founded the band Spirit. His stage name was given to him by Jimi Hendrix, who invited California to fly to England with him and be in his band. Randy’s parents would not let him go because he was only 15. Walter Becker of Steely Dan has also cited California as an influence.
Backstage Access: Spirit – Randy California
January 2, 2012 – Larry “Rhino” Reinhardt, guitarist for Iron Butterfly and Captain Beyond, dies of cirrhosis of the liver. He was 63. Early in his career, Reinhardt played with Dickey Betts and Berry Oakley before they went on to form the Allman Brothers Band. He was considered to be one of the top southern rock guitarists of all time.