October 12, 1987 – Dee Snider announces he is leaving Twisted Sister, two days after the Love Is for Suckers tour concludes. Snider reunites with the band ten years later.
October 12, 1991 – The Day on the Green festival in Oakland, CA features headliners Metallica, Queensrÿche, Faith No More and Soundgarden. It is the final festival presented by Bill Graham prior to his death.
October 12, 2005 – Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe is injured during a pyrotechnics explosion at a concert in Casper, Wyoming. He is treated at a local hospital for minor burns to his arm and face.
October 12, 1994 – A scaffolding stand holding 1200 people at a Pink Floyd concert in England collapses, throwing hundreds of people 20 feet to the ground. Under the twisted wreckage, 96 people are injured, with 36 going to the hospital with back, neck and rib injuries. David Gilmour, says, “The band is very angry and upset. It is extremely fortunate that no one was killed. We want to find out from the management of Earls Court what happened.” Eventually, a contractor and a safety inspector are charged; it was the failure of a single fitting which led to the accident.
October 12, 1979 – Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull is injured when a fan throws a rose onstage during a Jethro Tull concert at NYC’s Madison Square Garden. Against all odds, a thorn from the rose tears Anderson’s right eye, causing him to stop the show and cancel two others.
October 12, 2001 – Wes Borland, guitarist for Limp Bizkit, leaves the band.
October 12, 1955 – The Chrysler Corporation launches in-car record players for their 1956 cars. The players, made by Columbia, are mounted on the bottom edge of the dash, directly above the transmission hump, and are wired directly into the car radio. The 7-inch size of the 45-rpm record was ideal; but using 45s would have meant changing the record every few minutes, a little risky at highway speeds. To solve that problem, 7-inch records for the player were produced in the new 16⅔-rpm format (ultra-microgroove) offering up to an hour of playing time per side. The players were discontinued in 1961.
Classic Rock Birthdays
October 12, 1958 – Jeff Keith, vocals (Tesla)
October 12, 1955 – Pat DiNizio, guitar, vocals (Smithereens)
October 12, 1935 – Sam Moore, vocals, (Sam & Dave)
October 12, 1948 – Rick Parfitt, vocals, guitar (Status Quo) (d. 2016)
October 12, 1978 – Nancy Spungen, girlfriend of Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious, is found dead in the Hotel Chelsea in New York City with a stab wound to her abdomen. She was 20. Vicious is charged with her murder, but dies of a heroin overdose before the case goes to trial. There was rampant speculation that Vicious was innocent and a visiting drug dealer was the murderer.
October 12, 1997 – John Denver (born Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr.) is killed when an experimental airplane he is flying runs out of gas and crashes into Monterey Bay, California. He was 53. Denver was a successful songwriter and performer with the hits “Rocky Mountain High,” “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Thank God I’m a Country Boy,” “Sunshine on My Shoulders,” “Leaving on a Jet Plane” and the theme song for the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. Denver also testified before the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee on the topic of censorship with Dee Snider and Frank Zappa during a Parents Music Resource Center hearing in 1985.
October 12, 1971 – Gene Vincent (born Vincent Eugene Craddock), dies from a ruptured stomach ulcer. He was 36. While “Be-Bop-A-Lula” was his signature hit, he had a catalog of other charting songs, which helped him to be posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. In 1960, while on tour in England, Vincent and songwriter Sharon Sheeley were seriously injured in the car crash that killed Eddie Cochran.
October 12, 2011 – “Taz” DiGregorio (born William Joel DiGregorio) is killed in a car accident in Tennessee. He was 67. Taz was a keyboard player in the Charlie Daniels Band and co-wrote many songs with the group, including “The Devil Went Down To Georgia.”
October 12, 1985 – Ricky Wilson of the B-52’s dies of complications from AIDS. Wilson was known to use open tuning on his guitar, inspired by Joni Mitchell. The epitaph on Wilson’s tombstone reads: “The breeze of grace is always blowing; set your sail to catch that breeze.”
October 12, 2009 – Dickie Peterson of Blue Cheer dies from liver cancer in Germany. He was 63. Peterson was the lead singer and bassist of the band. Although he was born in North Dakota, Peterson spent the last several decades of his life living in Germany.
October 12, 2011 – Paul Leka, songwriter and pianist, dies of lung cancer in Connecticut. He was 68. In addition to working with artists ranging from Harry Chapin and REO Speedwagon to Gloria Gaynor, Leka co-wrote the ’60s hits “Green Tambourine” and “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.”