April 28, 2014 – Scorpions drummer James Kottak is sentenced to one month in a Dubai jail for being intoxicated and drinking without a license, flipping off passengers on his flight from Russia, and allegedly exposing himself. He is also convicted of insulting Islam. Kottak spent time in prison, forcing the Scorpions to find a fill-in drummer for the tour. He later said, “I am determined to come to grips with my alcoholism and am doing everything on a daily basis to beat this relentless disease.” Kottak was replaced by Mickey Dee of Motörhead.
April 28, 1987 – In another plane story (that might have involved alcohol), Ozzy Osbourne bought rounds of drinks for everyone on his flight from Miami to Boston. He later sings “Crazy Train” over the PA system. Aahhh, the good old days!
April 28, 1990 – Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose weds Erin Everly at Cupid’s Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas. The marriage was annulled in January of 1991. Erin later files a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Axl for domestic violence, which is settled out of court.
April 28, 2002 – Mötley Crüe singer Vince Neil assaults a record producer outside of the Rainbow Bar and Grill on the Sunset Strip. He later pleads guilty to a misdemeanor charge of battery.
April 28, 2003 – Apple launches iTunes and so starts the decline of CD sales.
April 28, 1968 – Hair opens on Broadway in New York City. The show runs for 1,729 performances, finally closing in 1972. The show returns to Broadway in 2009.
April 28, 2005 – Zakk Wylde of Black Label Society takes a baseball bat to the Big Easy nightclub in Boise, Idaho. The show is canceled. Wylde and another man are briefly detained by police, but the case is dropped when no one wants to press charges.
April 28, 1999 – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
April 28, 1989 – Jon Bon Jovi marries his high school sweetheart, Dorothea Hurley, at the Graceland Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas. They are still married.
April 28, 1967 – Mama Cass Elliot of the Mamas and the Papas gives birth to her only child, Owen Vanessa Elliot. She keeps the identity of the girl’s father a mystery during her lifetime. In later years, Owen tracks down her biological father with the help of Cass Elliot’s bandmate, Michelle Phillips. Owen says about Phillips, “She’s ironically been a mother to me in a way that would make my mom definitely chuckle.”
April 28, 1982 – A committee of the California state assembly convenes to listen to Led Zeppelin‘s “Stairway To Heaven” played backwards. Irate Baptist preachers had complained that when Led Zeppelin records were played that way, Satanic messages could be heard. “Experts” testify that when played backwards, the song contains the words: “I sing because I live with Satan. The Lord turns me off, there’s no escaping it. Here’s to my sweet Satan, whose power is Satan. He will give you 666. I live for Satan.”
Classic Rock Birthdays
April 28, 1956 – Jimmy Barnes (born James Dixon Swan), vocals (Cold Chisel)
April 28, 1968 – Daisy Berkowitz (born Scott Mitchell Putesky), guitar (Marilyn Manson) (d. 2017)
April 28, 1953 – Kim Gordon, bass, vocals (Sonic Youth)
April 28, 1945 – John Wolters, drums (Dr. Hook) (d. 1997)
April 28, 1980 – Marshall Tucker Band bassist and frontman Tommy Caldwell dies of injuries from a car accident in South Carolina. He was 30. Caldwell was the younger brother of bandmate Toy Caldwell. In a strange coincidence, another one of his brothers, Tim Caldwell, also dies in a car accident one month prior to Tommy’s death.
April 28, 1981 – Steve Currie, formerly the bassist of T. Rex, dies in a car crash in Portugal. He was 33.
April 28, 2015 – Jack Ely, best known for singing the Kingsmen’s hit “Louie Louie,” dies of an unknown illness in Oregon. He was 71. His son Sean said that Ely was a Christian Scientist and he believed that his father suffered from skin cancer. During the recording of the song, the band tried to replicate a live performance, leading Ely to practically shout the words. He was also wearing braces at the time of the performance, which famously slurred his words.