March 8, 1969 – The Small Faces perform their final concert, on the Channel Islands. Steve Marriott announces he is leaving the band to focus on Humble Pie. Shortly afterwards, Kenney Jones, Ronnie Lane and Ian McLagan form The Faces with Rod Stewart and Ron Wood.
March 8, 1968 – The Fillmore East opens in the East Village of New York City. It’s promoter Bill Graham’s East Coast version of the legendary Fillmore rock ballroom in San Francisco. The first show features Big Brother and the Holding Company, Albert King, and Tim Buckley. Although the club was only open for 4 years, many seminal live albums were recorded there, including ones from The Allman Brothers Band, Joe Cocker, Derek and the Dominos, The Grateful Dead, Humble Pie, Jefferson Airplane, Frank Zappa and many more.
Classic Rock Birthdays
March 8, 1946 – Randy Meisner, guitar (Poco, The Eagles)
March 8, 1948 – Mel Galley, guitar (Whitesnake) (d. 2008)
March 8, 1957 – Clive Burr, drums (Iron Maiden, Samson) (d. 2013)
March 8, 1958 – Gary Numan (born Gary Anthony James Webb), vocals, guitar
March 8, 1947 – Mike Allsup, guitar (Three Dog Night)
March 8, 1945 – Micky Dolenz (born George Michael Dolenz, Jr.), vocals, drums (The Monkees)
March 8, 1947 – Phil Sawyer, vocals, guitar (Spencer Davis Group)
March 8, 2016 – Sir George Martin, the “fifth Beatle,” dies in his sleep at his home in Wiltshire, England. He was 90. “If anyone earned the title of the fifth Beatle it was George,” Paul McCartney said in a statement. “From the day that he gave The Beatles our first recording contract, to the last time I saw him, he was the most generous, intelligent and musical person I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. He was like a second father to me.” Martin spent seven years with the Beatles, the most successful group in music history, and produced virtually all of their albums. He also worked with countless others over a career that spanned decades, including Peter Sellers, Shirley Bassey, America, Cheap Trick, Jeff Beck, UFO, Ultravox and Celine Dion. Elton John had Martin produce his updated version of “Candle in the Wind,” done in honor of Princess Diana, in 1997. Twenty-three Martin productions hit #1 in the United States, along with thirty in the UK.
March 8, 1973 – Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, dies from a gastrointestinal hemorrhage partly brought on by alcohol poisoning. He was 27. Pigpen was a founding member and the original frontman of The Grateful Dead. Initially nicknamed “Big Ron,” Pigpen probably got his name for his similarity to the permanently dirty character in the comic strip Peanuts. McKernan was close friends with Janis Joplin, bonding with their love of alcohol over psychedelic drugs.
March 8, 2011 – Mike Starr dies of a prescription-drug overdose in Salt Lake City. He was 44. Mike was the original bassist of Alice In Chains, and was the last person to see singer Layne Staley alive; he blamed himself partly for Staley’s death. Starr also appeared on Celebrity Rehab in 2010 with fellow recovering addicts Mackenzie Phillips and Tom Sizemore.
March 8, 1995 – Ingo Schwichtenberg commits suicide by jumping in front of a subway train. He was 29. Schwichtenberg was the drummer and a founding member of Helloween. Schwichtenberg was fired from the band in 1993 for drug and alcohol abuse and also for his refusal to take his medication for his schizophrenia, which would lead to bizarre episodes such as uncontrollable sobbing, causing him to cancel shows.