May 24, 1994 – Bret Michaels of Poison loses control of his Ferrari and crashes into a telephone pole in Burbank, CA. He breaks his thumb, nose and collarbone, loses four teeth, cracks his sternum, and receives a hairline fracture of his upper jawbone. According to police reports, he passed out behind the wheel while driving.
May 24, 1974 – David Bowie releases his 8th studio album Diamond Dogs. The cover art creates controversy as it features Bowie as a half-man, half-dog creature painted by Belgian artist Guy Peellaert.
May 24, 1970 – Peter Green plays his last gig with Fleetwood Mac at the Bath Festival, Somerset, England. Former Fleetwood Mac road manager Dennis Keane believes Green and fellow member Danny Kirwan were recruited to be in some sort of cult. “That is what they do: They get you in and they strip you of your identity, of your money.” After dropping particularly strong acid, “Both of them, as of that day, became seriously mentally ill,” says Keane.
Classic Rock Birthdays
May 24, 1941 – Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman), guitar, vocals
May 24, 1947 – Albert Bouchard, drums, guitar, vocals (Blue Öyster Cult)
May 24, 1960 – Guy Fletcher, keyboards (Dire Straits, Roxy Music)
May 24, 1949 – John Illsley, bass (Dire Straits)
May 24, 1951 – Rob Baker, drums (Red Rider)
May 24, 1946 – Steve Upton, drums (Wishbone Ash)
May 24, 1947 – Cynthia Plaster Caster (born Cynthia Albritton), artist/groupie who became famous for making plaster casts of rock stars’ penises and breasts
May 24, 1991 – Gene Clark (born Harold Eugene Clark), founding member of The Byrds, dies of natural causes brought on by a bleeding ulcer. He was 46. Clark wrote The Byrds hits “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better” and “Eight Miles High.” He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the Byrds in 1991.
May 24, 2010 – Paul Gray, the bassist and founding member of Slipknot, also known as The Pig or #2, dies in Iowa while on tour. He was 38. Later, autopsy results were released that stated Gray had died of an overdose of morphine, and had also shown signs of “significant heart disease.”
May 24, 1963 – Elmore James, blues guitarist and singer, dies of a heart attack in Chicago. He was 45. James wrote “Shake Your Money Maker,” which was covered by Fleetwood Mac in 1968. Known as “The King of the Slide Guitar,” James influenced Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Keith Richards and is mentioned in the Beatles‘ song “For You Blue.”
May 24, 1974 – Duke Ellington (born Edward Kennedy Ellington), dies of complications from lung cancer and pneumonia in Chicago. He was 75. Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and bandleader of a jazz orchestra who wrote more than one thousand compositions and worked with Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and Billie Holiday among many others. He was warded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1966. In 2009, the United States Mint launched a new coin featuring Duke Ellington, making him the first African American to appear by himself on a circulating U.S. coin.