This Day In Music, May 4: Gene Vincent, Led Zeppelin, Metallica

By , Contributor


Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps recorded "Be Bop A Lula", which had been written three days before the session. The song became a 1956 US No.7 hit single, spending 20 weeks on the US chart. In April 1957, the record company announced that over two million copies had been sold to date. The song was successful on three American singles charts.

Vincent sang "Be Bop A Lula" in the 1956 musical comedy film The Girl Can't Help It, which featured American sex symbol Jayne Mansfield. This rock 'n' roll classic song is mentioned in Dire Straits' 1985 hit "Walk of Life", and has been covered by some of the biggest names in music, including John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Queen, The Everly Brothers, Jerry Lee Lewis, and The Stray Cats.


Led Zeppelin opened their 1973 North American tour at the Atlanta Braves Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia to 49,236 fans, shattering a seven-year-old attendance record set by The Beatles (this was the first time in the stadium's history that seats had been allowed on the grass).

The ninth tour in five years by the British rock group was billed as "the biggest and most profitable rock & roll tour in the history of the United States." Zeppelin would gross over $4 million from the 36 shows, which would see box office records being smashed across America.

On the second date on the tour at Tampa Stadium, Florida, they played to 56,800 fans, breaking another record set by The Beatles at Shea Stadium in 1965.

This was "rock 'n' roll", with the four band members flying between gigs in The Starship, a Boeing 720 passenger jet, complete with bar, shower room, TV and video in a 30-foot lounge, and a white fur bedroom. The exterior of the plane had "Led Zeppelin" emblazoned down the side of the fuselage.

The end of the tour saw Zeppelin playing three sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden in New York. Just before their final show, tour manager Richard Cole discovered $203,000 had been taken from a safe deposit box at the New York hotel where the band were staying. Cole was immediately interrogated by police as a suspect but later released, the money was never recovered, and the identity of the thief or thieves has never been discovered.


Metallica were demanding online music service Napster cut off 335,000 users who they claimed had been illegally trading their songs. The band had passed on the names of all those they considered to be "stealing" their material over the Internet in the latest development in an ongoing battle over the protection of music copyrights on the web.

The heavy metal band had discovered that a demo of their song "I Disappear" had been circulating across the network, even before it was released. This eventually led to the song being played on several radio stations across America and brought to Metallica's attention that their entire back catalogue of studio material was also available via Napster.

Napster, which was originally founded as a pioneering peer-to-peer file sharing Internet service, was forced to liquidate its assets according to Chapter 7 of the U.S. bankruptcy laws in 2002.

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A former musician, Neil was in the 80's group The Cheaters who were once signed to EMI's Parlophone label, and released three albums. He was also a radio presenter and is still a regular music pundit on various BBC stations. Neil is the founder of the award winning web site This Day in Music which is…

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