Musical Diary: October 1966 1

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In October 1966, lead guitarist and vocalist Denny Laine leaves The Moody Blues, who cease activities for the present.

On the 7th Johnny Kidd was killed in a car crash. Johnny Kidd and The Pirates were regarded as one of the United Kingdom’s true rock ‘n’ roll outfits and had been very successful since the start of the decade.

The Pirates tried to continue without Kidd but did not last too long; they did however, make a comeback in the late-’70’s when the interest in old R/B groups like Dr. Feelgood inspired them to reform.

On the same day, October 7, Smiley Lewis died from stomach cancer. His most famous songs were ‘I Hear You Knocking’, which was a UK number 1 hit for Dave Edmunds in 1970, and ‘One Night’, a UK number 1 for Elvis Presley in 1959.

On October 9, 1966, John Lennon mets Yoko Ono for the first time in London.

On the 11th, four days after they released their first single, ‘Wrapping Paper’, The Cream played at Sussex University and Ginger Baker collapsed with exhaustion after playing a 20-minute drum solo.

The next day The Jimi Hendrix Experience were formed when UK musicians Mitch Mitchell on drums and Noel Redding on bass were selected to play with Hendrix.

On the 14th Grace Slick made her debut performance with Jefferson Airplane; she was formerly with another San Francisco band called The Great Society.

Born on the 12th was Irish singer Brian Kennedy who would accompany Van Morrison on tour in the ’90s.

Born on the 19th was Sinitta, British singer and actress.

Glamorous British singer Alma Cogan died of stomach cancer on the 26th. Cogan was “the girl with the laugh/giggle/chuckle in her voice”. She was the highest paid British entertainer in the late ’50s, and was consistently in the hit parade from 1952 to 1966, mostly with covers of American hits.

The first Australian pop music awards:
Best Male Vocal: 1. Normie Rowe; 2. Ronnie Burns; 3. Merv Benton
Best Female Vocal: 1. Lynne Randell; 2. Dinah Lee; 3. Denise Drysdale
Best group: 1. The Easybeats; 2. The Twilights; 3. The Purple Hearts
International Male: 1. Elvis Presley; 2. Roy Orbison; 3. Tom Jones
International Female: 1. Cilla Black; 2. Petula Clark; 3. Dusty Springfield
International group: 1. The Beatles; 2. The Rolling Stones; 3. Herman’s Hermits

The top ten in the Australia in October 1966
1. ‘Yellow Submarine/Eleanor Rigby’, The Beatles
2. ‘Step Back/ Caralyn’, Johnny Young & Kompany
3. ‘Somewhere My Love’, The Ray Coniff Singers
4. ‘Born A Woman’, Judy Stone
5. ‘Lady Godiva’, Peter & Gordon
6. ‘Needle In A Haystack’, The Twilights
7. ‘Black Is Black’, Los Bravos
8. ‘Sunshine Superman’, Donovan
9. ‘Out Of Time’, Chris Farlowe
10. ‘With A Girl Like You’, The Troggs

The number ones in Australia in October 1966
1st, 8th, 15th: ‘Yellow Submarine/Eleanor Rigby’, The Beatles
22nd, 29th: ‘Step Back/Caralyn’, Johnny Young

The number ones in the United States
1st, 8th: ‘Cherish’, The Association
15th, 22nd: ‘Reach Out I’ll Be There’, The Four Tops
29th: ’96 Tears’, ? & The Mysterians

The number in the UK
1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd: ‘Distant Drums’, Jim Reeves
29th: ‘Reach Out I’ll Be There’, The Four Tops

Where were you in October 1966? Do you recall your favourite song from that year?

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Benjamin Hill

I was born in Belfast Northern Ireland 1946, I attended school at Ballygomartin Secondary School until I began an apprenticeship as an Electrician in 1962 at Harland and Wolff Shipbuilders (Birthplace of the Titanic). I married Rose-Marie in 1964 and immigrated to Australia in 1970 together with our two children Anna-Marie and Ronald. I worked in various sections of the construction industry as an Electrician until retirement 2011 and now my blog about 60s music is a labour of love that I am lucky to share with all lovers of music.