Presty the DJ for Dec. 23

Today in 1964, a group of would-be DJs launched the pirate radio station Radio London from a former U.S. minesweeper anchored 3½ miles off Frinton-on-the-Sea, England.

It’s probably unrelated, but on the same day Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys had a nervous breakdown on a flight from Los Angeles to Houston. Wilson left the band to focus on writing and producing, with Glen Campbell replacing him for concerts.

The pernicious influence of unions reared its ugly head today in 1966, when Britain’s ITV broadcast its final “Ready, Steady, Go!” because of a British musicians’ union’s ban on miming. The final show featured Mick Jagger, The Who, Eric Burdon, the Spencer Davis Group, Donovan and Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich.

Today in 1985, after drinking beer, smoking marijuana and listening for hours to the Judas Priest album “Stained Class,” Raymond Belknap and James Vance shot themselves at a school playground. Belknap died, while Vance lived for three more years after shooting away his jaw, mouth and nose.

The band was sued for putting subliminal messages on the album, which band member Glenn Tipton denied doing, saying, “If we were going to do that then we might put messages saying, ‘Buy 10 more of these albums,’ but why would we tell our record buyers to kill themselves?”

The number one single today in 1989:

Birthdays begin with Esther Phillips:

Eugene Record of the Chi-Lites:

Jorma Kaukonen of the Jefferson Airplane:

Ron Bushy of one-incredibly-long-hit-wonder Iron Butterfly:

Ariel Bender of Mott the Hoople:

Dave Murray of Iron Maiden:

Who is Edward Louis Stevenson III? Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam …

… who was born the same day as Saul “Slash” Hudson of Guns N Roses:

One death of note today in 2008: Songwriter Clint Ballard Jr.:

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