The campy and outlandish television show “Batman” airs for the first time on ABC during January of 1966. The show featured Adam West as the super-hero “Batman”and Burt Ward as his young sidekick “Robin.” The show was tremendously popular after its debut but only lasted for three seasons as interest in the series declined and it was canceled in 1968. The show was known for its simple moral lessons and for airing two episodes per week with the first episode ending in a cliffhanger to be resolved during the second episode when it aired the following day. Considered to be a cultural phenomenon during the decade, many high profile stars made guest appearances on the show, sometimes being featured as villains. Some of the notable names to appear in either recurring roles or small guest roles included Vincent Price, Julie Newmar, Cesar Romero, Eartha Kitt, Burgess Meredith, Frank Gorshin, Rudy Vallee, Joan Collins, Lesley Gore, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Milton Berle, and Sammy Davis Jr.
JANUARY 1, 1966 SATURDAY
Decca Records becomes a division pf MCA. The label's roster includes Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, Ernest Tubb and Jack Greene.
JANUARY 2, 1966 SUNDAY
Eddy Arnold appears on an episode of NBC's ''The Bell Telephone Hour'' honoring ''The Music Of The West''.
JANUARY 3, 1966 MONDAY
Capitol Records released Buck Owens' ''Waitin' In Your Welfare Line''.
Tennessee Ernie Ford and Connie Francis guest on NBC's ''The Andy Williams Show''.
Columbia Records released Tommy Collins' ''If You Can't Bite, Don't Growl''.
JANUARY 4, 1966 TUESDAY
Deana Carter is born in Nashville, Tennessee. The daughter of guitarist Fred Carter, her 1996 hit ''Strawberry Wine'' nets the Country Music Association's Song and Single of the Year. She also co-writes the Kenny Chesney/Grace Potter duet ''You And Tequila''.
''Rawhide'' makes its final prime-time appearance with Sheb Wooley portraying cowboy Nolan alongside the series star, Clint Eastwood.
Porter Wagoner enters Nashville's Parkview Hospital, recovering from exhaustion.
Del Reeves begins a one-week tour of military bases in Europe.
JANUARY 6, 1966 THURSDAY
Ernest Tubb quits a two-pack-a-day smoking habit. He gains 49 pounds in the ensuing three months.
Bob Dylan and Sara Dylan have their first child, Jesse Byron Dylan, in New York. That same year, Dylan writes a future country hit for Chris Hillman and Roger McGuinn, ''You Ain't Going Nowhere''.
After less than four months on the air, the ABC sitcom ''O.K. Crackerby'' makes its final prime-time appearance. The show features country Grammy-winner Burl Ives in the lead role.
JANUARY 8, 1966 SATURDAY
''Shindig!'' ends its 16-month run on ABC-TV. The weekly music showcase featured guitarist James Burton, Glen Campbell and Leon Russell as members of the house band, the Shin-Diggers.
Red Sovine's recitation ''Giddyup Go'' kicks off a six-week ride at number 1 on the Billboard country singles chart.
JANUARY 9, 1966 SUNDAY
Roger Miller recorded ''Husbands And Wives'' and ''I've Been A Long Time Leavin' (But I'll Be A Long Time Gone)'' in Nashville, Tennessee.
JANUARY 10, 1966 MONDAY
Decca Records released Loretta Lynn's ''Dear Uncle Sam'', Kitty Well's ''A Woman Half My Age'', and The Wilburn Brothers' ''Someone Before Me''.
Leslie Uggams and Barry McGuire do a Roger Miller medley on NBC's ''Hullabaloo''. They string together ''England Swings'', ''You Don't Want My Love'', ''Do-Wacka-Do'', ''You Can't Rollerskate In A Buffalo Herd'', ''Chug-A-Lug'', ''Engine Engine Number 9'' and ''King On The Road''.
With both masters completed, the last true rocker to sport the yellow Sun label was in the can (ironically, a copyright filing error by the Sun staff gave Tommy Minga writer credit on the A-side). The single was released that spring and must have sounded positively antediluvian on contemporary playlists. According to Jim Dickinson, ''Cadillac Man'' did temporarily ignite San's near-dormant interest in the label.
''After the session'', said Jim, ''Sam was trying to get me to join the band. I was at Ardent the day that he called. His brother Jud, who handled promotion, told me, 'We're gonna rev it back up, and this is the real thing! Then Sam got on the phone and said, 'Boy, you gotta cast your lot! And I told him, 'I'm afraid my lot's already cast, I'm under contract to Bill Justis''! He said, 'Oh hell, Bill wouldn't care'. And sure enough, Bill didn't care. But they put the record out with no contract''.
''Sam may have called Bill Justis, I don't know about that'', said Knox. ''After he heard ''Cadillac Man'', he did want to sign Jim as part of the band, and I remember Judd being involved, but Jim wouldn't do it. Sam loved it all; he loved Teddy, he loved anybody that was trying to express something in an extraordinary way. The last thing that Sam was, was a follower. Growing up with him, you took that for granted''.
Teddy Paige said, ''I remember Jerry and I packing up the white label promo copies. We had the bull by the horns but we couldn't raise enough enthusiasm. Jerry's uncle, Jud, was hopeful, but he didn't know what to do with us either. No promotion is what I remember, but maybe they couldn't promote it, because it was kinda odd for the time''. Either was, the record was not successful.
''The second night was the ''smoke'' session, used to clear an earlier undocumented date with the union'', said Jim Dickinson. ''I literally thought we were just going to sit around and smoke! Sam was there this time, wearing a suit and tie, writing stuff on a clipboard. I had just cut this song ''Black Cat Bone'' as a demo for Sam The Sham, so we tried that, and ''My Babe''. The only time I ever spent with the band was those two sessions''.
''My Babe'', an upbeat arrangement of the old warhorse with another strong Paige solo, was the obvious choice for a flipside. Extensive searches in both the Sun and Phillips Recording vaults have failed to turn up a copy of ''Black Cat Bone''.
''Black Cat Bone'' was great'', said Knox Phillips, ''The band was a two-headed monster and both the monsters are pretty good, but they're different, with Jim, there was more anarchic energy. Teddy, I always thought his guitar was another vocal in itself''.
Jerry became increasingly involved with the family's radio station business. Both he and Knox eventually formed their own production companies, and Knox became a celebrated engineer and producer in his own right. However mixed their father's signals might have seemed, his tacit example and encouragement stood both in good stead for a lifetime in the music business. AS to the other protagonists, Eddie Robertson continued as a musician; Billy Wulfers sidestepped his impoverished background to become a millionaire. Jim Dickinson's exploits as a Memphis maverick are common knowledge Tommy Minga had already moved on to his next set of Escapades.
The strangest post-Jesters journey is Teddy's. For a couple of years the guitarist moved around the South, working construction but playing music wherever possible. Sessions brought Paige back to Memphis, where he contributed to records by Arbee Stidham, Cliff Jackson and David Allen Coe. Departing the United States for good in 1972, a burgeoning fixation with medieval music saw him wander Europe throughout the 1970s and 1980s, sporting the leather tabard and lute of a genuine troubadour. Supported by odd jobs and various girlfriends, his eye-catching minstrel garb and offbeat personality fetching a small notoriety. He was even corralled back into the recording studio, the fruit of which was a lone single, ''London Cherry'', credited to Teddy Paige and The New Jesters. By that time, the genial eccentric had been institutionalized, thanks to a mishap involving an obnoxious neighbour and the sabre that Teddy kept at his side. Before this unfortunate turn of events, Paige had managed to reconnect briefly with the Phillips family, when Sam, Knox and Jerry were in London for a Memphis celebration in the 1990s.
According to Know Phillips, ''He showed up with this medieval street urchin, outfit on. The people at the theatre didn't like him being there, and their security were ready to throw him out, but we said, 'Oh no, he's with us'. Teddy got to see the thing and it was real nice. Still all that weird, crazy stuff around us''.
The crazed patina that hangs heavy around the best Sun material is palpable on these incredible Jesters recordings. The greatest rock and roll is necessarily a producer of its environment, and when that environment is Memphis, you just know it's going to be something special. Finally, we get to hear how special it is.
''The Jesters'' said Knox, ''are a combination of things that I don;t think anybody else that came out of Memphis was. We all wanted to go back to the raw feel, subliminally, I mean, it wasn't anything that we discussed. Unplanned raw energy captured on tape is what it is, and that was what the manifesto of Sun Records was. Tommy Minga singing crazy with Teddy playing blues licks worked, and it would work today''.
YET ANOTHER VIEW OF THE JESTERS - Bizarre. That's the epithet Knox Phillips returns to again and again when attempting to categorize the head-scratching contents of this collection by his bother Jerry's short-lived mid-1960 combo, the almighty Jesters. It is ironic that the legend of the Jesters is based upon their lone single ''Cadillac Man'', which, fantastic as it is, was neither performed by the working version of the group, nor was a hundred per cent representative of them. The truth is that the Jesters were even more edgy and uncontained and, in the loco-motion of Teddy Paige's crazed guitar runs and Tommy Minga's rebel yell, were the true analogue to the great Memphis wildmen of the 1950s, be they blues belter or hillbilly cat. The material constitutes some of the most vital and cathartic rock recorded for the Sun label.
Bizarre is also perhaps the most useful description of the tale about to unfold of how this music came to be, and the paths of at least some of those involved. Prepare to have your mind boggled, but remember that in Memphis, that most quixotic of rock and roll locales, bizarre is just par for the course.
The Phillips brothers spent their youth fully exposed, on a musical and social level, to the artists their father Sam had discovered, from Elvis Presley to Roy Orbison to Howlin' Wolf and Charlie Rich. A fierce champion of the independent spirit, Sam's growing disillusion with the record industry meant he neither expected nor directly encouraged his sons to follow in his footsteps, but their interest and desire to work in music was as heartfelt as his had been. Fitting then, that the fruit of their labours, the Jesters, would approximate the musical excitement that Sam had unleashed a decade before.
However, an aggregation called the Jesters had existed for some time prior to the involvement of the Phillips, centred around one of the most colourful characters in Memphis music: Edward LaPaglia, aka Teddy Paige. A cherished devotee of the blues, Teddy formed his first band, the Church Keys, at Christian Brothers High in 1963, with a line-up that would evolve into the Jesters by the following year. From the outset, Teddy marched to a different tune, but his ability on the fretboard commanded respect from all.
According to Teddy Paige, ''We did a lot of rhythm and blues stuff, like the 5 Royales. You were more or less expected to plat what was on the radio. Most of the time I went along with the singers, as they were never into my Carl Perkins, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry format''!
Even as a pre-teen, Jerry Phillips himself had undergone of the more notable initiations into the entertainment business available. A Phillips family friend was legendary wrestler Sputnik Monroe, whose showboating antics had made him massively popular in the late 1950s, and whom had taken an avuncular interest in the tough, if diminutive, Jerry. Another family friend, disc jockey Johnny Dark, had a wrestler associate, Tex Morgan, who hit upon a novel, if voyeuristic, twist on the sport.
According to Jerry Phillips, ''Rex knew this midget, Fabulous Frankie Thumb, that wanted to get into the wrestling business, and asked if I'd be interested in teaching him some wrestling moves, and then fighting, with him in public. So I became ''Delayne Phillips, The World's Most Perfectly Formed Midget Wrestler''! We wrestled around the south, southeast for about a year and made some good money. Of course, they were telling everybody I was a grown man''!
Such was the nature of entertainment in the mid-south in the early 1960s. And Jerry's parents were supportive of the venture, to a point.
Jerry said, ''One night in Marked Tree, Arkansas, me and this midget dude were fighting outside the ring, and a guy came out from the audience and tried to stab me. So that made my parents think, 'Maybe we oughta bring an end to this, That was one of the most fun times in my life but it didn't last very long''.
After giving up this promising career, Jerry, a somewhat rebellious kid, took up guitar and within a couple of years was playing professionally behind vocal trio Jimmy Day and The Knights. A major mentor was Teddy Paige, whom he got to know after Paige transferred to his school, White Station High.
Jerry says further, ''I was about 11 or 12 when my brother gave me my first guitar. I took lessons and picked stuff up from Teddy or whomever else. Jimmy Day and The Knights was probably the first legitimate band I was in. They, Jimmy, John Robinette and Willie Cason, were basically singers and they were good. That was when white kids were getting turned onto rhythm and blues, so we stayed booked all the time. Pretty much University Of Tennessee fraternities, though we did Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas State, as well as church and high school dances''.
Phillips' friendship with Teddy led to the formation of a new band in the summer of 1965, with a self-assured front man by the name of Tommy Minga. Recently graduated from White Station High, Minga was an East Memphian who had previously lad a band named the Escapades in 1964, comprising Jim Tarbutton (lead), Joe Tilman (rhythm), Richard Brown (bass) and Eddie Robertson (drums). It was the same kind of format as the Knights or Jesters, with backing vocalists and an rhythm and blues favoured set. Robertson came along, bass player Billy Wulfers was hired, and the combo inherited the name of Tommy's last outfit, the Escapades: pictorial evidence confirms this, and it is quite likely that the recordings made with Minga logged as being by the Jesters were in fact taped when they were performing live as the Escapades. In the interests of clarity, we shall however refer to the band as the Jesters from this point.
''Teddy was the leather for sure, and the driving force because he was the best player'', recalled Jerry. ''Teddy wasn't acting for anybody. To show you the kind of guy he was, he borrowed my amp to play a gig, and about two weeks later called up to tell me, ''Boy , you gonna have the red ass at me. I sold your amp''! Teddy was semi-anti-social. He would aggravate the crowd at the fraternity gigs, telling them, 'Here's another song you probably don't know'! There were some instances where we'd have to defend ourselves. But people respected Teddy's playing, and our ability to play with him''.
It's likely this had much to do with the Jesters' repertoire which was distinctly at odds with the soul or British-flavoured content of bands sets in that period. The Jesters' take on rhythm and blues was amped-up and righteously ragged, more juke joint than teen club. That made concessions to accessibility by including some Stones or Kinks material, but largely the band's sound was that heard on this disc, although there is no doubt that their insouciant attitude was 100 percent 1965.
''I was a big blues fan like Teddy, but I liked the Beatles and the Stones'', said Jerry. ''I can't imagine Teddy not being aware of some of those British bands that had not players, like the Yardbirds. Our repertoire was the stuff that Minga was written, and the blues that Teddy threw at us. If we ever did a British song, it would have been something like ''You Really Got Me'', but I'd say we were in a minority in what we played''.
According to Teddy, ''Some of the British groups were good. I was onto it, because I was collecting the same records at the same time. I knew where they got their ideas from. I was into Chicago blues, and some of the Memphis style. I loved Freddie King and tried to get that sort of a sound. We used to plat ''San-Ho-Zay'' and others on gigs, and I knew about ten of those tunes note for note''.
The Jesters did everything expected of an up-and-coming outfit in the Memphis of the mid-1960s, including the rigeur appearance on George Klein's ''Talent Party TV Show''. Jerry had access to his fathers' studio, but it was his older brother Knox that would be the enabling factor in harnessing the raw energy of Teddy, Tommy and company to tape.
''I went to White Station High, graduated in 1963, and attended Southwestern from 1964 to 1967'', recalled Knox. ''During the time I was in college, I was social commissioner, so I booked all the bands. I'd been working at the studio since I'd been in high school, and recording a lot of acts from later 1964 on. However, Sam was trying to discourage Jerry and I, from going seriously into music. He felt the possibility of prevailing in the independent record business would be a shallow and disappointing experience for us. So in the mid-1960s, we were kinda on our own''.
''Our dad would encourage us in everything we'd do, but he never wanted us to be like him. He was really supportive, but he wanted us to work for it. He never said, 'I'm gonna show you how to do this''', said Jerry. ''Sam would always let us go in the studio and do whatever, and of course when he listened, he'd give an opinion. He could have shut us down but he wasn't that kind of guy. If he didn't hear something in who Knox was working with, the Radiants or whomever, then he would have made that clear' Knox Phillips spent many hours producing Randy and The Radiants, the best of which can be heard on their Sun anthology ''Memphis Beat'' (Big Beat CDWIKD 267). Understandably, Knox also booked his younger brother's bands at Southwestern, and took a keen interest in the Jesters.
''I'd always try to use them because they were Jerry's band'', said Knox. ''Fraternities do stupid stuff, but by the end of the gig, they probably hated them. At times I had to change the name of the band to book them again! They were the Escapades, and different configurations, but they always sounded good, and for me, Jerry was always the star. He was a fabulous rhythm guitar player. And Teddy was one of the weirdest people I'd ever met''!
Not long after the Jesters' formation, Knox began to record them at the Phillips' Madison Avenue studio. They turned ''Heartbreak Hotel'' into a Jimmy Reed-like blues, and spiced the Carl Perkins; classic ''Boppin' The Blues'' with a sinuous lead from Paige. But such cover material was blown away by the sheer punk-blues ferocity of Tommy Minga's tremendous originals. Some of these have obvious Memphis antecedents, ''Get Gone Baby'' recycles the classic riff of Willie Cobb's ''You Don't Love Me'', the pounding ''Stompity Stomp'' is a sideways cop of ''The Slummer The Slum'' by the 5 Royales. But the energy is fully the Jesters' own. The rhythm section pumps madly, Minga alternates between hushed admonition and outraged bawling, and Teddy's guitar throughout is the proverbial headless chicken of rockabilly yore, hot-rodded with a corrosive blues edge. Unwittingly or not, the band had zeroed in on the primal Sun sound.
''The Minga stuff sounds more like true Sun rockabilly than anything else does in the 1960s, and it's a testament to our influences from Sun'' Jerry Phillips continued. ''That was ingrained in my system, and it certainly influenced all of us in that band. Tommy didn't have wacko DNA like Teddy, he just liked to have fun. He was also a good songwriter, and did write most of the originals. He'd jump, dance around, he was a showman''.
Teddy said, ''It really was like that, us going crazy in the studio. We were really enthused on those first sessions. I'm playing a Les Paul custom, and we used a blown Fender Bassman amp, with three speakers and a tube pulled halfway out, to get a distorted sound''.
According to Knox Phillips, ''I'd never cut anything with this kind of energy ever, and I never cut anybody who consistently played such cool guitar. Minga was fabulous on some songs, ''no mo, no mo'', I loved that! Minga's voice and Teddy's guitar blend pretty well. It was over the top. There was nothing else like that in Memphis being recorded by white people''.
One of the last items Tommy taped with the band was a tune of Teddy's entitled ''Cadillac Man'', which wed classic Chuck Berry car-chase lyrics to a raucous blues-on-speed rhythm. Minga delivers the tune in a cool, understated fashion, but Paige didn't agree with the way his song had turned out, and this apparently exacerbated tensions between him and the singer. Whether Teddy engineered it or not, Tommy's sudden departure from the band would seem to have occurred right at that moment.
Jerry said, ''I think, the early ''Cadillac Man'' is a good version, but Teddy just wasn't happy with it. And I don't think he would have that much influence over that song unless he wrote it, to be able to kick Minga off the session and have Jim Dickinson come in. Minga was pretty bitter about that''.
''Now that I hear him, Tommy was a cool singer, and he really could have been produced into something. How we replaced him, in those days there was no mercy, just the act and that was it'', says Teddy.
If the band, by now definitely operating as the Jesters, were to re-cut the tune, they would need a singer. As veteran of the local music scene for years, and at once both traditionalist and non-conformist, Jim Dickinson embodied the vibe Paige was no doubt looking for. He showed up at Phillips Recording in November or December 1965, not knowing what to expects, but Jim's piano-pumping contribution to the re-tooled ''Cadillac Man'' was perfectly in sync with the tenor of the track.
According to Jim Dickerson, ''Teddy called me. I thought it was to play piano on a demo. I probably wouldn't have gone if I knew I was gonna sing, because I was under contract to Bill Justis at the time. It was Teddy's plot! As well as ''Cadillac Man'', we did ''Jim Dandy And Sweet Sixteen'' and ''Night Train From Chicago'', which were both in Teddy's notebook of songs. ''Night Train'' kinda jumps around, but that solo, damn, it doesn't sound like any white man I ever heard''.
''Jim seemed to have professional experience'', said Teddy. ''He sang straight old blues things well, but he was always trying to do something unnatural and kooky. We started ''Cadillac Man'' with the arrangement that Minga had sung, but Jim couldn't play the left hand on the piano, so we literally had to adapt to him. There's a guitar break at the end, otherwise it's pretty much a piano record, but we were enthusiastic about piano. In fact, we had often tried to find a piano player, and nothing but wimp would show up''.
According Knox, ''Jim was just an experiment. Minga was the voice of the band, but I don't think he got ''Cadillac Man'', so it was right to have Dickinson. The one thing that I never liked at the time was, when I brought up the piano solo, the drums came up too. Now it sounds really good, it kinda swells into something special. Sam wasn't anywhere around ''Cadillac Man'', but we played it for him and he loved it''. anachronistic as it might have seemed to any other label, this new ''Cadillac Man'' fit the Sun template exactly. Thus a release was authorized, necessitating a second date with Dickinson for a B-side, which was cut several weeks later, the session is logged with the Musicians Union as January 22, 1966.
Alec Palao, El Cerrito, California, 2008
THE ESCAPADES - were an American garage rock band from Memphis, Tennessee, who were active in the 1960s. They became one of the most popular groups in the Memphis area during the mid-1960s and recorded two singles. "I Tell No Lies", the A-side of their debut single, became a big hit in Memphis and around the South. They were signed to Verve Records, who released their follow up, "Mad, Mad, Mad", which featured a fuzz-toned guitar line. Their work is highly regarded by garage rock enthusiasts and collectors and has appeared on various compilations.
The Escapades were originally founded by Tommy Minga in early 1963 in East Memphis, Tennessee. Their original lineup included Minga on vocals and Jerry Phillips on guitar, son of record producer and owner of Sun Records, Sam Phillips, as well as Billy Wulfers on bass, and Eddie Robinson on drums. Another member of the early version of the group was Jimmy Tartbutton. One of their chief competitors in the east Memphis scene was the Jesters, led by Teddy Paige, a student at Christian Brothers High. In 1964, when some of the members of his band went to college, the Jesters broke up. The Escapades also broke up at this time, but both groups would re-surface later with different lineups.
In 1965 Paige re-formed the Jesters, and brought in some of the former members of the Escapades: Minga and Phillips, as well as Billy Wulfers on bass and Eddie Robinson on drums. They went to Sun Studios to record a version of song written by Minga, "Cadillac Man", accompanied on piano by famed Memphis session man Jim Dickinson. However, Paige and producer Sam Phillips felt that the both "Cadillac Man" and its flipside needed a different kind of vocal and had Dickinson sing on both tracks, much to the chagrin of Minga.
Minga soon left the Jesters to re-form a new version of the Escapades. He joined fellow students at Oakhaven High School, guitarist Benny Kisner, keyboardist Ron Gordon, and drummer Ronnie Williamson, along with bassist Dale Roark, who was attending Memphis State University. Sometimes the group would play at the Skateland Frayser roller skating rink. The Escapades were known for an exciting live show which included Ron Gordon's stage antics.
According to Gordon, ''We always got the crowd going... We loved to play the Roaring 1960s, and I would be up on that high stage they had and dance while I played this Farfisa organ I had. As I danced, I would rock the organ like I was going to turn it over into the crowd. They would scream with each rock, but I never dropped it''.
The group quickly became one of the most popular bands in the Memphis area. They recorded their fist single "I Tell No Lies" backed with "She's The Kind" at John Fry's Ardent home garage studio, which was released on Stan Kessler's Arbet label. The record became a local hit and received airplay all over the south. MGM/Verve Records became interested in the group and picked up the record, re-releasing it on their XL label later that year.
The group recorded their follow up "Mad Mad Mad" b/w "Try So Hard" at sam Phillips Recording Studio at 639 Madison Avenue in Memphis, which was issued on Verve in late 1966 and produced by Stan Kesler. The distinctive fuzz-toned guitar part in "Mad Mad Mad" was played by Memphis session man Tommy Cogbill.
The band's manger, Johnny Dark, set up a tour of the Southeast accompanying Sam the Sham & the Pharos, the Swinging Medallions, Tommy Roe, and Napoleon the 14th. The second single failed to achieve the success of the first. Following the tour, the group returned to Memphis to play local gigs, but several of the band's members were drafted into the military to fight in Vietnam. Eventually, all of the band's members ended up in the service, except for Ron Gordon. In late 1967 the group broke up. Gordon went on to play with a reconstituted version of the group the late Otis Redding's previous backup group, the Bar-Kays. Later Gordon was hired by Stax Records, working on several projects before eventually becoming their art director. He would go on to design album covers for over a hundred LPs on there and would win a Grammy for his art work on Issac Hayes' ''Black Moses''.
The Gemini 10 space mission launches in July of 1966. The spacecraft carried astronauts John Young and Michael Collins aboard the eighth manned Gemini flight. The astronauts performed two important space walks and several other experiments. The Gemini 10 mission became the first to execute a double rendezvous and it had also reached the highest point in space that a human had ever been at the time. The mission was successful and they returned to Earth after nearly 3 days.
JULY 1, 1966 FRIDAY
Slim Willet dies of a heart attack at Hendrick Memorial Hospital in Abilene, Texas. He wrote the classic ''Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes'', a Top 10 hit in 1952 and 1953 for Willet, Skeets McDonald, Ray Price and Red Foley.
JULY 3, 1966 SUNDAY
4,000 demonstrated against the U.S. war in London outside the U.S. Embassy a number are arrested.
JULY 4, 1966 MONDAY
George Jones opens his first amusement park, the George Jones Rhythm Ranch, and begins a friendship with guest performer Merle Haggard.
''Swingin' Country'', a daytime country showcase, debuts on NBC. The weekday program features Rusty Draper, Roy Clark and Molly Bee.
Johnny Sea sings his Vietnam-connected ''Day For Decision'' on Independent Day during a Liberace concert at Las Vegas' Sahara Hotel.
JULY 5, 1966 TUESDAY
Waylon Jennings recorded ''Green River'' and the theme song to the movie ''Nashville Rebel'' during an evening session at RCA Studio B in Nashville, Tennessee.
Ray Stevens performs ''Ahab, The Arab'' on Dick Clark's ABC daytime music show, ''Where The Action Is''.
Columbia Records released Stonewall Jackson's ''Blues Plus Booze (Means I Lose)''.
JULY 6, 1966 WEDNESDAY
Paramount Pictures released Elvis Presley's ''Paradise, Hawaiian Style. ''The movie is a 1966 musical comedy and it was the third and final motion picture that Presley filmed in Hawaii. The film reached number 40 on the Variety weekly box office chart, earning $2.5 million in theaters.
JULY 10, 1966 SUNDAY
When Neil Young spots Buffalo Springfield associate Richard Davis being shook up by police over a parking ticket in front of The Whiskey in Los Angeles, he tries to assist Davis. He ends up jailed, and receives multiple lacerations and head injuries.
Bill Monroe performs on the same bill with Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs at a bluegrass festival at Whippoorwil Park near Warrenton, Virginia. It marks the first time Monroe has been willing to share the stage with his former band members since they left him in 1948.
JULY 11, 1966 MONDAY
Shooting begins for Elvis Presley's ''Double Trouble'' in Los Angeles, California.
''The Newlywed Game'' debuts on ABC. The game show gets referenced five years later when Loretta Lynn recorded ''One's On The Way''.
JULY 12, 1966 TUESDAY
The Wilburn Brothers recorded ''Hurt Her Once For Me''.
JULY 15, 1966 FRIDAY
Dottie West recorded ''Paper Mansions''.
JULY 18, 1966 MONDAY
Pop singer Bobby Fuller dies in Los Angeles of asphyxiation, just months after scoring a hit with ''I fought The Law''. The song, written by former Buddy Holly cohort Sonny Curtis, is remade in a 1978 country hit by Hank Williams Jr.
Jimmie Rodgers and comedian George Carlin guest on NBC's 13-week replacement series ''The Kraft Summer Music Hall''.
JULY 19, 1966 TUESDAY
Johnny Rivers recorded the pop hit ''Poor Side Of Town''. Joe Stampley revives the song as a country hit in 1983.
JULY 20, 1966 WEDNESDAY
''The Best Of Jim Reeves'' achieves gold certification.
Guitarist Stone Gossard is born in Seattle, Washington. He becomes an original member of Pearl Jam, an alternative rock band name-checked in Lonestar's 1996 country hit, ''No News''.
Eddy Arnold and The Smothers Brothers are guests on the CBS summer replacement series ''The John Gary Show''.
JULY 25, 1966 MONDAY
The Monkees recorded ''Last Train To Clarksville'' at RCA Studio A in Hollywood, California. More than 35 years later, the Country Music Foundation surprisingly ranks it among country's 500 greatest singles in the book ''Heartaches By The Number''.
Capitol Records released Buck Owens' ''Carnegie Hall Concert'' album, and Sonny James' single ''Room In Your Heart''.
JULY 29, 1966 FRIDAY
Martina McBride is born in Medicine Lodge, Kansas. The diminutive powerhouse claims the Country Music Association's Female Vocalist of the Year award four times behind such message-soaked singles as ''Independence Day'' and ''A Broken Wing''.
Bob Dylan breaks several bones in his neck in a motorcycle wreck when he hits an oil slick and flies through the handlebars in Woodstock, New York. During his recovery, he writes ''You Ain't Going Nowhere'', a 1999 hit for Chris Hillman and Roger McGuinn.
JULY 30, 1966 SATURDAY
Marty Robbins finished 25th driving a 1962 Plymouth in a late-model stock car race at the Nashville Speedway.
JULY 31, 1966 SUNDAY
John Lennon's comment that the Beatles are more popular than Jesus Christ is ''publicized'' by the U.S. media, provoking widespread outrage and burning of records.
England wins its first World Cup victory, defeating West Germany at Wembley Stadium with 4-2.
The film features Orbison performing seven original songs which appeared on his 1967 MGM record album of the same name. His song "There Won't Be Many Coming Home" is featured in the 2015 western film ''The Hateful Eight''.
''The Fastest Guitar Alive'' is also the soundtrack title for the 33rpm record album from MGM Records released in June 1967. Its single "There Won't Be Many Coming Home" reached number 18 in the United Kingdom and entered the Australian chart at its highest position of number 32 before slipping down the chart.
''The Dick Van Dyke Show'' ends a five-year run on CBS-TV. The cast includes Morey Amsterdam, who wrote Dick Jurgens', ''(Oh Why, Oh Why, Did I Ever Leave) Wyoming'', and Mary Tyler Moore, who founds MTM Records.
The Anti-Vietnam War Protests continue until for 5 more years and American Support continues to erode, America Formally ends the war on January 23rd 1973 following the signing of the Paris agreement, I will cover the period from 1966 to the end of the war in a later year.