On this day in 1982, comedian John Belushi died from an overdose of cocaine and heroin. Belushi came to prominence as an original "Not Ready For Prime Time Player" on Saturday Night Live, where he debuted his tribute to classic American Rock & Soul with cast mate Dan Aykroyd, The Blues Brothers, and later pushed for the show to feature representatives from the burgeoning Punk Rock scene.
In 1981, after he'd left the show, SNL asked if Belushi would make a cameo. Belushi agreed, but only if L.A. Punk act Fear could be musical guests that week. The band's performance on the show that Halloween was a wild introduction to Punk for many Americans, as the band blazed through the songs "Beef Bologna" and "New York's Alright If You Like Saxophones" in front of a stunned studio audience (who booed when the band announced it was "great to be in New Jersey") and a group of Punk Rock dancers brought in to mosh (Belushi joined the dance team, which also included Punk luminaries Ian MacKaye, Tesco Vee and members of Negative Approach and the Cro-mags). The show cut to a commercial as Fear revved up "Let's Have a War," and the band and dancers reportedly caused $20,000 in damages to the studio (Fear singer Lee Ving later bragged it was more like $500,000). The damage wasn't enough to keep Ving off of TV — a bit actor, Ving appeared on shows like Fame, Three's a Crowd and Who's the Boss in the ’80s.
Clearly, Belushi was a music die-hard. His tombstone reads: "I may be gone, but Rock and Roll lives on."
Here's John Joseph of the Cro-Mags talking about being on the set that fateful night, followed by footage of the performance. And you can check out Ian MacKaye's recollection of events here.
Click on for Born This Day featuring Scotland's greatest hits, including two from The Proclaimers.
—- Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers sharing a March 5 birthday include Reggae/Pop star ("Electric Avenue") Eddy Grant (1948); late R&B singer/songwriter Teena Marie (1956); late non-Bee Gee Gibb brother, Andy Gibb (1958); on-again/off-again Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante (1970); and both frontmen for Scottish Pop/Rock band The Proclaimers, Charlie and Craig Reid (1962).
In honor of the Reid twins 50th birthday, let's not listen to their breakthrough, overplayed hit "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)," but instead "Sunshine on Leith," the title track from the band's second album (which spawned "500 Miles"," as well).
Both "500 Miles" and "Sunshine" were chosen for Scotland's Greatest Album, a TV/album project that sought to compile the greatest songs by Scots from the previous four decades, with only three songs per decade. The Proclaimers were the only act to score two tracks on the Album ("Sunshine" for the ’80s and "500 Miles" for the ’90s, presumably because that's when it became a hit in the U.S., after being included on the Benny & Joon soundtrack).
The other Scottish songs included Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street," Rod Stewart's "Maggie May" and Stealers Wheel's "Stuck in the Middle" (for the ’70s); Deacon Blue's "Dignity" and "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" by Eurythmics (for the ’80s); The Waterboys' "The Whole of the Moon" and Frankie Miller's "Caledonia" (for the ’90s); and Snow Patrol's "Run," Paolo Nutini's "Candy" and Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out" (for the ’00s).