Third in a sort-of series, I write about the Rolling Stones’ third (of four) concerts at San Bernardino’s Swing Auditorium in Friday’s column, 55 years to the day of the show itself. I’m a little amazed how much information I was able to find from various sources about one 1960s concert, although I thought that the first two times too. We’ll resume this series in July 2021, the 55th anniversary of the fourth concert.
Rick Gonzalez has been cutting hair in San Bernardino since 1957. Now 84, he closed his shop Tuesday after seeing a few last customers, some of whom have been coming to him for decades. I observe his last morning and write about it for Wednesday’s column. Above, Gonzalez works on Hank Valance, 81, a customer since about 1960.
You probably know, at least if you’re of the right age, that Sammy Davis Jr. lost an eye. But did you know he lost his eye in San Bernardino?
That happened 65 years ago. I write about that bit of notoriety, the crush of celebrities who visited him in the hospital and the star-studded benefit concert he led four years later on behalf of the hospital, all in Sunday’s column.
Trivia note: I knew about the accident after, years ago, being told that it had happened in Cucamonga and researching it only to find that was a bum tip. But I only learned about the benefit concert last summer, when I looked at Swing Auditorium’s Wikipedia entry before writing about the Rolling Stones’ concerts there. At that point I decided I needed to write about the accident’s 65th anniversary when it came up. Sometimes one column leads to another…
As promised — or threatened? — I return to the subject of the Rolling Stones in San Bernardino on the anniversary of their second concert at Swing Auditorium, Oct. 31, 1964. This has an interesting angle, as a teen who covered the concert, and interviewed the band, for the San Bernardino Sun went on to become a well-regarded rock journalist. I tell that story in Wednesday’s column.
In my third (!) column about the Rolling Stones relating to San Bernardino, two cousins tell me about a teenage adventure in which they went to LAX to see the band arrive on June 3, 1964. Their moms and siblings came along. Also, a man shares the story of watching the band flee Swing Auditorium after their first concert there, and, jumping ahead to a couple of weeks ago, a friend tells me about her adventure with the band at the Rose Bowl concert. So many adventures, all in Sunday’s column.
Because almost all reader comments for my Rolling-Stones-at-Swing-Auditorium column were squeezed out last week, I was planning a follow-up for Sunday. I wrote a few paragraphs Thursday before I headed home. And then, greeting me Friday morning was a most excellent email, plus two vintage photos, that elevated the whole effort. Read how an 18-year-old girl in San Bernardino helped turn the city on to this unknown band from England in Sunday’s column.
It’s a famous piece of rock lore and local lore that the Rolling Stones, who of course are from England, made their American concert debut in, of all places, San Bernardino. With the band performing this Thursday in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl, the timing seemed right to investigate. I may have pieced together the definitive account, and it’s in Sunday’s column. If my account is not definitive, it’s at least the most recent, right?
A month after I wrote about the Boss lyric “‘cross the San Bernardino line” on the song “Sleepy Joe’s Cafe” on his latest album, “Western Stars,” I return to the topic with some speculation about a real-life place, long gone alas, that could have served as inspiration. Also: the ONT escalator is fixed, plus a Valley Vignette regarding Upland, all in Sunday’s column.
A lyric on Bruce Springsteen’s latest album references a fictional bar “‘cross the San Bernardino line.” What does that mean? I wonder — and speculate. That reference provides a good segue to announce that starting today, my columns will also be appearing in the (San Bernardino) Sun. I explain that and introduce myself to my new readers, and reintroduce myself to regular readers, in Wednesday’s column.
As for what the expanded territory will mean in practice, time will tell. I was informed only last Thursday. I haven’t been given any specific instructions other than the sensible one of not alienating Berdoo-area readers. (I’m hoping they don’t prove easily alienated.) Your comments and questions are welcome.