Today in Rock & Roll History: April 11th

1956: James Brown and the Famous Flames debuted on the Billboard R&B chart with their first single, “Please, Please, Please.” The record eventually made it to #6 that summer and became the group’s signature song.

1961: 19-year-old Bob Dylan performed his first live gig opening for John Lee Hooker at Gerde’s Folk City in New York City’s West Village.

1963: “From Me to You” by the Beatles was released as their third single in the UK with “Thank You Girl” as its B-side. The song failed to make an impact in the US upon its initial release. Instead, a cover version by Del Shannon became the first song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney to enter the US pop charts.

1963: “Needles and Pins” by Jackie DeShannon was released. The song was written by Jack Nitzche and Sonny Bono, and DeShannon was the first to record it. Though it only reached #84 in the US, it went all the way to #1 in Canada. The song has been recorded by several other artists.

1963: Gerry & The Pacemakers topped the UK chart with their debut single, “How Do You Do It?.”

1964: The Beatles had a record fourteen songs on the Billboard 100 chart. Previously, the highest number of concurrent singles by one artist on the Hot 100 was nine by Elvis Presley in December of 1956.

1966: Buffalo Springfield made their live debut at an unbilled gig at The Troubadour in Hollywood, California. Allegedly, they were the first group allowed to use electric instruments in the venue known for its folk performances. In attendance at the show was Chris Hillman of the Byrds, who invited the group to open for his band in a series of shows across Southern California. Afterward, a residency at Los Angeles’ Whisky A Go Go club made Buffalo Springfield a sensation on the Sunset Strip and one of the first bands to become popular in the wake of the British Invasion.

1968: Janis Joplin made her television debut when Big Brother and the Holding Company performed on ABC-TV’s variety show Hollywood Palace.

1969: “Get Back” by the Beatles was released as a single. Credited to “The Beatles and Billy Preston,” a different mix of the song later became the closing track of the band’s final album, Let It Be. The record went to #1 across the globe and was also the Beatles’ first single released in the US in true stereo.

1970: Two weeks after topping the Cash Box singles chart, the Beatles started two weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Let It Be,” the title track from the band’s final album. It was the group’s nineteenth #1 in six years.

1970: While Fleetwood Mac was on tour in Europe, guitarist Peter Green announced he was leaving the band to follow his religious beliefs, though he did fulfill his contractual obligation to finish the band’s current tour.

1972: Creedence Clearwater Revival released Mardi Gras, the band’s seventh and final studio album. Recorded after the departure of guitarist Tom Fogerty, it was their only album as a trio.

1972: “Automatically Sunshine” by The Supremes was released as the second single from their twenty-fifth studio album, Floy Joy.

1973: The Byrds released “Full Circle,” the lead single from their eponymous twelfth and final studio album. The song was written and first recorded by Byrds member Gene Clark as “Full Circle Song” for his third studio album, Roadmaster.

1974: Nearly two years after it had been released as the closing track of David Bowie’s fifth studio album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide” was issued as a single. Bowie’s label, RCA, was impatient for new material, so they arbitrarily picked the song for single release. It subsequently stalled on the British chart at #22.

1977: The Beach Boys released their twenty-first studio album, The Beach Boys Love You. Originally planned as a Brian Wilson solo outing named Brian Loves You, the album is almost entirely written and performed by Wilson.

1981: Hall & Oates scored their second #1 single in the US with “Kiss On My List.”

1984: The Pointer Sisters released “Jump (For My Love),” the third single from their tenth studio album, Break Out.

1987: The Count Five, who’s hit “Psychotic Reaction” reached #5 in the US in 1965, reunited twenty-two years later for a show at the One Step Beyond club in Santa Clara, California. The performance was later released in 1993 as Psychotic Reunion LIVE!.

1987: Prince had his fifth #1 on Billboard’s R&B singles chart with “Sign o’ the Times,” the title track from his ninth studio album.

1988: Neil Young released his sixteenth studio album, This Note’s for You. Recorded with a band credited as the Bluenotes, the album marked Young’s return to the recently reactivated Reprise Records and its concept centers of the commercialism of rock and roll, and tours in particular.

1994: Oasis released their first single, “Supersonic,” which later went to #31 on the UK chart.

1994: “I’ll Stand by You” by The Pretenders released in the UK as the lead single from the band’s sixth studio album, Last of the Independents. It was issued in the US in July.

Birthdays Today

Cleotha Staples, eldest sibling in gospel and R&B group the Staple Singers, was born in Drew, MS in 1934.

Richard Berry, singer, songwriter, and musician best known as the composer and original performer of the rock standard “Louie Louie,” was born in Extension, LA in 1935.

Freddie Gorman, singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer, and member of Motown session group The Originals who co-wrote the label’s first #1 pop hit, “Please Mr. Postman,” was born in Detroit, MI in 1939.

Neville Staple, singer for The Specials, founder of Funk Boy 3, and frontman for The Neville Staple Band, was born in Manchester, Jamaica in 1955.

Stuart Adamson, guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, and co-founder of Big Country, was born in Manchester, England in 1958.

Doug Hopkins, musician, songwriter, and co-founder of the Gin Blossoms, was born in Seattle, WA in 1961.

Joss Stone, singer and songwriter, was born in Dover, Kent, England in 1987.