Today in Rock & Roll History: April 13th

1957: “All Shook Up” by Elvis Presley went to #1 on the Billboard and Cash Box singles charts for the first of eight weeks.

1963: The Beatles made their BBC debut on The 625 Show performing “From Me To You,” “Thank You Girl,” and “Please Please Me.”

1965: The Beatles recorded “Help!” at EMI Studios in London. The record served as the title song for the group’s film of the same name as well as its soundtrack album.

1966: The Beatles began recording “Paperback Writer” at EMI Studios in London during sessions in which they developed the composition over the course of several hours. Paul McCartney reportedly wrote the song in response to a request from his aunt who had asked him to “write a song not about love.” It was the loudest Beatles recording to date, utilizing the newly devised “Automatic Transient Overload Control,” a piece of equipment created by the EMI maintenance department.

1966: During a four month world tour, Bob Dylan and his band appeared at Sydney Stadium for the first of seven shows in Australia. Labeled by many as a “protest singer,” Dylan was the target of vicious attacks from Australia’s media due to anxiety over the nation’s escalating involvement in the Vietnam War and the growing mood of anti-authoritarianism among the country’s youth. Since then, the tour has been recognized as a watershed in the development of popular music, and that Dylan’s departure from purely acoustic music broke down the barrier that separated pop and folk.

1967: Nancy and Frank Sinatra were at #1 on the UK singles chart with “Somethin’ Stupid,” making them the only father and daughter to have a chart topping single as a team. Two days later, the record topped the chart in America for the first of four weeks.

1967: During the middle of the Cold War, The Rolling Stones played their first gig behind the Iron Curtain at Warsaw’s Congress Hall in Poland. During their European tour, the Stones had been eager to contribute to their controversial reputation and do a show in Moscow, though those plans fell through. Despite the band’s rowdy reputation, Poland’s monopolistic, state-owned concert agency allowed to perform in the country. Riot police were called in to deal the two thousand people that showed up hoping to get themselves tickets. Most, however, had been distributed for free among communist party members and their families.

1973: David Bowie released Aladdin Sane, his sixth studio album and the follow-up to his breakthrough LP “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.” The album’s titular persona was an evolution of Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust character and the name was a pun on “A Lad Insane.” Described by Bowie as “Ziggy goes to America,” the album consists mostly of tracks composed on the road during his 1972 US tour. Three weeks after its release, the album became Bowie’s first #1 when it reached the top of the UK chart.

1974: Elton John went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with “Bennie And The Jets,” his second chart-topper and the final single released from his “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” album. John had been reluctant to release the track as a single, believing it would fail, but after radio station CKLW in Windsor, Ontario started playing the record, it was soon added to the playlists of Top 40 stations across the US and Canada. By August of 1976, the single had sold nearly three million copies.

1974: Paul McCartney and Wings’ third studio album Band On The Run went to #1 on the Billboard pop chart. It was Paul McCartney’s third post-Beatles album to reach the top of the chart, Wings’ first #1 LP in the UK, and went on to sell over six million copies world-wide.

1985: USA For Africa started a four-week run at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “We Are The World.” The US artists’ answer to Band Aid had an all-star cast including Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross, Bob Dylan, Daryl Hall, Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, Kim Carnes, Ray Charles, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, and the song’s composers, Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie.

Birthdays Today

Lester Chambers, vocalist and percussionist for the Chambers Brothers, was born in Mississippi in 1940.

John McElrath, keyboardist for the Swingin’ Medallions, was born in Greenwood, SC in 1941.

Jack Casady, bass guitarist and founding member of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, who also played with Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Country Joe and the Fish, and others, was born in Washington, D.C. in 1944.

Brian Pendleton, guitarist and founding member of the Pretty Things, was born in Durham, England in 1944.

Lowell George, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and the primary guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for Little Feat, was born in Hollywood, CA in 1945.

Roy Loney, singer, songwriter, and original lead vocalist for Flamin’ Groovies, was born in San Francisco, CA in 1946.

Al Green, soul singer, songwriter, and producer, was born in Forrest City, AR in 1946.

Mike Chapman, songwriter and producer who created hit singles for artists such as Suzi Quatro and The Sweet and produced breakthrough albums by Blondie and The Knack, was born in Nambour, Queensland, Australia in 1947.

Max Weinberg, longtime drummer for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, was born in Newark, NJ in 1951.

Sam Bush, singer and mandolinist considered an originator of progressive bluegrass music and the “Father of Newgrass,” was born in Bowling Green, KY in 1952.

Jimmy Destri, keyboardist and songwriter for Blondie, was born James Mollica in Brooklyn, NY in 1954.

Louis Johnson, bassist for The Brothers Johnson, was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1955.

Butch Taylor, composer, writer, keyboardist, and longtime guest musician with Dave Matthews Band, was born Clarence Flanaghan Taylor in Shawsville, VA in 1961.

Hillel Slovak, original guitarist for Red Hot Chili Peppers, was born in Haifa, Israel in 1962.

Marc Ford, former lead guitarist for The Black Crowes and The Magpie Salute, and leader of his own bands, was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1966.