Today in Rock & Roll History: April 14th

1955: Imperial Records released “Ain’t That a Shame” by Fats Domino. Co-written with Dave Bartholomew, the single went to #1 on the Billboard R&B chart and was a top 10 hit on the pop charts. The song gained national attention after it was covered by Pat Boone, but Domino’s version soon after became more popular.

1960: After founding the Tamla and Motown record labels in 1959, Berry Gordy Jr. incorporated them into the Motown Records corporation.

1960: “Wonderful World” by Sam Cooke was released. Composed by Lou Adler and Herb Alpert with revised lyrics by Cooke, it became his biggest hit single since “You Send Me” in 1957, reaching #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B chart.

1962: “Lovers Who Wander” by Dion was released. The single was the title track from his third solo album and became his third solo top 5 hit, reaching #3.

1963: After their third appearance on the ITV show Thank Your Lucky Stars, the Beatles drove to the London town of Richmond to see a performance by new R&B group The Rolling Stones at the Crawdaddy Club. It was the first time the Beatles saw the Stones, and the two groups became friends and chart rivals throughout the 1960s.

1964: “Once Upon a Time” by Marvin Gaye and Mary Wells was released as a single from their duet album, Together.

1966: The Spencer Davis Group topped the UK singles chart for the second time with “Somebody Help Me.”

1967: The Bee Gees released their debut American single, “New York Mining Disaster 1941.” Aside from the success of the group’s “Spicks and Specks” single in Australia, it was the first release of the group’s international career and their first song to enter the charts in both the UK and the US.

1967: David Bowie released “The Laughing Gnome.” The novelty single failed to chart after its initial release, but on its re-release in 1973, reached #6 on the British charts.

1969: Three days after the release of their single “Get Back,” John Lennon and Paul McCartney were back in the studio for the recording of The Beatles’ next single, “The Ballad Of John And Yoko.” Neither guitarist George Harrison nor drummer Ringo Starr were present at the session, as Harrison was out looking for a new house to buy and Starr was working on the set of the film The Magic Christian.

1969: “In the Ghetto” by Elvis Presley was released as a single from his tenth studio album, From Elvis in Memphis. Originally titled “The Vicious Circle,” the song became Presley’s first top 10 hit in the US in four years, peaking at #3.

1969: Pink Floyd demonstrated the Azimuth Co-ordinator, a quadraphonic sound system for projecting sound from anywhere in a concert hall, during a show called “More Furious Madness From the Massed Gadgets of Auximenes” at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Constructed by technical engineer Bernard Speight at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios, the device was operated by keyboardist Richard Wright who used two joysticks to move the source of the band’s sound from speaker to speaker around the auditorium. Included in their performance were sequences in which the band sawed wood and nailed pieces together to form a table, and another where the group’s members were served tea. The first version of the co-ordinator had been stolen after the first concert in Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, and a second was built for the Royal Festival Hall show.

1969: The Monkees’ television special 33⅓ Revolutions per Monkee aired on NBC with musical guests that included Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Little Richard, the Clara Ward Singers, and the Buddy Miles Express. The plot featured rock musicians Brian Auger and Julie Driscoll as mad scientists looking for something to rot the minds of young people. The show proved to be the Monkees’ final performance as a quartet with Peter Tork quitting at the end of production. The group didn’t play together again until 1986.

1970: Creedence Clearwater Revival made their live debut in the UK playing the first of two nights at The Royal Albert Hall in London.

1972: The Rolling Stones released “Tumbling Dice,” the lead single from their tenth British and twelfth American studio album, Exile on Main St..

1973: Led Zeppelin scored their fourth straight #1 album on the UK chart with their fifth studio album, House of the Holy.

1974: Pete Townshend gave his first solo performance at London’s Roundhouse accompanied by homemade tapes. The show featured numerous covers as well as several Who classics.

1974: The Rolling Stones concert film Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones had its world premiere at the Zeigfeld Theater in New York on Easter Sunday. Featuring footage from four shows in Fort Worth and Houston, Texas during the band’s 1972 America tour, it was the first movie ever released in quadraphonic sound, and most theaters had to install new sound systems to screen the movie.

1975: After rumors that Jimmy Page, Steve Marriott, Jeff Beck, and Chris Spedding were potential replacements for guitarist Mick Taylor in The Rolling Stones, a press release confirmed that Ron Wood would be joining the band for their forthcoming American tour. Wood was later officially named a member of the Stones that December.

1976: Stevie Wonder signed an unprecedented $13 million seven-year renewal contract with Motown Records. Wonder had had twenty hit singles and eleven best-selling albums by that point, and after finalizing the deal, Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. said, “There was no way I was going to lose Stevie.”

1979: The Doobie Brothers went to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with their second and final #1 single in the US, “What A Fool Believes.”

1981: The Cure released their third studio album, Faith.

1983: David Bowie’s fifteenth studio album, Let’s Dance, was released. After leaving RCA Records and signing with EMI America in late 1982, Bowie tapped Nile Rodgers of Chic to co-produce the LP, and sessions included then-unknown Texas guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan. It became his best selling album, selling over ten million copies worldwide, and produced three of Bowie’s most successful singles: “Let’s Dance,” “Modern Love,” and “China Girl.”

1987: The Cure released “Why Can’t I Be You?,” the lead single from their seventh studio album, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me.

1989: Fine Young Cannibals released “Good Thing” from their final studio album, The Raw & the Cooked. It became the group’s second of two #1 singles in the US.

1997: Depeche Mode released their ninth studio album, Ultra. It was the band’s first album following the departure of Alan Wilder, their first recorded as a trio since A Broken Frame in 1982, and their first in which the band’s members were not involved with production.

Birthdays Today

Bill Harris, guitarist and member of The Clovers from 1950-1958, was born in Nashville, NC in 1925.

Loretta Lynn, country music singer-songwriter, was born Loretta Webb in Butcher Hollow, KY in 1932.

Tony Burrows, singer for The Ivy League, The Flower Pot Men, Edison Lighthouse, The Pipkins, The First Class, and Brotherhood of Man, session vocalist for several artists, and a solo artist, was born in Exeter, Devon, England in 1942.

Patrick Fairley, vocalist and guitarist for The Marmalade, was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1943.

Mike Brewer, singer, songwriter, and half of folk rock duo Brewer & Shipley, was born in Oklahoma City, OK in 1944.

Ritchie Blackmore, guitarist and founding member of Deep Purple, was born in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, England in 1945.

Larry Ferguson, keyboardist for Hot Chocolate from 1969-1986, was born in Nassau, The Bahamas in 1948.

June Millington, guitarist, songwriter, producer, educator, actress, and co-founder and lead guitarist for Fanny, one of the first all-female rock bands to achieve commercial and critical success, was born in Manila, Philippines in 1948.

Dennis Bryon, drummer for Amen Corner who also worked with the Bee Gees from 1974-1979, was born in Cardiff, Wales in 1949.

Joey Pesce, keyboardist for ‘Til Tuesday, was born in 1962.

Win Butler, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, co-founder of Arcade Fire, was born in Truckee, CA.