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.

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 had seen the Stones, and the two groups became friends and chart rivals throughout the 1960s.

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.

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: 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 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.

1973: Led Zeppelin scored their fourth straight #1 album on the UK chart with their fifth LP, 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 and 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.”

1983: David Bowie’s fifteenth studio album Let’s Dance was released. It became his best selling album, selling over ten million copies worldwide, and contains three of Bowie’s most successful singles: “Let’s Dance,” “Modern Love,” and “China Girl.”

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.

Birthdays Today

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

Tony Burrows, lead singer for Edison Lighthouse and a solo artist, was born in Exeter, Devon, England in 1942.

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.

Pat Fairley, vocalist and guitarist for Marmalade, was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1946.

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