Today in Rock & Roll History: April 15th

1957: “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On” by Jerry Lee Lewis was released. Written by Dave “Curlee” Williams and first recorded by singer Big Maybelle in 1955, Lewis’ version was recorded during his second sessoin for Sun Records and became his first hit, reaching #3 on the Billboard pop chart and #1 on the country and R&B charts.

1964: Together, the first and only studio album by Marvin Gaye and Mary Wells, was released by Motown. The hope was that Gaye, then a rising artist, would benefit from the exposure of being paired with Wells, an established star with a #1 record to her name. The album became the first album credited to Gaye to enter the charts, and peaked at #42 on the Billboard pop chart.

1965: “What The World Needs Now Is Love” by Jackie DeShannon was released. Written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach, it became DeShannon’s first top 10 single on the Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at #7, and second #1 in Canada. Her previously highest-charting record “Needles and Pins” had only reached #84 in the US.

1965: “Back in My Arms Again” by The Supremes was released as the second single from their sixth studio album, More Hits by The Supremes. It became the group’s fifth consecutive #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart and also reached the top of the R&B chart.

1966: Buffalo Springfield made their first concert appearance at the Swing Auditorium in San Bernadino, California opening for the Byrds, the Dillards, and Mastin & Brewer. The show was the first stop on a seven-day tour of Southern California opening for The Dillards and The Byrds. The band used electric instruments discarded by the Dillards, who a month later returned to their bluegrass roots.

1966: “Pretty Flamingo” by Manfred Mann was released. The single reached the top of the UK chart and was a minor hit in the US, where it peaked at #29 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1966: The US version of the Rolling Stones’ album Aftermath, was issued as the band’s sixth American LP. It was their first to consist entirely of compositions by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Brian Jones played a variety of instruments not usually associated with their music, including sitar, Appalachian dulcimer, marimbas, and Japanese koto, though much of the music is still rooted in Chicago electric blues. Recorded at RCA Studios in California, it was the first Rolling Stones album to be recorded entirely in the US as well as the group’s first album released in true stereo. Aftermath is also one of the earliest rock albums to eclipse the 50-minute mark and contains one of the earliest rock songs to exceed 10 minutes, “Goin’ Home.”

1969: Al Green released his second studio album, Green Is Blues. The LP is considered Green’s breakthrough and reached #19 on the Billboard pop chart and #3 on the R&B chart. It was also his first collaboration with musician and producer Willie Mitchell, beginning a partnership that lasted both of their careers.

1971: The Supremes released “Nathan Jones,” the lead single from their twenty-third studio album, Touch.

1972: Roberta Flack achieved her first #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” The record spent six weeks at the top and was Billboard’s #1 song at the end of the year.

1972: James Taylor, Carole King, Barbra Streisand, and Quincy Jones and his Orchestra performed at the “Four For McGovern” benefit concert for Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern at the Los Angeles Forum. Organized by Warren Beatty, celebrity ushers at the event included Beatty, Jack Nicholson, Julie Christie, Gene Hackman, Burt Lancaster, Jon Voight, Sally Kellerman, Robert Vaughn, Mama Cass, John Philip Law, Peggy Lipton, Michelle Phillips. Additional celebrities in the audience included Gregory Peck, Britt Eklund, Carly Simon, and Joni Mitchell.

1973: Michael Jackson released his third studio album, Music & Me.

1976: “Love is Alive” Gary Wright entered the Billboard Hot 100, where it later became Wright’s second of two top 10 hits on the chart and peaked at #2 by the end of July.

1977: Little Feat released their sixth studio album, Time Loves a Hero.

1977: The Stranglers released their debut album, Rattus Norvegicus. It reached #4 on the UK chart and became one of the highest-selling albums of the punk era in Britain.

1983: Spandau Ballet released “True,” third single and title track from their third album. The song was a worldwide hit and was the group’s only #1 on the UK chart. In the US, it was their only top 10 single, peaking at #4.

1983: “(Keep Feeling) Fascination” by The Human League was released. The single went to #2 on the UK chart and, after its release in the US a month later, reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became the group’s first #1 hit on Billboard’s Dance Music/Club Play chart. Multiple versions of the song were later included on Fascination!, an EP released by the group between their third and fourth studio albums.

1989: Leo Kottke released My Father’s Face, his second album with producer T Bone Burnett.

1989: Roy Orbison had his first top 10 hit in the US in 25 years with “You Got It,” which had been released in January after his death in December. Orbison’s fellow Traveling Wilburys bandmates Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne co-wrote the song and also played instruments on the record.

1989: Fine Young Cannibals had their first of two #1 singles in the US with “She Drives Me Crazy.”

1991: The Doobie Brothers released their eleventh studio album, Brotherhood. It was the band’s final album with bassist Tiran Porter and original drummer John Hartman.

1993: R.E.M. released “Everybody Hurts,” the fourth single from their eighth studio album, Automatic for the People. It was a top 10 hit in several countries around the world and peaked at #29 in the US.

1997: INXS released their tenth studio album, Elegantly Wasted.

1997: U2 released “Staring at the Sun,” the second single from their ninth studio album, Pop.

2003: Fleetwood Mac released their seventeenth studio album, Say You Will. It was the band’s first album without Christine McVie since “Time” in 1995 and was their last with Lindsey Buckingham, who was fired from the group in 2018.

Birthdays Today

Bessie Smith, highly regarded singer known as the “Empress of the Blues,” who was a major influence on many blues and jazz singers, was born in Chattanooga, TN in 1894.

Roy Clark, country singer and musician, was born in Meherrin, VA in 1933.

Eddie Cooley, singer and songwriter who co-wrote “Fever” and had a hit in 1956 with “Priscilla,” was born in Atlanta, GA in 1933.

Reshad Feild, mystic, author, musician, and founding member of The Springfields, was born in Hascombe, Surrey, England in 1934.

Bob Luman, country and rockabilly singer-songwriter, was born in Nacogdoches, TX in 1937.

Ron Dunbar, songwriter, A&R director, and record producer who worked closely with Motown’s Holland–Dozier–Holland and with George Clinton, and whose co-writing credits include hit songs such as “Give Me Just a Little More Time,” “Band of Gold,” and “Patches,” was born in Detroit, MI in 1939.

Marty Wilde, singer, songwriter, and father of pop singers Ricky, Kim and Roxanne Wilde, was born in Blackheath, South London, England in 1939.

Dave Edmunds, singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor, and record producer, was born in Cardiff, Wales in 1944.

Michael Kamen, composer, orchestra arranger and conductor, songwriter, and session musician who worked with Pink Floyd, David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Queen, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, David Bowie, Bryan Ferry, Eurythmics, Herbie Hancock, Jim Croce, Colday, Sting, Kate Bush, Bryan Adams, and many others, was born in New York City in 1948.

Linda Perry, singer-songwriter, producer, and lead singer and songwriter for 4 Non Blondes, was born in Springfield, MA in 1965.

Ed O’Brien, guitarist for Radiohead and solo artist known as EOB, was born in Oxford, England in 1968.

Patrick Carney, drummer for the Black Keys, was born in Akron, OH in 1980.