Today in Rock & Roll History: April 16th

1956: Buddy Holly’s debut single, “Love Me” backed with “Blues Days—Black Nights,” was released by Decca Records. The single was the result of Holly’s first recording session at producer Owen Bradley’s barn studio in Nashville. The song represented a more country sound than Holly liked, and combined with lack of promotion, was a commercial failure.

1964: The Rolling Stones’ self-titled debut album was released in the UK by Decca Records. The LP sold over 200,000 copies and quickly rose to #1 on the British chart, where it stayed for a total of twelve weeks. An American version of the album with a slightly different track list was later released by London Records at the end of May with the subtitle England’s Newest Hit Makers. It reached #11 on the Billboard pop chart in the US.

1964: The Beatles filmed the “chase scenes” for their film A Hard Days Night with actors dressed as policemen in the Notting Hill Gate area of London. That evening, they recorded the film’s title track at EMI Studios.

1965: The self-titled debut album by Scottish folk musician Bert Jansch was released. The album includes his best known song, “Needle of Death,” which had been inspired by the death of his friend, folk singer Buck Polly.

1965: Before they even cracked the American top 100, the Hollies began their first US tour in New York at the Paramount Theatre as part Soupy Sales’ “Easter In Person Show,” a package show featuring several lesser-known acts like the Hullaballoos, the Exciters, The Vibrations, Dee Dee Warwick, The Detergents, Shirley Ellis, and King Curtis. Also performing was Little Richard with his band The Upsetters. Among the band’s members was a flashy young guitarist who went by the name Maurice James. James only lasted a few months with the Upsetters after proving to be too much of a showman with the potential to upstage Richard. A few years later, he began performing under the name Jimi Hendrix.

1966: “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” by Bob Dylan entered the Billboard Hot 100, where the single later reached #2.

1966: The Mindbenders entered the Billboard Hot 100 with “A Groovy Kind of Love,” their first single without the group’s founder, Wayne Fontana. The song had already reached #2 on the UK chart, and that summer the record peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Cash Box singles chart.

1969: Desmond Dekker and the Aces achieved their only #1 single on the UK chart with “The Israelites.”

1971: The Rolling Stones released “Brown Sugar,” the first single on the band’s Rolling Stones Records label, which also introduced the infamous tongue-and-lips logo designed by art designer John Pasche.

1971: A week after its release in the US, “It Don’t Come Easy” by Ringo Starr was released in the UK.

1972: Deep Purple scored their second UK #1 album with their sixth studio LP, Machine Head. The album reached #7 in the US in August and remained on the Billboard chart for 118 weeks.

1972: Electric Light Orchestra played their first live show at the Greyhound Pub in Croydon, Surrey, England. The group’s original line-up didn’t last, with the departure of cellist Andy Craig during the recording of the band’s second LP, closely followed by co-founder Roy Wood, who took with him keyboardist Bill Hunt and cellist Hugh McDowell to form Wizzard.

1973: Paul McCartney’s first solo television special, titled James Paul McCartney, aired in the US on ABC. McCartney had agreed to star in the program for Britain’s ATV network in order to settle his two-year legal dispute with the network’s owner and, by extension, owner of the Beatles’ Northern Songs Catalogue, Sir Lew Grade. McCartney’s commitment to the television project, which featured performances by McCartney and Wings, allowed him to retain the second composer’s publishing royalties, which otherwise would have been assigned to Grade’s company.

1974: Shortly after their second studio album made it to American record stores, Queen made their concert debut in the US at Denver’s Regis College supporting Mott the Hoople.

1983: “Electric Avenue” by Eddy Grant entered Billboard Hot 100. The record became his biggest single and peaked at #2.

1990: Bonnie Raitt, Chrissie Hynde, Jackson Brown, Lou Reed, Neil Young, Peter Gabriel, Simple Minds, and Tracy Chapman were among the artists who performed at Wembley Stadium in London as part of a celebration of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. The concert was held two months after Mandela’s release and was broadcast to more than sixty countries.

1994: Bonnie Raitt had her second #1 album on the Billboard pop chart with her twelfth studio LP, Longing in Their Hearts.

Birthdays Today

Rudy Pompilli, musician best known for playing tenor saxophone with Bill Haley and His Comets, was born in Chester, PA in 1924.

Ed Townsend, R&B singer, songwriter, and producer, was born in Fayetteville, TN in 1929.

Roy Hamilton, soul singer, was born in Leesburg, GA in 1929.

Herbie Mann, jazz flutist and early practitioner of world music, was born Herbert Jay Solomon in Brooklyn, NY in 1930.

Perry Botkin Jr., composer, producer, arranger, and musician who worked with Bobby Darin, Harry Nilsson, The Lettermen, Harpers Bizarre, and others, was born in New York City in 1933.

Robert Stigwood, manager of Cream, the Bee Gees, theatrical productions like Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar, as well as film productions including Grease and Saturday Night Fever, was born in Port Pirie, South Australia, Australia in 1934.

Bobby Vinton, singer and songwriter, was born Stanley Robert Vinton, Jr. in Canonsburg, PA in 1935.

Dusty Springfield, pop and soul singer, was born Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien in West Hampstead, London in 1939.

Dave Peverett, guitarist for Savoy Brown and founder and original lead vocalist for Foghat, was born in Dulwich, London, England in 1943.

Gerry Rafferty, singer-songwriter and co-founder of Stealers Wheel, was born in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland in 1947.

John Bentley, bassist with Squeeze from 1980-1982, was born in Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England in 1951.

Peter Garrett, environmentalist, politician, and lead singer of Midnight Oil, was born in Sydney, Australia in 1953.

Dave Pirner, songwriter, producer, and lead singer of Soul Asylum, was born in Green Bay, WI in 1964.