Today in Rock & Roll History: April 17th

1961: Ray Charles topped the Billboard R&B chart with “One Mint Julep.”

1964: Bob Dylan had his first #1 album when his second studio album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan reached the top of the UK album chart. The LP was also Dylan’s first to chart in the US, where it reached #22.

1964: Dusty Springfield’s debut album A Girl Called Dusty was released. The album later reached #6 on the UK chart.

1964: Them, with lead singer Van Morrison, made their live debut at the Maritime Hotel in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

1965: “Just a Little” by The Beau Brummels entered the Billboard Hot 100. The song became the band’s highest charting song, peaking at #8, and reached the tops of the charts in Canada and Australia. The song had been produced by disc jockey and Autumn Records staff producer Sylvester Stewart, who later became more well-known as Sly Stone.

1966: The Beatles recorded seven takes of “Doctor Robert,” a track later released on their Revolver album. Multiple theories have since circulated regarding the identity of Doctor Robert and the substances he peddled.

1967: The Music Explosion debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Little Bit O’ Soul.” The single became the group’s biggest hit and only to reach the top 40, peaking at #2.

1969: Bob Dylan’s former backing group, simply known as The Band, made their first standalone appearance at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom.

1970: Paul McCartney’s first solo album was released in the UK three days before it was issued in the US. Titled McCartney, he had recorded the album in secret using home recording equipment and playing all the instruments himself. Upon release, the album received mixed reviews from critics, partly due to what were perceived as unfinished songs, as well as McCartney’s role in the break-up of the Beatles. Amid sour reviews however, the track “Maybe I’m Amazed” received consistent praise.

1970: Santana began sessions for what became their breakthrough second album Abraxas at Wally Heider Recording Studio in San Francisco, California.

1970: Ten Years After’s fourth studio album Cricklewood Green was released.

1970: The eponymous debut album by Brinsley Schwarz was released.

1971: Three Dog Night started six weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with their second #1 hit, “Joy to the World.”

1971: Carly Simon debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with “That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be” from her self-titled debut album.

1971: “Love Her Madly” by the Doors was released. It became the band’s seventh Billboard Top 40 single, reaching #11, and made it to #7 on the Cash Box chart.

1971: All four former members of the Beatles had solo singles on the UK chart—“Another Day” by Paul McCartney, “Power To The People” by John Lennon, “My Sweet Lord” by George Harrison, and “It Don’t Come Easy” by Ringo Starr.

1972: Neil Young released “Old Man,” the second single from his fourth studio LP, Harvest. The song later went to #31 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1973: The Eagles released their second studio album Desperado which later reached #41 on the Billboard chart.

1981: “Stray Cat Strut,” the third single by Stray Cats from their self-titled first album, was released in the UK. The record peaked at #11 and was later release in the US in June of 1982 to promote the band’s first American LP, Built for Speed.

1982: Vangelis began four weeks at #1 on the Billboard pop album chart with the soundtrack to the film Chariots of Fire.

1993: David Bowie went to the top of the UK album chart with Black Tie White Noise, his eighth #1 LP in the UK.

Birthdays Today

Don Kirshner, producer and songwriter who managed the Monkees and Kansas, formed the Archies, was involved with several record labels, and worked with several Brill Building songwriters such as Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Neil Sedaka, Neil Diamond, Phil Spector, Paul Simon, Barry Mann, and Cynthia Weil, was born in the Bronx, NY in 1934.

Don Buchla, inventor, composer, and pioneer in the field of sound synthesizers, was born in South Gate, CA in 1937.

Billy Fury, pop singer, was born Ronald Wycherley in Liverpool, England in 1940.

Jan Hammer, composer and producer who’s collaborated with many jazz and rock musicians including Jeff Beck, Mick Jagger, Carlos Santana, John McLaughlin, and Tommy Bolin, was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1948.

Michael Sembello, songwriter, composer, producer, and solo artist, who began his career as a session guitarist for Stevie Wonder, was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1954.

Pete Shelley, singer, songwriter, guitarist, and leader of the Buzzcocks, was born Peter Campbell McNeish in Leigh, Lancashire, England in 1955.

Liz Phair, singer, songwriter, and guitarist, was born in New Haven, CT in 1967.

Matt Chamberlain, songwriter, producer, and session drummer who’s played with many artists including Tori Amos, Edie Brickell, Pearl Jam, David Bowie, Morrisey, Natalie Merchant, Eric Clapton, Randy Newman, and Brandi Carlile, was born in San Pedro, CA in 1967.