Today in Rock & Roll History: April 17th

1961: “Heart and Soul” by doo-wop group The Cleftones was released. It became their most successful single, reaching #18 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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

1964: The Dave Clark Five released their version of “Do You Love Me,” a song that was first recorded by Motown group The Contours in 1962.

1964: Scottish singer Lulu, backed by the Luvvers, released her debut single, a cover of the Isley Brothers’ “Shout.” It became a top 10 hit in the UK, reaching #7. She re-recorded the song in 1986 and it reached #8.

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: A day after her twenty-fifth birthday, Dusty Springfield released her debut studio album, A Girl Called Dusty. It 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: Freddie and the Dreamers entered the Billboard Hot 100 with “I’m Telling You Now.”

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 was 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 seventh studio album, Revolver. 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 one to enter 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, it was recorded the album in secret using home recording equipment and with McCartney 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: “Abraham, Martin and John” by Marvin Gaye released as a single in the UK, where it peaked at #9. In the US, the song was included on his album “That’s the Way Love Is.” Gaye’s recording of the song, which was first recorded by Dion in 1968, was one of the first instances of social messages in his music, which culminated in his 1971 album, What’s Going On.

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.

1972: Elton John released “Rocket Man,” the lead single from his fifth studio album, Honky Château.

1973: The Eagles released their second studio album Desperado which later reached #41 on the Billboard chart. On the same day, the album’s first single, “Tequila Sunrise,” was also released.

1976: Thin Lizzy released “The Boys Are Back in Town,” the first single from their sixth studio album, Jailbreak. It became their second #1 in their home country of Ireland and their biggest hit in the US, where it reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1980: Pink Floyd released “Run Like Hell,” the second single from their eleventh studio album, The Wall.

1981: “Stray Cat Strut,” the third single by the 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.

1984: R.E.M.’s second studio album, Reckoning, was released in the US a week after it was issued in the UK. It went to #27 in the US compared to peaking at #91 in the UK.

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

2009: Depeche Mode released their twelfth studio album, “Sounds of the Universe.”

2010: The Rolling Stones released “Plundered My Soul” on Record Story Day as the first song from the re-release of their 1972 album Exile on Main St..

Birthdays Today

Sam Carr, drummer for the Jelly Roll Kings, was born in Marvell, AR in 1926.

Chris Barber, jazz musician and bandleader who helped the careers of musicians such as Lonnie Donegan and Alexis Korner and was a significant figure in launching the skiffle craze of the 1950s and the British rhythm and blues “beat boom” of the 1960s, was born in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, England in 1930.

David Axelrod, composer, arranger, producer, and one of the first recording artists to fuse elements of jazz, rock, and R&B, was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1931.

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 and songwriter, was born Ronald Wycherley in Liverpool, England in 1940.

Tony Crane, lead guitarist, vocalist, and founder of The Merseybeats, was born in Anfield, Liverpool, England in 1945.

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

Graham Bell, pop and rock singer and member of Skip Bifferty, Every Which Way, Bell & Arc, and Tea Bags, was born in Blyth, Northumberland, England 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.