Today in Rock & Roll History: April 19th

1963: “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash was released. Written by June Carter Cash and Merle Kilgore, the song was first recorded by June’s sister, Anita Carter, earlier that year. Johnny Cash’s version topped the country chart for seven weeks and became one of his biggest hits.

1964: The Rollings Stones’ self-titled debut LP entered the UK chart. A week later it went to #1, where it stayed for a dozen consecutive weeks.

1965: “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” by Otis Redding was released as a single from his third studio album, Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul.

1965: “Ticket to Ride” by the Beatles was released by Capitol Records in the US ten days after its UK release. The single’s label stated that the song was from the group’s upcoming movie Eight Arms to Hold You, the working title for the film that was later released as Help!.

1968: The second album by the Zombies, Odessey and Oracle, was released in the UK. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios in 1967, the album was initially received indifferently, but “Time of the Season” later became a hit in the US in 1969, and since then the LP has become one of the most acclaimed albums of the 1960s.

1969: The Isley Brothers started four weeks at the top of the Billboard R&B chart with “It’s Your Thing,” their first single to top the chart. Their first single on the group’s own re-activated T-Neck record label after leaving Motown Records, it also became their biggest hit on the pop charts, reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1974: The Eagles released “Already Gone,” the first single from their third studio album, On the Border.

1975: Elton John fired bassist Dee Murray and drummer Nigel Olsson after the recording of his latest album, “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy.” The pair later played occasional gigs with Elton before Olsson was rehired in 1980 and Murray was rehired in 1982. In 1985, the rhythm section was fired again, and it wasn’t until fifteen years later that Olsson rejoined Elton behind the drums.

1976: John Sebastian’s Welcome Back album was released. The LP was Sebastian’s last to enter the Billboard pop chart, but the title track became a #1 hit and his only top 40 single on the Billboard Hot 100.

1980: R.E.M. played their first live gig as R.E.M. at the 11:11 Koffee Club in Athens, Georgia to 150 people. The show ended at 2:00 in the morning when police closed the venue for being unlicensed.

1980: Blondie started six weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with their second #1 hit and biggest-selling single, “Call Me.”

1982: Laurie Anderson’s debut album, Big Science, was released by Warner Bros. Records.

1982: After its initial release in the UK nine days earlier, Jethro Tull’s fourteenth studio album, The Broadsword and the Beast, was released in the US.

1984: Ultravox released “Lament,” their seventh studio album and last with drummer Warren Cann until 2012.

1986: Prince and the Revolution went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Kiss.”

1999: The Cranberries released their fourth studio album, Bury the Hatchet.

2014: Neil Young released his thirty-third studio album, A Letter Home. Issued on Record Store Day by Third Man Records, the album includes covers of songs by artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Phil Ochs, Bert Jansch, Tim Hardin, and Gordon Lightfoot, and was recorded in a refurbished 1947 Voice-o-Graph vinyl recording booth at Jack White’s Third Man Records recording studio in Nashville, Tennessee.

Birthdays Today

Alexis Korner, highly influential British blues musician referred to as the “founder of British blues” who, as the leader of Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated, was instrumental in bringing together various English blues musicians of the 1960s and mentored Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Ginger Baker and others was born Alexis Andrew Nicholas Koerner in Paris, France in 1928.

Dickie Goodman, record producer and originator of the “break-in” technique, an early precursor to sampling, was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1934.

Bruce Swedien, recording engineer, mixing engineer and record producer who worked with artists include Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Paul McCartney, Barbra Streisand, The Four Seasons, George Benson, Mick Jagger, and Diana Ross, was born in Minneapolis, MN in 1934.

Eddie Kramer, recording producer and engineer who collaborated with artists such as the Beatles, David Bowie, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, The Kinks, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Santana, Joe Cocker, Peter Frampton, and John Mayall, was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1942.

Larry Ramos, guitarist and vocalist for The Association and The New Christy Minstrels, was born Hilario Ramos in Waimea, Kauai County, HI in 1942.

Alan Price, original keyboardist for The Animals and a solo artist, was born in Fatfield, Washington, County Durham, England in 1942.

Bernie Worrell, keyboardist and composer known as a co-founder of Parliament-Funkadelic and for his work with Talking Heads, was born George Bernard Worrell, Jr. in Long Beach, NJ in 1944.

Michael Stewart, co-founder and guitarist for We Five and producer for artists such as Billy Joel, Tom Jones, and Kenny Rankin, was born in 1945.

Mark Volman, guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, founding member of the Turtles, a member of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention, and half of the duo Flo & Eddie, was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1947.

Gary Langan, engineer, record producer, mixer, and musician who worked on albums by acts including Queen, Yes, Spandau Ballet, and Public Image Ltd and was a founding member of Art of Noise, was born in Surrey, England in 1956.

Tony Rogers, keyboardist and organist for The Charlatans (aka The Charlatans UK), was born in 1966.

Dar Williams, singer-songwriter and member of Cry Cry Cry, was born Dorothy Snowden Williams in Mount Kisco, NY in 1967.