Today in Rock & Roll History: April 1st

1957: “Bye Bye Love” by The Everly Brothers was released by Cadence Records after being rejected by thirty other labels. The song became a true crossover hit, reaching #2 on the Billboard pop chart and #1 on the country and western chart.

1964: Marvin Gaye released his third studio album, When I’m Alone I Cry. Featuring ten pop and jazz standards, it was one of several attempts by Gaye and Motown to make him a jazz vocalist.

1966: Pye Records released “Do Anything You Say,” the first solo single by David Bowie, who’d recorded it previously as David Jones and The Lower Third. While only credited to Bowie, the song features his backing band at the time, The Buzz.

1966: The Troggs used forty-five minutes of spare studio time to record the Chip Taylor-penned song “Wild Thing” at Regent Sound Studio in London. The single climbed to #2 in the UK and #1 in the US, and sold over a million copies by June.

1966: “Hold On, I’m Comin’,” the debut album by Sam & Dave was released on the Stax label. The LP reached top of Billboard R&B chart, #45 on Billboard pop album chart, and the title track peaked at #1 on R&B singles chart. Written by Isaac Hayes and David Porter, inspiration for song came from Hayes’ impatience waiting for Porter to return from the bathroom during writing sessions.

1967: “Somebody to Love,” the first single from Jefferson Airplane’s second studio album, Surrealistic Pillow, entered the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written by vocalist Grace Slick’s then brother-in-law Darby while he and Grace were both members of San Francisco group The Great Society. The Airplane’s more ferocious rock and roll version became the band’s first and biggest success, reaching #5 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was as one of the first big hits to come out of the West Coast counterculture scene in the US.

1969: The Beach Boys announced that they were suing their record label, Capitol, for $2 million in unpaid royalties. Back in March of 1967, the band had issued a lawsuit against Capitol asking for termination of their contract, as well as $225,000 in outstanding royalties. In July, a settlement was reached between the label and the band, and it was announced that the group would have their own label, Brother Records. Distributed by Capitol, the new label’s first release was the single “Heroes and Villains” from the Smiley Smile LP. Though used only on the one single and album in 1967, the Brother label imprint laid dormant until the Beach Boys’ departure from Capitol in June of 1969.

1970: Ringo Starr was the only group member present at the Beatles’ final recording session in which he overdubbed drum tracks with producer Phil Spector for “The Long and Winding Road,” “Across the Universe,” and “I Me Mine.” Also at Abbey Road Studios was an orchestra of fifty musicians who recorded orchestral tracks for the same three songs. Spector then put the final touches on the group’s Let It Be album the following day.

1970: The Monkees, which at the time included only members Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones, released “Oh My My” as the lead single from the group’s ninth studio album, Changes.

1971: Who bassist John Entwistle released his first solo record, “I Believe In Everything” backed with “My Size.” To promote the single, he hired a stagecoach with livery to deliver it to Harlequin Records in London. The stagecoach ended up getting a parking ticket.

1971: Led Zeppelin performed a concert for BBC Radio program Rock Hour at London’s Paris Theater. Featuring a bevy of material from their forthcoming fourth album, the concert became one of the band’s most-bootlegged performances.

1972: The three-day Mar Y Sol Pop Festival in Puerto Rico took place, featuring Rod Stewart, Dr. John, The Allman Brothers, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Alice Cooper, Osibisa, and The Mahavishnu Orchestra. Security was simple, as the event took place on an island accessible by ticket only.

1973: Leonard Cohen released his first live album, Live Songs. Cohen had been reluctant to tour, and initially suffered from stage fright, but he eventually bowed to pressure in 1970. He agreed to tour Europe, where he was much more popular compared to the US. The album comprises recordings from 1970 and 1972 and features a backing band nicknamed The Army that included guitarist Ron Cornelius, guitarist/fiddler Charlie Daniels, and vocalist “Jennifer Warren,” who would soon become famous as Jennifer Warnes.

1973: In the middle of his battle against the US government to stay in the US, John Lennon and Yoko Ono held a press conference on April Fool’s Day announcing the formation of Nutopia, a “conceptual country” with “no land, no boundaries, no passports, only people.” Citizenship was granted by “declaration of your awareness to Nutopia” and all citizens were granted ambassadorship, therefore entitling them to diplomatic immunity. Three years later, Lennon was issued his green card, securing his residency in the States.

1974: The soundtrack album to the film Son of Dracula by Harry Nilsson was released in the US. The UK release of the LP followed near the end of May. Instrumental tracks were composed by Paul Buckmaster and all song tracks except one had previously been released by as part of the Nilsson’s seventh and eighth studio albums, Nilsson Schmilsson and Son of Schmilsson. The soundtrack includes contributions from several musicians, including George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Peter Frampton, Nicky Hopkins, Chris Spedding, Lowell George, Klaus Voorman, Bobby Keys, and Jim Price.

1979: Scottish band Simple Minds released their debut album, Life in a Day.

1986: “Mothers Talk” from Tears for Fear’s second studio album, Songs from the Big Chair, was issued as a single in the US. Although labeled as a “remix,” it is actually a complete re-recording done after completing their Big Chair tour.

1986: Chris Rea released eighth studio album, On the Beach.

1987: Suzanne Vega released her second studio album, Solitude Standing. It became her most successful and critically acclaimed LP, and reached #11 in the US.

1989: The Bangles scored their second #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Eternal Flame.”

1992: The Church released their eighth album, priest=aura.

1997: After its initial release in Japan in October 1996, Cyndi Lauper’s fifth studio album, Sisters of Avalon, was released worldwide.

2002: Elton John released “Original Sin,” the third and final single from his twenty-sixth studio album, Songs from the West Coast.

2002: Simple Minds released Cry, their thirteenth album of original material.

2008: Shine a Light the soundtrack to the Martin Scorsese-directed Rolling Stones concert film of the same name, was released as the band’s tenth concert LP. It was issued in the UK a week later.

2008: Following its release in the UK in March, Van Morrison’s thirty-third studio album, Keep It Simple, was released in the US.

2014: Looking Into You: A Tribute to Jackson Browne was released. The two-disc album features performances of Browne’s songs by artists including Don Henley, Bonnie Raitt, Indigo Girls, Keb’ Mo’, Lucinda Williams, Lyle Lovett, Bruce Springstee, Bruce Hornsby, and many others.

2016: Charles Bradley released his third studio album, Changes.

Birthdays Today

Adolf Rickenbacker, Swiss-American electrical engineer who co-founded the Rickenbacker guitar company along with George Beauchamp and Paul Barth, was born in Basel, Switzerland in 1886.

Lucille Bogan, one of the first female blues singer and songwriter to be recorded who used the pseudonym Bessie Jackson, was born Lucille Anderson in Armory, MS in 1897.

Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith, musician, songwriter, record producer, host of the first nationally syndicated country music television show who also ran the first commercial recording studio in the southeast US, was born in Clinton, SC in 1921.

Amos Milburn, R&B singer and pianist, was born in Houston, TX in 1927.

Rudolph Isley, singer-songwriter and founding member of The Isley Brothers, was born in Cincinnati, OH in 1939.

Annie Nightingale, the first female presenter and longest serving presenter for BBC Radio 1, was born in Osterley, London, England in 1940.

Phil Margo, record producer, drummer, and singer for The Tokens, was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1942.

Alan Blakely, songwriter, producer, and rhythm guitarist, keyboardist, vocalist, and original member of the Tremeloes, was born in Bromley, Kent, England in 1942.

Kenny Buttrey, member of Area Code 615 and Barefoot Jerry and influential Nashville session musician known for his work with Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Jimmy Buffett, and Al Kooper. Buttrey, who also played on hits by J.J. Cale, Bob Seger, Gordon Lightfoot, Elvis Presley, Donovan, George Harrison, Joan Baez, Kris Kristofferson, and Leo Kottke among others, was born in Nashville, TN in 1945.

John Barbata, session musician and drummer for The Turtles, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Jefferson Airplane, and Jefferson Starship, was born in Passaic, NJ in 1945.

Ronnie Lane, songwriter, producer, and bassist and founding member of Small Faces and subsequently Faces, who later formed his own band, Slim Chance, was born in Plaistow, Essex, England in 1946.

Robin Scott, singer and founder of a music project M, best known for their 1979 hit “Pop Muzik”, was born in Croydon, Surrey, England in 1947.

Jimmy Cliff, ska and reggae musician, was born James Chambers in St. James, Jamaica in 1948.

Simon Cowe, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, and member of Lindisfarne, was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England in 1948.

Gil Scott-Heron, soul and jazz poet, musician, and author, was born in Chicago, IL in 1949.

Billy Currie, violist, violinist, pianist, keyboardist, and songwriter best known as a member of Ultravox, was born in Huddersfield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England in 1950.

Henry Gross, singer-songwriter and musician best known as a member of Sha Na Na, was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1951.

Rob Wasserman, composer and bass player who has played and recorded with musicians that include Bob Weir, Bruce Cockburn, Elvis Costello, Ani di Franco, Jerry Garcia, David Grisman, Van Morrison, Aaron Neville, Lou Reed, Pete Seeger, Jules Shear, Brian Wilson, Neil Young, Oingo Boingo, Rickie Lee Jones, and more, was born in San Mateo, CA in 1952.

Jeff Porcaro, songwriter, producer, drummer for Toto, and one of the most recorded session musicians in history, having worked on hundreds of albums and taken part in thousands of sessions, was born in South Windsor, CT in 1954.

Peter O’Toole, bassist, guitarist, and member of Hothouse Flowers, was born in Dulbin, Ireland in 1965.

Jesse Tobias, guitarist and writer for Morrissey since 2004 who has also played with Red Hot Chili Peppers and Alanis Morissette, was born in Austin, TX in 1972.