Today in Rock & Roll History: April 20th

1968: The Rolling Stones recorded “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” at Olympic Studios in London during sessions for the band’s next album Beggar’s Banquet. That year, guitarist Brian Jones described the song as “getting back to the funky, essential essence” following the psychedelia of the band’s previous album, Their Satanic Majesties Request. The single reached #1 in the UK and #3 in the US by July.

1968: The Beatles’ record label Apple Records ran advertisements soliciting tapes from unknown artists, offering financial grants as part of a deal to release records on the label. Two weeks later over four hundred tapes had accumulated in the small office at 94 Baker Street. Despite the overwhelming response, not a single contract was signed as a result of the campaign.

1968: Deep Purple made their concert debut at the Vestpoppen Parkskolen Club in Taastrup, Denmark, billed under the band’s initial name, “Roundabout.” Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore suggested the new name “Deep Purple” after his grandmother’s favorite song, an early 1930s piano composition by composer Peter DeRose. The next day, the band recorded their version of Joe South’s “Hush” at Pye Studios in London. The record became their first hit single, reaching #4 in the US and #2 in Canada, while going largely unnoticed in the UK.

1968: Heavy, the debut album by San Diego band Iron Butterfly, entered the Billboard pop album chart. Seven weeks later, the LP peaked at #78.

1968: Spanky and Our Gang’s last Billboard top 40 single “Like to Get to Know You” entered the Billboard Hot 100. The record peaked seven weeks later at #17.

1970: “Cecilia” by Simon & Garfunkel, from their final studio LP, was released as a single backed with “The Only Living Boy in New York.” The A-side reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Cash Box pop chart.

1970: “Up Around the Bend” backed with “Run Through the Jungle” by Creedence Clearwater Revival entered the Billboard Hot 100, where the single reached #4.

1970: Jethro Tull’s third studio LP Benefit was released in the UK. Less than two weeks later the album was issued in America. The album was the band’s first to include organist John Evan and the last to include bassist Glenn Cornick.

1972: Dr. John’s fifth album Dr. John’s Gumbo was released. A tribute to the music of his native city of New Orleans, the album is a collection of covers of New Orleans classics and marked John’s transition from his eccentric stage persona to a more straightforward image based on New Orleans’ R&B traditions.

1973: Who singer Roger Daltrey released his first solo album. Self-titled as Daltrey, the LP featured the writing of up-and-coming singer-songwriter Leo Sayer.

1974: The Hollies’ cover of the Albert Hammond ballad “The Air That I Breathe” entered the Billboard Hot 100. It was the group’s final top 40 hit in the US, reaching #6, went to #2 in the UK that summer, and was a top 5 hit in several other countries.

1974: Jesse Colin Young’s fifth album Light Shine was released.

1976: George Harrison joined members of Monty Python onstage at New York’s City Center for a performance of the “Lumberjack Song.” Hardly anyone recognized Harrison, dressed as a Canadian Mountie with his Python friends. Harry Nilsson wanted in on the fun, so he joined in the following night. Unlike Harrison, however, Nilsson was far more conspicuous, waving and shaking hands with the audience.

1979: “Love Comes to Everyone” from George Harrison’s self-titled eighth studio album was released as a single in the UK. The record was issued in the US three weeks later.

1979: Ronnie Wood’s third solo album Gimme Some Neck was released. The LP became his biggest success on the US charts to date, reaching #45 on the Billboard pop chart. Wood later embarked on a tour of the US to support the album and formed the New Barbarians with musicians that included Keith Richards, Ian McLagan, and Bobby Keys, all of whom contributed to the album.

1981: Dave Edmunds released Twangin…, his last album with Swan Song Records before moving to Columbia Records. It was also Edmunds’ last solo album to feature Rockpile, which consisted of Nick Lowe, Billy Bremner, and Terry Williams.

1992: “A Concert For Life” took place at Wembley Stadium as a tribute to Queen singer Freddie Mercury and for AIDS awareness. Performers included Elton John, Roger Daltrey, David Bowie, Mick Ronson, James Hetfield, George Michael, Seal, Paul Young, Annie Lennox, Lisa Stansfield, Robert Plant. The show marked bassist John Deacon’s final full-length concert with Queen, and profits from the concert were used to launch AIDS charity organization The Mercury Phoenix Trust.

1999: 10,000 Maniacs released The Earth Pressed Flat, an album of songs written but not included on the group’s previous LP, Love Among the Ruins.

2004: Prince’s twenty-eighth studio album Musicology was released commercially in the US and UK. It was Prince’s first album released through a major label in five years and became his most successful album since Diamonds and Pearls in 1991, reaching #3 on the US and UK charts.

Birthdays Today

Johnny Tillotson, singer-songwriter, was born in Jacksonville, FL in 1939.

Tim Drummond, bass guitarist and frequent partner of drummer Jim Keltner who toured and collaborated on songs with artists such as Bob Dylan, James Brown, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Ry Cooder, J.J. Cale, Mother Earth, B.B. King, and Joe Cocker, was born in Canton, IL in 1940.

Jimmy Wilson, original keyboardist for Small Faces, was born James Edward Winston Langwith in Stratford, London, England in 1945.

Craig Frost, keyboardist for Grand Funk Railroad and Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, was born in Flint, MI in 1948.

Luther Vandross, R&B and soul singer, songwriter, and record producer, was born in the Bronx, NY in 1951.

Mikey Welsh, bassist for Weezer, was born in Syracuse, NY in 1971.

Stephen Marley, solo artist and member of Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, was born in Wilmington, DE in 1972.