Today in Rock & Roll History: April 25th

1955: “Baby Let’s Play House” by Elvis Presley was released. The song was written and first recorded by Arthur Gunter in 1954, though Presley’s version is significantly different from the original.

1960: “Stuck on You,” Elvis Presley’s first single after his two-year stint in the US Army, started its first of four weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1960: Elvis Presley’s former bassist Bill Black and his group the Bill Black Combo started four weeks at #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart with “White Silver Sands.”

1964: “Walk On By” by Dionne Warwick entered Billboard Hot 100. The single reached #6 on the Hot 100 and became her first #1 when it went to the top of Billboard’s R&B chart.

1966: The Who’s first album was released by Decca Records in the US as The Who Sings My Generation. Released in early December the previous year in the UK as simply My Generation, the American version had a slightly altered track listing.

1967: Just days after completing their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, the Beatles began work on the title track for their next film, “Magical Mystery Tour.”

1969: The Moody Blues’ fourth album, On the Threshold of a Dream, was released in the UK. It became the group’s first #1 LP when it reached the top of the UK chart less than two weeks later. The album was later released in the US at the end of May.

1969: Jethro Tull released “Living in the Past.” It became the band’s highest charting single in the UK that summer, reaching #3. It later entered the US charts in November of 1972 after the release of the compilation album of the same name, and eventually peaked at #11.

1969: Jr. Walker & the All Stars released “What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)” as a single from their fifth album, Home Cookin’. It became their second of two #1 hits on the Billboard R&B chart and tied with “Shotgun” as their highest charting song on the Hot 100, where it reached #4.

1970: “Band of Gold” by Freda Payne entered the Billboard Hot 100. It became her only chart-topping single, reaching #1 in the UK and #3 in the US.

1970: The Jackson 5 achieved their second straight #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 with “ABC.” The same week, the song spent its fourth and final week at the top of the R&B chart.

1970: Melanie Safka’s breakthrough hit, “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain),” entered the Billboard Hot 100. It later rose to #6 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the Cash Box Top 100.

1973: Van Morrison released the single “Warm Love,” which was included on his seventh studio album, Hard Nose the Highway.

1974: Steely Dan released “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” the first single from their third studio album, Pretzel Logic. It became the duo’s second top 10 hit and highest charting single in the US, reaching #4.

1975: The Doobie Brothers released their fifth studio album, Stampede. It was the group’s final album before Michael McDonald replaced Tom Johnston as lead vocalist and primary songwriter.

1977: Elvis Presley made what ended up being his final recordings onstage at one of his last shows at the Saginaw Civic Center in Michigan. Three of the songs were later included on his twenty-fourth and final studio album, Moody Blue.

1979: The Police made their public debut on the BBC TV’s Top Of The Pops performing “Roxanne.”

1987: After entering the US album charts three weeks earlier, U2’s fifth album The Joshua Tree started nine weeks at #1. The album topped the charts in over twenty countries, sold over twenty-five million copies, and won the 1988 Grammy award for Album of the Year.

1995: Little Feat’s eleventh studio album, Ain’t Had Enough, was released. It was the group’s first album with vocalist Shaun Murphy and was dedicated to the memory of Neon Park, whose artwork is featured on the cover of nearly every Little Feat album.

2000: Neil Young released his twenty-third studio album, Silver & Gold. Many of the album’s songs had been written in the late 1990s, and the title track had been written in 1981. According to Young, he had been trying to get “the take” on the song for about ten years.

2006: Bruce Springsteen released We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, his first and so far only album of entirely non-Springsteen material, which contains his interpretation of thirteen folk music songs made popular by activist folk musician Pete Seeger.

Birthdays Today

Earl Bostic, jazz alto saxophonist and a pioneer of the post-war American rhythm and blues, was born in Tulsa, OK in 1913.

Ella Fitzgerald, influential jazz singer, was born in Newport News, VA in 1917.

Albert King, influential blues guitarist and singer, was born in Indianola, MS in 1923.

Vassar Clements, jazz, swing, and bluegrass fiddler dubbed the “Father of Hillbilly Jazz” who toured and recorded with acts including the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Jerry Garcia and David Grisman‘s Old & In The Way, the Grateful Dead, John Hartford, The Monkees, Linda Ronstadt, Paul McCartney, and Jimmy Buffett, was born in Kinard, FL in 1928.

Jerry Leiber, songwriter and producer who co-wrote over seventy hits with partner Mike Stoller for artists that included Elvis Presley, the Coasters, the Drifters, and Ben E. King, was born in Baltimore, MD in 1933.

Mike Kogel, vocalist and leader of Los Bravos, was born in Berlin, Germany in 1944.

Stu Cook, bassist for Creedence Clearwater Revival, was born in Oakland, CA in 1945.

Ron Gilbert, bassist for Blues Magoos, was born in 1946.

Michael Brown, songwriter and keyboardist for The Left Banke, was born Michael David Lookofsky in Brooklyn, NY in 1949.

Steven Ferrone, drummer for Average White Band who joined Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in 1995 and has recorded with several other artists, was born in Brighton, England in 1950.

Derek William Dick aka Fish, singer-songwriter and lead singer for Marillion, was born in Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland in 1958.

Andy Bell, lead singer for Erasure and a solo artist, was born in Dogsthorpe, Peterborough, England in 1964.