Today in Rock & Roll History: April 29th

1967: Fundraising concert “The 14 Hour Technicolor Dream” was held by British counterculture newspaper the International Times in the Great Hall of the Alexandra Palace in London. More than thirty acts appeared including The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, The Move, Pete Townshend, Tomorrow, The Pretty Things, Graham Bond, and Savoy Brown, all of whom played for free. Pink Floyd headlined the event, taking the stage at dawn.

1967: The second single from Aretha Franklin’s breakthrough album I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, “Respect,” was released. Originally written and recorded by Otis Redding, Franklin’s version turned Redding’s plea from a desperate man into a declaration from a confident woman, adding the “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” chorus and the backup singers’ refrain of “sock it to me.” The song became her second #1 on the R&B charts, her first #1 on the pop charts, and won two Grammy Awards in 1968.

1967: “Creeque Alley” by The Mamas and the Papas entered the Billboard Hot 100, where it became their last top 10 single, reaching #5.

1967: The Turtles released their third studio album, Happy Together.

1968: The musical Hair opened at New York’s Biltmore Theater. The production first began its run forty blocks to the south, in the East Village, as the inaugural production of Joseph Papp’s Public Theater. Despite mediocre reviews, Hair was a big enough hit with audiences during the six-week period to win financial backing for the proposed move to Broadway. With lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado and music by Galt MacDermont, the show featured songs that became rock standards such as “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” and “Good Morning Starshine,” which both became #1 hits the following year. The production ran for 1,729 performances, and closed at the beginning of July in 1972.

1968: Martha Reeves and the Vandellas released their seventh studio album Ridin’ High. It was the group’s first album without the help of producers William “Mickey” Stevenson and Holland–Dozier–Holland and includes their last top 40 singles, “Love Bug Leave My Heart Alone” and “Honey Chile.”

1969: Ringo Starr recorded his lead vocal tracks for “Octopus’s Garden” for the Beatles’ eleventh album, Abbey Road.

1973: David Bowie scored his first #1 album when his sixth studio LP Aladdin Sane started five weeks at the top of the UK chart. The album reached #17 in the US.

1977: English mod revival band The Jam released their debut single and title track from their first album, In The City.

1985: While Queen was on hiatus from recording, Freddie Mercury released his only solo album, Mr. Bad Guy.

2008: Mudcrutch released their self-titled first album over thirty years after the band’s formation. Founded in 1970 by Tom Petty and Tom Leadon, the band had been a popular act across Florida before moving to Los Angeles in search of a record deal. After signing with Shelter Records and releasing one poor-selling single, the group broke up in 1975. The following year, members Petty, Mike Campbell, and Benmont Tench formed the Heartbreakers. In 2007, the original Mudcrutch lineup reformed to record their first album as well as tour.

Birthdays Today

Duke Ellington, jazz composer, pianist, and bandleader, was born in Washington, D.C. in 1899.

Carl Gardner, singer and founding member of the Coasters, was born in Tyler, TX in 1928.

Ray Barretto, conga drummer and bandleader who also played in sessions for the Rolling Stones and the Bee Gees, was born in New York City in 1929.

Lonnie Donegan, singer, songwriter, and musician known as “The King of Skiffle” who was an influence to many 1960s British pop and rock musicians, was born in Bridgeton, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1931.

Rod McKuen, poet, singer-songwriter, and actor whose works have been recorded by artists such as Barbra Streisand, Petula Clark, Waylon Jennins, Johnny Cash, The Kingston Trio, Dusty Springfield, Johnny Mathis, and Frank Sinatra, was born in Oakland, CA in 1933.

Willie Nelson, singer, songwriter, author, poet, actor, activist, and one of the main figures of outlaw country, was born in Abbott, TX in 1933.

Otis Rush, blues guitarist and singer, was born in Philadelphia, MS in 1934.

J.C. “Billy” Davis, guitarist, singer, and songwriter best known for his work with Hank Ballard & The Midnighters, was born in Bentonia, MS in 1938.

Klaus Voormann, bassist for Manfred Mann from 1966-1969, in-demand session musician who played on recordings by several artists including Carly Simon, the Beatles, and the members of the Beatles as solo artists, and visual artist who designed artwork for many bands such as the Beatles, Harry Nilsson, and the Bee Gees, was born in Berlin, Germany in 1938.

Tammi Terrell, Motown singer and songwriter, was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1945.

Tommy James, singer, songwriter, and record producer, was born Thomas Gregory Jackson in Dayton, OH in 1947.

Joel Larson, drummer for the Grass Roots, was born in San Francisco, CA in 1947.

Mike Hogan, bassist for the Cranberries, was born in Limerick, Ireland in 1973.