Today in Rock & Roll History: April 3rd

1960: At RCA Studios in Nashville, Elvis Presley recorded preliminary tracks for “It’s Now Or Never,” “Like a Baby,” and “Fever.” Additional songs recorded the next day included “The Girl of My Best Friend,” “Reconsider Baby,” and “Are You Lonesome Tonight.”

1960: The Everly Brothers made their UK concert debut at the New Victoria Theater in London, supported by the Crickets. The show was the first of a British tour that influenced British Invasion artists such as the Beatles, the Searchers, and the Rolling Stones.

1966: Peter Tork opened a solo stint in Hollywood at The Troubadour after auditioning for The Monkees, who he joined later that year.

1967: During the final session for the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album at EMI Studios in London, George Harrison recorded his lead vocals for “Within You Without You” as well as the accompanying sitar and acoustic guitar tracks.

1968: Simon & Garfunkel released their fourth studio album, Bookends. The LP’s first side features a conceptual series of tracks marking the successive stages of life, while the second side largely consists of unused material for their soundtrack to the 1967 film The Graduate.

1968: Moby Grape released their second studio album, Wow/Grape Jam. Unlike most other double albums, it was released as two different albums in separate covers, but packaged together and sold for only one dollar more than the price of a single LP. It is the band’s highest charting release in the US, peaking at #20 on the Billboard pop chart.

1969: American keyboardist Billy Preston became one of the first artists to sign with the Beatles’ Apple Records label. Preston had previously participated in the group’s “Get Back” recording sessions earlier that January that ultimately resulted in their last album, Let It Be.

1971: The Temptations reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for the third time with “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me).” Written by Motown’s Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong in 1969, it was the group’s first ballad since 1968, recorded after transitioning to their “psychedelic soul” sound. Whitfield, as producer, relented to fan’s demands to release a song that returned to the group’s original soul sound. It was the Temptation’s eleventh R&B #1 in the US and reached #8 in the UK.

1988: George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, and Roy Orbison held an impromptu jam session at Dylan’s home studio in Malibu, Florida. While relaxing in the garden nearby, Harrison noticed a box in Dylan’s garage labeled “Handle With Care.” The phrase inspired a song whose lyrics quickly followed, with each musician contributing verses. Harrison had originally intended to record the track as a B-side, but his Dark Horse record company insisted it was too good to be released as mere filler. Encouraged by the response, the group reconvened to record their first album as The Traveling Wilburys, with “Handle With Care” as the lead track.

1993: Depeche Mode debuted at #1 on the UK chart with Songs of Faith and Devotion, their tenth studio album and first UK chart-topper. A week later, it also topped the Billboard pop chart in the US.

1994: Pink Floyd started four weeks at #1 on the UK album chart with The Division Bell, the band’s fourteenth studio LP and fourth to top the British chart.

Birthdays Today

Don Gibson, singer-songwriter who wrote such country standards as “Sweet Dreams,” “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” and “Oh Lonesome Me,” was born in Shelby, NC in 1928.

Gil Robbins, folk singer, musician, actor, and member of the folk band The Highwaymen, was born in Spokane, WA in 1931.

Louis “Lui Lui” Satterfield, bassist, trombone player, session musician for performers such as B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and member of The Phenix Horns, the horn section for groups that include Earth, Wind & Fire and Genesis, Satterfield, was born in Shaw, MS in 1937.

Jeff Barry, pop music songwriter, singer, record producer who, along with his then-wife Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector, wrote such hits as “Be My Baby,” “Chapel of Love,” “Hanky Panky,” and “Leader of the Pack,” was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1938.

Philippé Wynne, lead singer for The Spinners, was born in Cincinnati, OH in 1941.

Jan Berry, singer and half of duo Jan & Dean, was born William Jan Berry in Los Angeles, CA in 1941.

Billy Joe Royal, pop and country singer, was born in Valdosta, GA in 1942.

Richard Manuel, composer, singer, and songwriter best known as the pianist, leader singer, and occasional drummer for The Band, was born in Stratford, Ontario, Canada in 1943.

Artie Traum, guitarist, songwriter, and producer whose work appeared on more than thirty-five albums by artists such as The Band, John Sebastian, Richie Havens, Paul Butterfield, James Taylor, and Pete Seeger, was born in the Bronx, NY in 1943.

Tony Orlando, singer, songwriter, producer, and music executive, was born Michael Anthony Orlando Cassavitis in New York City in 1944.

Barry Pritchard, guitarist, vocalist, and co-founder of the Fortunes, was born in Birmingham, England in 1944.

Lois Wilkinson, half of the duo The Caravelles, was born in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, England in 1944.

Dee Murray, bass guitarist best known as a member of the Elton John Band, was born David Murray Oates in Gillingham, Kent, England in 1946.

Richard Thompson, singer, songwriter, guitarist, solo artist, and original member of Fairport Convention, was born in Notting Hill Gate, London, England in 1949.