Today in Rock & Roll History: April 4th

1960: RCA Victor Records announced that they would release all future pop singles in both mono and stereo simultaneously, making them the first record company to do so. Elvis Presley’s single “Stuck on You” was RCA’s first such release.

1960: The Kingston Trio released their sixth album, Sold Old. It became their fourth #1 on the Billboard chart.

1964: The Temptations had their first #1 record when they topped the Cash Box R&B chart with “The Way You Do The Things You Do.” The song was the group’s first pop hit as well, peaking at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart a week later.

1964: The Beatles set a record by occupying the top five positions on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart with “Can’t Buy Me Love” in the top spot followed by “Twist and Shout,” She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and “Please Please Me.” Seven other Beatles songs were also lower on the chart.

1964: “Bits and Pieces” by The Dave Clark Five entered the Billboard Hot 100, where it later rose to #4.

1965: John Lennon wrote “Help!,” the title song from the Beatles’ second film with assistance from Paul McCartney. As part of the 1995 documentary The Beatles Anthology, it was revealed that the song’s lyrics reflected Lennon’s stress after the Beatles’ sudden success. In a 1980 interview, Lennon said, “The whole Beatles thing was just beyond comprehension. I was subconsciously crying out for help.”

1966: Neil Diamond released, “Solitary Man,” the lead single from his debut album, The Feel of Neil Diamond. It was Diamond’s first song to chart, reaching #55 in the US, and has since been covered by numerous artists.

1966: “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge entered the Billboard Hot 100. Eight weeks later the single reached #1.

1968: “I Promise to Wait My Love” by Martha Reeves and the Vandells was released as the third single from their fifth studio album, Ridin’ High.

1969: Neil Diamond released his fourth studio album, Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show.

1970: After splitting with the group in the fall of 1968, Janis Joplin performed a reunion concert with Big Brother and the Holding Company at San Francisco’s Fillmore West.

1970: “Make Me Smile” by Chicago entered the Billboard Hot 100, where it became the band’s first top 10 record, reaching #9.

1970: “Mississippi Queen,” the lead single from the debut album by Mountain, Climbing!, entered the Billboard Hot 100. It became their most successful single, and peaked on the chart at #21.

1970: The Jackson 5 started four weeks at the top of Billboard’s R&B chart with “ABC.”

1978: Carly Simon released her seventh studio album, Boys in the Trees.

1979: Squeeze released their second album, Cool for Cats. It was the group’s first LP to chart in the UK, where it reached #45.

1981: Smokey Robinson started five weeks at the top of the Billboard R&B chart with his second of two #1 singles on the chart, “Being with You.” The next month, the song became his highest charting solo hit on the Hot 100 as well as his first solo #1 in the UK that summer.

1987: After its release in September, “Don’t Give Up” by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush, from Gabriel’s fifth studio album, So, entered the Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked three weeks later at #72.

1988: The Church released fifth and most commercially successful LP, Starfish.

1996: At the break of dawn, following a lunar eclipse, Jerry Garcia’s widow, Debra, and Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir scattered a portion of Garcia’s ashes in the Ganges River in India along with pieces of paper bearing farewells from members of the Grateful Dead. The remaining half of Garcia’s ashes were later sprinkled under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco Bay, observed by family members and associates including Weir and Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh.

2000: Lou Reed released Ecstasy, his eighteenth solo studio album and last non-collaborative rock album.

2008: The Rolling Stones’ concert film Shine a Light opened in theaters. Directed by Martin Scorsese, the film documents the band’s 2006 Beacon Theatre performances on their A Bigger Bang Tour.

2015: 10,000 Maniacs released their ninth studio album, Twice Told Tales. The crowd-funded album consists of traditional British folk songs.

Birthdays Today

Muddy Waters, legendary blues guitarist, was born McKinley Morganfield, MS in 1913.

Clive Davis, former president of Columbia Records and founder of Arista Records and J Records, credited with signing many artists that achieved superstar status including Janis Joplin, Laura Nyro, Santana, Bruce Springsteen, Chicago, Billy Joel, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Loggins & Messina, and Pink Floyd, was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1932.

Declan Mulligan, guitarist for The Beau Brummels, was born in Fethard, Ireland in 1938.

Hugh Masekela, trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer, and singer known as “the father of South African jazz,” was born Hugh Ramapolo Masekela in Witbank, South Africa in 1939.

Major Lance, R&B singer, was born in Winterville, MS in 1939.

Sharon Sheeley, songwriter who wrote songs for Glen Campbell, Ricky Nelson, Brenda Lee, and her former fiancé, Eddie Cochran, was born in Newport Beach, CA in 1940.

Michael Z. Gordon, screenwriter, producer, musician, and composer who co-founded the Marketts and the Routers, was born in Minneapolis, MN in 1941.

Don Bryant, singer and songwriter, was born in Memphis, TN in 1942.

Berry Oakley, bassist and founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, was born Raymond Berry Oakley III in Chicago, IL in 1948.

David “Pick” Withers, original drummer for Dire Straits from 1977-1982, was born in Leicester, England in 1948.

Junior Braithwaite, reggae musician and co-founder of The Wailing Wailers, was born Franklin Delano Alexander Braithwaite in Kingston, Jamaica in 1949.

Gary Moore, guitarist and backing vocalist for Thin Lizzy and a solo artist, was born in Belfast, North Ireland in 1952.

Graeme Kelling, original guitarist for Deacon Blue, was born in Paisley, Scotland in 1957.

David Gavurin, guitarist for The Sundays, was born in 1963.