Today in Rock & Roll History: April 7th

1956: “Long Tall Sally” by Little Richard entered the US pop charts, where it reached #13 the next month. A week later the record became Richard’s first of three #1 hits on the Billboard R&B chart.

1962: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards visited London’s Ealing Club to see Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated for the first time. That evening they saw Brian Jones, then performing under the name “Elmo Lewis,” showing off his slide guitar skills with the Elmore James song “Dust My Broom.” Jagger soon after became a regular vocalist with Blues Incorporated, with Richards and Jones often guesting on guitar. That summer, in July of 1962, Jagger, Richards, Jones, and pianist Ian Stewart performed their first gig at the Marquee Jazz Club as the “Rollin’ Stones.”

1966: The Beatles began recording their homage to Motown “Got to Get You into My Life” at EMI Studios. Written by McCartney, the song evolved considerably over a ten day period between first takes and the final version present on the band’s Revolver LP, with soul-style horns reminiscent of the Stax Memphis soul and Motown sound eventually added.

1967: “The Boat I Row” by Lulu was released. Written by Neil Diamond, the single reached #6 on the UK chart.

1968: A music wake was held three days after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Generation Club in New York City. Performers who were present included B.B. King, Janis Joplin, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Joni Mitchell, Richie Havens, Al Kooper, Buddy Guy, Jimi Hendrix, and Roy Buchanan.

1969: Nazz released their second album, Nazz Nazz. The album was originally intended as a double album but was shortened to a single LP before its release.

1969: Leonard Cohen released his second album, Songs form a Room.

1971: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young released 4 Way Street, the group’s third album, second as a quartet, and first live LP. It was recording during their tour the previous year, featuring performances at Fillmore East in New York, The Forum in Los Angeles, and the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago.

1972: The Grateful Dead performed at the Wembley Empire Pool in London as the first concert of the group’s landmark Europe ’72 tour. Recordings from the tour spawned several live albums, beginning with the Europe ‘72 triple LP released that November.

1973: “Daniel,” the second single from Elton John’s sixth studio album, Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player, entered the Billboard Hot 100 on its way to reaching #2.

1973: On what would have been singer Billie Holiday’s 58th birthday, Diana Ross started two weeks at #1 on the Billboard pop album chart with the soundtrack to the Billie Holiday biopic Lady Sings The Blues, which starred Diana Ross as Holiday in her screen debut.

1978: The Police released “Roxanne,” the lead single from their debut album, Outlandos d’Amour. Though the band was initially indifferent about the song, it impressed drummer Stewart Copeland’s brother, Miles, who soon after became the band’s manager and got them their first record deal with A&M. Songwriter Sting had been inspired by the prostitutes near the seedy Paris hotel where the band had stayed at in 1977 and the song’s title comes from the name of a character in the play Cyrano de Bergerac, which had been advertised on a poster in the hotel’s foyer.

1978: Prince released his debut studio album, For You. All of the album’s tracks were produced, arranged, composed, and performed by Prince.

1979: “Old Time Rock and Roll,” the final single from Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band’s tenth LP Stranger in Town, entered the Billboard Hot 100 on its way to peaking at #28.

1979: The Doobie Brothers achieved their only #1 album when their eighth studio album, Minute by Minute, topped the Billboard pop chart. It contains the band’s biggest hit, “What a Fool Believes,” and received four Grammy Awards in 1980. It was also the band’s last album to feature guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and drummer and co-founder John Hartman.

1980: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released “Here Comes My Girl,” the third single from their third studio album, Damn the Torpedoes.

1981: Already established as a star in the US, Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band started their first tour outside North American at Congress Centre in Hamburg, Germany promoting their newest album, The River.

1990: Elton John, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Don Henley, Neil Young, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Bonnie Raitt, Arlo Guthrie, Bruce Hornsby, John Hiatt, Lou Reed, Taj Mahal, and Jackson Browne were among the artists who performed at the Farm Aid IV benefit concert at the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana.

1990: Bonnie Raitt topped the Billboard pop chart for the first time with her tenth studio album, Nick of Time.

1998: Bonnie Raitt released her thirteenth studio album, Fundamental.

2009: Neil Young released his twenty-ninth studio album, Fork in the Road. The album was inspired by Young’s Lincoln Continental that had been retooled to run entirely on alternative energy.

2009: As a follow-up to his eighteenth studio album, Covers, James Taylor released an EP of classic songs titled Other Covers.

Birthdays Today

Jack Lawrence, songwriter who wrote early hits for acts including The Ink Spots, Frank Sinatra, and Bobby Darin, wrote songs including “Linda” and the English lyrics to “Beyond the Sea,” and worked on Broadway as a composer, lyricist, actor, and producer, was born Jacob Louis Schwartz in Brooklyn, NY in 1912.

Billie Holiday, jazz and blues singer-songwriter, was born Eleanora Fagan in Philadelphia, PA in 1915.

Mongo Santamaría, jazz percussionist who played with Perez Prado, Tito Puente, Cal Tjader, and the Fania All Stars and was an integral figure in the fusion of Afro-Cuban rhythms with R&B and soul, was born Ramón Santamaría Rodríguez in Havana, Cuba in 1917.

Ravi Shankar, composer of Hindustani classical music and sitarist who was an influence to many artists around the world as well as a collaborator and mentor to George Harrison, was born Rabindra Shankar Chowdhury in Benares, Benares States, British Raj (now Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, Republic of India) in 1920.

Charlie Thomas, rhythm and blues singer and member of The Drifters, was born in Lynchburg, VA in 1937.

Spencer Dryden, drummer for Jefferson Airplane and New Riders of the Purple Sage, was born in New York City in 1938.

Freddie Hubbard, influential jazz trumpeter who collaborated with musicians including John Coltrane, Art Blakey, Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Elton John, and Miles Davis, was born in Indianapolis, IN in 1938.

Mick Abrahams, original guitarist for Jethro Tull who left after the band’s first album to form Blodwyn Pig, was born in Luton, Bedfordshire, England in 1943.

Patricia Bennett, singer and original member of the Chiffons, was born in The Bronx, NY in 1947.

Charles “Skip” Pitts, soul and blues guitarist known for his “wah-wah” style who was a session musician for Stax Records, frequently collaborator with Issac Hayes, and a founding member of the Bo-Keys, was born in Washington, D.C. in 1947.

Florian Schneider, musician, vocalist, and founding member of Kraftwerk, was born in Germany in 1947.

John Oates, singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer, and half of the duo Hall and Oates, was born in New York City in 1948.

Dallas Taylor Jr., session drummer who played with several acts including Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Stephen Stills, Manassas, Graham Nash, Van Morrison, Paul Butterfield, John Sebastian, Bill Wyman, The Byrds, and The Doors, was born in Denver, CO in 1948.

Wells Kelly, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, early member of King Harvest, and co-founder of Orleans who also recorded and toured with acts including Steve Forbert and the Beach Boys, was born in New Orleans, LA in 1949.

Janis Ian, singer-songwriter, was born Janis Eddy Fink in New York City in 1951.

Bruce Gary, drummer for The Knack, was born in Burbank, CA in 1951.

Simon Climie, songwriter, producer, lead singer of UK duo Climie Fischer, and collaborator with Eric Clapton whose songs have been recorded by George Michael, Aretha Franklin, Pat Benatar, Smokey Robinson, Jeff Beck, and others, was born in Fulham, London, England in 1957.