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.

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, and Jimi Hendrix, and Roy Buchanan.

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: 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 name of a character in the play Cyrano de Bergerac, which had been advertised on a poster in the hotel’s foyer.

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 LP Minute by Minute topped the Billboard pop chart. The album 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.

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 LP, Nick of Time.

Birthdays Today

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.

Mick Abrahams, original guitarist for Jethro Tull who left after the band’s first album and 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.

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

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.