Today in Rock & Roll History: August 11th

1958: Elvis Presley’s #1 hit, “Hard Headed Woman,” became the first rock and roll single to receive the Gold Record designation from the RIAA for a million copies sold.

1962: “Green Onions” by Stax Records house band Booker T. & the M.G.’s entered the Billboard Hot 100. According to Booker T. Jones, the instrumental’s title originated with bassist Lewie Steinberg, who’d thought the tune was so funky, he suggested calling it “Funky Onions.” That title was considered too low-class, so “Green Onions” was chosen instead. A month later the song went to #1 on the Billboard R&B chart, and five weeks later peaked at #3 on the Hot 100.

1962: After having eight previous songs in the US top 40, Neil Sedaka scored his first Billboard #1 with “Breaking Up is Hard to Do.”

1964: The Beatles began work on their fourth album, Beatles For Sale, at EMI Studios in London.

1965: The Beatles’ movie Help! had its US premiere in New York City after the film’s world premiere had been held at London’s Pavilion Theatre in London earlier in July.

1965: The Kink’s second studio album, Kinda Kinks, was released in the US after its release in the UK in March . The LP went to #3 on the UK chart and #60 in the US.

1966: John Lennon held a press conference in Chicago to apologize for his remarks the previous March in which he had said that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus” at the time. Said Lennon, “I suppose if I had said television was more popular than Jesus, I would have gotten away with it. I’m sorry I opened my mouth. I’m not anti-God, anti-Christ, or anti-religion. I was not knocking it. I was not saying we are greater or better.”

1968: The Beatles launched their own label, Apple Records. The operation was headed by Ron Kass, formerly of Liberty Record’s European division, and the Granny Smith label was designed by Gene Mahon, who had designed the back cover of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Recording began within days, and among the first projects were AR& director Peter Asher producing James Taylor, George Harrison producing Jackie Lomax, and Paul McCartney producing the Black Dyle Mills Band and Mary Hopkin.

1972: Three Dog Night entered Billboard Hot 100 with the opening track and first single from their Seven Separate Fools album, “Black and White.”

1973: After the success of their #1 single “Frankenstein,” the Edgar Winter Group entered the Billboard Hot 100 with “Free Ride.” By mid-October, it reached #14, making it the band’s only other top 20 single.

1979: Led Zeppelin played their final UK concert at the Knebworth Festival in England.

1979: The debut album by Los Angeles band The Knack, Get the Knack, started its first of five weeks at #1 on t he Billboard chart. Two weeks later, the album’s hit single, “My Sharona” went to #1 for the first of six weeks on the Hot 100.

1984: Ray Parker Jr.’s biggest hit, “Ghostbusters,” became his only #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Two weeks it became his only song to reach the top of the R&B chart as well.

1986: Almost 20 years, the Monkees were back on the Billboard pop album chart with re-issues of the group’s first four albums re-released by Rhino Records, as well as a “Best of the Monkees” singles compilation put out by Arista. Also back on the singles chart were the Beatles with “Twist and Shout,” 22 years after it had originally entered the Billboard Hot 100. The song had a resurgence in popularity after being featured in the summer movies Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Back to School.

Birthdays Today

Mike Hugg, drummer, keyboardist, and founding member of Manfred Mann, was born in Gosport, Hampshire, England in 1942.

Jim Kale, original bassist for the Guess Who bassist, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in 1943.

Kenneth Gamble, songwriter and producer, who together with partner Leon Huff, is credited with developing the Philadelphia soul genre as well as writing and producing 175 gold and platinum records, was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1943.

Denis Payton, sax, guitar, and harmonica player with the Dave Clark Five, was born in Walthamstow, East London, England in 1943.

Eric Carmen, singer, songwriter, guitarist, and keyboardist, who started out as the lead vocalist for the Raspberries before going solo, was born in Cleveland, OH in 1949.

Erik Brann, guitarist and vocalist for Iron Butterfly, was born in Pekin, IL in 1950.

Joe Jackson, singer-songwriter and musician, was born in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, England in 1954.

Richie Ramone, drummer for the Ramones from 1983-1987, was born Richard Reinhardt in Passaic, NJ in 1957.

Charlie Sexton, guitarist, singer, songwriter, and member of Bob Dylan’s backing band since 1999, who’s also recorded and played with Eric Clapton, Ronnie Wood, Don Henley, Keith Richards, Lucinda Williams, Tommy Shannon, and Chris Layton among others, was born in San Antonio, TX in 1968.