Today in Rock & Roll History: August 17th

1959: “Sleep Walk” by Santo and Johnny entered the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100. It rose to the #1 at the end of September and remained in the top 40 into early November.

1960: In their first trip away from home, the Beatles arrived in Hamburg, Germany, where they played forty-eight nights at the Indra Club.

1962: “Telstar” by The Tornados was released in the UK. It was the group’s only chart-topping hit in the UK and eventually became the first single by a British group ever to reach the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. It also proved to be a precursor to the British Invasion.

1967: Gary Puckett and the Union Gap recorded their first single, “Woman, Woman,” at Columbia Studio in Hollywood. After its release in October it later peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 early the following year.

1967: “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” by Brenda Holloway was released on Motown’s Tamla label. Co-written with her sister, Patrice Holloway, and producers Frank Wilson and Berry Gordy, Jr., the song later became a big hit for Blood, Sweat & Tears in 1969.

1968: The O’Kaysians debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Girl Watcher” on its way to #5.

1968: After its release in the US in July, Deep Purple’s debut single “Hush,” originally written by Joe South for Billy Joe Royal the year before, entered the Billboard Hot 100 on its way to #4 by mid-September. It became group’s highest charting US single, tied with their other major hit, “Smoke on the Water.”

1968: “People Got To Be Free” by The Rascals went to #1 on Billboard Hot 100. It was the group’s third and last song to top the Billboard and Cash Box pop charts, and was awarded a gold record a week later.

1969: Performers on the third and final day of the Woodstock festival included Joe Cocker, Country Joe and the Fish, Ten Years After, The Band, Johnny Winter, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Sha Na Na, and Jimi Hendrix.

1970: The Band released their third studio album, Stage Fright. It became the group’s highest-charting LP without Bob Dylan on the Billboard pop chart, reaching #5.

1974: Patrick Moraz, formerly of Refugee, was hired to replace keyboardist Rick Wakemen in Yes. Moraz stayed with the band for three years, playing on their seventh studio album, Relayer.

1974: Eric Clapton’s second solo album, 461 Ocean Boulevard, topped the Billboard pop chart for the first of four weeks. His first #1 LP as a solo artist, the album marked Clapton’s return to recording after recovering from a three-year heroin addiction, and its title refers to the Florida rental property where the album was recorded.

1979: The Jam released their eighth single, “When You Were Young.”

1979: XTC released their third studio album, Drums and Waves. The album was their first issued in the United States and their first recorded with guitarist Dave Gregory, who had replaced keyboardist Barry Andrews earlier in 1979.

1980: “Ashes to Ashes” by David Bowie topped the UK singles chart. It was his second #1 in Britain and first since “Space Oddity” in 1975.

1983: Prince released “Delirious” as the third single from his fifth studio LP, 1999. It became his second top 10 hit in the US, reaching #8 in the fall.

1987: Tom Waits released his ninth studio album, Franks Wild Years. The LP contains songs written by Waits and collaborators for a play of the same name.

1990: The Call released their seventh studio album, Red Moon.

1991: Plains Music by Manfred Mann’s Plain Music was released. The album was a project initiated by Manfred Mann after he retired his Earth Band in the late 1980s.

1999: John Mellencamp released his sixteenth studio album, Rough Harvest. Recorded mostly in 1997, the album contains a collection of alternate, acoustic arrangements of his favorite tracks, as well as covers, and fulfilled Mellencamp’s contractual obligation with Mercury Records.

1999: The Moody Blues released their fifteenth studio album, Strange Times. It was the last album by the group to feature longtime flautist and vocalist Ray Thomas.

2010: John Mellencamp released his twenty-first studio album, No Better Than This, which had been recorded at several historic locations throughout the United States and was produced by T Bone Burnett. In July of 2009, Mellencamp had told Rolling Stone magazine that the album was “as American folk as [he’d] ever been” and that he was “done being a rock star.”

Birthdays Today

Mark Dinning, pop singer known for his 1960 #1 hit, “Teen Angel,” was born Max Edward Dinning in Manchester, OK in 1933.

Luther Allison, Chicago blues guitarist who played with the bands of Howlin’ Wolf and Freddie King and worked with Jimmy Dawkins, Magic Sam, Otis Rush, and James Cotton, was born in Widener, AR in 1939.

Ed Sanders, poet, author, activist, and founding member of satirical rock band the Fugs, was born in Kansas City, MO in 1939.

Tommy West, record producer, singer-songwriter, session singer on albums by artists such as Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Mitch Ryder and, with Terry Cashman, produced artists that included Jim Croce, Mary Travers, Henry Gross, Dion, and others, was born Thomas Picardo in 1942.

Baby Huey, soul, funk, and rock singer, songwriter, and frontman for Baby Huey & the Babysitters, was born James Ramey in Richmond, IN in 1944.

Drake Levin, guitarist for Paul Revere & the Raiders, was born Drake Maxwell Levinshefski in Chicago, IL in 1946.

Gary Talley, singer, songwriter, and lead guitarist for The Box Tops, was born in Memphis, TN in 1947.

John “The Chief” Seiter, musician best known as the drummer for Spanky & Our Gang, was born in St. Louis, MO in 1947.

Sib Hashian, drummer for Boston, was born John Thomas Hashian in Boston, MA in 1949.

Kevin Rowland, singer, songwriter, and frontman for Dexys Midnight Runners, was born in Wednesfield, Wolverhampton, England in 1953.

Eric Johnson, guitarist, vocalist, composer, and multi-instrumentalist, was born in Austin, TX in 1954.

Colin Moulding, bassist, singer, and songwriter for XTC, was born in Swindon, Wiltshire, England in 1955.

Belinda Carlisle, co-founder and lead singer of The Go-Go’s and a solo artist, was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1958.

Colin James, rock and blues singer and songwriter, was born Colin James Munn in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1964.

Maria McKee, singer-songwriter, member of Lone Justice, and a solo artist, was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1964.

Steve Gorman, drummer for The Black Crowes, was born in Muskegon, MI in 1965.