Today in Rock & Roll History: August 19th

1950: “Hard Luck Blues” by Roy Brown and his Mighty-Mighty Men became Brown’s most successful single when it became his second to reach the top of Billboard’s R&B chart.

1967: “All You Need Is Love” by the Beatles went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1968: Pink Floyd released “Let There Be More Light,” the opening track of their second studio album, A Saucerful of Secrets, as the band’s fourth American single.

1969: R.B. Greaves recorded “Take a Letter, Maria” at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama. It became his biggest hit single, reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #10 on the R&B chart.

1969: A few days after Arlo Guthrie’s performance at the Woodstock festival, the film based on his counter-culture hit, “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” titled Alice’s Restaurant, was released. It features Guthrie starring as himself in addition to fellow folk singers Pete Seeger and Lee Hays also make appearances as themselves.

1972: NBC debuted their rock TV program Midnight Special with disc jockey Wolfman Jack announcing and its theme song performed by Johnny Rivers. The ninety-minute program followed the Friday night edition of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson until its final episode in May of 1981, and notably had musical guests perform live instead of lip-sync. The first show, guest-hosted by John Denver, featured Cass Elliott, Harry Chapin, David Clayton-Thomas, The Everly Brothers, The Isley Brothers, Helen Reddy, Linda Ronstadt, and War.

1974: Harry Nilsson released his tenth studio album, Pussy Cats. Produced by friend John Lennon during his “Lost Weekend” period, musicians on the album include Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, Jim Keltner, Jesse Ed Davis, Klaus Voorman, and Bobby Keys. During recording sessions, Nilsson ruptured a vocal chord but forced himself through the sessions, which caused additional damage that some claimed he never recovered from. After the first night of recording, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder came to the studio unexpectedly. Bootleg recordings from this session were later released as A Toot and a Snore in ’74 and the incident is the last known instance of Lennon and McCartney recording together since the break-up of the Beatles.

1974: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young released their first compilation album, So Far. The LP became the band’s third straight #1 on the Billboard pop chart and is their second best-selling album by any configuration of the quartet.

1975: Linda Ronstadt released her cover of Neil Young’s “Love Is a Rose” as the lead single from her sixth solo album, Prisoner in Disguise, which features covers of songs by several of Ronstadt’s friends and songwriters.

1977: The Doobie Brothers released their seventeenth studio album, Livin’ On The Fault Line.

1978: Kenny Loggins had his first of fourteen solo hits when “Whenever I Call You ‘Friend’” entered the top 40 on the Billboard pop chart. The duet with Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks peaked at #5 over the course of its 15 week chart run.

1983: The Moody Blues released “Sitting at the Wheel” as the American lead single from their eleventh studio album, The Present. In November, it was issued in the UK as the LP’s second single.

1991: Dire Straits released “Calling Elvis,” the lead single from their sixth and final studio album, On Every Street.

1997: Fleetwood Mac’s live album The Dance was released. Recorded for an MTV special at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California, it featured the return of the band’s most successful lineup of Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, John McVie, and Stevie Nicks, who had not released an album together since Tango in the Night in 1987. It became the group’s first album to top the US charts since Mirage in 1982 as well as the fifth best-selling live album of all time in the US.

2003: Neil Young released Greendale, his twenty-fifth studio album and the companion LP to the rock opera film of the same name.

Birthdays Today

Earl Gaines, R&B and blues singer, was born in Decatur, AL in 1935.

Ginger Baker, drummer and co-founder of Cream who was also a member of Blues Incorporated, the Graham Bond Organisation, Blind Faith, and the leader of Ginger Baker’s Air Force, was born Peter Edward Baker in Lewisham, South London, England in 1939.

Johnny Nash, pop singer-songwriter and one of the first non-Jamaican singers to record reggae music in Kingston, Jamaica, was born in Houston, TX in 1940.

Roger Cook, singer, songwriter, record producer, and half of British pop duo David and Jonathan who wrote many hits for other artists in addition to his own recording career, was born in Fishponds, Bristol, England in 1940.

Bob Kuban, drummer and bandleader of Bob Kuban and The In-Men best known for his 1966 hit, “The Cheater,” was born in St. Louis, MO in 1940.

Billy J. Kramer, pop singer and leader of The Dakotas during the 1960s, was born William Howard Ashton in Bootle, Lancashire, England in 1943.

Don Fardon, pop singer and member of English freakbeat group, The Sorrows, was born in Coventry, Warwickshire, England in 1943.

Edwin Hawkins, gospel musician, pianist, composer, and choir leader best known for his arrangement of the 1968 hit, “Oh Happy Day,” performed by the Edwin Hawkins Singers, was born in Oakland, CA in 1943.

Ian Gillan, songwriter and lead singer for Deep Purple who also performed the part of Jesus on the album musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, was born in Chiswick, London, England in 1945.

Elliot Lurie, singer, lead guitarist, songwriter, and co-founder of Looking Glass, was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1948.

John Deacon, songwriter and bassist for Queen, was born in Leicester, England in 1951.

Lee Ann Womack, singer-songwriter, was born in Jacksonville, TX in 1966.

Régine Chassagne, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and co-founder of Arcade Fire, was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1977.