Today in Rock & Roll History: August 21st

1961: Motown Records released the debut single by The Marvelettes, “Please Mr. Postman,” on their Tamla label. The single sold over a million copies and became the groups biggest hit and only song to reach #1 on the Billboard pop and R&B charts. When it went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 that December, it was Motown’s first single to reach the top of the chart.

1961: Philadelphia a cappella group The Dovells released “Bristol Stomp,” which later reached #2 on the Billboard pop chart. It also became a top 10 hit on the R&B chart, where it peaked at #7.

1965: The Rolling Stones were at the top of the Billboard pop chart in the US for the first time with “Out of Our Heads,” the band’s fourth LP released in the US. The UK version was the band’s first album not to reach #1, and peaked at #2.

1965: Barry McGuire’s recording of “Eve of Destruction,” written by P.F. Sloan in 1964, entered the Billboard Hot 100, where it went to #1 by the end of September. McGuire’s version, in which he was accompanied by top-tier Los Angeles session players P.F. Sloan on guitar, Hal Blaine on drums, and Larry Knechel on bass guitar, became the most successful recording of the song and was McGuire’s only top 40 single.

1965: The debut single by the Lovin’ Spoonful, “Do You Believe in Magic,” entered the Billboard Hot 100. In mid-October, the single reached #9 on the chart and was the group’s first of seven consecutive top 10 hits in the US.

1969: Diana Ross & the Supremes and The Temptations released the first single from their joint album Together, a cover of “The Weight,” a song originally recorded by The Band in 1968.

1976: Approximately 120,000 fans came to see Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, Hot Tuna, the Don Harrison Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, 10cc, and The Rolling Stones play at that year’s annual Knebworth Festival in England. It was the last time the original four members of 10cc were on stage together. Later that year Kevin Godley and Lol Creme left to pursue recording as a duo. The Stones were the night’s final act, and after a two and a half hour delay, they finally took the stage along with keyboardist Billy Preston, percussionist Ollie Brown, and pianist Ian Stewart to perform what bassist Bill Wyman claimed was the longest show they’d ever done. Though not technically part of the tour, the Knebworth show wrapped up the Stones’ 1976 tour of Europe, and it was falsely rumored to be the last show the Stones or Keith Richards would ever do in Britain.

1976: Linda Ronstadt’s version of the Buddy Holly tune “That’ll Be the Day” entered the Billboard Hot 100, where it later reached #11.

1978: The third single and title track from Wings’ sixth studio album, London Town, was released in the US. Five days later it was issued in the UK.

1980: The Doobie Brothers released “Real Love,” the lead single from their ninth studio LP, One Step Closer.

1987: Midnight Oil released their sixth studio album, Diesel and Dust.

1989: The Rolling Stones released “Mixed Emotions,” the lead single from their nineteenth British and twenty-first American studio album, Steel Wheels.

1989: The Cure released “Lovesong,” the third single from the group’s eighth studio album, Disintegration. It became their first top 10 hit in the US, reaching #2.

1989: Jethro Tull’s seventeenth studio album, Rock Island, was released in the UK.

1990: Prince released Graffiti Bridge, his twelfth studio album and the soundtrack to the film of the same name.

1996: Former Talking Heads members Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, and Jerry Harrison reunited as “The Heads” to record an album called No Talking, Just Head—alluding to the absence of former lead singer David Byrne. The group had intentions for future albums and tours, but Byrne sued the band, claiming their name and presentation was too much like the Talking Heads. The out-of-court settlement ended future plans, but the album was released in October and The Heads toured the US in the fall with lead vocalist Johnette Napolitano.

1997: Oasis released their third album, Be Here Now. The LP became their third straight #1 in the UK and their highest-charting album in the US, reaching #2.

2006: The Rolling Stones released “Biggest Mistake,” the third and final single from their 2005 studio album, A Bigger Bang.

Birthdays Today

Count Basie, jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer, was born William James Basie in Red Bank, NJ in 1904.

Hy Zaret, Tin Pan Alley lyricist and composer best known as the co-author of the 1955 hit “Unchained Melody,” was born Hyman Harry Zaritsk in New York City in 1907.

Kenny Rogers, singer, songwriter, actor, record producer, former member of the New Christy Minstrels, and co-founder of The First Edition, was born in Hoston, TX in 1938.

Ernie Maresca, singer, songwriter, and record executive who co-wrote some of Dion’s biggest hits such as “Runaround Sue” and “The Wanderer,” was born in The Bronx, NY in 1938.

James Burton, guitarist and session musician that played on records by Ricky Nelson, Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers, Glen Campbell, John Denver, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Judy Collins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Costello, Roy Orbison, Joni Mitchell, and many others, was born in Dubberly, LA in 1939.

Tom Coster, keyboardist, composer, and longtime backing musician for Carlos Santana, was born in Detroit, MI in 1941.

Jackie DeShannon, singer-songwriter, was born Sharon Lee Myers in Hazel, KY in 1941.

Clydie King, singer who recorded solo as Brown Sugar, but is best known as a session vocalist for Ray Charles, Humble Pie, B.B. King, the Rolling Stones, Steely Dan, Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Joe Cocker, Dickey Betts, Joe Walsh, and many others, was born in Dallas, TX in 1943.

Carl Giammarese, guitarist and original member of The Buckinghams, was born in Chicago, IL in 1947.

Glenn Hughes, session musician, solo artist, and bassist and vocalist for Deep Purple from 1973-1976, was born in Cannock, Staffordshire, England in 1951.

Joe Strummer, co-founder, lyricist, rhythm guitarist, and lead vocalist for the Clash, was born John Graham Mellor in Ankara, Turkey in 1952.

Nick Kane, guitarist for the Mavericks, was born in Jerusalem, GA in 1954.

Budgie, drummer for Siouxsie and the Banshees, who later formed The Creatures with Siouxsie Sioux and worked with artists like John Cale and John Grant, was born Peter Edward Clarke in St. Helens, Lancashire, England in 1957.