Today in Rock & Roll History: August 29th

1958: Cliff Richard’s debut single, “Move It,” was released. Written by Ian Samwell and recorded by Cliff Richard and the Drifters, the band that later became known as The Shadows, it was originally intended to be a B-side. The single reached #2 in the UK and is credited with being one of the first authentic rock and roll songs produced outside the United States.

1959: The Quarrymen played at the opening of the Casbah Coffee Club in Liverpool, England, located in the basement of a family home owned by drummer Pete Best’s mother. The band, including members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison, had gotten their break when strife among members of the Les Stewart Quartet led them to cancel their appearance at the venue. The Quarrymen, who later became the Beatles, were afterward hired to play every Saturday and appeared many times at the club, with their final performance at the club in June of 1962.

1960: “Walk, Don’t Run” by the Ventures, written by jazz guitarist Johnny Smith, reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. After hearing Chet Atkin’s recording of the song, the Ventures’ version had been released by Dolton Records in the US as the Tacoma-based group’ first national single

1966: The Beatles closed their second US tour with what ended up being their last official concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California, in which they performed eleven songs in a 45-minute set.

1969: Stevie Wonder released his eleventh studio album, My Cherie Amour.

1970: Edwin Starr’s only #1 hit, “War,” topped the Billboard Hot 100. The single was also Starr’s highest charting entry on the Billboard R&B chart and the UK chart, peaking on both at #3. Penned by Motown songwriters Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, the song was offered to Starr after it was recorded and released by the Tempations as part of their Psychedelic Shack LP. The label feared negatively impacting the group’s reputation by releasing the anti-Vietman War protest song as a single, so Starr, who’d only had one hit to his name, volunteered to record it, and his more powerful James Brown-inspired rendition became a runaway hit.

1970: Electric Light Orchestra scored their second #1 album in the UK with their ninth LP, Time.

1976: The original members of Spirit reunited for a concert at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in California—their first since the group had broken up five years earlier. During the encore, a performance of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” the band was joined by Neil Young. Randy California didn’t appreciate Young contributing to the song, and pushed him away. Band members John Locke and Jay Ferguson perceived the interaction as California’s ego flaring up, and walked off-stage, ending the reunion.

1977: Iggy Pop released Lust for Life, his second solo studio album and second collaboration with David Bowie. It became his most commercially successful LP, though it only reached #120 on the Billboard chart.

1977: Split Enz released their third studio album, Dizrythmia. It was the group’s first album without co-founding members Phil Judd and Mike Chunn, who were both replaced by bandleader Tim Finn’s younger brother, Neil, and Nigel Griggs.

1980: British reggae group UB40 released their debut studio album, Signing Off. It was an immediate hit, reaching #2 on the UK chart and established the band’s popularity in Britain years before they found international fame.

1980: Jethro Tull released their thirteenth studio album, A. it was shortly after released in the US at the beginning of September.

1984: U2 kicked off their Unforgettable Fire World Tour in Christchurch, New Zealand.

1987: Los Lobos’ version of the Mexican folk song “La Bamba,” recorded for the Richie Valens biopic of the same name released earlier that summer, became the group’s only #1 single in the US. By the end of July, it had also reached the top spot on the UK chart, as well as in several other countries.

1987: Warren Zevon released his sixth studio album, Sentimental Hygiene. The album includes contributions from Neil Young, Brian Setzer, Don Henley, Bob Dylan, Mike Campbell, and the members of R.E.M., who back Zevon on much of the album.

1989: The Rolling Stones released their nineteenth British and twenty-first American studio album, Steel Wheels. The LP marked a reconciliation between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, a return the band’s classic sound, and the launching of their biggest world tour to date. It was the Stones’ last full-length studio album with long-time bassist Bill Wyman, who later announced his departure in January of 1993, as well as the first album not to feature pianist, former member, and frequent collaborator Ian Stewart, who had died shortly before the release of their previous album, Dirty Work.

1989: Elton John released his twenty-second studio album, Sleeping with the Past. Dedicated to his songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin, and inspired by 1960s R&B, the LP features John’s first solo UK #1 single, “Sacrifice.”

1994: Oasis released their debut album, Definitely Maybe. Released in the wake of three successful singles, the album went to #1 in the UK within two weeks and became the fastest-selling debut album in the UK at the time.

2005: Eric Clapton released his seventeenth studio album, Back Home.

2006: Bob Dylan released his thirty-second studio album, Modern Times, which later became his first #1 LP in the US since “Desire” in 1976. It was his first album to debut at #1 on the Billboard pop chart, and at age 65, Dylan became the oldest living artist to have an album debut at #1 on the chart.

Birthdays Today

Charlie Parker, influential jazz saxophonist, composer, and leading figure in the development of bebop, was born in Kansas City, KS in 1920.

Dinah Washington, singer and pianist, was born Ruth Lee Jones in Tuscaloosa, AL in 1924.

Billy Myle, R&B songwriter and singer, was born in 1924.

Jimmy C. Newman, country and Cajun singer-songwriter, was born in Mamou, LA in 1927.

Johnny Paris, saxophonist and leader of Johnny and the Hurricanes, was born John Matthew Pocisk in Walbridge, OH in 1940.

Sterling Morrison, guitarist and founding member of the Velvet Underground, was born Holmes Sterling Morrison, Jr. in East Meadow, NY in 1942.

Dick Halligan, musician, composer, and founding member of Blood, Sweat & Tears, was born in Troy, NY in 1943.

Chris Copping, singer-songwriter and bassist, organist, and pianist for Procol Harum from 1969-1977, was born in Middleton, Lancashire, England in 1945.

Michael Jackson, singer, songwriter, dancer, solo artist, and member of the Jackson 5 known as the “King of Pop”, was born in Gary, IN in 1958.

Jerry Fehily, drummer for Hothouse Flowers, was born in 1963.

Anton Newcombe, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and founder of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, was born in Newport Beach, CA in 1967.

Meshell Ndegeocello, singer, songwriter, and bassist, was born Michelle Lynn Johnson in Berlin, Germany in 1968.