Today in Rock & Roll History: August 2nd

1962: Robert Allen Zimmerman legally changed his name to Bob Dylan at the New York Supreme Court. He had been going by Bob Dylan since arriving at the University of Minnesota in 1959, but before that, he’d been known as Elston Gunn, and had used variations of his best-known stage name, such as Bob Dillon as early as high school. Since then, several stories have circulated regarding the inspiration for “Bob Dylan,” such as that it was an homage to poet Dylan Thomas, based on a road in his hometown or a town in Oklahoma, or similar to the name of a family member. Dylan’s enigmatic answer to his pseudonym’s origin is “I just chose the name and it stuck.”

1965: Sonny & Cher released their debut album, Look at Us. It became the duo’s only top 10 LP on the US charts, reaching #2.

1969: Three Dog Night released their version of “Easy to Be Hard” as the first single from their second studio album, Suitable for Framing. It made it to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #3 on the Cash Box Top 100.

1971: Paul and Linda McCartney released “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” as a single from their Ram album in the US. In September, the song became McCartney’s first post-Beatles #1.

1974: After releasing two albums on David Geffen’s Asylum Records label—Planet Waves and Before the Flood—Bob Dylan re-signed with his original label, Columbia.

1975: The Eagles’ scored their second #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with the title track from their fourth studio album and first #1 LP, One of These Nights, which started its second week at the top of the Billboard pop album chart.

1975: “Lady Blue” by Leon Russell entered the Billboard Hot 100. The single later reached #14 in November and was his second and final top 40 hit after “Tight Rope” in 1972.

1983: Jackson Browne released his seventh studio album, Lawyers in Love. It was Browne’s fourth straight top 10 album as well as his last to reach the top 10.

1986: Former Chicago member Peter Cetera had his first solo #1 single on the US charts with “Glory of Love.”

1987: Midnight Oil released their sixth studio album, Diesel and Dust. It became the band’s second #1 LP in Australia and breakthrough release in the US and UK, reaching #21 and #19 respectively.

1988: Little Feat released their eighth studio album, Let It Roll.

2011: John Hiatt released the album Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns.

Birthdays Today

Earl Shuman, songwriter who wrote lyrics for dozens of songs recorded by Barbra Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald and Tom Jones, and many others, was born in Boston, MA in 1923.

John Cohen, folk musician, visual artist, founding member of the New Lost City Ramblers, musicologist who focused on preserving and promoting the traditional music of the rural America, and the alleged inspiration for the Grateful Dead’s song, “Uncle John’s Band,” was born in 1932.

Hank Cochran, country singer-songwriter, was born Garland Perry Cochran in Isola, MS in 1935.

Garth Hudson, organist, keyboardist and original member of The Band, was born Eric Garth Hudson in Windsor, Ontario, Canada in 1937.

Doris Coley, singer and member of the Shirelles, was born in Goldsboro, NC in 1941.

Andrew Steele, drummer for The Herd who also played on albums by Stealers Wheel, Rodriguez, Gerry Rafferty, Duane Eddy, and Neil Sedaka, was born in Hendon, London, England in 1941.

Chet Helms, music promoter and a counterculture figure in San Francisco during the mid to late 1960s who was the founder and manager of Big Brother and the Holding Company and recruited Janis Joplin as its lead singer, was the first producer of psychedelic light-show concerts at the Fillmore and the Avalon Ballroom, was instrumental in helping to develop bands that had the distinctive San Francisco sound, and together with promoter Bill Graham, made famous San Francisco venues like the Fillmore and Winterland Ballroom, was born Chester Leo Helms in Santa Maria, CA in 1942.

Jim Capaldi, Traffic drummer, singer, and songwriter who, in addition to a solo career, also performed with artists including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Alvin Lee, and Cat Stevens, and wrote lyrics for several others, was born Nicola James Capaldi in Evesham, Worchestershire, England in 1944.

Mark Naftalin, blues keyboardist, composer, record producer, and member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Quicksilver Messenger Service, was born Joseph Thomas Hill in Minneapolis, MN in 1944.

John Fleck, bassist for Love and The Standells, was born John William Fleckenstein in Los Angeles, CA in 1946.

Andy Fairweather Low, guitarist, songwriter, producer, vocalist, founder and lead singer of Amen Corner, and touring musician with Roger Waters, Eric Clapton, and Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings, was born in Ystrad Mynach, Wales in 1948.

Ted Turner, singer-songwriter and guitarist best known as a member of Wishbone Ash, was born David Alan Turner in Sheldon, Birmingham, England in 1950.

Andew Gold, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, session musician, and solo artist who first appeared in Linda Ronstadt’s backing band, and also played and recorded with many artists including Ringo Starr, Eagles, James Taylor, Brian Wilson, Roy Orbison, Carly Simon, Jackson Browne, Neil Young, 10cc, America, Bonnie Raitt, Maria Muldaur, Neil Diamond, Freddie Mercury, Karla Bonoff, and J.D. Souther, was born in Burbank, CA in 1951.

Steve Hillage, singer, guitarist, producer, solo artist, and member of groups such as Uriel, Khan, and Gong, was born in Chingford, Essex, England in 1951.

Pete de Freitas, original drummer for Echo & the Bunnymen, who played on the group’s first five albums, was born Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago in 1961.

Lee Mavers, songwriter, singer, and rhythm guitarist for The La’s, was born in Liverpool, England in 1962.