Today in Rock & Roll History: August 7th

1957: The Quarrymen (minus Paul McCartney, who was at Boy Scout Camp) made their first appearance at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England. Nearly four years later, in February of 1961, the group performed at the venue under their new name, the Beatles.

1957: Buddy Holly and The Crickets began their first major tour at the Howard Theater in Washington, D.C..

1964: Herman’s Hermits released their debut single, “I’m Into Something Good.” Written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, the composition had been inspired by the music of Brian Wilson and became the group’s first hit record.

1964: The Yardbirds’ debut single, a cover of Billy Boy Arnold’s “I Wish You Would,” was released in the US after its release in the UK in May.

1965: The Turtles entered the Billboard Hot 100 with the title track of their debut LP, a cover of Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe.” It rose to #8 by the middle of the month and became their first of nine top 40 singles on the chart.

1965: Herman’s Hermits went to #1 in the US for the second time with “I’m Henry VIII, I Am,” a single released exclusively in America.

1965: Wilson Pickett topped the Billboard R&B chart for the first time with “In the Midnight Hour.” The song reached #21 on the pop chart and was followed by fifteen more hits over the next seven years.

1967: “The Letter” by the Box Tops entered the Billboard Hot 100. Nearly seven weeks later, the single became their first #1 record in the US as well as a #1 hit in Canada and a top 5 hit in the UK.

1967: Jackie Wilson entered the Billboard Hot 100 with “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher.” The song later became his sixth #1 on the R&B chart and sixth top 10 hit on the pop chart.

1967: Frank Zappa’s first solo album, Lumpy Gravy, was released by Capitol Records. Commissioned by A&R rep Nick Venet and influenced by the work of John Cage, the LP’s orchestral and electric sound was written by Zappa and performed by a group of session players he dubbed the Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra. Zappa conducted the orchestra but legally could not perform on the album. After a lawsuit filed by MGM Records claiming the album violated Zappa’s contract with their subsidiary label, Verve Records, the album was withdrawn, re-edited, and reissued by MGM/Verve the following spring. Presented with dense, complex, and varied in time signatures, some musicians refused to play what had been composed for them, stating that Zappa didn’t know what he was doing. By end of recording sessions, however, several were convinced of Zappa’s talent and participated in his future albums.

1969: Marvin Gaye released his version of “That’s the Way Love Is,” the title track from his tenth studio album. The song was first recorded by The Isley Brothers in 1967. The record became Gaye’s third million-selling solo hit and reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B chart.

1970: The Moody Blues released their sixth studio album, A Question of Balance. It reached #1 on the UK chart and #3 in the US.

1970: Stevie Wonder released his twelfth studio album, Signed, Sealed, Delivered. The LP reached #7 on Billboard’s R&B chart and #25 on the pop chart.

1970: Chicago, Rod Stewart, Jethro Tull, Bob Seger, Ten Years After, Mountain, the James Gang, John Sebastian, Brownsville Station, the Flying Burrito Brothers, the Stooges with Iggy Pop, and MC5 appeared at the three-day Goose Lake International Music Festival in Leoni, Michigan. Over 200,000 attended the Festival over the three days.

1970: Ten Years After, Jethro Tull, Cactus, Grand Funk, Alice Cooper, The Youngbloods, and others played at the three-day Strawberry Fields Festival, held at Mosport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.

1971: The Bee Gees had their fourth top 10 hit in the US and first #1 single in the US with “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart.”

1971: Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention’s live EP Just Another Band from L.A. was recorded in Pauley Pavilion on the campus of UCLA in Los Angeles. It was the last Zappa release to include former Turtles members Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, who left to record on their own as Flo & Eddie.

1973: The Isley Brothers released their eleventh studio album, 3 +3. It was the family group’s first album in which founding members O’Kelly, Rudolph, and Ronald Isley were officially joined by younger brothers Ernie and Marvin and in-law Chris Jasper, even though the three had played on several previous albums. The album peaked at #2 on Billboard’s R&B chart and was their first to reach the top 10 on the pop chart.

1976: Elton John’s duet with Kiki Dee, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” was at #1 on the US singles charts.

1976: The Who released “Slip Kid,” the second single from their ninth studio album, The Who by Numbers, in the US.

1977: Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted, the reunion album by the Animals was released. It was the first recordings by the band’s five original members, Eric Burdon, Alan Price, Hilton Valentine, Chas Chandler, and John Steel, since 1965. Record company promotion for the album was weak, no tour was held, and the album’s sound was out of time with the popularity of disco and punk rock. Consequently, the album reached #70 on the US pop charts and did not chart in the UK.

1980: After a five year hiatus, John Lennon and Yoko Ono began recording their Double Fantasy album at New York’s Hit Factory studios. The LP went to #1 in the US after its release in November and received the 1981 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. It was Lennon’s third post-Beatles #1 album in the US and his first #1 LP in UK since Imagine in 1971.

1982: Dexy’s Midnight Runners had their second #1 in the UK with “Come On Eileen.” The following spring, the single reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

1982: Fleetwood Mac’s thirteenth studio album, Mirage, became their third #1 in the US. In the UK, the LP peaked at #5.

Birthdays Today

Felice Bryant, wife and songwriting partner with Boudleaux Bryant best known for writing hit songs for the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, and many others, was born Matilda Genevieve Scaduto in Milwaukee, WI in 1925.

Stan Freberg, author, actor, recording artist, voice artist, comedian, and radio personality, was born Stanley Friberg in Pasadena, CA in 1926.

Herbert “Herb” Reed, musician, vocalist, and founding member of The Platters, was born in Kansas City, MO in 1928.

Jack Good, television producer for several early UK popular music shows and manager of the UK’s first rock and roll stars, including Tommy Steele, Marty Wilde, Billy Fury, Jess Conrad, and Cliff Richard, was born in Greenford, England in 1931.

Howard Johnson, jazz musician and bandleader best known for his work as a sideman for artists including Hank Crawford, Gil Evans, Taj Mahal, The Band, John Lennon, Muddy Waters, and Miles Davis, was born in Montgomery, AL in 1941.

B.J. Thomas, singer, was born Billy Joe Thomas in Hugo, OK in 1942.

Kerry Chater, Nashville songwriter and bassist for Gary Puckett & the Union Gap, was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 1945.

Carlo Novi, songwriter and tenor saxophonist with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, was born in Mexico City, Mexico in 1949.

Rodney Crowell, singer and songwriter, was born in Crosby, TX in 1950.

Jacquie O’Sullivan, backing vocalist for Visage and Eurythmics and member of Bananarama from 1988-1991, was born in London, England in 1960.

Ian Dench, guitarist and principal songwriter for EMF, was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England in 1964.

Raul Malo, singer, songwriter, guitarist, record producer, and lead singer for The Mavericks, was born in Miami, FL in 1965.

Kristin Hersh, singer-songwriter, solo artist, and member of Throwing Muses and 50FootWave, was born Martha Kristin Hersh in Atlanta, GA in 1966.