Today in Rock & Roll History: December 13th

1961: Decca Records representative Mike Smith attended a performance by the Beatles at Liverpool’s Cavern Club and scheduled a recording audition with the group on the first day of the following year. Decca later rejected the band, saying the Beatles had no future in show business.

1962: Elvis Presley had his thirteenth #1 single in the UK with “Return to Sender.” The record included backing musicians Scotty Moore on electric guitar, D.J. Fontana on drums, Dudley Brooks on piano, and Boots Randolph on baritone sax. The record peaked at #2 in the US.

1966: The Jimi Hendrix Experience recorded “Foxy Lady” at CBS Studios in London during sessions for their debut album Are You Experienced.

1969: Diana Ross & the Supremes started four weeks at the top of Billboard’s R&B chart with “Someday We’ll Be Together.” Two weeks later the record reached #1 on the Hot 100 pop chart.

1970: Dave Edmunds’ only #1 single, his cover of Smiley Lewis’ “I Hear You Knocking,” began six weeks at the top of the UK chart.

1971: Badfinger’s fourth studio album, Straight Up, was released in the US. After Apple Records rejected the band’s initial recordings for the album, George Harrison stepped in to take over production at Abbey Road Studios. Toward the end of recording sessions, Harrison shifted his attention to his Concert for Bangladesh live album and film, and Apple hired Todd Rundgren to finish the album and produce the final mix. Despite initially mixed reviews, it has since been regarded as one of the band’s best albums.

1975: Patti Smith released her debut studio album, Horses. Produced by John Cale and recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York, the album cemented Smith as a central figure in New York’s punk rock movement and numerous acts including R.E.M. and the Smiths have cited it as a major influence.

1975: “Slow Ride” by Foghat entered the Billboard Hot 100. Four months later, it became the band’s first of five top 40 singles on the chart and ultimately became their highest charting song, reaching #20.

1977: Joni Mitchell released her ninth studio album, Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter. The experimental album expanded the jazz fusion sound of her previous LP, Hejira.

1977: Roberta Flack released her sixth studio album, Blue Lights in the Basement.

1982: Bob Seger released The Distance, his twelfth studio album and fourth with the Silver Bullet Band.

1983: Robert Plant and Jimmy Page reunited for the first time since Led Zeppelin’s breakup two years earlier, with Page stepping on stage during the encore of Plant’s Hammersmith Odeon concert for a rendition of Roy Head’s “Treat Her Right.”

1986: Bruce Hornsby and the Range topped the US singles chart with the title track from their debut album, “The Way It Is.” It was the group’s first of three top 10 singles in the US and their only song to reach #1.

2007: Joe Cocker was awarded an Officer of the Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace in England for his contributions to music.

Birthdays Today

Wayne Bennett, blues guitarist who worked with other blues musicians such as Bobby Bland, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, and Elmore James, was born in Sulphur, OK in 1931.

Lou Adler, record producer, manager, director, co-owner of the famous Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood, and founder and co-owner of Dunhill and Ode Records who produced several iconic musical artists including Carole King, Jan & Dean, the Mamas & the Papas, and the Grass Roots, was born in Chicago, IL in 1933.

Dave Burgess, singer, songwriter, guitarist, and band leader for The Champs, was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1934.

Skip Prokop, drummer and leader of Lighthouse, was born Ronald Harry Prokop in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 1943.

Tony Gomez, keyboardist for the Foundations, was born in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in 1948.

Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, guitarist for Steely Dan, the Doobie Brothers, and Spirit who later became a defense consultant and adviser to organizations such as the US Congress and NASA technology, with a focus on missile defense, was born in Washington, D.C. in 1948.

Tom Verlaine, singer, songwriter, guitarist, and frontman of Television, was born in Denville, NJ in 1949.

David O’List, guitarist and vocalist who’s played with The Attack, The Nice, Roxy Music, Jethro Tull, and Pink Floyd, was born in Chiswick, West London, England in 1950.

Berton Averre, guitarist for the Knack, was born in Van Nuys, LA in 1953.

Steve Forbert, singer-songwriter, was born in Meridian, MS in 1954.