Today in Rock & Roll History: February 10th

1956: Little Richard recorded “Long Tall Sally” at J&M Studio in New Orleans with producer and co-writer Robert “Bumps” Blackwell. Blackwell had Richard record the song exceptionally fast in order to thwart singer Pat Boone, who’s cover of Richard’s previous R&B hit “Tutti Frutti” sold better than the original. Blackwell and Richard decided to record a song so up- tempo and with lyrics so fast that Boone wouldn’t be able to handle it. Boone did, however, cover the song later that year, though his much more sterile recording was not the bigger hit. The record became Little Richards’ first #1 on the Billboard R&B chart and his highest charting single on the pop charts, where it reached #6.

1965: “Nowhere to Run” by Martha and the Vandellas was released by Motown Records. The single became their fourth top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching #8, and fifth on the R&B chart, peaking at #5.

1966: The Beach Boys were photographed by George Jerman feeding pieces of apple to goats at the San Diego Zoo. The shoot had been arranged by the group’s label, Capitol Records, for their upcoming album titled Our Freaky Friends. Despite some disagreement over the zoo photoshoot, it was used for the cover of the album that ultimately had its name changed to Pet Sounds.

1967: Atlantic Records released “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” the title track and first single from Aretha Franklin’s first album recorded at FAME Studios in Muscles Shoals, Alabama after Franklin had left the Columbia label. It was a breakthrough hit for Franklin, becoming her first of five straight #1s on the Billboard R&B chart and her first top 40 hit on the Hot 100 pop chart, where it reached #2.

1967: “On a Carousel” by the Hollies was released. It became the group’s eleventh top 10 single in the UK and peaked at #11 in the US.

1967: in Studio One at EMI Studios, George Martin and Paul McCartney conducted a 40-piece orchestra for the orchestral portion of “A Day in the Life.” The semi-improvised segment was recorded multiple times, filling a separate four-track tape machine, and the four different recordings were overdubbed into a single massive crescendo. The Beatles hosted the orchestral session as a 1960s-style happening, with guests including Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Donovan, Pattie Boyd, Michael Nesmith, and members of psychedelic design collective The Fool. Reflecting the Beatles’ taste for experimentation and the avant- garde, the orchestra players were asked to wear formal dress and then given a costume piece to contrast with their attire. Guests were given 16mm cameras as part of the filming of a promo clip for the new song. The BBC subsequently banned the resulting video, not because of the footage, but due to the song’s drug references.

1968: Sly & the Family Stone debuted on the US singles charts with their first hit single “Dance to the Music.” The record later peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Cash Box charts as well as #7 in the UK.

1968: “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition entered the Billboard Hot 100. It became their first and highest charting song on the pop charts, reaching #5 a month later.

1971: Carole King’s second studio album Tapestry was released by Ode Records. The LP became a breakthrough hit for King, reaching #1 on the Billboard pop chart after her debut album, Writer, had topped out at #84 the year before. Tapestry also became one of the best- selling albums of all time, with over 25 million copies sold, and won four Grammy Awards in 1972, including Album of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. The album had been recorded at A&M Recording Studios in Hollywood in January with support from Joni Mitchell and James Taylor, plus several session musicians, many of whom were working concurrently on Taylor’s album “Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon.”

1972: David Bowie unveiled his Ziggy Stardust alter-ego for the first time at a concert at The Toby Jug Pub in Tolworth, London, England.

1973: Elton John had his first #1 album in the UK when Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player started a six weeks at the top of the chart.

1977: The Clash began the first of three recording sessions in London for their debut album. The LP was recorded over three weekend sessions at CBS Studio 3. By the third session, the album was recorded and mixed to completion, and cost just 4,000 pounds to produce.

1979: Rod Stewart went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first of four weeks with “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?”

1979: Dire Straits debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with their first single “Sultans of Swing.”

1985: Born in the USA became Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s first #1 album on the UK chart.

1986: John Lennon’s 1972 performance with the Plastic Ono Elephant’s Memory Band at a benefit concert for New York’s Willowbrook State School for mentally disabled children, billed as “One to One,” was released as Live in New York City. The album documents Lennon’s last full-length concert performance and the release was overseen by his widow, Yoko Ono.

1990: Eric Clapton wrapped up a record eighteen nights at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Reportedly not satisfied with the recordings, he returned to the Hall in 1991 and set a new record of twenty four traits nights at the venue. The performances were later released as the album 24 Nights.

Birthdays Today

Larry Adler, harmonica player best known for playing major works who also collaborated with artists that include Sting, Elton John, and Kate Bush, was born in Baltimore, MD in 1914.

Don Wilson, rhythm guitarist and co-founder of the Ventures, was born in Tacoma, WA in 1933.

Roberta Flack, soul singer, was born in Black Mountain, NC in 1937.

Jimmy Merchant, second tenor vocalist for Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, was born in New York City in 1940.

Kenny Rankin, singer and songwriter, was born in Manhattan, New York City in 1940.

Ral Donner, early rock and roll singer and musician, was born in Norwood Park, Chicago, IL in 1943.

Chris Ethridge, country rock bassist and member of The Flying Burrito Brothers who co-wrote with Gram Parsons, and worked with Judy Collins, Leon Russell, Delaney Bramlett, Johnny Winter, Randy Newman, Ry Cooder, Linda Ronstadt, The Byrds, Jackson Browne, and Willie Nelson, was born in Meridian, MS in 1947.

Nigel Olsson, drummer and singer best known for his long-time affiliation with Elton John, was born in Wallasey, Cheshire, England in 1949.

Jon Button, electric and upright bassist who’s played and toured with several well-known artists such as Sheryl Crow, the Corrs, Roger Daltrey, and Pete Townshend, was born in Fairbanks, AK in 1971.