Today in Rock & Roll History: February 15th

1957: The Coasters recorded “Searchin’,” a song written for them by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. The record became their biggest success yet on the Billboard pop chart, reaching #3, and it became the group’s second #1 hit on the R&B chart.

1958: After daytime success with American Bandstand, ABC debuted its new prime time variety television program, The Dick Clark Show. Guests on the first episode included Jerry Lee Lewis, Connie Francis, Pat Boone, Chuck Willis, the Royal Teens, and Johnny Ray.

1962: Ray Charles recorded his version of Don Gibson’s “I Can’t Stop Loving You” at United Recording Studios in Hollywood, California. The record later went to top of both the US and UK pop charts.

1963: “Locking Up My Heart” by The Marvelettes was released. It was the group’s first single to feature Wanda Young as lead vocalist on the A-side as well as the first charting single written and produced by Motown’s main production team Holland–Dozier–Holland.

1964: At the same time that the Beatles had five songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, the band went to #1 on the album chart with Meet the Beatles!, the group’s second LP released in American and first issued by Capitol Records. The album remained at #1 for eleven weeks before being replaced by the group’s next US album, The Beatles’ Second Album.

1964: The Dave Clark Five debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with their first US single, “Glad All Over.” The record became the first British Invasion hit by a group other than the Beatles.

1965: Dionne Warwick released her fourth album, The Sensitive Sound of Dionne Warwick.

1965: The Beach Boys released “Do You Wanna Dance” as the second single from their eighth studio album, The Beach Boys Today!. The song was originally written and recorded by Bobby Freeman in 1958.

1965: The Beatles single “Eight Days a Week” backed with “I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party” was issued in the US. Both tracks were first released in the UK as part of their fourth studio album, Beatles for Sale.

1966: The Walker Brothers released their cover of “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore),” which was originally recorded by Frankie Valli a year earlier. It became the group’s highest charting song, reaching #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the UK chart.

1967: Music students at Chicago’s DePaul University formed a seven-piece rock ensemble called “The Big Thing.” After moving to Los Angeles and signing with Columbia Records, the group changed their name to “Chicago Transit Authority,” which was ultimately shorted to simply “Chicago.”

1968: John Lennon and George Harrison flew to India with their wives to study Transcendental Meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at his ashram in Rishikesh. Five days later, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr arrived in India, meeting road manager and assistant Mal Evans.

1969: The Monkees released their seventh studio album, Instant Replay. It was their first album as a trio after the departure of Peter Tork as well as their only album of their original nine studio albums that does not include any songs features in the band’s television series.

1969: T. Rex kicked off a UK tour with a show hosted by BBC radio personality John Peel at Birmingham’s Town Hall. Supporting them were Australian sitar player Vytas Serelis and David Bowie, who performed as a mime.

1969: Sly and the Family Stone had their first #1 hit when “Everyday People” reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and Cash Box charts. A week later the record also became their first #1 on Billboard’s R&B chart.

1970: After a Sly and the Family Stone concert ran hours late and caused over $1,000 in damages, the Daughters of the American Revolution imposed a ban on any further rock concerts at Washington, D.C.’s DAR Constitution Hall.

1971: George Harrison released “What Is Life,” the second single from his debut solo triple album, All Things Must Pass.

1974: Deep Purple’s eighth studio album, Burn, was released. Recorded in Montreux, Switzerland with the Rolling Stones’ Mobile Studio, it was the band’s first album with vocalist David Coverdale and bassist Glenn Hughes.

1974: David Bowie released “Rebel Rebel,” the lead single from his eighth studio album, Diamond Dogs.

1975: Linda Ronstadt achieved her first #1 album on the Billboard pop chart with her fifth solo studio LP, Heart Like a Wheel. At the same time, the album’s first single, Ronstadt’s version of Clint Ballard, Jr.’s “You’re No Good” became her only song to reach the top of the Hot 100 singles chart.

1977: America released Harbor, their seventh studio album and last to feature founding member Dan Peek.

1977: The Jam signed with Polydor Records for just 6,000 pounds. When the band was handed the check, they revealed that they didn’t have a bank account, so they went to the bank across the street to exchange the check for cash.

1980: Elvis Costello released Get Happy!!, his fourth album and third with backing band the Attractions. It was a significant departure from Costello’s first three albums, in that it was heavily influenced by R&B, ska, and soul music.

1980: Warren Zevon released his fourth studio album, Bad Luck Streak in Dancing Shoes.

1980: Graham Nash released his third solo studio album, Earth & Sky.

1980: David Bowie released his version of “Alabama Song,” a song originally written by German playwright and poet Bertolt Brecht that was translated to English by Elisabeth Hauptmann set to music by Kurt Weill in the 1920s. Bowie was a fan of Brecht and incorporated the song into his 1978 world tour.

1985: Jethro Tull and the London Symphony Orchestra released A Classic Case, an album of the band’s songs arranged and conducted by member David Palmer.

1986: Sade scored their first #1 album in the US with her second LP, Promise.

1988: The Church released “Under the Milky Way,” the first single from their fifth studio album, Starfish. It became the group’s most successful song internationally and their only single to chart on the US pop charts, where it peaked at #24.

1988: Belinda Carlisle released “I Get Weak,” the second single from her second solo studio album, Heaven on Earth.

1997: U2 topped the UK chart with “Discothèque,” the lead single from the group’s ninth studio album, Pop.

2000: Gov’t Mule released their third studio album, Life Before Insanity. It was the band’s last recording with founding member Allen Woody.

2006: David Gilmour released “On an Island,” the lead single and title track from his third solo studio album.

Birthdays Today

Harold Arlen, composer of over five hundred songs including “Over the Rainbow” and highly regarded contributor to the Great American Songbook, was born in Buffalo, NY in 1905.

Brian Holland, one third of 1960s Motown hit songwriting trio Holland-Dozier-Holland with his Brother Eddie Holland and Lamont Dozier, was born in Detroit, MI in 1941.

Glyn Johns, recording engineer and producer who, as an engineer, worked with the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and Jimi Hendrix alongside or under the tutelage of Eddie Kramer and was a producer and arranger with The Who, the Eagles, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, the Band, Eric Clapton, the Clash, the Beatles, the Steve Miller Band, Small Faces, and more, was born in Epsom, Surrey, England in 1942.

Mick Avory, drummer for the Kinks, was born in East Molesey, Surrey, England in 1944.

John Helliwell, saxophonist, occasional keyboardist, woodwind player, backing vocalist, and live MC for Supertramp, was born in Todmorden, Yorkshire, England in 1945.

David Brown, early bassist for Santana, was born in New York City in 1947.

Melissa Manchester, singer-songwriter, was born in Bronx, NY in 1951.

Alan Rogan, guitar technician and player best known for his work with the Who whose clients also included Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Joe Walsh, Eagles, Keith Richards, and Ronnie Wood, was born in England in 1951.

Ali Campbell, songwriter, guitarist, and lead singer and founding member of UB40, was born Alistair Ian Campbell in Birmingham, England in 1959.

Mikey Craig, bassist for Culture Club, was born in Hammersmith, London in 1960.

Conor Oberst, singer-songwriter, guitarist, solo artist, and founding member of bands including Bright Eyes and Better Oblivion Community Center, was born in Omaha, NE in 1980.

Gary Clark, Jr., blues, rock, and soul songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, was born in Austin, TX in 1984.