Today in Rock & Roll History: February 20th

1958: Coral Records released Buddy Holly’s self-titled second album. Holly was backed by his band the Crickets and the LP contains Holly’s four hit singles released on the Coral label: “Words of Love,” “Peggy Sue,” “I’m Gonna Love You Too,” and “Rave On!”

1965: Gary Lewis & the Playboys started two weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “This Diamond Ring,” their debut single and only song to top the pop charts.

1971: The soundtrack album to the rock opera musical Jesus Christ Superstar spent its first week at #1 on the Billboard pop chart.

1979: George Harrison released his self-titled eighth studio album. Contributing musicians include Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Gary Wright, and Andy Newmark.

1982: Stevie Wonder achieved his fifteenth #1 on the Billboard R&B chart with “That Girl,” which held the top spot for a total of nine weeks. The record also went to #1 on the Cash Box singles chart and #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1984: The Smith’s self-titled debut studio album was released in the UK on the independent Rough Trade label. After the original production by Troy Tate was felt to be inadequate, producer John Porter had the album re-recorded in both London and Manchester during breaks in the band’s UK tour in September of 1983. The album reached #2 in the UK and spent a total of 33 weeks on the chart, establishing the Smiths as a prominent band in the British music scene.

1985: “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds was released in the US. The single became the group’s first to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, where it climbed all the way to #1. It also became the Scottish band’s first top 10 hit on the UK chart.

1989: “Veronica” by Elvis Costello, inspired by his grandmother who suffered from Alzheimers, was released. It became his highest-charting top 40 hit in the US, peaking at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100.

2004: Nearly forty years after Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys began work on their Smile album, which ultimately went unfinished, Wilson performed his reworking of the project in its entirety at the Royal Festival Hall in London. The series of concert performances were adapted to a studio album, which was released later that year in September as Brian Wilson Presents Smile.

Birthdays Today

Buffy Sainte-Marie, singer, songwriter, actress, activist, was born Beverly Sainte-Marie—Piapot on the Plains Cree First Nation Reserve in the Qu’Appelle Valley in Saskatchewan, Canada in 1941.

Lew Soloff, jazz trumpeter and member of Blood, Sweat & Tears, was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1944.

J. Geils, guitarist and leader of the J. Geils Band, was born John Warren Geils, Jr. in New York City in 1946.

Alan Hull, singer-songwriter, guitarist, and founding member of Lindisfarne, was born James Alan Hull in Benwell, Newcastle upon Tyne, England in 1945.

Walter Becker, musician, songwriter, and record producer, and co-founder of Steely Dan, was born in Queens, NY in 1950.

Randy California, guitarist, singer, songwriter, and original member of Spirit, was born Randy Craig Wolfe in Los Angeles, CA in 1951.

Ian Brown, singer, multi-instrumentalist, solo artist, and lead singer for the Stone Roses, was born in Warrington, England in 1963.