Today in Rock & Roll History: February 25th

1957: Buddy Holly recorded “That’ll Be The Day” for the second time at Norman Petty’s studio in Clovis, New Mexico after first recording the song in Nashville in July 1956. Holly’s contract with Decca Records prohibited him from re-recording any of the songs from the Nashville sessions for five years, even if Decca never released them. To evade this restriction, producer Norman Petty credited the Crickets as the artist on the re-recording of “That’ll Be the Day,” which Holly sold to Brunswick Records. When Decca Records’ got wind of the deal, they tried to sue Brunswick, only to realize that Brunswick Records was a subsidiary of Decca. Decca re-signed Holly to another of its subsidiaries, Coral Records, giving him two recording contracts with the company. Recordings with the Crickets were subsequently issued by Brunswick. Holly’s solo records were put out by Coral. The Brunswick recording of “That’ll Be The Day,” released on the Crickets’ debut album, “The ‘Chirping’ Crickets” in late November of 1965, became Holly’s biggest hit, reaching #2 on the US singles charts.

1963: Small Chicago-based label Vee Jay Records released “Please Please Me,” the Beatles’ first single issued in the US. On the first pressing of the 45 rpm disc, the band’s name was misspelled as “Beattles.”

1964: The Beatles finished recording “Can’t Buy Me Love” and the single’s B-side, “You Can’t Do That,” and began working on “And I Love Her” and “I Should Have Known Better” at EMI Studios in London.

1966: The Yardbirds released the single “Shapes of Things” backed with “Mister, You’re a Better Man Than I,” heralding the dawn of the psychedelic era in British rock. “Shapes of Things” peaked at #3 in the UK and #10 in Canada and the US, where it remained on the charts throughout the spring of 1966, making its final appearance on the Billboard Hot 100 in mid-June.

1969: Elvis Presley released “Memories,” a song written for him to perform on his 1968 television comeback special, Elvis.

1971: The Miracles released “I Don’t Blame You at All” from their album One Dozen Roses.

1972: Nick Drake released his third and final studio album, Pink Moon. It was his only studio LP released in North America during his lifetime and unlike his previous two albums, was recorded without a backing band.

1972: Paul McCartney and Wings released their debut single, “Give Ireland Back to the Irish.” The song was written by Paul and wife Linda in response to the January 30th incident known as “Bloody Sunday,” in which British soldiers in Northern Ireland shot and killed thirteen unarmed Irish republican protesters during a peaceful protest march against internment (and injured fifteen others). Despite having never released an overtly political song before, McCartney and the band were keen to voice their outrage at the killings and recorded the track two days later at Abbey Road Studios in London. It was the band’s first song to include Irish guitarist Henry McCullough. The record was banned from broadcast in the UK by the BBC and other organizations and was ignored by radio programmers in the US. The single peaked at #16 on the UK chart and #21 on the US Billboard Hot 100, but topped the national chart in Ireland.

1973: Atco Records released Dr. John’s sixth studio album, In the Right Place. Produced by fellow New Orleans musician Allen Toussaint, it became the biggest selling album of Dr. John’s career.

1974: Aretha Franklin released her twentieth studio album, Let Me in Your Life. It became one of her best-selling albums with Atlantic Records and reached #1 on Billboard’s R&B chart.

1974: Queen released “Seven Seas of Rhye” from their second studio album, Queen II. Officially credited only to Freddie Mercury, the song first appeared as an instrumental at the end of their self-titled debut album.

1977: Former Genesis lead singer Peter Gabriel released his debut solo studio album and the first of four with the same eponymous title. To distinguish it from his other self-titled albums, it is often referred to as Peter Gabriel I or Car.

1978: Genesis released “Follow You Follow Me,” the first single from the group’s ninth studio album, …And Then There Were Three….

1978: Al Di Meola released his third album, Casino.

1980: Bob Seger released Against the Wind, his eleventh studio album and fourth album with the Silver Bullet Band.

1984: Van Halen’ only #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, “Jump,” started its first of five weeks at the top of the chart.

1985: After its release in the UK the previous September, Sade’s single “Smooth Operator” was released in the US. It became their first top 10 hit in America, peaking at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1985: Tears for Fears released their second studio album, Songs from the Big Chair. It became the duo’s breakthrough hit in the US and only #1 on the Billboard pop chart.

1989: Simple Minds went to the top of the UK singles chart for the first time with “Belfast Child.” At 6:39, it became the second longest #1 after the Beatles’ “Hey Jude.”

Birthdays Today

Roy Michaels, vocalist and bassist for The Au Go Go Singers along with Stephen Stills and Richie Furay before forming Cat Mother & the All Night Newsboys, was born in 1942.

George Harrison, singer, songwriter, lead guitarist for the Beatles, member of the Traveling Wilburys, and a solo artist, was born in Liverpool, England in 1943.

Elliot Roberts, music manager and co-founder of Asylum Records who helped start the careers of sing-songwriters such as Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, Jackson Browne, and Tracy Chapman, was born in The Bronx, NY in 1943.

Elkie Brooks, singer with Dada and Vinegar Joe and a solo artist, was born Elaine Bookbinder in Broughton, Salford, Lancashire, England in 1945.

David Stensen, early bassist and backing vocalist for the Grass Roots, was born in San Bruno, CA in 1947.

Emitt Rhodes, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, recording engineer, and member of The Palace Guard and The Merry-Go-Round, was born in Decatur, IL in 1950.

John Doe, rock, folk, and country singer, songwriter, actor, poet, guitarist, bass player, and founder of Los Angeles punk band X, was born John Nommensen Duchac in Decatur, IL in 1954.

Stuart Wood, rhythm and bass guitarist of the Bay City Rollers, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1957.

Dennis Diken, drummer and co-founder of the Smithereens, was born in Belleville, NJ in 1957.

Mike Peters, lead singer for the Alarm and a solo artist, was born in Prestatyn, Wales in 1959.