Today in Rock & Roll History: February 28th

1963: The Miracles released their fourth studio album, The Fabulous Miracles. Two of the album’s songs were taken from their debut album and the other eight new songs were released as either singles or B-sides.

1963: While on tour with singer Helen Shapiro, John Lennon and Paul McCartney composed “From Me To You” on the tour bus from York to Shrewsbury. The song title had been inspired by the reader feedback section of British music journal New Musical Express, “From You To Us.”

1964: British duo Peter and Gordon released their first single, “A World Without Love.” The song was written by 16-year-old Paul McCartney when he moved in with his then-girlfriend Jane Asher in 1963 and shared a room with her brother, Peter Asher. Asher asked if he could use the song after he and Gordon Waller signed a recording contract. The single later reached the top of charts in the UK, US, and other countries.

1966: Dunhill Records released the debut album by Los Angeles group The Mamas and the Papas, If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears.

1966: Paul Revere and the Raiders released “Kicks” from their fifth studio album, Midnight Ride. Producer Terry Melcher had asked songwriters Barry Man and Cynthia Weil to compose a song similar to the Animal’s 1965 hit “We Gotta Get Out of This Place.” The result was “Kicks,” a song originally offered to the Animals, but turned down by lead singer Eric Burdon. Mann and Weil had written the song as a warning to a friend about the dangers of drug use, but as counterculture themes gained popularity on FM stations across America, the song’s message was consequently perceived as outdated. Nonetheless, the song was received positively and became the group’s first top 10 hit, reaching #4 on Billboard Hot 100 and #3 on the Cash Box singles chart.

1969: The Hollies released “Sorry Suzanne.” Co-written by Geoff Stephens and Tony Macaulay, it was the group’s first song to feature Terry Sylvester in the place of former member Graham Nash.

1970: In an interview with music journal New Musical Express, Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green revealed his intention to give all of his money away. Later that year, Green left Fleetwood Mac and was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia. After spending time in psychiatric hospitals in the mid-1970s, he came out of seclusion and resumed his career by the end of the decade.

1970: After the granddaughter of the late Ferdinand von Zeppelin—inventor of the zeppelin— threatened a lawsuit, Led Zeppelin played a show in Copenhagen, Denmark during a tour of Europe as “The Nobs,” a pun based on the name of their European promoter, Claude Nobs. As a gesture of good will, the band invited Countess Eva von Zeppelin to meet with them at a television studio, but her anger was reignited upon seeing the band’s debut album cover, which depicts the exploding Hindenburg. The controversy gained the band worldwide publicity.

1970: “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel started two weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was the duo’s third #1 on the Hot 100 in the US and became their first #1 in the UK a month later.

1970: The title track from Norman Greenbaum’s debut studio album, Spirit in the Sky, entered the Billboard Hot 100. The single became Greenbaum’s only top 40 hit on the chart, peaking at #3.

1983: U2 released their third studio album, War. It is regarded as the band’s first overly political album, and lead singer Bono had stated that “war seemed to be the motif for 1982.”

1984: “Weird Al” Yankovic released his second studio album, “Weird Al” Yankovic in 3-D. Half of the album features parodies of songs by artists like Michael Jackson, Men Without Hats, the Greg Kihn Band, the Police, and Survivor, while the other half comprises “style parodies” of artists like Bob Marley and the B-52s. It was also Yankovic’s first album to include a polka medley of hit songs, beginning a trend that has continued on nearly all of his subsequent albums.

1986: The Rolling Stones released their version of “Harlem Shuffle” as the lead single from their eighteenth British and twentieth American studio album, Dirty Work. The song was first written and recorded by R&B duo Bob & Earl in 1963. It was the first cover song the Stones had released as an opening single off a new studio album since 1965.

1989: Indigo Girls released their self-titled second studio album and first major label released.

1990: Eric Johnson released his third studio album, Ah Via Musicom.

1995: Steve Earle released his fifth studio album, Train a Comin’, which features guest appearances by Peter Rowan, Norman Blake, Roy Huskey, and Emmylou Harris.

1995: Del Amitri released their fourth studio album, Twisted. It was the band’s last album to feature guitarist David Cummings and only album with drummer Chris Sharrock.

1995: Blues Traveler released “Run-Around,” the first single from their fourth studio album, Four.

2000: Oasis released Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, their fourth studio album and first album under their new record label, Big Brother Recordings.

2004: Norah Jones topped the Billboard pop chart with her second album, Feels Like Home.

2005: R.E.M. released “Electron Blue,” the third single from their thirteenth studio album, Around the Sun.

2006: Elvis Costello released My Flame Burns Blue, his twenty-second album, “My Flame Burns Blue.” It was recorded as the North Sea Jazz Festival in 2004 and peaked at #2 on Billboard’s Jazz chart.

2008: Jethro Tull co-founder and frontman Ian Anderson was was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to music.

Birthdays Today

Giorgio Gomelsky, film maker, impresario, music manager, songwriter, and record producer who owned the Crawdaddy Club in London, played a role in managing house bands the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds, started independent label Marmalade Records, and was instrumental in the careers in other acts including Soft Machine, Gong, Magma, and Material, was born in Tiflis, Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1934.

Ed Cobb, musician, songwriter, record producer, and member of the Four Preps who worked with acts including the Chocolate Watch Band, Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, and Pink Floyd, and is best known for writing hit songs such as “Tainted Love” for Gloria Jones, “Dirty Water” for the Standells, and “Everly Little Bit Hurts” for Brenda Holloway, was born in Honolulu, HI in 1938.

John Fahey, acoustic and fingerstyle guitarist, composer, and founder of the Takoma Records label, was born in Washington, D.C. in 1939.

Joe South, singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer, and session musician for artists such as Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Bob Dylan, and Simon & Garfunkel, was born Joseph Alfred Souter in Atlanta, GA in 1940.

Marty Sanders, member of Jay and the Americans, was born Marty Kupersmith in Brooklyn, NY in 1941.

Brian Jones, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and founder and original leader of the Rolling Stones, was born Lewis Brian Hopkin Jones in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England in 1942.

Donnie Iris, solo artist and member of Jaggerz and Wild Cherry, was born Dominic Ierace in New Castle, PA in 1943.

Storm Thorgersonm, graphic designer and music video director who created album or other art for bands including Led Zeppelin, Phish, Black Sabbath, Peter Gabriel, the Alan Parsons Project, Genesis, and Yes, was born in Potters Bar, Middlesex, England in 1944.

Ronnie Rosman, keyboardist for Tommy James and Shondells, was born in 1945.

Ed “Kingfish” Manion, saxophonist and session musician who recorded and performed with Southside Johnny and the Abury Jukes, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul, and The Robery Cray Band, was born in 1952.

Ian Stanley, musician, songwriter, producer, and keyboardist with Tears for Fears through most of 1980s, was born in High Wycombe, England in 1957.

Phil Gould, drummer, songwriter, singer, and co-founder of Level 42, was born in Isle of Wight, England in 1957.

Cindy Wilson, singer, songwriter, and founding member of The B-52s, was born in Athens, GA in 1957.