Today in Rock & Roll History: February 2nd

1956: The Coasters signed with Atlantic Records, with whom they recorded ten US top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and six top ten hits on the R&B chart.

1959: Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson made their final concert appearance during the GAC Winter Dance Party Tour at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. Admission was $1.25. Early the next day, a 1:00 AM, the three died in a tragic plane crash shortly after taking off from the nearby Mason City Municipal Airport.

1962: The Beatles performed outside of their hometown of Liverpool, England for the first time with a show at the Oasis club in Manchester, kicking off the show with the Chan Romero song “Hippy Hippy Shake.”

1963: The Beatles began their first tour of Britain, backing up singer Helen Shapiro at the Gaumont Cinema in Bradford.

1963: Cliff Richard and the Shadows started a fourteen week run at #1 on the UK album chart with Summer Holiday, the soundtrack album to the film of the same name starring Cliff Richard and Lauri Peters.

1968: Simon & Garfunkel recorded “Mrs. Robinson” at Columbia Studios in New York City. Director Mike Nichols, currently filming The Graduate, was fascinated with the folk duo and met with Columbia Records chairman Clive Davis to license Simon & Garfunkel’s music for his film. Paul Simon was reluctant at first, viewing doing music for movies as “selling out,” but eventually agreed to write a few songs after being impressed with Nichols’ script. After pitching two tracks to Nichols, Simon & Garfunkel presented a song Simon had been working on at the time titled “Mrs. Roosevelt,” but it was undecided what three-syllable name to use in the song. Garfunkel suggested Robinson, and Nichols was ecstatic, exclaiming “You have a song called ‘Mrs. Robinson’ and you haven’t even shown it to me?”

1968: Genesis released their first single “The Silent Sun.”

1971: Santana’s single “Oye Como Va” was released. Originally written and recorded by Latin jazz and mambo musician Tito Puente in 1963, Santana’s rendition further popularized the song, reaching #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #32 on the R&B chart.

1973: After it debuted as a special in August of 1972, popular late-night music variety show The Midnight Special premiered as a weekly series on NBC-TV with host Helen Ready. Musical guests were Ike and Tina Turner, Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions, Don McLean, Rare Earth, Kenny Rankin, and The Byrds, in addition to appearances by Ed McMahon and George Carlin.

1976: Genesis released A Trick of the Tail, their seventh studio album and first to feature drummer Phil Collins as lead vocalist after the departure of Peter Gabriel. A critical and commercial success on both sides of the Atlantic, the album reached #3 in the UK and #31 in the US.

1980: Michael Jackson released “Off The Wall,” the third single and title track from his fifth studio album.

1991: Sting had his second and final #1 studio album on the UK chart with The Soul Cages.

1994: “Streets of Philadelphia” by Bruce Springsteen was released, from the soundtrack to the film of the same name. The song was a hit in many countries around the world and reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also won an Academy Award for Best Original Song as well as four Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year and Best Rock Song.

Birthdays Today

Alan Caddy, guitarist, arranger, record producer, session musician, original member of Johnny Kidd & the Pirates, and lead guitarist for the Tornados, was born in Chelsea, London, England in 1940.

Gail Collins Pappalardi, songwriter, artist, and wife of Felix Pappalardi who contributed lyrics to many Mountain songs, co-wrote Cream’s “World of Pain” and “Strange Brew,” and created the artwork for the covers of many of Mountain’s albums, was born in 1941.

Graham Nash, singer-songwriter, solo artist, and member of the Hollies and Crosby, Stills & Nash, was born in Blackpool, Lancashire, England in 1942.

Ronnie Goodson, leader of Ronnie and the Hi-lites and trumpet player with John Fred and His Playboy Band, was born in Jersey City, NJ in 1945.

Peter Lucia, Jr., drummer with Tommy James and the Shondells and Hog Heaven, was born in Morristown, NJ in 1947.

Al McKay, producer, songwriter, and guitarist with Earth, Wind & Fire, was born in New Orleans, LA in 1948.

Ross Valory, bassist briefly with the Steve Miller Band and later with Journey, was born in San Francisco, CA in 1949.

Eva Cassidy, singer, guitarist, and pianist, was born in Washington, DC in 1963.

Ben Mize, drummer for Counting Crows from 1994-2002, was born in Durham, NC in 1971.