Today in Rock & Roll History: February 3rd

1950: Sam Phillips launched his Memphis Recording Service studio at 706 Union Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee with the financial assistance of record executive Jim Bulliet, who had previously helped Phillips scout artists. After licensing recordings to Chess Records for, Phillips created the Sun Records label in 1952. It was the first company to record such influential artists as Elvis Presley, Charlie Rich, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash.

1956: Elvis Presley recorded two blues covers, Jesse Stone’s “Shake Rattle & Roll” and Lloyd Price’s “Lawdy Miss Clawdy.” Both songs were later released by RCA Victor as either side of single.

1958: Philadelphia doo wop group The Silhouettes started five weeks at the top of the Billboard R&B chart with their first single, “Get A Job.”

1959: “The Day the Music Died”—Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper were killed in a plane crash shortly after taking off from the Mason City Municipal Airport outside of Clear Lake, Iowa. Future country star Waylon Jennings had been scheduled to be on the plane but had instead given his seat to The Big Bopper.

1961: Bob Dylan participated in his first recording session at the East Orange, New Jersey, home of friends Sid and Bob Gleason, in which he taped “San Francisco Bay Blues” and “Jesus Met the Woman at the Well” among other songs.

1964: “Fun, Fun, Fun” by The Beach Boys was released. Both it and the single’s B-side, the group’s cover of Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers’ “Why Do Fools Fall in Love,” were later included on The Beach Boys’ fifth album, Shut Down Volume 2.

1964: Capitol Records released Twist and Shout, the Beatles’ second album in Canada, which consists mostly of songs from their debut UK LP, Please Please Me.

1967: “There’s a Kind of Hush” by Herman’s Hermits was released as a single in the UK. The song was originally recorded by the New Vaudeville Band, whose version was successful in Australia and South Africa. Herman’s Hermits’ cover became a hit elsewhere in the world and was the title track of the group’s fifth North American album and third UK album.

1967: Martha and the Vandellas released “Jimmy Mack,” the third single from their fourth studio album, Watchout!. It became their second of two #1 songs on Billboard’s R&B chart.

1967: Marvin Gaye started the first of five recording sessions for “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” which later became his first #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart and fifth single to top the R&B chart.

1968: The Beatles started work on their single “Lady Madonna” at EMI Studios in London.

1968: Oxford, Ohio band The Lemon Pipers achieved their only #1 single with “Green Tambourine.” It was the group’s only single to enter the top 40 on either the Billboard Hot 100 or UK pop chart.

1969: “Time of the Season” by the Zombies was re-released on Columbia Records’ Date label after initially flopping in the US upon its first release in April 1968. The re-issue went all the way to #1 on the Cash Box chart and #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 over a year after the band had broken up.

1969: Three months after its release in the UK, Jethro Tull’s debut album, This Was, was issued in the US by Reprise Records. It became a top 10 hit in the UK and peaked at #68 in the US.

1969: The Beatles, Allen Klein, and John Eastman held a meeting at Apple Records HQ in London, during which Klein was formally appointed the Beatles’ business manager. Klein’s appointment was opposed exclusively by Paul McCartney, who’d wanted Eastman, his future father-in-law, to represent the group. McCartney was outvoted 3-1 by the other Beatles.

1973: Elton John started three weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Crocodile Rock,” his first of five US #1 singles.

1978: Gerry Rafferty released “Baker Street,” the second single from his second studio album, City to City. It became an international top 5 hit and his highest charting single on the US and UK pop charts. Later that year, Rafferty won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.

1978: On the nineteenth anniversary of Buddy Holly’s death, his birthplace in Lubbock, Texas was condemned and scheduled for demolition by the Lubbock Building Department. A campaign was organized to purchase and restore the building, and turn it into a museum. Holly’s mother objected, however, and the campaign was forgotten. Nonetheless, the landmark wasn’t demolished, and was purchased and moved out of town.

1978: Dead Man’s Curve, the made-for-television biographical film based on the musical careers of Jan Berry and Dean Torrence, was televised on CBS. The film had been developed from a 1974 article published in Rolling Stone magazine by Paul Morantz, who also helped write the screenplay.

1979: “Heart of Glass” by Blondie became the group’s first #1 single when it reached the top of the UK chart. In April, the record also became their first #1 in the US.

1979: Briefcase Full of Blues, the debut album by Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi as The Blues Brothers, hit #1 on the Billboard pop chart.

1986: Mike + The Mechanics released “All I Need Is a Miracle,” the second single from their self-titled debut album.

1997: David Bowie released his twentieth studio album, Earthling.

1997: U2 released “Discothèque,” the lead single from their ninth studio album, Pop.

1998: The soundtrack album to the film Blues Brothers 2000 was released. Guests on the album include Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Dr. John, Lonnie Brooks, Wilson Pickett, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Bo Diddley, Charlie Musselwhite, Isaac Hayes, Billy Preston, and many others.

2015: Bob Dylan released his thirty-sixth studio album, “Shadows in the Night.”

Birthdays Today

Johnny “Guitar” Watson, blues, soul, and funk musician, singer, and songwriter, was born in Houston, TX in 1935.

Johnny Bristol, musician, songwriter, and producer who worked with artists at Motown and Columbia Records, was born in Morganton, NC in 1939.

Angelo D’Aleo, vocalist with Dion and the Belmonts, was born in the Bronx, NY in 1940.

Dennis Edwards, singer with the Temptations from 1968 through the 1980s, was born in Fairfield, AL in 1943.

Eric Haydock, original bassist for the Hollies, was born in Stockport, Chesire, Manchester, England in 1943.

Shawn Phillips, singer, songwriter, and session musician who has worked with artists including Donovan, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, and Tim Hardin, was born in Fort Worth, TX in 1943.

Stan Webb, frontman and lead guitarist with Chicken Shack, was born in Fulham, London, England in 1946.

Dave Davies, singer, songwriter, and lead guitarist and co-founder of the Kinks, was born in Fortis Green, London in 1947.

Melanie, singer-songwriter, was born Melanie Anne Safka in Astoria, Queens, NY in 1947.

Lee Ranaldo, songwriter, guitarist, vocalist, and co-founder of Sonic Youth, was born in Glen Cove, NY in 1956.

Laurence “Lol” Tolhurst, drummer, keyboardist, and founding member of the Cure, was born in Horley, Surrey, England in 1959.

Nick Hawkins, guitarist for Big Audio Dynamite II, was born in Luton, England in 1965.