Today in Rock & Roll History: January 11th

1956: After changing their name from the Robins, the Coasters recorded their first tracks for Atlantic Records in Hollywood: “Down in Mexico,” “Turtle Dovin’,” “One Kiss Led To Another,” and “Brazil.” The Los Angeles quintet debuted on the US singles charts the following year and placed six consecutive hits in the top 10.

1956: Elvis Presley recorded for the first time with vocal group The Jordanaires, cutting two tracks “I’m Counting On You” and “I Was The One” in Nashville. After another session with members of the group in April, Presley employed The Jordanaires on nearly every one of his recording sessions for the next fourteen years. At a time when backing musicians, producers, or engineers rarely received credit on any records, Elvis insisted that the Jordanaires appear on the his records’ labels.

1962: Cliff Richard became the first British artist to enter the UK singles chart at #1 when “The Young Ones” debuted at the top of the chart.

1963: “Please Please Me” backed with “Ask Me Why,” the second single by the Beatles, was released in the UK, where it became their first top 10 hit, reaching #2. The first release of the record in the US failed to chart, but the re-release nearly a year later in 1964 made it to #3.

1964: “Louie Louie,” the second single and first major hit by the Kingsmen, went to #1 song on the Cash Box singles chart. It was the group’s first major hit record, also reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 the previous December, and was the last #1 on the Cash Box chart before Beatlemania hit the United States.

1964: Roger Miller recorded “Dang Me” and “Chug-a-lug” as well as “Lou’s Got The Flu,” “The Moon Is High (And So Am I),” and “It Takes All Kinds To Make A World” at Quonset Hut Studio in Nashville, Tennessee’s Music Row. “Dang Me” later became Miller’s first chart-topping country hit, his first top 10 song on the pop charts, and won that year’s Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Song.

1965: The Beach Boys recorded “Do You Wanna Dance?” near the end of sessions for their eighth studio album The Beach Boys Today!.

1965: The Rolling Stones began sessions at RCA Studios in Hollywood to record “The Last Time” and “Play With Fire,” both sides of the same single, released the following February in the UK and March in the US. “The Last Time” was the band’s first single written by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger and the chorus bears a resemblance to the Staple Singers’ 1958 cover of the traditional gospel tune “This May Be The Last Time.” “Play with Fire” is credited to Nanker Phelge, a pseudonym used when tracks were composed by the entire band, even though lead singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards are the only Rolling Stones to appear on the track.

1967: The Jimi Hendrix Experience began recording “Purple Haze” at De Lane Lea Studios in London. According to drummer Mitch Mitchell, the trio recorded the song in three takes, after which Hendrix and manager Chas Chandler made repeated trips to the studio to perfect the record. The four-track tape was later taken to Olympic Studios for overdubbing, where they were assigned sound engineer Eddie Kramer, who became an important figure in subsequent Hendrix recordings. At Olympic, Chandler experimented with several new effects such as increasing and decreasing speed and panning, and Hendrix’s solo was the first use of the Octavia guitar effects unit, which had been developed by electronics and acoustical engineer Roger Mayer with input from Hendrix.

1967: The Hollies began recording “On a Carousel” at Abbey Road Studios in London.

1969: “Games People Play” by Joe South entered the Billboard Hot 100. Souths’ first top 40 hit and highest charting single at #12, the song also later won Best Contemporary Song and Song of the Year at the 1970 Grammy Awards.

1971: Janis Joplin’s second and final solo studio album Pearl was posthumously released. It was the only album recorded with her touring unit the Full Tilt Boogie Band and went to #1 on the Billboard pop chart for nine weeks at the end of February.

1971: Chicago’s third studio album Chicago III was released.

1986: Pet Shop Boys had their first #1 on the UK singles chart with “West End Girls.” The single made it to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US in May.

2008: After recovering from a heroin addiction that forced him to leave the Clash in 1986, drummer Topper Headon made an emotional return to the stage at the Inn On The Green Ladbroke Grove in London with former bandmate Mick Jones, who was then fronting punk duo Carbon/Silicon with Tony James. Together, they played the Clash’s 1980 hit “Train in Vain” for the first time in 25 years.

Birthdays Today

Laurens Hammond, engineer and inventor best known for developing the Hammond organ and the first polyphonic musical synthesizer, the Novachord, was born in Evanston, IL in 1895.

Slim Harpo, blues musician, was born James Isaac Moore in Lobdell, LA in 1924.

Chuck Barksdale, bass and backing vocalist for the Dells, was born in 1935.

Clarence Clemons, saxophone player and member of Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band, was born in Norfolk County, VA in 1942.

Tony Kaye, founding member and original keyboardist for Yes, was born Anthony John Selvidge in Leicester, England in 1946.

Terry Williams, drummer who’s worked with such artists as Carlene Carter, Dave Edmunds, Rockpile, Dire Straits, Graham Parker, Man, Nick Lowe, The Everly Brothers, Tina Turner, and Bill Wyman, was born in Swansea, Wales in 1948.

Frederick “Dennis” Greene, singer and member of Sha Na Na, was born in New York City in 1949.

Vicki Peterson, guitarist and founding member of the Bangles, was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1958.