Today in Rock & Roll History: January 13th

1958: Specialty Records released “Good Golly, Miss Molly” by Little Richard. The record became Richards’ third top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and ninth top 5 single on the R&B chart.

1962: “The Twist” by Chubby Checker became the only single to make it to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on two separate occasions. The first time, in September of 1960 shortly after it’s release, and again in 1962 after the dance had caught on in high society. Celebrities were sighted doing the dance and long lines formed at nightclubs like the Peppermint Lounge in New York, the most popular celebrity twisting spot. The new interest in “The Twist” led to the single’s second rise to the top of the chart, and marked a major turning point for adult acceptance of rock and roll music.

1962: “Duke of Earl” by Gene Chandler entered the Billboard Hot 100. Five weeks later the record started three weeks at #1. Released Vee-Jay records, it became label’s first single to top the chart and their first million-seller. Penned by Chandler, Bernice Williams, and Earl Edwards, the song originated from warm-up exercises by the Dukays, a vocal group that included Edwards and Chandler, who went by his original name, Eugene Dixon. The pair worked on the song with songwriter and mentor Bernice Williams, and then recorded it with the other members of the Dukays. However, the group’s record company preferred to release another song, “Nite Owl,” and left Dixon with the offer of releasing “Duke of Earl” as a solo artist. Dixon accepted and changed his name to Gene Chandler.

1962: “Crying in the Rain” by The Everly Brothers entered Billboard Hot 100, where it reached #6.

1963: The television play The Madhouse of Castle Street was transmitted by the BBC in London, featuring Bob Dylan portraying a young American folk singer. Director David Saville had seen Bob Dylan performing in New York City, prompting Dylan to make his first trip outside of North America. Despite Dylan’s lack of acting experience, he was originally cast in the leading role, but during rehearsals it became apparent that he was unable to learn his lines, with Dylan stating that he’d rather “express himself in song.” The play was then re-structured to split the lead role into two characters, with Dylan essentially playing himself.

1964: Bob Dylan released The Times They Are a-Changin’, his third studio album and first to feature only original compositions.

1965: Recording sessions for Bob Dylan’s fifth studio album, Bringing It All Back Home, began in Studio A at Columbia Record’s recording studios in New York City.

1967: “I Second That Emotion” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles became the group’s third #1 on the R&B chart and their fourth top 10 pop hit, reaching #4. The song was once again a hit for Motown in 1969 after it was recorded by the group duet of Diana Ross and the Supremes and the Temptations.

1967: The Rolling Stones released the double A-side single “Let’s Spend the Night Together” backed with “Ruby Tuesday.” Both songs were issued in the US as part of the band’s seventh American LP, Between the Buttons.

1967: The Moody Blues released “Life’s Not Life.” It was the group’s last song recorded with member Denny Laine, who was replaced by Justin Hayward.

1968: Smokey Robinson & the Miracles scored their third #1 on the Billboard R&B chart with “I Second That Emotion.”

1968: “Sunshine of Your Love” by Cream entered the Billboard Hot 100, where it later became the group’s highest reaching US single, peaking at #5.

1968: Johnny Cash recorded his first live album, At Folsom Prison. Backed with June Carter, Carl Perkins, and the Tennessee Three, Cash performed two shows at California’s Folsom State Prison. The album became the first in a conceptual series of live albums recorded at prisons, including At San Quentin in 1969, På Österåker in 1973, and A Concert Behind Prison Walls in 1976. At Folsom Prison became one of Cash’s most successful albums, reaching #1 on the US country chart and sold over three million copies.

1969: The Beatles released Yellow Submarine, their tenth studio album and the soundtrack to the animated film of the same name, in the United States. It was released in the UK four days later. The LP includes the film’s orchestral soundtrack by their producer, George Martin. On the same day, “All Together Now,” a song recorded during the band’s Magical Mystery Tour period, but unreleased until its release on Yellow Submarine, was issued as a single in Europe with the B-side “Hey Bulldog.”

1969: Dusty Springfield released her fifth studio album, Dusty in Memphis. It was Springfield’s first album with Atlantic Records, who she signed with on the condition that she get to work with producer and co-founder Jerry Wexler. During sessions in Memphis, Springfield suggest to the heads of Atlantic that they sign the newly formed band Led Zeppelin, since she had previously worked with their bassist, John Paul Jones. The label took Springfield’s advice without even seeing the band.

1969: Elvis Presley began a ten-day recording session that produced his final US #1 record, “Suspicious Minds.” The tracks were recorded at producer Chip Moman’s American Sound Studios in Memphis and marked the first time Presley recorded in his home town since his Sun Records days in the mid 1950s.

1971: Poco released their first live album, Deliverin’. Recorded at Boston Music Hall and the Felt Forum in New York City, it became the group’s second highest charting album in the US, reaching #26.

1973: After a two year hiatus caused by his descent into drug and alcohol addiction, Eric Clapton returned to the stage with two concerts at London’s Rainbow Theatre that had been organized by friend Pete Townshend as a form of musical intervention. Clapton was accompanied by an all-star band that included Townshend, Steve Windwood, Ronnie Wood, and Jim Capaldi. Highlights from the concerts were released later that year as Eric Clapton’s Rainbow Concert. In the year following the two shows at the Rainbow, Clapton recovered from his heroin addiction and recorded his second solo album, 461 Ocean Boulevard.

1973: Carly Simon’s breakthrough third studio album, No Secrets, reached #1 on the Billboard pop chart for the first of five weeks.

1978: The Police began on the debut album, Outlandos d’Amour, at the Surrey Sound Studios in London.

1978: Earth, Wind & Fire had their sixth #1 on the Billboard R&B chart with “September.”

1986: Peter Frampton released his ninth studio album, Premonition.

1993: After it was released in their home country of Canada in October 1992, Sloan’s debut album, Smeared, was issued in the US.

Birthdays Today

Bobby Lester, lead vocalist for the Moonglows and a solo artist, was born in Louisville, KY in 1930.

C.P. Spencer, musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer for the Motown label and member of The Originals, The Spinners, and The Voice Masters, was born Crathman Plato Spencer in Detroit, MI in 1938.

Daevid Allen, poet, guitarist, singer, composer, and co-founder of Soft Machine and Gong, was born Christopher David Allen in Melbourne, Australia in 1938.

John Lees, guitarist and founder of Barclay James Harvest, was born in Oldham, Lancashire, England in 1947.

Chris Thomas, record producer who has worked extensively with groups that include the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Procol Harum, Roxy Music, Badfinger, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Pete Townshend, and the Pretenders, was born in Brentford, Middlesex, England in 1947.

Leon Hendrix, artist, guitarist, singer, and younger brother of Jimi Hendrix, was born in Seattle, WA in 1948.

Trevor Rabin, musician, singer-songwriter, producer, composer, session musician for a variety of artists, co-founder of Rabbitt and Cinema, and guitarist for Yes in the early 1980s, was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1954.

Don Snow, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and keyboardist for Squeeze who’s also known for his work with The Sinceros, Procol Harum, the Catch, and Van Morrison, was born in Nairobi, Kenya in 1954.

Mark Karan, guitarist, singer, and member of the Other Ones, Bob Weir and RatDog, and leader of Jemimah Puddleduck, was born in San Francisco, CA in 1955.

Fred White, drummer and early member of Earth, Wind & Fire, was born in Chicago, IL in 1955.

Malcolm Foster, musician known best for being the bass player for The Pretenders from 1982-1987 and as a session player for Simple Minds from 1989-1995, was born in Hereford, England in 1956.

Graham “Suggs” McPherson, solo artist and lead singer of Madness, was born in Hastings, Sussex, England in 1961.

Wayne Coyne, lead singer, guitarist and founding member of the Flaming Lips, was born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1961.

David McCluskey, drummer and original member of The Bluebells, was born in Hamilton, Scotland in 1964.