Today in Rock & Roll History: January 18th

1960: Singer Johnny Preston had his only #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Running Bear,” a song written by Jiles Perry Richardson, who was better known as The Big Bopper. Two months later the single became Preston’s only #1 in the UK.

1964: The Beatles debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” which entered the chart at #45. The following week, the song jumped to #3, and at the start of February, it became the group’s first American #1 song and Capitol Records’ fastest-selling record.

1968: The Four Tops released their cover of the Left Banke’s “Walk Away Renée.” It became the second most successful cover of the song, reaching #15 on the R&B chart and #14 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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 suggested to the heads of Atlantic that they sign the newly formed band Led Zeppelin since she had previously worked with bassist John Paul Jones. The label took Springfield’s advice without even seeing the band.

1973: The Rolling Stones performed a benefit concert at the Los Angeles Forum in Inglewood, California for Nicaraguan earthquake victims, raising just over $350,000 in relief funds for the Pan American Development Foundation. Organized by Bill Graham, the event was opened by Santana and Cheech & Chong and served as the warm-up concert for the Stones’ upcoming Pacific Tour.

1973: Former Free singer Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke, Mott the Hoople guitarist Mick Ralphs, and King Crimson bassist Boz Burell formed Bad Company. Toward the end of the summer of 1974, the band went to #1 in the US with their debut LP.

1975: Thirteen years after the band’s formation, Status Quo was at the top of the UK singles chart with “Down Down,” the group’s only UK #1.

1977: Smokey Robinson released his fifth solo studio album, Deep in My Soul.

1978: Warren Zevon released his third studio album, Excitable Boy. Produced by Jackson Browne and Waddy Wachtel, it became his commercial breakthrough, reaching a career high of #8 on the Billboard chart, and remains his best-selling album. On the same day, “Werewolves of London” was issued as the album’s third single. The song began as a joke by Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers to Zevon in 1975. Everly had watched a television broadcast of the 1935 film Werewolf of London and “suggested to Zevon that he adapt the title for a song and dance craze.” Zevon then wrote the lyrics with Wachtel and LeRoy Marinell in about fifteen minutes, but none of them took the song seriously. Browne, however, thought it had potential and began performing it during his live concerts. Several different configurations of musicians were tried in the recording studio before they settled on an arrangement with Fleetwood Mac’s Mick Fleetwood and John McVie. The protracted studio time and musicians’ fees led to the song eating up most of the album’s budget.

1980: The once successful Capricon Records, home of southern rock acts such as the Allman Brothers Band and the the Marshall Tucker Band, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy and its master tapes were sold off to the Polygram and Mercury labels. Capricon was later relaunched in 1990 as a joint venture with Warner Bros. Records, but after ten years folded once again, with co-founder Phil Walden selling the remaining assets to Volcano Entertainment.

1986: “What You Need,” the second single from INXS’ fifth studio album, Listen Like Thieves, entered the Billboard Hot 100. It later became the group’s first top 5 single in the US.

1990: Eric Clapton kicked off an unprecedented 18-night residency at London’s Royal Albert Hall performing his classic catalog with a variety instrumental formations. Originally intended for commercial release, Clapton deemed the recordings of the concerts unworthy, and waited until the following year, when he returned to the Hall for an even longer 24-night stay. Selections from both residencies were compiled to form the 24 Nights album.

2011: Gregg Allman released Low Country Blues, his eleventh studio album and last released during his lifetime. Produced by T Bone Burnett, it became his only top 5 album on the Billboard pop chart.

Birthdays Today

Ray Dolby, sound engineer and inventor of the Dolby Sound System and noise reduction system, which revolutionized the music recording industry, was born in Portland, OR in 1933.

Hargus “Pig” Robbins, solo artist, session keyboardist, and piano player for Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Dolly Parton, Connie Smith, Merle Haggard, Roger Miller, and many others, was born in Spring City, TN in 1938.

Alvis Moorer, singer and member of The Esquires, was born in 1940.

David Ruffin, solo artist and lead singers for The Temptations from 1964-68, was born Davis Eli Ruffin in Whynot, MS in 1941.

Bobby Goldsboro, singer-songwriter and guitarist, was born in Marianna, FL in 1941.

Dave Greenslade, composer and keyboard player with Colosseum, his own band Greenslade, as well as Chris Farlowe’s Thunderbirds, was born in Woking, Surrey, England in 1943.

“Legs” Larry Smith, drummer for The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and close friend of George Harrison, was born in Oxford, England in 1944.

Brett Hudson, singer, songwriter, and youngest of the Hudson Brothers, was born in Portland, OR in 1953.

Tom Bailey, guitarist, bassist, keyboardist, vocalist, and original member of Thompson Twins, was born in Halifax, West Riding of Yorkshire, England in 1956.

Jack Sherman, second guitarist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers who has also collaborated with artists such as Bob Dylan, George Clinton, and Peter Case, was born in Miami, FL in 1956.

Luther Dickinson, guitarist with the North Mississippi Allstars and the Black Crowes, was born in Memphis, TN in 1973.