Today in Rock & Roll History: January 29th

1962: Folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary signed a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records.

1964: While on tour, the Beatles stopped at EMI Pathé-Marconi Recording Studios in Paris to record German language versions of their hits “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You.” EMI’s West German division had persuaded manager Brian Epstein and producer George Martin that they would be unable to sell the Beatles’ records unless they were in German. Martin agreed, and convinced the reluctant group to satisfy the request. EMI arranged for German singer, lyricist, and TV presenter Camillo Felgen to translate the lyrics and then teach the Beatles the phonetic pronunciation of the two songs.

1965: In front of a packed studio audience, the Who made their first appearance on UK rock and roll television show Ready Steady Go!. Their performance of “I Can’t Explain” helped spur the single into the British top 10.

1966: After switching to Mustang Records, a subsidiary of the Del-Fi label, the Bobby Fuller Four’s cover of the Crickets’ “I Fought the Law” entered the Billboard Hot 100, eventually becoming their first and only top-10 hit.

1966: The Beach Boys’ cover of The Regents’ best-known song, “Barbara Ann,” peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The single reached #1 on Cash Box chart, as well as #3 in the UK. Dean Torrence of Jan and Dean is featured singing lead vocals along with Brian Wilson.

1967: The Monkees’ self-titled debut album started a seven-week run at #1 on the UK chart while it neared the end of its thirteen weeks at the top of the Billboard pop chart the US.

1967: Pink Floyd recorded their first single, Syd Barrett’s “Arnold Layne” and it’s B-side “Candy and a Currant Bun,” at Sound Techniques studio in Chelsea, London.

1967: The Jimi Hendrix Experience, along with The Who, performed a tribute to Beatles manager Brian Epstein at the Saville Theatre, London, which Epstein had begun leasing in 1965. In attendance were Eric Clapton, Linda Keith, John Lennon, Spencer Davis, Jack Bruce, Paul McCartney, and LuLu. Songs performed were “Rock Me Baby,” “Like A Rolling Stone,” “Can You See Me,” “Hey Joe,” and “Wild Thing.” According to Cream guitarist Eric Clapton, it was the first time bassist Jack Bruce had had the opportunity to “take in” Hendrix, and after the show, Bruce went to home and created a riff “strictly dedicated to Jimi” that later became “Sunshine of Your Love.”

1967: Counterculture music event the Mantra-Rock Dance, considered the “ultimate high” of the hippie era, was organized at The Avalon ballroom in San Francisco, featuring some of California’s most prominent groups such as the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin, as well as the then-relatively unknown Moby Grape. Participation by counterculture leaders like beat poet Allen Ginsberg and LSD promoter Timothy Leary also boosted attendance. Organized by followers of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, the event had been put together to raise funds for the group’s first West Coast center, as well as an opportunity for its founder, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, to address a wider audience.

1968: Canadian rock band Steppenwolf released their self-titled debut album on ABC Dunhill Records. The album later made it to #6 on the Billboard pop chart.

1969: Fleetwood Mac had their first and only #1 on the UK singles chart with the instrumental hit “Albatross.”

1969: Music and comedy variety show The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour debuted on CBS. Campbell had been given the opportunity after hosting a summer replacement for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1968. The program lasted until the summer of 1972.

1970: Elvis Presley released “Kentucky Rain,” which later peaked at #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

1972: Smokey Robinson began his farewell tour with the Miracles. Robinson had wanted to focus more of his time on his family and his duties as Motown Records vice president. A year later, however, Robinson came back from retirement with the eponymous Smokey album the following year.

1972: The triple live album The Concert for Bangladesh, organized by George Harrison and featuring Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Leon Russell, Billy Preston, Ravi Shankar, and members of Badfinger, was the new #1 album on the UK chart.

1979: After perfunctory sessions recording their contractually-obligated 1978 studio album Love Beach, Carl Palmer attempted to organize an Emerson, Lake & Palmer farewell summer tour. Internal disagreements prevented the tour from ever coming together and the group disbanded in 1979, eventually reforming in the early 1990s.

1983: Men at Work had their only #1 on the UK with their international hit “Down Under,” which spent its final week at #1 in the US on the Billboard Hot 100.

1998: Paul Simon’s musical play The Capeman, based on the life of convicted murderer Salvador Agrón, opened at the Marquis Theatre on Broadway. Simon had enlisted the assistance of author, poet, and Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott to help write the play’s lyrics. In November the year prior, Simon had released Songs from The Capeman, containing Simon’s own performances of the play’s songs augmented by members of the original cast. The Broadway production was met with poor reviews and ran for 68 performances.

2006: The first album by Sheffield band The Arctic Monkeys, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, became the fastest-selling debut LP by a band in the UK, with sales exceeding 360,000 copies. When it entered the British chart at #1, the album was outselling the rest of the top 20 albums combined.

Birthdays Today

James Jamerson, highly regarded session bassist on most of Motown Record’s hits in the 1960s and early 1970s who played on 30 Billboard #1s and over 70 R&B #1s, was born in Edisto, SC in 1936.

Bobby Scott, musician, record producer, and songwriter who co-wrote “A Taste of Honey” and “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” was born in Mt. Pleasant, NY in 1937.

Tony Blackburn, the first disc jockey on BBC Radio One, who first achieved fame broadcasting on pirate stations Radio Caroline and Radio London in the 1960s, was born in Guildford, Surrey, England in 1943.

Andrew Loog Oldham, manager and producer for the Rolling Stones from 1963-1967 and founder of Immediate Records, was born in London, England in 1944.

David Byron, singer, songwriter, lead vocalist for Uriah Heep, was born David Garrick in Epping, Essex, England in 1947.

Bill Kirchen, guitarist, singer, songwriter, and member of Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, was born in Bridgeport, CT in 1948.

Tommy Ramone, drummer for the Ramones’ first three albums, was born Tamás Erdélyi in Budapest, Hungary in 1949.

Louie Perez, songwriter, percussionist, and guitarist for Los Lobos, was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1953.

Roddy Frame, singer-songwriter, musician, solo artist, and founder of Aztec Camera, was born in East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1964.