Today in Rock & Roll History: January 5th

1959: Buddy Holly’s final single released during his lifetime, “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” backed with “Raining in My Heart,” was issued by Decca subsidiary Coral Records. The single peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and two months later became the first posthumous #1 record in the UK. Co-writer Paul Anka donated his songwriting royalties from the song to Holly’s widow.

1959: Bill Haley and His Comets released their eighth rock album, Bill Haley’s Chicks, which was put together around the theme of women’s names.

1959: The Kingston Trio released their live album, …from the ‘Hungry i’. It was recorded in 1958 at the San Francisco club hungry i shortly after the release of their debut album, The Kingston Trio.

1962: My Bonnie, the first album to feature playing by the Beatles, credited to “Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers,” was released by Polydor Records. Sheridan had been playing in clubs in Hamburg, Germany with the Beatles and after being discovered by producer Bert Kaempfert, was signed to record an album. At the time, the Beatles consisted of guitarists John Lennon, George Harrison, and Paul McCartney, bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, and drummer Pete Best.

1963: The Beach Boys recorded two tracks for their second album, “Shut Down” and the title track “Surfin’ USA,” in which Brian Wilson set surf-related lyrics to the music of Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen.” After being pressured by Berry’s publisher, Arc Music, Brian’s father and the group’s manager, Murry Wilson, gave copyright and Brian’s lyrics to Arc before the single was released. The record’s initial release credited only Wilson, but later reissues credit Wilson and Berry.

1965: The Supremes began recording “Stop! In The Name of Love” at Motown’s “Hitsville USA” studio in Detroit. The song later became the group’s fourth #1 on the US pop charts.

1967: After receiving his military draft notice, 22-year-old Jesse Winchester left Memphis and moved to Canada. There, he soon turned to music and became a folk singer-songwriter. Winchester lived in Canada for the next thirty-five years, becoming a citizen in 1973. He did not return to the States until 1977 after President Jimmy Carter granted amnesty to draft evaders.

1967: “I Think We’re Alone Now” by Tommy James and the Shondells was released by Roulette Records. The song went to #1 on the Cashbox Top 100 and was their second top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching #4.

1969: Creedence Clearwater Revival’s second studio album, Bayou Country, was released. It was the first of three studio albums put out by the band that year and became their first of five straight top 10 albums on the Billboard pop chart, reaching #7.

1973: Columbia Records released the debut studio album by Bruce Springsteen, Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ. In October of 1975, the album peaked at #60 on the Billboard pop chart.

1974: Yes achieved their first #1 on the UK album chart with their sixth studio album, Tales from Topographic Oceans.

1974: The Carpenters achieved their only #1 album in the US with the greatest hits compilation The Singles: 1969-1973. The LP also went to #1 in the UK by the end of the month.

1976: Bob Dylan released his seventeenth studio album, Desire. It is one of Dylan’s most collaborative efforts, featuring the same caravan of musicians as the acclaimed Rolling Thunder Revue tours the previous year. Most of the album was co-written by Jacques Levy and many of the songs also feature backing vocals by Emmylou Harris and Ronee Blakley. It became one of Dylan’s best selling studio albums and was his last LP to reach #1 on the Billboard pop chart until Modern Times in 2006.

1979: Elvis Costello released Armed Forces, his third studio album, second with backing band the Attractions, and the first to credit the Attractions on the cover.

1979: Prince made his live debut at the Capri Theater in Minneapolis. After the release of his debut album the year before, Prince wanted his new record label, Warner Music, to organize a tour, but needed to convince his label that he was worth the investment. Pepe Willie, funk musician and husband of Prince’s cousin, arranged two shows at the Capri Theater.

1981: Genesis drummer and lead vocalist Phil Collins released “In the Air Tonight,” the lead single from his debut solo studio album, Face Value. It reached #2 in the UK and #19 in the US and remains one of Collins’ best-known songs.

1981: The Cars released “Gimme Some Slack” from their third studio album, Panorama.

2004: R.E.M. released “Animal,” one of two new songs recorded for the band’s Warner Bros. Records compilation album, In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988–2003.

Birthdays Today

Rob Keane, musician and producer who discovered and managed Richie Valens and founded Del-Fi Records, which published records by artists such as Chan Romero, The Surfaris, Frank Zappa, and The Bobby Fuller Four, was born in Manhattan Beach, CA in 1922.

Sam Phillips, musician, disc-jockey, producer, and founder of Sun Records, who was instrumental in launching the careers of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, was born in Florence, AL in 1923.

Wilbert Harrison, rhythm and blues singer, pianist, guitarist and harmonica player best known for his 1959 #1 hit “Kansas City”, was born in Charlotte, NC in 1929.

Phil Ramone, songwriter, composer, musician, co-founder of A & R Recording, and recording engineer and producer for countless artists, was born in South Africa in 1934.

Athol Guy, double bass player and vocalist for The Seekers, was born in Colac, Victoria, Australia in 1940.

George Malone, tenor vocalist and original member of The Monotones , was born in 1940.

Grady Thomas, member of The Parliaments, Parliament, Funkadelic, and Parliament-Funkadelic, was born in Newark, NJ in 1941.

Thom Mooney, drummer for the Nazz, was born in Altoona, PA in 1948.

Chris Stein, guitarist, songwriter, and co-founder of Blondie, was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1950.

Iris DeMent, singer and songwriter, was born in Paragould, AR in 1951.

Phil Thornalley, songwriter, producer, and bassist for The Cure from 1983-1984, was born in Worlington, Mildenhall, Suffolk, England in 1960.

Grant Young, drummer for Soul Asylum, was born in Iowa City, IA in 1964.