Today in Rock & Roll History: July 13th

1956: Elvis Presley’s version of the Lieber and Stoller song “Hound Dog,” originally recorded by Big Mama Thornton in 1952, was released and almost immediately became a smash hit. Two weeks later, it entered the Billboard pop chart at #24, and by mid August and early September, the song topped Billboard’s “Best Sellers” and “Most Played in Jukeboxes” lists. “Hound Dog” was initially released as the B-side of “Don’t Be Cruel,” which reached #1 on Billboard’s Top 100 and “Most Played by DJs” charts, and both tracks finished their runs at the top of their respective charts by the beginning of November. Soon after, the single was re-released with “Hound Dog” as the A-side, and later reissues designated the pair as a double A-sided single.

1964: The Supremes recorded “Come See About Me” at Hitsville U.S.A. for Motown Records. The single became the group’s third of five consecutively releases to go to #1 on the Billboard pop chart.

1964: The Beach Boys released their sixth album and second of 1964, All Summer Long. The album’s sessions were recorded in the aftermath of the British Invasion and mark a major turning point in both the Beach Boys’ career, and in bandleader and primary songwriter Brian Wilson as an artist. All Summer Long was also the group’s final album to celebrate California beach culture, with only one song, “Don’t Back Down,” explicitly referencing surfing.

1968: South African brass player Hugh Masekela achieved his only #1 hit with the instrumental “Grazing in the Grass,” which started four weeks at the top of Billboard’s R&B chart. The following week, the single began two at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1968: “Born to Be Wild,” Steppenwolf’s second single became their first to enter the Billboard Hot 100, where it reached #2 by late August, and remains their highest charting song on the chart.

1968: Cream’s third album, Wheels of Fire, entered the Billboard chart, on its way to becoming the band’s first US #1 in August. Future Mountain vocalist and bassist Felix Pappalardi played several different instruments during, managed recording sessions, and is credited as producer.

1973: The soundtrack album to Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid by Bob Dylan, who also appeared in the movie, was released. The album reached #16 in US and #29 in the UK.

1973: Queen’s self-titled debut album was released by EMI Records in the UK and Elektra Records in the US. The LP peaked at #83 on the Billboard chart.

1974: Eric Clapton’s version of Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff” entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart. By mid September, the song became Clapton’s first solo #1 single in the US.

1977: After a massive blackout hit New York City, NRBQ played an all-acoustic set at The Bottom Line club with flashlights taped to their microphone stands.

1985: The Live Aid concerts, organized by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, were held simultaneously at the John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia and Wembley Stadium in London. The benefit’s performances were broadcast live via satellite for 18 consecutive hours and helped raise funds for relief of the ongoing Ethiopian famine. One of the largest-scale satellite link-ups and television broadcasts of all time, the concerts reached an estimated global audience of 1.9 billion, across 150 nations. Both concerts’ numerous acts included Elton John, Elvis Costello, Sting, Phil Collins, the Who, the Four Tops, Crosby, Still, and Nash, the Beach Boys, Santana, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, and many others. Queen, who had lost momentum by the early 1980s, delivered a fast-paced 20-minute set that drew from their entire catalog, and is widely considered to be the band’s greatest performance. Building off their success at Live Aid, Queen set off on what ended up being their final world tour the following year.

Birthdays Today

Roger McGuinn, singer, songwriter, guitarist, solo artist, and co-founder and frontman of the Byrds, was born born James Joseph McGuinn III in Chicago, IL in 1942.

Stepen Bladd, drummer for The J. Geils Band, was born in Boston, MA in 1942.

Cheech Marin, comedian, actor, and half of the comedy duo Cheech and Chong, was born Richard Anthony Marin in Los Angeles, CA in 1946.

Gerald Levert, son of Four Tops member Eddie Levert and R&B singer, songwriter, and producer, was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1966.

Leon Bridges, soul singer, songwriter, and record producer, was born in Atlanta, GA in 1989.