Today in Rock & Roll History: July 13th

1956: Elvis Presley’s version of Lieber and Stoller’s “Hound Dog,” originally recorded by Big Mama Thornton in 1952, was released and almost immediately became a smash hit. “Hound Dog” was initially released as the B-side of “Don’t Be Cruel,” but the record was soon after re-released with “Hound Dog” displayed first and in larger print. Both sides topped Billboard’s Best Sellers in Stores and Most Played in Jukeboxes charts, while “Hound Dog” topped the country & western and rhythm & blues charts and peaked at #2 on the Billboard Top 100. 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 consecutive releases to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1964: The Beach Boys released their sixth studio album and second of 1964, All Summer Long. The album’s sessions were recorded in the aftermath of the British Invasion, marking a major turning point in the group’s career, and in bandleader and primary songwriter Brian Wilson as an artist. All Summer Long was to be their final album which celebrated in beach culture.

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 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1968: Steppenwolf debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with their second single, “Born to Be Wild.” The record reached #2 by late August and remains the band’s highest-charting song.

1973: The soundtrack album to director Sam Peckinpah’s western film Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid by Bob Dylan was released. After performing for Peckinpah, Dylan was also offered an acting part in the film.

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 pop chart.

1973: Jethro Tull released their sixth studio album, A Passion Play, in the UK. The US release of the album followed ten days later. Like the group’s previous LP, Thick as a Brick, it is a concept album comprising individual songs arranged into a single continuous piece of music across both sides of the record.

1974: Eric Clapton’s version of Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff” entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart. By mid September, it 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.

1985: The second album by Tears for Fears, Songs from the Big Chair, went to #1 on the Billboard pop chart for the first of four weeks.

2004: Jimmy Buffett released License to Chill, his twenty-fifth studio album and his only LP to reach #1 on the Billboard pop chart.

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

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