Today in Rock & Roll History: July 16th

1959: The Coasters recorded “Poison Ivy” at Atlantic Studios in New York City. The song became the group’s sixth top 10 hit on the Billboard pop chart and fourth #1 on the R&B chart.

1964: The Rolling Stones scored their first #1 hit when “It’s All Over Now” topped the UK singles chart.

1966: After its original release in 1964 by the Shondells, “Hanky Panky” by Tommy James and the Shondells started two weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 as the group’s first #1 single. James had initially heard the song performed by a group at a club in South Bend, Indiana, but he only remembered a few lines, so he had to make up the rest. He recorded his version at local radio station WNIL in Niles, Michigan and it was then released by Snap Records. James later broke up the Shondells and finished high school. A year later, the song gained popularity through radio play in the Pittsburgh area. James decided to re-release the song, but when the original members of the Shondells refused to reform, he traveled to Pittsburgh and hired the first decent group he found, The Raconteurs, who became the new Shondells. It was their re-recording that was nationally issued and became a hit, and was as the title track of the group’s debut LP.

1966: Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, and Ginger Baker announced that they were forming a band called Cream. Earlier that year, Clapton—previously of the Yardbirds and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers—had met Baker, then the drummer for the Graham Bond Organisation. Baker had been looking to move on from his current group, and offered Clapton to join his new, unnamed band. Clapton agreed on the condition that bassist and former Graham Bond Organisation member Jack Bruce also join. Despite previous quarrels between Baker and Bruce, the three joined together and called themselves “The Cream,” due to their reputations as “the cream of the crop” in the British music scene.

1968: Concert promoter Bill Graham opened one of rock’s most celebrated venues, the Fillmore West in San Francisco, which up until that time had been known as The Carousel Ballroom.

1968: The Temptations released “Please Return Your Love to Me,” their last single to feature David Ruffin in the group’s lineup and their first with Eddie Kendricks singing lead vocals since “Get Ready” in 1966.

1969: The Beatles worked on two new George Harrison songs, “Here Comes the Sun” and “Something,” during recording sessions at EMI Studios in London.

1970: Diana Ross’ solo recording of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” was released. After the success of her first solo single, “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand),” songwriters Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson asked Ross to re-record the song, which Ross had originally recorded the song with the Supremes in 1968. Motown chief Berry Gordy had not liked the record upon first hearing it, especially the spoken-word passages, but after radio stations nationwide started adding it to their playlists, Gordy agreed to release an edited three-minute version as a single. By that fall, the song rose to #1 on both the Billboard pop and R&B charts.

1970: Creedence Clearwater Revival released their fifth album, “Cosmo’s Factory.” The name of the album came from the warehouse in Berkeley, California where the band rehearsed early in their career. It was dubbed “The Factory” by drummer Doug “Cosmo” Clifford because bandleader John Fogerty made them practice there almost every day. It became the band’s most successful LP, their second #1 in America, only #1 in the UK, and topped the charts in several other countries.

1976: Following the release of their sixth and final album, Native Sons, Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina amicably parted ways. Loggins resumed the solo career he almost started when he’d met Messina, and the two reunited to tour again 29 years later in 2005 for their Sittin’ In Again tour.

1977: Steve Winwood’s self-titled debut solo album entered the Billboard pop chart. Released three years after the break-up of Traffic, the LP failed to mimic the success of Traffic’s final album, reaching #22 on the US charts. In his home country of England, however, where the group’s recent albums had only been moderately successful, Winwood’s solo LP made it to #12.

1982: Warren Zevon released his fifth studio album, The Envoy.

1988: After entering the chart in March of 1973, Pink Floyd’s eighth studio album, The Dark Side of the Moon, spent it’s final week on Billboard’s list of the top 200 albums in the US, setting a record of 736 weeks on the chart. The album later re-entered the chart and extended the record to 937 weeks. According to the magazine, The Dark Side of the Moon has sold around 40 million copies worldwide and still sells roughly 8,500 copies “on a slow week.”

Birthdays Today

Cal Tjader, the most successful non-Latino Latin jazz musician who is associated with the development of Latin rock and acid jazz, was born in St. Louis, MO in 1925.

John Chilton, jazz trumpeter and composer known for his work with 1960s pop bands such as the Swinging Blue Jeans and The Escorts, was born in London, England in 1932.

William Bell, soul singer and songwriter, was born William Yarbrough in Memphis, TN in 1939.

Denise LaSalle, blues, R&B, and soul singer, songwriter, and record producer, was born Ora Denise Allen in Leflore County, MS in 1939.

Tony Jackson, singer and bassist for The Searchers, was born in Dingle, Liverpool, Lancashire, England in 1940.

Desmond Dekker, ska, rocksteady, and reggae singer-songwriter and musician, was born Desmond Adolphus Dacres in Saint Andrew Parish, Jaimaca in 1941.

Thomas Boggs, drummer for The Box Tops from 1968-1970, was born in Wynne, AR in 1944.

Rubén Blades, singer, songwriter, actor, musician, activist, and politician, was born Rubén Blades Bellido de Luna in Panama City, Panama in 1948.

Ray Major, guitarist for Mott the Hoople from 1974-1976, was born in 1949.

Stewart Copeland, composer and drummer for the Police, was born in Alexandria, VA in 1952.

Mark McEntee, guitarist and frontman for Divinyls, was born in Perth, Australia in 1952.