Today in Rock & Roll History: July 18th

1960: Hank Ballard and the Midnighters’ original version of “The Twist,” the B-side of their single “Teardrops on Your Letter,” entered the Billboard Hot 100, where it later reached #28. In September, Chubby Checker’s cover of the song became a #1 hit and gave birth to the Twist dance craze.

1963: The Beatles began work on their second UK album, With the Beatles, recording four songs in four hours. They taped Motown tunes “You Really Got a Hold On Me” and “Money (That’s What I Want),” along with “Devil In His Heart” and “Till There Was You.”

1964: The Four Seasons scored their fourth #1 single in the US with “Rag Doll,” which started two weeks at top of the Billboard Hot 100.

1966: The Byrds’ third album, Fifth Dimension, was released by Columbia Records. Most of the album was recorded following the February 1966 departure of the band’s principal songwriter Gene Clark, and contains increased songwriting output by guitarist Jim McGuinn and David Crosby. It is also the first Byrds album not to include any songs written by Bob Dylan, whose material had previously been a mainstay of the band’s repertoire. Upon release, Fifth Dimension was widely regarded as the band’s most experimental album to date and is today considered influential in originating the musical genre of psychedelic rock.

1966: Capitol Records released The Beach Boys’ third and final single from their Pet Sounds album, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” backed with “God Only Knows.”

1968: Anthem of the Sun, the second album by the Grateful Dead, hit record stores. Comprising both live and studio recordings, it was their first album to feature second drummer Mickey Hart, who’d joined the band in September of 1967.

1968: The Beatles finished recording “Cry Baby Cry” and recorded three rehearsal takes of “Helter Skelter.”

1969: Ringo Starr recorded his lead vocal track for “Octopus’s Garden.” Later that day stereo and mono mixes of the song were produced. It is the only track on the Beatles “Abbey Road” album that was mixed in mono.

1969: The Doors’ fourth album, The Soft Parade, was released by Elektra Records. Producer Paul A. Rothchild had recommended the group incorporate strings and brass into the group’s sound, and the LP contained increased creative output by guitarist Robby Krieger. The album peaked at #6 in the US.

1970: Queen played their first concert at London’s Imperial College. Guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor had performed previously as members of Smile, whose lead singer and bassist, Tim Staffell had left the group to join Humpy Bong. Friend of the band Farrokh Bulsara, known as “Freddie,” encouraged the others to keep performing and joined as a singer and keyboardist. He soon after took the surname “Mercury” and suggested “Queen” as the name for the group. Their first gig also included Mike Grose, the first of several bassists before the band settled on its classic lineup with bassist John Deacon a year later.

1976: Famed sound engineer and producer Alan Parsons, who’d formed his own group, The Alan Parsons Project, debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with “(The System Of) Doctor Tarr And Professor Feather.”

1980: Crocodiles, the debut album by English band Echo and the Bunnymen, was released by Korova Records in the UK, where it peaked at #17. The LP was later issued in the US in December.

1980: Closer, Joy Division’s second and final studio album was released two months after the death of lead singer and lyricist Ian Curtis. The album reached #6 on the UK chart and is considered a seminal release of the post-punk era. Shortly after, the group’s remaining members reformed as New Order.

1980: Columbia Records released Honeysuckle Rose, Willie Nelson’s soundtrack to the film of the same name in which he also stars.

1984: Prince released the second single from his Purple Rain album, “Let’s Go Crazy,” which later made it to #1 on the Billboard R&B, Dance, and Hot 100 charts.

1988: The Beach Boys released “Kokomo,” the first lead single from their twenty-sixth studio album, Still Cruisin’. It became the group’s first top 10 record in the US since “Rock and Roll Music” in 1976 and first #1 hit since “Good Vibrations” in 1966.

1995: The Ramones released their fourteenth and final studio album, ¡Adios Amigos!. The group disbanded after its release and the subsequent tour.

Birthdays Today

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, singer, songwriter, musician, and actor, was born Jalacy Hawkins in Cleveland, OH in 1929.

Papa Dee Allen, original member of The Creators, the group that later became War, was born Thomas Sylvester Allen in Wilmington, DE in 1931.

Johnny Funches, original lead singer of R&B vocal group The Dells, was born in Harvey, IL in 1935.

Ian Stewart, keyboardist and founding member of the Rolling Stones, was born in Pittenween, Fife, Scotland in 1938.

Dion DiMucci, singer-songwriter, was born in The Bronx, NY in 1939.

Brian Auger, jazz and rock keyboardist who worked with Rod Stewart, Tony Williams, Jimi Hendrix, John McLaughlin, Sonny Boy Williamson, Led Zeppelin, the Yardbirds, Eric Burdon, and many others, was born in Hammersmith, London, England in 1939.

Johnny “Hutch” Hutchinson, drummer and singer for Merseybeat group The Big Three, who are known for their close relationship with the Beatles, was born in Liverpool, England in 1939.

Martha Reeves, R&B singer and leader of Motown group Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, was born in Eufaula, AL in 1941.

Lonnie Mack, was born Lonnie McIntosh–West Harrison, IN) (blues and rock singer-songwriter and guitarist)

Robin McDonald, rhythm guitarist and bassit with Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas, was born in Nairn, Scotland in 1943.

Danny McCulloch, bassist for The Animals, was born in Shepherd’s Bush, MIddlesex, England in 1945.

Tim Lynch, guitarist and vocalist for the Flamin’ Groovies, was born in San Francisco, CA in 1946.

Phil Harris, lead guitarist and vocalist for Ace, was born in Muswell Hill, Middlesex, England in 1948.

Cesar Zuiderwijk, drummer for Golden Earring, was born Cornelis Johannes Zuiderwijk in The Hague, Netherlands in 1948.

Phil Harris, lead guitarist and vocalist for Ace, was born in Muswell Hill, Middlesex, England in 1948.

Wally Bryson, guitarist for the Raspberries, was born in Gastonia, NC in 1949.

Craig Fuller, musician, songwriter, and co-founder of Pure Prairie League, was born in Cincinnati, OH in 1949.

Ian Gibbons, keyboardist best known for playing with The Kinks who also worked with artists such as Roger Chapman, Ian Hunter, Randy California, Chris Farlowe, and Maggie Bell, was born in 1952.

Ricky Skaggs, country and bluegrass singer-songwriter, composer, producer, mandolin player, and multi-instrumentalist, was born in Cordell, KY in 1954.

Terry Chambers, drummer and founder of XTC, was born in Swindon, Wiltshire, England in 1955.

Keith Levene, musician, composer, record producer, and founding member of The Clash and Public Image Ltd, was born in Muswell Hill, London, England in 1957.

Nigel Twist, drummer for The Alarm, was born Nigel Buckle in Manchester, England in 1958.

Jack Irons, drummer, multi-instrumentalist, founding member of Red Hot Chili Peppers, and former member of Pearl Jam who has also worked with several other groups, was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1962.