Today in Rock & Roll History: July 23rd

1963: In a tiny two-track recordings studio at Winnipeg radio station CKRC, sound engineer Harry Taylor recorded local band The Squires’ performance of two songs written by the group’s founder, Neil Young. These recordings, “Aurora” and “The Sultan,” were released later that year as a single by V Records. Three hundred records were pressed, and only around ten are known to still exist, making it one of the rarest 45 rpm records in the world.

1963: Motown Records released “Stubborn Kind of Fellow,” the second single from Marvin Gaye’s second album on Motown’s Tamla label, That Stubborn Kinda Fellow.

1964: The Beatles achieved their fifth #1 single in the UK when “A Hard Day’s Night” reached the top of the chart.

1965: The debut album by the Moody Blues, The Magnificent Moodies, was released. It was the first and only album featuring their R&B lineup of guitarist Denny Laine, bassist Clint Warwick, keyboardist Mike Pinder, flautist and percussionist Ray Thomas, and drummer Graeme Edge. London Records released the album in the US under the name Go Now – The Moody Blues #1 with re-ordered and replaced tracks.

1965: The Supremes released their sixth studio album, More Hits by The Supremes.

1965: The Marvelettes released the single “Danger! Heartbreak Dead Ahead.”

1965: A few days after it was issued in the US, the title track from the Beatles’ fifth studio LP, Help!, was released as a single in the UK with “I’m Down” as its B-side.

1966: The novelty song “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!,” written and performed by Jerry Samuels and credited to his stage name, Napoleon XIV, entered the Billboard Hot 100. Written by Samuels while working at Associated Recording Studios in New York, the record quickly climbed the chart, and just three weeks later reached #3. On the Cash Box Top 100, it made it to #1. The single’s B-side was simply the A-side played in reverse.

1966: The Troggs topped the Cash Box Top 100 with their version of “Wild Thing.” The following week, it became their first #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1969: The Rolling Stones topped the UK singles chart with “Honky Tonk Women.”

1973: The Moody Blues released their seventh studio album, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour.

1973: Jethro Tull’s sixth studio album, A Passion Play, was released in the US ten days after it had been issued in the UK. It became the group’s second #1 album in the States.

1976: Wings released “Let ‘Em In,” the second single from their fifth studio album, Wings at the Speed of Sound.

1980: The Pointer Sisters released “He’s So Shy,” the lead single from their seventh studio album, Special Things.

1981: The Moody Blues released “The Voice,” the second single from their tenth studio album, Long Distance Voyager.

1983: Synchronicity, the fifth and final album by the Police started its first of seventeen weeks at the top of the Billboard pop chart. Meanwhile, the LP’s first single, “Every Breath You Take,” began its third of eight weeks at #1 on the Hot 100.

1984: The Cars released “Drive,” the third single from their fifth studio LP, Heartbeat City.

1989: Ringo Starr launched his first All-Starr Band tour with a show at the Park Central Amphitheater in Dallas, Texas. Members of the band included Joe Walsh, Billy Preston, Clarence Clemons, Dr. John, Nils Lofgren, Rick Danko, and Levon Helm.

1992: Bruce Springsteen kicked off his first US tour in four years in East Rutherford, NJ with the first of ten sold-out concerts at the 220,000-seat Brendan Byrne Arena.

2001: R.E.M. released “All the Way to Reno (You’re Gonna Be a Star),” the second single from their twelfth studio album, Reveal.

Birthdays Today

Jack Richardson, record producer best known for producing some of The Guess Who’s biggest hits who also worked with Bob Seger, Poco, Badfinger, and others, was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1929.

Madeline Bell, member of UK group Blue Mink and session singer who backed artists including Dusty Springfield, Elton John, the Rolling Stones, and Donvoan, was born in Newark, NJ in 1942.

Tony Joe White, singer-songwriter and guitarist, was born in Oak Grove, LA in 1943.

Dino Danelli, drummer and original member of The Rascals, was born in Jersey City, NJ in 1944.

Andy MacKay, multi-instrumentalist best known as the oboe and sax player for Roxy Music, was born in Lostwithiel, Cornwall, England in 1946.

David Essex, singer-songwriter and actor, was born David Albert Cook in Plaistow, Essex, England in 1947.

John Hall, songwriter, session musician for such artists as Janis Joplin, Seals & Crofts, Taj Mahal, and Bonnie Raitt, founding member of Orleans, solo artist, and US Congressman, was born in Baltimore, MD in 1948.

Blair Thornton, songwriter and guitarist for Bachman-Turner Overdrive, was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 1950.

Martin Gore, singer, songwriter, guitarist, keyboardist, producer, remixer, DJ, and founding member, primary composer and lyricist for Depeche Mode, was born in Dagenham, Essex, England in 1961.

Alison Krauss, singer, songwriter, and fiddler, was born in Decatur, IL in 1971.