Today in Rock & Roll History: July 25th

1960: A week after debuting on the chart, “Walk–Don’t Run,” the first charting single by The Ventures, entered the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100. Five weeks later, the instrumental reached #2 and remains their highest charting song.

1964: To promote the new British band The Animals, US disc jockeys were sent boxes of animal crackers wrapped in promotional material touting the group’s second single “The House of the Rising Sun,” which had just entered the UK charts.

1965: Bob Dylan went electric at the Newport Folk Festival. Backed by Al Kooper on organ, Mike Bloomfield on guitar, and other members of the Butterfield Blues Band, Dylan performed a rock and roll set publicly for the first time, beginning with an electrified version of “Maggie’s Farm.” A chorus of boos and jeering from the audience nearly drowned out the sound of Dylan and the band. Some who witnessed the show have stated that some of the yelling was due to the terrible sound quality of the performance, specifically that it was too loud and poorly mixed, making Dylan’s voice unintelligible. Many in the audience still considered the artist’s new direction a betrayal of his acoustic roots. Dylan was said to have “electrified one half of his audience, and electrocuted the other.” Nonetheless, the fusion of Dylan’s songwriting style and hard-driving rock sound paved the way for the folk-rock genre.

1966: The Monkees recorded their debut single, “Last Train to Clarksville,” at RCA Victor Studios in Hollywood, California.

1966: “You Can’t Hurry Love” by The Supremes was released. By September, the song became the group’s seventh single to hit the top of both the Billboard R&B and Hot 100 charts, and was the first in a string of four consecutive number ones on both charts.

1966: The Troggs released their debut studio album, From Nowhere, in the UK. In the US, the album had an alternative track list and was titled Wild Thing.

1969: English progressive rock band Yes released their eponymous debut album.

1969: Santana, the Guess Who, the Byrds, the Youngbloods, Ten Years After, Bo Diddley, It’s A Beautiful Day, and the Flying Burrito Brothers all performed on the opening day of the three-day Seattle Pop Festival at Gold Creek Park in Woodinville, WA.

1969: Neil Young performed with Crosby, Stills & Nash for the first time at the Fillmore East in New York City.

1969: At the Midwest Rock Festival at the State Fair Grounds in West Allis, Wisconsin, both the first and third lead guitarists for the Yardbirds were on the bill with their current groups: Eric Clapton with Blind Faith, and Jimmy Page with Led Zeppelin. Clapton was later quoted as saying that while he “really did like” some of Led Zeppelin’s set, he found “a lot of it was just too much” and “unnecessarily loud.” Former Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck was scheduled to appear at the festival two days later, but canceled due to rain.

1970: Donovan released his eighth studio album, Open Road. It was also the debut album from short-lived band Open Road, which Donovan had assembled in an effort to write and record music as a member of a band.

1970: “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” by Creedence Clearwater Revival was released. In early October, the song became the group’s first #1 on the Cash Box chart and reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1970: “25 or 6 to 4” by Chicago entered the Billboard Hot 100. The single became the group’s first to chart in UK, first top 10 in Canada, and second top 10 hit in US, where it reached #4.

1973: Cat Stevens released Foreigner, his seventh studio album and his first album written and produced by himself

1973: The Doobie Brothers released “China Grove,” the second single from their third studio album, The Captain and Me.

1975: “Fame” by David Bowie was released. Co-written with John Lennon and Carlos Alomar, Lennon can be heard on the record contributing guitar and backing vocals. The song became a hit in North America, and in October, it became Bowie’s first #1 in the US.

1981: The Moody Blues’ tenth studio album, Long Distance Voyager, became their second and final #1 in the US and Canada. It was also the group’s last top 10 album in the UK, where it reached #7.

2006: Tom Petty released his third and final solo studio album, Highway Companion. The album was produced by Petty’s former Traveling Wilburys bandmate, Jeff Lynne.

Birthdays Today

Benny Benjamin a.k.a. Papa Zita, primary drummer for Motown studio band The Funk Brothers who played on numerous hits by Stevie Wonder, the Supremes, the Four Tops, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, and the Contours, was born William Benjamin in Birmingham, AL in 1925.

Bruce Woodley, singer-songwriter and founding member of The Seekers, was born in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia in 1942.

Jim McCarty, drummer for the Yardbirds and Renaissance and the only member of the Yardbirds to appear in all of the group’s incarnations, was born in Walton, Liverpool, England in 1943.

Tom Dawes, bassist and vocalist for The Cyrkle, was born in Albany, NY in 1944.

José Areas, percussionist and timbales player for Santana, was born in Leon, Nicaragua in 1946.

Steve Goodman, folk singer-songwriter, was born in Chicago, IL in 1948.

Verdine White, bassist for Earth, Wind & Fire, was born in Chicago, IL in 1951.

Jem Finer, musician, artist, composer, and founding member of the Pogues, was born in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England in 1955.

Thurston Moore, singer, songwriter, guitarist for Sonic Youth and a solo artist, was born in Coral Gables, FL in 1958.

Richard Colburn, drummer for Belle & Sebastian, was born in Perth, Scotland in 1970.