Today in Rock & Roll History: July 26th

1960: “Chain Gang” by Sam Cooke was released. Co-written with his brother, Charles, it was his first single with RCA Victor after leaving Keen Records in 1959 and became Cooke’s second biggest hit in the US.

1963: After a two year break, the third Newport Folk Festival was held at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, Rhode Island. Shows featured performances by Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, and Peter, Paul & Mary. The 1963 festival is also remembered for the break-out success of farmer and self-taught musician Mississippi John Hurt.

1963: Motown Records released “Mickey’s Monkey” by the Miracles. It later became the group’s third top 10 single on both the Billboard R&B and Hot 100 charts.

1965: Martha and the Vandellas released “You’ve Been in Love Too Long.” It became their fourth straight top 40 hit in two years, but many radio disc jockeys preferred its B-side, “Love (Makes Me Do Foolish Things),” which resulted in lower chart positioning.

1966: The Monkees recorded the Boyce & Hart song “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” at Western Recorders in Hollywood, California.

1966: Marvin Gaye released “Little Darling (I Need You),” the fourth single from his seventh studio album, Moods of Marvin Gaye.

1968: The Moody Blues released their third studio album, In Search of the Lost Chord.

1968: Shortly before its release, the Rolling Stones’ Beggars Banquet album was pulled by London Records after objections to the graffiti-scrawled restroom wall cover, conceived by designer Michael Vosse and photographed by Barry Feinstein in the tiny bathroom of a Porsche repair shop in Los Angeles. The cover was ultimately changed to a plain white cover imitating a formal invitation, and the dispute delayed the release of the album until December. By the early 1980s, reissues began using the original cover design.

1969: Johnny Cash’s performance of “A Boy Named Sue,” recorded live in February at California’s San Quentin State Prison, was released as a single. Written by poet and humorist Shel Silverstein, it became Cash’s biggest hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and was his only top 10 song on the chart.

1974: The Rolling Stones released “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It),” the lead single and title track from their twelfth British and fourteenth American studio album.

1975: The Eagles achieved their first chart-topping album when their fourth LP, One of These Nights, hit #1 on the US Billboard chart. In the UK, it became their first album to enter the top 10, reaching #8.

1976: Three Dog Night performed their last concert at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles before disbanding. Most of the group’s original lineup, minus bassist Joe Schermie, reunited in 1981 to release the ska-inspired EP, It’s a Jungle.

1977: After the British release of his debut album, My Aim Is True, Elvis Costello, supported by fellow artists from indie label Stiff Records, attempted to get the attention of American record executives and protest that no US record company had yet seen fit to release Costello’s album in the States by busking loudly outside a CBS Records convention at the London Hilton. Costello was arrested and fined five pounds, but CBS invited him back for an audition, and a few months later, he was signed to the label.

1979: The Clash released their first single in the US, a cover of Sonny Curtis’ “I Fought the Law.” Originally released as part of their UK EP The Cost of Living, the track was included on the American version of the band’s self-titled debut album, which was released in the US on the same day as “I Fought the Law.” Originally released in the UK in 1977, CBS Records refused to officially issue the album in the States because they decided it “wasn’t radio friendly,” so it was only available as an import, which lead to the album becoming the best-selling import of the year. On the American release of the LP, several tracks were replaced with non-album singles and B-sides, some of which had been recorded after their second album, Give ‘Em Enough Rope.

1979: Rolling Stone magazine declared the newest selling tool for rock and roll was the promotional video, citing clips by David Bowie and Queen.

1980: The Rolling Stones scored their eighth #1 album on the Billboard pop chart with their fifteenth British and seventeenth American LP, Emotional Rescue.

1982: Pink Floyd released “When the Tigers Broke Free” from their musical film Pink Floyd – The Wall. The song describes the death of songwriter Roger Waters’ father in the Battle of Anzio during the Italian Campaign of the Second World War.

1984: Prince’s film debut, the musical drama Purple Rain, premiered at Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. The semi-autobiographical movie was a big success, and earned Prince an Academy Award for Best Original Score.

1985: X’s fifth studio album, Ain’t Love Grand, was released. Issued just after the divorce of vocalists Exene Cervenka and John Doe, it was the last album with original guitarist Billy Zoom as well as the last with producer Ray Manzarek.

1985: “Lay Your Hands on Me,” the first single from the debut album by Thompson Twins, Here’s to Future Days, was released in the US and Canada.

1986: Peter Gabriel achieved his only #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart with the first single from his So album, “Sledgehammer.”

1986: Bruce Hornsby and the Range entered the Billboard Hot 100 with “Every Little Kiss,” the lead single from their debut album, The Way It Is. It initially peaked at #72 on the Billboard Hot 100, but after it was re-issued the following year, it reached #14.

1987: As part of his tour in support of his tenth studio LP, The Bridge, Billy Joel began a week-and-a-half long tour in Russia with a show at the Olympic Sports Complex in Moscow to an audience which had never before experienced a full stadium rock concert from an American artist. A documentary crew followed the tour, which produced the film Live From Leningrad, and audio recordings were released three months later as the live album Kontsert.

1989: Katrina and the Waves released their fifth studio album, Break of Hearts. It was the group’s last LP to enter the Billboard pop chart and contains their last top 40 hit in the US.

1994: Ani DiFranco released her fifth studio album, Out of Range.

Birthdays Today

Joe Jackson, guitarist, manager of The Jackson 5, and patriarch of the Jackson family, was born in Fountain Hill, AR in 1928.

Fred Foster, record producer, songwriter, and founder of Monument Records who was involved in the early careers of Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson, was born in Rutherford County, NC in 1931.

Bobby Hebb, R&B and soul singer, musician, and songwriter best known for his 1966 hit “Sunny,” was born in Nashville, TN in 1938.

Dobie Gray, singer and songwriter, was born Lawrence Darrow Brown in Simonton, TX in 1940.

Darlene Love, singer and actress who, as a backup vocalist, worked with several artists including Sam Cooke, Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, Tom Jones, Johnny Rivers, Sonny and Cher, John Phillips, and the Ronettes, was born Darlene Wright in Los Angeles, CA in 1941.

Brenton Wood, R&B and soul singer and songwriter known for his 1967 hit singles “The Oogum Boogum Song” and “Gimme Little Sign,” was born Alfred Jesse Smith in Shreveport, LA in 1941.

Neil Landon, singer, songwriter, and member of The Ivy League, The Flower Pot Men, and Fat Mattress, was born Patrick Cahill in Kirdford, Sussex, England in 1941.

Mick Jagger, lead singer and founding member of the Rolling Stones, was born born Michael Philip Jagger in Dartford, Kent, England in 1943.

Al Anderson, singer, songwriter, lead guitarist for NRBQ, and a solo artist, was born Alan Gordon Anderson in Windsor, CT in 1947.

Roger Taylor, drummer for Queen, was born in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, England in 1949.

Scott Francis Crago, session drummer, songwriter, and producer best known for his work with Eagles who has also played with such artists as Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, Bryan Adams, Stevie Nicks, Jackson Browne, Paul Simon, Bee Gees, Stevie Wonder, Bob Seger, and Chris Isaak, was born in Washington, D.C. in 1963.