Today in Rock & Roll History: July 28th

1956: Gene Vincent made his first appearance on national television on The Perry Como Show on NBC.

1957: Jerry Lee Lewis made his television debut on The Steve Allen Show, in which he played “Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On” and showcased his aggressive piano playing style.

1958: The Everly Brothers released “Bird Dog.” Written by Boudleaux Bryant, the song reached #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and R&B charts and #1 on the country chart.

1962: After it failed to chart two years earlier, Tommy Roe’s second single, “Sheila,” entered the Billboard Hot 100 after Roe re-recorded it in the Lubbock style made popular by Buddy Holly and the Crickets. The re-issue of the song, which bears a strong resemblance to the Cricket’s “Peggy Sue,” became Roe’s first #1 single, reaching the top of the charts in the US, Canada, and Australia. The song’s success lead it to become the title track from Roe’s debut LP the following year.

1966: British singer Chris Farlowe’s cover of the Rolling Stones’ song “Out of Time” hit the top of the UK singles chart. Produced by Stones frontman Mick Jagger, it became Farlowe’s most successful recording.

1971: George Harrison released “Bangla Desh,” pop music’s first charity single, to raise awareness for the millions of refugees from the country formerly known as East Pakistan in the wake of the 1970 Bhola cyclone and the outbreak of the Bangladesh Liberation War. Harrison’s inspiration for the song came after he was approached by his friend Ravi Shankar, a Bangladeshi musician, who was seeking help in trying to alleviate the suffering. The single was released three days before Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh at New York’s Madison Square Garden, the first benefit concert event of its magnitude.

1972: Mott the Hoople released the single “All the Young Dudes,” which had been written by David Bowie. Through bassist Pete Watts, Bowie had learned of the band’s imminent break-up due to continued lack of commercial success. He offered them “Suffragette City,” which they rejected. Bowie then wrote “All The Young Dudes” especially for the group, and the song became their first and biggest hit.

1973: Chicago went to #1 for the first of three weeks on the Billboard chart with their fifth studio album, Chicago VI.

1973: After its release in August, “My Maria” by B.W. Stevenson entered the Billboard Hot 100 on it’s way to peaking at #9 by the end of September.

1973: Three Dog Night’s cover of B.W. Stevenson’s “Shambala” peaked at #3 on Billboard Hot 100.

1973: More than 600,000 people turned out to see the Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers Band, and The Band perform at the Summer Jam at Watkins Glen Grand Prix Raceway in New York, in one of the largest rock festivals of all time. Many historians claim the festival was the largest gathering of people in the history of the United States, and that one out of every 350 Americans listened to show. Pirate radio station CFR AM/FM out of Hartford, Connecticut set up in a camper and posed as a Canadian station to do a remote broadcast. Operated by ten people, the station interviewed Bill Graham, Phil Lesh, and other musicians since the camper was located on the road from the heliport to the stage. In exchange for free food, the station relayed police and traffic reports every half hour.

1979: The Boomtown Rats had their second #1 in the UK with their worldwide hit, “I Don’t Like Mondays.” It was the group’s only song to chart in the US, where it reached #73.

1979: Michael Jackson released “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” the lead single from his fifth solo studio album, Off the Wall.

1983: Billy Joel released “Tell Her About It,” the first lead single from his ninth studio album, An Innocent Man.

1986: R.E.M. released their fourth studio album, Lifes Rich Pageant. It was the band’s only album with producer Don Gehman, and was recorded at John Mellencamp’s Belmont Mall Studios in Belmont, Indiana.

1989: Caroline Records released The Bridge: A Tribute To Neil Young, an album featuring covers of Young’s songs by artists such as Soul Asylum, The Flaming Lips, Nick Cave, Pixies, and Sonic Youth. Conceived by Vice President of A&R at Elektra Records Terry Tolkin, a portion of profits from the album were donated to The Bridge School, a non-profit organization that develops technology to aid in the instruction of disabled children.

1992: Ontario band Bare Naked Ladies released their debut studio album, Gordon. After the group’s self-titled third indie tape release became the first indie tape to achieve platinum status in Canada, they won a local radio station contest and used the winnings to hire producer Michael Phillip Wojewoda and record Gordon at Le Studio in Quebec.

1993: At Madison Square Garden, Natalie Merchant sang for the last time with 10,000 Maniacs before embarking on a solo career. The band’s members reformed the next year, initially calling themselves “John & Mary, Rob, Steve, Dennis, & Jerry” before they were able to legally use the name 10,000 Maniacs, and viola player Mary Ramsey took over Merchant’s role as vocalist.

Birthdays Today

Lord Burgess, musician and songwriter regarded as one of the greatest composers of Caribbean music who composed over thirty songs for Harry Belafonte, was born Irving Louis Burgie in Brooklyn, NY in 1924.

George Cummings, guitarist and songwriter initially with The Chocolate Papers who later founded Dr. Hook and Medicine Show, was born in Meridian, MS in 1938.

Buddy Spicher, fiddle player and Nashville session musician who recorded with Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, the Monkees, Linda Ronstadt, Ray Charles, Neil Young, and many others, was born in DuBois, PA in 1938.

Philip Proctor, actor, voice actor, and member of comedy group The Firesign Theatre, was born in Goshen, IN in 1940.

Richard Wright, composer, songwriter, and keyboardist and vocalist for Pink Floyd, was born in Hatch End, Middlesex, England in 1943.

Mike Bloomfield, composer and guitarist who played with many of Chicago’s blues legends, including the Butterfield Blues Band and the Electric Flag before he achieved his own fame, instrumental figure in the popularization of blues music in the mid-1960s, and one of the first popular music superstars of the 1960s to earn his reputation almost entirely on his instrumental prowess, was born in Chicago, IL in 1943.

Jonathan Edwards, singer-songwriter, was born in Aitkin, MN in 1946.

Gerald Casale, bassist and vocalist for Devo, was born Gerald Vincent Pizzute in Ravenna, OH in 1948.

Simon Kirke, drummer for Free and Band Company as well as a solo artist, was born Simon Frederick St. George Kirke in Lambeth, London, England in 1949.

Steve Morse, guitarist, composer, founder of Dixie Dregs, and guitarist for Deep Purple, was born in Hamilton, OH in 1954.

Shaunna Hall, composer, founding member of 4 Non Blondes, and member of Parliament-Funkadelic, was born in 1963.