Today in Rock & Roll History: July 29th

1965: Queen Elizabeth II was among members of Britain’s nobility in attendance at the royal world premiere of the Beatles’ second film, Help!, at the London Pavilion.

1965: In the middle of the sessions for his sixth album, Highway 61 Revisited, Bob Dylan recorded the “Positively 4th Street.” The song was later released as a single in September.

1966: After the release of his Blonde on Blonde album and a strenuous world tour earlier that summer, Bob Dylan crashed his 1964 Triumpth T100 motorcycle near Woodstock, New York, reportedly cracking vertebrae in his neck. Rumors surrounded the crash, however, as no ambulance was called, and Dylan was never checked into a hospital. While some believed Dylan had possibly died or suffered brain damage, Dylan himself said in his 2004 autobiography that the truth was that he “wanted to get out of the rat race” and that having children had changed his outlook on life. Either way, Dylan retreated from the public eye in Woodstock, and by the following summer, he’d recruited his backing group from his 1966 tour, the Hawks, who later renamed themselves The Band. Together, they recorded over a hundred songs that later produced the collaborative album, The Basement Tapes. His next albums reflected a new, diverse approach to music and Dylan didn’t tour again for another eight years.

1966: Cream made their live debut at The Twisted Wheel in Manchester, England, filling in for Joe Tex who had backed out of performing. Later that weekend, the trio played their first official concert at the 6th National Jazz and Blues Festival in Windsor.

1966: Manfred Mann released their cover of Bob Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman,” which later peaked at #10 on the UK chart.

1967: Motown Records released “Reflections,” the first single issued with the group’s new billing, “Diana Ross & The Supremes,” and the first after the firing of founding member Florence Ballard. Ballard does, however, sing on the record and appears on the record’s cover alongside group members Diana Ross and Mary Wilson because the song had been recorded before her dismissal.

1967: A three-minute edit of “Light My Fire” by The Doors became the group’s first #1 single when it reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100. Eventually, many radio stations started playing the full seven-minute album cut.

1968: Gram Parsons quit the Byrds allegedly due to concerns over a planned tour of South Africa, citing his opposition to the country’s apartheid policies. Afterward, Parsons became acquainted with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones and reintroduced Richards to country music. Upon returning to Los Angeles, Parsons formed The Flying Burrito Brothers.

1969: The Byrds released Preflyte, a compilation album of demos recorded in 1964 at World Pacific Studios in Los Angeles while they were then known as the Jet Set and before the band had signed with Columbia Records.

1972: Just over a month after it had been released in the UK, Electric Light Orchestra’s debut single, “10538 Overture,” was released in the US.

1972: “City of New Orleans” by Arlo Guthrie, originally written and recorded by Steve Goodman in 1971, became Guthrie’s second single to enter the Billboard Hot 100 after “Alice’s Restaurant” in 1969. The record later peaked at #18 by the end of October. Goodman had run into Guthrie at the Quiet Knight bar in Chicago and offered to play him a song. Guthrie agreed, so long as Goodman bought him a beer and that he’d only listen as long as it took him to finish it. Goodman played “City of New Orleans”, which Guthrie liked enough that he asked to record it.

1972: “Garden Party” by Rick Nelson and The Stone Canyon Band entered the Billboard chart. It was Nelson’s last top 10 hit on the Billboard and Cash Box pop charts and his final #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

1977: Thin Lizzy released “Dancing in the Moonlight (It’s Caught Me in Its Spotlight),” the lead single from the band’s eighth studio album, Bad Reputation. The song’s saxophone counterpoint is played by Supertramp’s John Helliwell.

1980: Hall & Oates released their ninth studio album, Voices.

1989: A new duet version of “Act Naturally” by Ringo Starr and Buck Owens was released. Originally recorded by Owens in 1963, the song had also been made famous by the Beatles in 1965, in which Starr sang lead vocals.

1989: Tom Petty released “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” the second single from his debut solo album, Full Moon Fever.

1989: 10,000 Maniac’s fourth and highest-charting album, Blind Man’s Zoo, peaked at #13 on the Billboard chart.

1994: The Rolling Stones’ twenty-second American album, Voodoo Lounge, debuted at #2 on the Billboard chart. Less than two weeks earlier the album debuted at the top of the British chart, making it their first UK #1 since Emotional Rescue in 1980.

2014: The Breeze: An Appreciation of J.J. Cale, a tribute album produced by Eric Clapton, was released a year after Cale’s death. Guests on the album include Tom Petty, Mark Knopfler, John Mayer, Willie Nelson, Derek Trucks, and Reggie Young.

2014: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ thirteenth and final studio album, Hypnotic Eye, was released in the US a day after it was issued in the UK. The album became the band’s only #1 on the Billboard pop chart when it debuted at the top of the chart.

Birthdays Today

Charlie Christian, early electric guitar player and key figure in the development of bebop and cool jazz, was born in Bonham, TX in 1916.

Jim Marshall, businessman and pioneer of guitar amplification whose company, Marshall Amplification, has created equipment used by some of the biggest names in rock music, was born in Acton, West London, England in 1923.

Mike Garson, pianist who’s worked with David Bowie as well as a number of other groups, was born in New York City in 1945.

Jim Stewart, record executive and record producer who co-founded Stax Records, was born in Middleton, TN in 1930.

Randy Sparks, musician, singer-songwriter and founder of The New Christy Minstrels and The Back Porch Majority, was born Lloyd A. Sparks in Leavenworth, KS in 1933.

Patti Scialfa, singer-songwriter, guitarist, and member of Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band since 1984 who’s been married to Springsteen since 1991, was born Vivienne Patricia Scialfa in Deal, NJ in 1954.