Today in Rock & Roll History: July 2nd

1956: At RCA’s recording studio in New York City, Elvis Presley’s first sessions with the Jordanaires providing backing vocals produced “Hound Dog” and “Don’t Be Cruel.”

1966: The first show of the 1966 Forrest Hills Music Festival was held at the Forrest Hills Tennis Stadium in Queens, NY. Eight concerts were held over the following two months, with The McCoys, The Standells, and the Rolling Stones performing on the first day.

1969: Brian Epstein presented Cream, the Jeff Beck Group, and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers at London’s Saville Theatre.

1969: Felix Pappalardi was asked to produce sessions for New York group the Vagrants. He ended up working with the band’s guitar player, Leslie West, and together formed Mountain. That month, West released his debut solo album, titled Mountain, produced by Papparlardi and to which he also contributed bass and vocals.

1969: British trio Thunderclap Newman had their only hit when “Something in the Air,” produced by the Who’s Pete Townshend, started a three week run at the top of the UK singles chart.

1969: Paul McCartney recorded “Her Majesty” and the Beatles (minus John Lennon) began work on “Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight” at EMI’s Abbey Road studio for their upcoming self-titled album, also known as the White Album.

1973: Grand Funk Railroad’s single “We’re an American Band” was released. Written by singer and drummer Don Brewer and produced by Todd Rundgren, the song became the group’s first US #1 hit in September, broadening the group’s appeal, and lead to Brewer doing lead vocals on more songs.

1976: Brian Wilson appeared live with the Beach Boys for the first time in 12 years at that year’s Day on the Green concert at California’s Oakland Coliseum Stadium.

2005: Ten simultaneous Live 8 benefit concerts were held across the globe in all G8 nations and South Africa. Timed to precede the G8 summit less than a week later, the event was run in support of the UK’s Make Poverty History Campaign and the Global Call for Action Against Poverty. Broadcast on 182 television networks and 2,000 radio networks, the more than 1,000 musicians that participated included U2, Paul McCartney, Elton John, REM, Annie Lennox, UB40, Stick, The Who, Dave Matthews Band, and Stevie Wonder At the London concert at Hyde Park, a reunited Pink Floyd played their first performance as a quartet in 24 years. It was also the last Pink Floyd show to include Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright.

Birthdays Today

Lee Allen, key figure in New Orleans rock and roll of the 1950s who played sax with many leading performers of the early rock and roll era such as Fats Domino, Little Richard, and Shirley & Lee, was born in Pittsburg, KS in 1927.

Paul Williams, founding member and original lead singer of the Temptations, was born in Ensley, AL in 1939.

William Guest, R&B and soul singer and member of Gladys Knight & The Pips, was born in Atlanta, GA in 1941.

Roy Bittan, keyboardist, pianist, and session musician for many artists, best known as a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, was born in Rockaway Beach, Queens, NY in 1949.

Joe Puerta, bassist, vocalist, and co-founder of Ambrosia, who later played with Sheena Easton and was a co-founder of Bruce Hornsby and the Range, was born in Lomita, CA in 1951.

Mark Hart, multi-instrumentalist best known as a member of Supertramp and Crowded House, was born in Fort Scott, KS in 1953.

Pete Briquette, record producer, composer, and Boomtown Rats bassist, was born Patrick Martin Cusack in Ballyjamesduff, Ireland in in 1954.