Today in Rock & Roll History: July 3rd

1964: The Who, credited as The High Numbers, released their first single, “Zoot Suit” backed with “I’m the Face.” The record’s A-side, written by their first manager Peter Meaden, is a direct copy of “Misery” by the American R&B group the Dynamics, while the B-side, “I’m The Face”, is a copy of Slim Harpo’s “I Got Love If You Want It.” The single’s release was an attempt to appeal to a mod audience by embracing mod cultures. A zoot suit was a fashionable item of clothing for mods and “face” was slang for a well-respected member of mod society. After the single failed to chart, the band reverted back to calling themselves The Who and found new management.

1965: The debut single by Billy Joe Royal, “Down in the Boondocks,” entered the Billboard Hot 100. It was the first of five songs written by singer-songwriter Joe South recorded by Royal, and reached #9 in the US and #1 in Canada.

1968: The Doors’ third studio album, Waiting for the Sun, was released. It became the band’s first and only #1 LP and produced their second US #1 single, “Hello, I Love You.” It was also their first top 40 album in the UK, where it reached #16.

1969: The debut album by English folk musician Nick Drake, Five Leaves Left, was released by Island Records. Contributors to the album included Richard Thompson from Fairport Convention and Danny Thompson from Pentangle.

1969: Island Records released Fairport Convention’s third studio LP, Unhalfbricking. The album reflects the group’s transition from American influences toward more traditional English folk songs, and also marked Sandy Denny’s arrival as a songwriter with “Who Knows Where the Time Goes?” The album became the group’s first UK chart success, reaching #12, and the second highest-reaching release of their career.

1969: The Newport Jazz Festival experimented fusing jazz, soul, and rock music for the first time. In addition to jazz performances by such acts as Dave Brubeck and Miles Davis, soul and rock artists featured over the multi-day festival included Jeff Beck, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Ten Years After, Jethro Tull, John Mayall, Sly & the Family Stone, James Brown, Herbie Hancock, B.B. King, Frank Zappa, and Led Zeppelin, whose performance was temporarily canceled due to fears of overcrowding.

1970: The second Atlanta International Pop Festival opened in a soybean field adjacent to the Middle Georgia Raceway in Byron, Georgia. Performers included The Allman Brothers Brothers, the Chambers Brothers, Richie Havens, Grand Funk Railroad, It’s a Beautiful Day, B.B. King, Lee Michaels, Mott the Hoople, Mountain, Poco, Procol Harum, Rare Earth, John Sebastian, the Bob Seger System, Spirit, Ten Years After, Johnny Winter, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, who at midnight, played his rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner” for 200,000 people—the largest crowd of Hendrix’s career.

1970: Cilla Black release her fifth solo studio album, Sweet Inspiration.

1971: The Doors’ single “Riders on the Storm” entered the Billboard Hot 100. The second single from their sixth LP, LA Woman, it was their last top 40 hit in the US, peaking at #14.

1973: David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust world tour came to a close with the last of two shows at London’s Hammersmith Odeon. Before the encore, Bowie shocked the crowd, saying that it was the last show he’d ever do, and closed with “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide.” It later became clear that it was his Ziggy Stardust persona that was retiring. The next year Bowie moved to the US, settled in Los Angeles, and in the spring of 1974, he released his next LP, Diamond Dogs.

1982: Built For Speed, the first album by Stray Cats released in the US, entered the Billboard pop chart. Despite having developed a following in New York City, the band had moved to England, where they spearheaded a rockabilly revival. After the band had two successful albums in the UK, it was enough for EMI America to issue Built for Speed in the US as a compilation of tracks from the group’s first two albums.

1984: Fleetwood Mac guitarist and vocalist Lindsey Buckingham released his second solo studio album, Go Insane.

1990: The Allman Brothers Band released Seven Turns, the group’s ninth studio album and first since 1981.

Birthdays Today

Tommy Tedesco, prolific session guitarist who recorded with The Beach Boys, The Supremes, Barbra Streisand, Cher, Frank Sinatra, The Association, the Everly Brothers, and The Monkees, was a member of famed session group the Wrecking Crew, and whose playing credits also include the theme from television shows Bonanza, The Twilight Zone, Green Acres, M*A*S*H, Batman, and Elvis Presley’s ’68 Comeback Special, was born in Niagra Falls, NY in 1930.

Fontella Bass, R&B and soul singer and songwriter best known for her 1965 hit, “Rescue Me,” was born in St. Louis, MO in 1940.

Judith Durham, singer, songwriter, musician, and member of the Seekers, was born in Essendon, Victoria, Australia in 1943.

Anthony “Top” Topham, first lead guitarist for the Yardbirds who left the band before they achieved mainstream popularity, but later rejoined from 2013-2015, was born in Southall, England in 1947.

Paul Barrere, guitarist, singer, and songwriter for Little Feat, was born in Burbank, CA in 1948.

John Verity, guitarist for Argent, was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England in 1949.

Andy Fraser, songwriter, bass guitarist, and founding member of Free, was born in Paddington, London, England in 1952.

Vince Clarke, main composer and musician for Erasure, who also wrote songs for other groups including Depeche Mode, Yazoo, and The Assembly, was born in South Woodford, England in 1960.

Kevin Hearn, keyboardist for Barenaked Ladies, was born in Grimsby, Ontario, Canada in 1969.