Today in Rock & Roll History: July 7th

1958: “Poor Little Fool” by Ricky Nelson entered the Billboard pop charts. Four weeks later, it became Nelson’s first #1 single.

1965: The Kinks went to #1 on the UK singles chart with “Sunny Afternoon.”

1967: Simon & Garfunkel released “Fakin’ It,” the third single from the duo’s fourth studio LP, Bookends. The song later went to #23 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1968: After their eighth concert tour in the US, the Yardbirds broke up. According to guitarist Jimmy Page, the group had decided to split at the tour’s end before it even began. Page and bassist Chris Dreja affirmed that they would continue as the Yardbirds featuring Jimmy Page, but just over a month later, Page took part in his first rehearsals with John Bonham, John Paul Jones, and Robert Plant. Page was keen on maintaining the Yardbirds name, but Dreja, who also had rights to the name, asked that they call themselves something else. Page’s new group thus adopted the name Led Zeppelin.

1970: Ben E. King released Rough Edges, his sixth studio album and only LP released on Atlantic subsidiary Maxwell Records. Three of the album’s tracks feature the combination of multiple songs in what is now known as a mash-up.

1972: Jimmy Cliff’s soundtrack album to the Jamaican film The Harder They Come was released. Assembled by director and co-writer Perry Henzell, the album is a compilation of singles released in Jamaica from 1967 through 1972 by artists such as Cliff, The Maytals, Desmond Dekker, The Ethiopians, DJ Scotty, The Melodians, and Johnny Nash. The album played a major party in popularizing reggae in the United States and the rest of the world.

1973: Billy Preston achieved his first solo #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Will It Go Round in Circles.”

1975: Elton John’s ninth LP, Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, went to #1 for six weeks on the Billboard pop chart.

1980: The original lineup of Led Zeppelin played their final show at the Eissporthalle an der Jafféstraße in West Berlin at the end of their Tour Over Europe 1980 tour.

1984: Nearly five weeks after its release, Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A. album started its first of four weeks at #1 on the Billboard chart.

1984: Prince had his first of five number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 with “When Doves Cry,” which started a five weeks at the top of the chart. The single also reached the top of the Billboard R&B and Dance charts in addition to reaching #1 in Australia and Canada.

1984: “Relax,” the debut single by Liverpool group Frankie Goes to Hollywood became the best-selling single of all time in Britain despite the fact that it had been banned from radio airplay by the BBC, though commercial radio and television stations still played the song. Later in 1984 the ban was lifted and “Relax” was featured on both the Christmas Day edition of Top of the Pops and Radio 1’s rundown of the best-selling singles of the year.

1987: Hoodoo Gurus’ second album, Mars Needs Guitars, was released in the US after the album’s initial release in their home country of Australia in March of 1985.

1987: Dwight Yoakam released Hillbilly Deluxe, his second studio album which later became his second consecutive #1 on the Billboard country chart.

1991: Robert Fripp released Show of Hands, a collaborative album credited to Fripp and The League of Crafty Guitarists, which include seventeen guest guitarists across nineteen tracks.

1991: Frank Zappa and Rhino Records released Beat the Boots, a collection of recordings originally distributed as bootlegs. The box set was released as part of Zappa’s campaign to dissuade his fans from buying illegal recordings of his concerts.

2007: The Live Earth benefit concert was simultaneously held in eleven locations across all seven continents, including a research station in Antarctica. More than 150 musical acts participated in the 24-hour event broadcast across the globe to bring attention to climate change. Organized by former US Vice President Al Gore, each concert venue used sustainable and efficient means of power generation in an effort to minimize environmental impact, and speakers urged viewers to support a pledge to limit carbon pollution, increase energy efficiency, and expand the use of renewable energy.

Birthdays Today

Ringo Starr, singer, songwriter, actor, drummer for Beatles, solo artist, and leader of his All-Starr band, was born Richard Starkey in Dingle, Liverpool, England in 1940.

Chan Romero, rock and roll singer, songwriter, and guitarist best known for his 1959 song “Hippy Hippy Shake,” was born in Billings, MT in 1941.

Jim Rodford, bassist and founding member of Argent who also played with several other bands including The Swinging Blue Jeans, The Bluetones, The Kinks, Animals II, The Kast of Kinks, and The Zombies, was born James Rodford in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England in 1941.

Warren Entner, singer, songwriter, organist, and guitarist for The Grass Roots, who later became a successful producer, was born in Boston, MA in 1944.

Rob Townsend, drummer for Family and The Blues Band, was born in Frog Island, Leicester, England in 1947.

Larry Reinhardt, guitarist for Iron Butterfly and Captain Beyond, was born in Florida in 1948.