Today in Rock & Roll History: July 8th

1954:  Sam Phillips, Elvis Presley’s manager, gave Memphis DJ Dewey Phillips of WHBQ Radio a copy of Presley’s “That’s All Right (Mama)” for his radio show and Presley appeared on Phillips’ show. That night, Phillips became the first DJ to play an Elvis Presley song on the radio.

1957: “Teddy Bear” by Elvis Presley became his eighth US #1 hit and fourth #1 that year, reaching the top of Billboard’s Best Sellers chart for the first of seven weeks. In addition to hitting the top of both the R&B and country charts, one week later it also topped Billboard’s Top 100 chart.

1965: The Four Tops recorded “It’s The Same Old Song” at Motown’s Hitsville U.S.A. Studios in Detroit, Michigan. By the afternoon of the following day, 1,500 copies had been sent out to DJs across the country, and the single later climbed to #2 on the Billboard R&B chart and #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1967: Five teenagers from Mansfield, OH who called themselves The Music Explosion became stars overnight when their second single, “Little Bit O’ Soul,” peaked at #2 on the Hot 100. The song had been written by John Carter and Ken Lewis, who’d previously written hits for The Ivy League and Herman’s Hermits, and despite being the group’s only top 40 hit, the song’s success allowed them to tour with contemporary groups like the Left Banke and The Easybeats. Lead singer Jamie Lyons later recorded several solo singles and drummer Bob Avery joined bubblegum rock band Crazy Elephant.

1967: The Jimi Hendrix Experience joined the Monkees as their opening act during their US tour at the Coliseum in Jacksonville, FL. Despite the Monkees being fans of Hendrix, audiences weren’t so thrilled, and after six more shows, Hendrix left the tour.

1971: Mott the Hoople played their first and only concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Causing an unprecedented amount of damage, the show was one of 22 which ended in destruction and disorder that year, leading to the Hall’s decision to ban all rock and pop concerts in March of 1972. Vilified bands also included Deep Purple, Yes, Gordon Lightfoot, James Brown, and The Byrds. The ban, however, turned out to be short-lived and it wasn’t long before it was repealed and rock and pop returned to the Hall.

1972: Bill Withers reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time with his single “Lean on Me,” which started a three-week run at #1, in addition to reaching the top of the R&B chart as well.

1972: The Who’s single “Join Together” was released in US, ultimately reaching #17 on the Billboard chart.

1979: After signing with Island Records, the B-52s make their live debut at London’s Lyceum Ballroom.

Birthdays Today

Johnnie Johnson, jazz, blues, and rock pianist who was a long-time collaborator with Chuck Berry as well as the inspiration for “Johnny B. Goode,” was born in Fairmont, WV in 1924.

Jai “Jaimoe” Johanny Johanson, drummer, percussionist, and founding member of The Allman Brothers Band, was born Johnny Lee Johnson in Ocean Springs, MS in 1944.

Andrew “Fletch” Fletcher, keyboard player and founding member of Depeche Mode, was born in Nottingham, England in 1961.

Joan Osborne, singer and songwriter, was born in Anchorage, KY in 1962.

Jamie Cook, songwriter and rhythm guitarist and founding member of Arctic Monkeys, was born in High Green, Sheffield, England in 1985.

Beck, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer, was born Bek David Campbell in Los Angeles, CA in 1970.