Today in Rock & Roll History: June 12th

1954: Big Joe Turner had his second of two #1 singles on Billboard’s R&B chart with “Shake, Rattle and Roll.”

1961: Two weeks after hitting the top of the R&B chart, Ben E. King achieved his biggest success on the pop charts when his single “Stand By Me” reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1963: The Supremes released “A Breathtaking Guy.” Written and produced by Smokey Robinson, the single was originally released under the title “A Breath Taking, First Sight Soul Shaking, One Night Love Making, Next Day Heartbreaking Guy.” It became the group’s highest charting single at that point and was later included on their second studio album, Where Did Our Love Go. It is one of the group’s rare singles to features each member all singing lead vocals.

1963: The Beach Boys recorded “Surfer Girl” and “Little Deuce Coupe” at Western Studios in Los Angeles. Both tracks were released in July as the lead single from the band’s third studio album, Surfer Girl.

1964: The Beatles arrived in Adelaide, Australia, where they were greeted by an estimated 250,000 fans who lined the ten mile route from the airport to the city center. The group performed their first four shows in Australia at the city’s Centennial Hall over the next two nights. Drummer Jimmy Nicol temporarily filled in for Ringo Starr, who was recovering from having his tonsils removed.

1964: The Zombies taped “She’s Not There” at their first recording session for Decca Records at the label’s West Hampstead Studio. The song was released in late July as the group’s debut single and reached #2 in the US and #12 in the UK. Written by keyboardist Rod Argent, the song had been inspired by John Lee Hooker’s “No One Told Me.”

1965: “I Want You Back Again” by The Zombies was released. The song was re-recorded by the band fifty years later for their sixth studio album, Still Got That Hunger.

1965: Six weeks after it entered the Billboard Hot 100, “Back in My Arms Again” by The Supremes became the group’s fifth consecutive #1 hit, making them the first American group to accomplish the feat.

1965: Sonny & Cher made their television debut on ABC’s American Bandstand performing their first single, “I Got You Babe.” One month later, the song entered the Billboard Hot 100 on it’s way to becoming a #1 hit in the US, UK, and Canada.

1966: Pink Floyd made their last appearance at London’s Marquee Club. It was at this show that future co-manager Peter Jenner saw the band live for the first time. The band went on to sign a management contract with Jenner and Andrew King in October.

1970: “Lola,” the first lead single from the Kinks’ eighth studio album, Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One, was released in the UK two weeks before being released in US. The single reached #2 on the British chart and #9 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The song was banned in Australia due to “controversial subject matter” as well as in Britain because the mention of Coca Cola violated the BBC’s policy against the mention of commercial products. A second version was later re-recorded with the words “cherry cola” instead. The song has since become one of The Kinks’ most iconic and popular songs.

1970: David Bowie released a re-recording of “Memory of a Free Festival” as a single. The original version of the song had been included on his self-titled second album, but was re-worked and re-released at the behest of Mercury Records, who felt the song would be more successful as a single. Bowie worked with produced Tony Visconti to split the song into two halves for either side of the record, and the new recording marked guitarist Mick Ronson’s and drummer Mick Woodmansey’s studio debut with Bowie’s band.

1971: “Wild Horses” from the Rollings Stones’ ninth British and eleventh American studio album, Sticky Fingers, was issued as a single in the US. Co-writer Mick Jagger has stated that Gram Parsons was involved in the song’s creation while the band was recording at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama in 1969. Keith Richards gave Parsons a demo tape of the song, and Parson’s band the Flying Burrito Brothers released their version in 1970, roughly a year before the Stones.

1971: Roberta Flack debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with a duet cover of Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend” with Donny Hathaway. The duo had recorded the song before the release of James Taylor’s version, and while Taylor made it to #1, Flack and Hathaway’s reached #29 on the Hot 100.

1971: Funkadelic released Maggot Brain, their third studio album and last with the group’s original line-up.

1972: Paul Simon released “Duncan,” the third single from his self-titled second solo studio album.

1972: John Lennon and Yoko Ono released the politically-oriented double album Some Time In New York, which combines studio and live recordings. Lennon and Ono had hired New York group Elephant’s Memory as their backing band, whose unreleased self-titled album was produced by the duo.

1973: Grand Funk Railroad began recording their seventh studio album, We’re an American Band, at Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida with producer Todd Rundgren.

1979: The Cars released “Let’s Go,” the first single from their second studio album, Candy-O.

1981: The Go-Go’s released “Our Lips Are Sealed,” their debut American single from their first studio album, Beauty and the Beat. The song was co-written by Go-Go’s guitarist Jane Wiedlin and Terry Hall of The Specials and Fun Boy Three, who released their version in 1983.

1981: “Ghost Town” by The Specials was released. It became the group’s second of two #1 singles on the UK chart and was the last single recorded by the group’s original seven members before splitting up.

1982: As part of the No Nukes movement during the Cold War, the largest political rally in US history took place when about 750,000 people gathered at New York’s Central Park for the Rally for Nuclear Disarmament, which featured performances by Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Gary U.S. Bonds, and Joan Baez. The rally committee organized the event around the United Nations Special Session on Disarmament in a bid to “call for a freeze and reduction of all nuclear weapons and a transfer of military budgets to human needs.”

1986: Bananarama released their third studio album, True Confessions. The LP produced their most successful single, a cover of Shocking Blue’s “Venus,” and became their highest-reaching album on the US Billboard pop chart.

1993: UB40 had their third #1 single in the UK with (“I Can’t Help), Falling In Love With You,” a song that had been a #1 hit for Elvis Presley in the US in 1962.

1993: Scottish duo The Proclaimers debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” the first single from their second studio album, Sunshine of Leith. It was their only song to enter the US charts and peaked at #3.

2000: Peter Gabriel released OVO, his eleventh overall album and the soundtrack to the Millennium Dome Show, a multimedia Cirque du Soleil-esque show co-directed by Gabriel and created specifically for the year 2000 in London’s Millennium Dome.

2001: Electric Light Orchestra released Zoom, the band’s twelfth studio album and first official LP since Balance of Power in 1986. Produced and primarily recorded by Jeff Lynne alone, guest musicians on the album included George Harrison and Ringo Starr. Keyboardist Richard Tandy is the only other member of ELO to appear on the album.

2005: Pink Floyd announced they would reunite with former bassist Roger Waters, who had left the band twenty years earlier, for the Live 8 London concert in July. It was the first time the band played together as a quartet since The Wall tour in 1981.

2008: Coldplay released their fourth studio album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. The album’s title track became the band’s first single to reach #1 on the US and UK charts.

2012: The dB’s released Falling Off the Sky, the group’s first album of new material since 1987.

Birthdays Today

Bill Kenny, lead singer for the Ink Spots and solo artist regarded as one of the most influential high-tenor vocalists and the “godfather” of R&B tenor vocalists, was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1914.

Charlie Feathers, country and rockabilly musician who started out as a session player for Sun Records before recording his own albums and singles, was born in Holly Springs, MS in 1932.

Chips Moman, songwriter, guitarist, session musician, and record producer known for working for Stax Records and with artists such as Elvis Presley, Tammy Wynette, Bobby Womack, and the Box Tops, and for being responsible for writing standards associated with Aretha Franklin, Waylon Jennis, and B.J. Thomas, was born Lincoln Wayne Moman in LaGrange, GA in 1937.

Roy Harper, folk rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist, was born in Rusholme, Manchester, England in 1941.

Reg Presley, lead singer for The Troggs, was born Reginald Maurice Ball in Andover, Hampshire, England in 1941.

Chick Corea, jazz pianist, electric keyboardist, and composer who participated in the birth of jazz fusion as a member of Miles Davis’ band in the 1960s, and later formed Return to Forever with Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, and Keith Jarrett, was born Armando Anthony Corea in Chelsea, MA in 1941.

Len Barry, pop singer, songwriter, record producer, and founder of The Dovells, was born Leonard Borisoff in West Philadelphia, PA in 1942.

Harold Cowart, bassist and member of John Fred and His Playboys, was born in Baton Rouge, LA in 1944.

John Wetton, singer, songwriter, bassist, and member of Mogul Thrash, Family, King Crimson, and Uriah Heep, Wishbone Ash, and Asia who also worked with members of Yes, Roxy Music, and Genesis, was born in Willington, Derbyshire, England in 1949.

Bun E. Carlos, original drummer and chief archivist for Cheap Trick, was born Brad Carlos in Rockford, IL in 1951.

Brad Delp, lead singer for Boston, was born in Peabody, MA in 1951.

Pete Farndon, founding member and original bassist for the Pretenders, was born in Hereford, England in 1952.

Jamieson “Junior” Brown, singer-songwriter and musician who performs with his custom “guit-steel” double neck guitar, was born in Cottonwood, AZ in 1952.

Rocky Burnett, singer, guitarist, and son of Johnny Burnett, was born in Memphis, TN in 1953.

John Linnell, multi-instrumentalist and half of the duo They Might Be Giants, was born in New York City in 1959.

Michael Hausman, drummer for ‘Til Tuesday and talent manager for artists that include Aimee Mann, Michael Penn, Suzanne Vega, and Marc Cohn, was born in 1960.

Robin Wilson, musician best known as the lead vocalist for Gin Blossoms, was born in Detroit, MI in 1965.

Bobby Sheehan, musician, songwriter, bassist and founding member of Blues Traveler, was born in Summit, NJ in 1968.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd, blues rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, and co-founder of The Rides with Stephen Stills and Barry Goldberg, was born Kenny Wayne Brobst in Shreveport, LA in 1977.