Today in Rock & Roll History: June 15th

1957: After British radio stations started playing copies of Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up,” the single debuted at #24 on the UK chart a week before its official release. A month later, it became Presley’s first #1 in the UK.

1964: Britain duo Peter & Gordon arrived in the United States to perform one of their first American gigs at the World’s Fair in New York City. A week and a half later, their single “A World Without Love” topped the Billboard Hot 100.

1965: Bob Dylan began his first session to record “Like a Rolling Stone” at Columbia Studios in New York. The first five takes of the song were recorded in 3/4 waltz time with Dylan on piano. The following day, Dylan and the session musician reconvened, this time joined by rookie guitarist Al Kooper, who’s improvised Hammond organ riff impressed Dylan, and over the course of several takes, the song evolved into its familiar form in 4/4 time.

1966: Yesterday and Today, the ninth Beatles album issued by Capitol Records, was released in the US and Canada. Comprising tracks from the band’s Help!, Rubber Soul, and Revolver albums, as well as non-album singles, the LP is primarily remembered for its controversial “butcher cover,” in which photographer Robert Whitaker shows the band dressed in white coats and covered with decapitated baby dolls and pieces of raw meat. The Beatles insisted the cover was a statement against Vietnam War, while other interpreted the image as a form of protest against Capitol Records “butchering” their albums for the North American market. In response to outrage from record retailers, Capitol withdrew the album and replaced the cover. The original has since become highly prized among collectors.

1968: Creedence Clearwater Revival released “Suzie Q,” the second single from their debut album. Originally recorded and released by Dale Hawkins in 1957, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s version, which spanned both sides of a 45 rpm record, became the band’s first single to enter the US charts and only top 40 hit not written by John Fogerty.

1970: Jimi Hendrix recorded for the first time at his own new state-of-the-art Electric Lady recording studio in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Hendrix had invited friends Steve Winwood and Chris Wood from Traffic into the studio for a jam session, with Dave Palmer sitting in behind the drums. That night, Hendrix was able to coax Wood and Winwood into providing backing vocals for “Ezy Rider” and put to tape renditions of Traffic’s “Pearly Queen” and Winwood’s song “Rhythm Ace.”

1975: Gary Wright’s third solo album The Dream Weaver was released. It features Wright on vocals and keyboards with Jim Keltner and Andy Newmark on drums.

1985: Roxy Music lead singer Bryan Ferry had his first and only #1 album on the UK chart with sixth solo studio album, Boys and Girls.

2002: Mick Jagger was honored with knighthood for service to popular music in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. In December of 2003, he received the accolade from the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace. Queen Elizabeth II, who was unavailable due to a knee surgery appointment, reportedly “didn’t have the stomach” to award Jagger in person.

2003: Radiohead scored their fourth straight #1 album on the UK chart with their sixth studio LP, Hail to the Thief.

Birthdays Today

Nigel Pickering, guitarist and original member of Spanky and Our Gang, was born Fredy Ray Pickering in Pontiac, MI in 1929.

Ruby Nash, singer and leader of R&B group Ruby & The Romantics, was born in Akron, OH in 1934.

Waylon Jennings, singer, songwriter, musician, and pioneer of the Outlaw country movement, was born in Littlefield, TX in 1937.

Harry Nilsson, singer-songwriter, was born Harry Edward Nilsson III in Brooklyn, NY in 1941.

Muff Winwood, songwriter, bassist, and member of the Spencer Davis Group with young brother Steve Winwood before becoming a record producer, was born in Erdington, Birmingham, England in 1943.

David Hinds, founding member, rhythm guitarist, and lead vocalist of reggae band Steel Pulse, was born in Handsworth, Birmingham, England in 1956.