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.

1959: Jerry Lee Lewis’ recording of Otis Blackwell’s “Let’s Talk About US” was released by Sun Records.

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.

1964: Roughly two weeks after it was issued in the UK, Peter & Gordon’s recording of the Paul McCartney-penned single “Nobody I Know” was released in the US.

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 musicians 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: The Temptations released their fourth studio album, Gettin’ Ready. Co-produced by Smokey Robinson and Norman Whitfield, the LP marks the transition from having Robinson as the group’s main producer, with new producer Norman Whitfield taking over Robinson’s position.

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 the Vietnam War, while others 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: Grand Funk Railroad released their third studio album, Closer to Home.

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.”

1973: Marvin Gaye released “Let’s Get It On,” the lead single and title track from his thirteenth studio album.

1973: Manfred Mann’s Earth Band released their third studio album, Messin’. The LP was re-titled Get Your Rocks Off for its US release.

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.

1978: Bob Dylan released his eighteenth studio album, Street Legal.

1979: The Cure released “Boys Don’t Cry.” The single was included as the title track on the band’s first compilation album and debut US LP.

1979: English band Joy Division released their debut studio album, Unknown Pleasures. Recorded and mixed over three successive weekends at Strawberry Studios in Stockport, England in April, producer Martin Hannett incorporated several unconventional production techniques into the group’s sound. It is also the only Joy Division album released during lead singer Ian Curtis’ lifetime.

1979: Dire Straits’ second studio album, Communiqué, was released.

1979: America released their eighth studio album, Silent Letter. It was the band’s first album released as a duo after the departure of Dan Peek, their first with Capitol Records, as well as their last with producer George Martin.

1981: English new wave band Duran Duran released their eponymous debut studio album.

1982: The Steve Miller Band released their twelfth studio album, Abracadabra. It was the group’s last of four albums to enter the top 10 in the US.

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.

1986: Berlin released “Take My Breath Away,” the second single from the soundtrack to the film Top Gun. The song was also included on their fourth studio album, Count Three & Pray.

1993: Neil Young’s “Unplugged” album, recorded live for MTV’s “Unplugged” series, was released on disc and VHS.

1993: Pete Townshend released “Psychoderelict,” a concept album containing characters and issues that were continued in Townshend’s rock opus “The Boy Who Heart Music,” which make up most of the songs on the Who’s eleventh studio album, “Endless Wire.”

1993: Tina Turner released What’s Love Got to Do with It, her eighth studio album and the soundtrack to the autobiographical film of the same name.

1998: Former Crowded House member Neil Finn released his debut solo studio album, Try Whistling This. The LP topped the charts in Australia and New Zealand and reached the top five in the UK.

1999: Santana released Supernatural, the group’s eighteenth studio album and first with Arista Records. The LP became a significant success worldwide, reaching #1 in several countries, and generated renewed interest in Santana’s music. It became their first #1 album in the US since “Santana III” in 1971 and produced the band’s first #1 single, “Smooth.”

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.

2004: Phish released their eleventh studio album, Undermind. It was the group’s last album with Elektra Records and last before they disbanded in 2004. After reuniting in 2009, their subsequent albums were released through their own JEMP Records label.

2010: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released Mojo, their twelfth studio album and Petty’s first LP with the Heartbreakers in eight years.

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.

Eddie Hinton, songwriter and session musician best known as a the lead guitarist for the Muscle Shoal Rhythm Section from 1967-1971, was born in Jacksonville, FL in 1944.

Leo Nocentelli, musician, songwriter, founding member and lead guitarist of the funk band The Meters, and session player for artists such as Dr. John, Robert Palmer, and Etta James, was born in New Orleans, LA in 1946.

Artemios “Demis” Ventouris-Roussos, Greek vocalist, bandleader, solo performer, and member of Aphrodite’s Child, was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1946.

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