Today in Rock & Roll History: June 21st

1948: Columbia Records held a press conference at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel to unveil their newly-designed, 12-inch long-playing record manufactured on “unbreakable” Vinylite. The new 33 1/3 rpm discs contained up to twenty-two and half minutes of music per side instead of the three and a half minutes available on a single size of a 78 rpm record.

1955: Johnny Cash’s first single, “Cry! Cry! Cry!” backed with “Hey, Porter,” was released. After completing his service in the US Air Force in 1954, Cash signed with Sun Records. His song “Hey, Porter” garnered little excitement from executives and was encouraged to write another song that would sell. Cash wrote “Cry! Cry! Cry!” that night and returned the next day to perform it for Sun Records owner Sam Phillips. Cash was backed by “The Tennessee Two,” Luther Perkins on guitar and Marshall Grant on bass, and the song’s early success led to a featured spot on the Louisiana Hayride Tour.

1965: The debut album by The Byrds, Mr. Tambourine Man, was released by Columbia Records. The album, along with the single of the same name, established the band as an internationally successful rock act and was influential in originating the musical style known as folk rock. The group’s first releases also represented the first effective American challenge to the dominance of the Beatles and the British Invasion during the mid-1960s, and the LP peaked at #6 on Billboard chart and #7 in the UK.

1966: Jimmy Page made his live debut with the Yardbirds at London’s Marquee Club. Page started out playing bass with the group, but Chris Dreja soon after transitioned from rhythm guitar to bass, and Page became second guitarist to his friend Jeff Beck.

1966: The Beatles recorded “She Said She Said,” the last song recorded for their seventh studio album, Revolver.

1968: John Mayall released his fourth album with the Bluesbreakers, Bare Wires. The LP is Mayall’s highest-charting album on the UK chart, where it reached #3, and was his first to enter the top 100 in the US, where it peaked at #59.

1969: The debut single and title track from the debut album by Nebraska duo Zager and Evans, “In the Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus),” entered the Billboard Hot 100. By mid-July, the single became their only #1 on the US charts. It was also the pair’s only single to enter the top 100 in the US.

1969: Deep Purple released their self-titled third studio album.

1975: James Taylor’s cover of Marvin Gaye’s 1964 hit “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” entered the Billboard Hot 100. Taylor’s version became the most successful remake of the song to date, reaching #5 by the end of August.

1975: The Bee Gees’ thirteenth studio album, Main Course, entered the Billboard pop chart. The LP was the group’s first to include mostly funk-influenced songs and created the model for their output through the rest of the 1970s. It was also their first album to feature keyboardist Blue Weaver.

1976: Elton John’s duet with Kiki Dee, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” was released. The song was written by Elton John with Bernie Taupin under the pseudonyms “Ann Orson” and “Carte Blanche” as an affectionate pastiche of the Motown style, most notably that of the various duets recorded by Marvin Gaye with singers such as Tammi Terrell and Kim Weston. The record reached #1 on the US charts in August.

1980: Don McLean had his second of two #1 singles on the UK chart with a cover of “Crying,” a song originally written and recorded by Roy Orbison in 1961.

1981: Walter Beck and Donald Fagen announced the breakup of Steely Dan. Nearly twenty years later, the two regrouped for the Steely Dan album, Two Against Nature.

1982: “Take It Away,” the second single from Paul McCartney’s third solo album, Tug of War, was released. It later reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #6 on the Cash Box Top 100.

1982: Crosby, Stills & Nash released Daylight Again, their seventh album and fourth studio LP of original material. It reached #8 on the Billboard pop chart and was the group’s last album to reach the top 10.

1990: Illinois alternative country band Uncle Tupelo, founded by Jay Farrar, Jeff Tweedy, and Mike Heidorn, released their first album, “No Depression.”

1994: John Mellencamp released his thirteenth studio album, Dance Naked. After Mellencamp’s record company claimed his previous release, Human Wheels, “didn’t fit the format,” Mellencamp wrote and recorded several radio-friendly songs within a two-week period with the intent of showing the lack of effort required to produce the type of album they were asking for.

2005: John Hiatt released his eighteenth studio album, Master of Disaster. North Mississippi All-Stars back Hiatt on the album.

Birthdays Today

Lou Ottens, engineer and inventor best known as the inventor of the cassette tape, and for his work in helping to develop the compact disc, was born Lodewijk Frederik Ottens in Bellingwolde, Netherlands in 1926.

Carl White, lead vocalist for The Rivingtons, was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1932.

Ray Davies, lead singer, rhythm guitarist, and main songwriter for the Kinks, was born Raymond Douglas Davies in Muswell Hill, London, England in 1944.

Jon Hiseman, drummer, recording engineer, record producer, and publisher who played with artists and groups that include Arthur Brown, the Graham Bond Organisation, Georgie Fame, and John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers before co-founding Tempest, was born Philip John Hiseman in Woolwich, London, England in 1944.

Miguel Vicens Danus, bassist for Los Bravos, was born in Ferrol, Galicia, Spain in 1944.

Brenda Holloway, soul singer, was born in Atascadero, CA in 1946.

Joey Molland, singer, songwriter, and guitarist for Badfinger, was born in Edge Hill, Liverpool, England in 1947.

Don Airey, keyboardist for acts including Deep Purple, Gary Moore, Jethro Tull, Wishbone Ash, Thin Lizzy, and Brian May, was born in Sunderland, England in 1948.

Greg Munford, musician who, at age 16, sang lead vocals on Strawberry Alarm Clock’s biggest hit “Incense and Peppermints,” though he was never an official member of the group, was born in 1949.

Nils Lofgren, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who started out in the early 1970s as the founder and frontman of Grin before releasing solo albums and becoming a member of Crazy Horse and Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band, was bornin Chicago, IL in 1951.

Marcella Detroit, singer, songwriter, and musician who co-wrote Eric Clapton’s 1977 hit “Lay Down Sally” and later became a member of Shakespear’s Sister, was born Marcella Levy in Detroit, MI in 1952.

Mark Brzezicki, drummer and founding member of Big Country who’s also played with the Cult, Ultravox, Procol Harum, Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, the Pretenders, Midge Ure, and Nik Kershaw, was born in Slough, Buckinghamsire, England in 1957.

Pat Sansone, multi-instrumentalist for Wilco and The Autumn Defense, was born in Meridian, MS in 1969.

Allison Moorer, singer-songwriter, was born in Mobile, AL in 1972.

Brandon Flowers, singer, songwriter, musician, and frontman for The Killers, was born in Henderson, NV in 1981.