Today in Rock & Roll History: June 24th

1957: Jerry Lee Lewis debuted on the US top 40 singles charts with “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.”

1961: After two days of recording with Tony Sheridan at the Friedrich-Ebert-Halle in Hamburg, Germany, the Beatles’s third session took place at a professional studio known as Studio Rahlstedt. There, they recorded “Ain’t She Sweet,” “Nobody’s Child,” and “Take Out Some Insurance On Me, Baby.”

1962: The Beatles performed their thirty-seventh and final show at the Casbah Coffee Club in Liverpool’s Hayman Green, a venue owned by the mother of the band’s drummer, Pete Best. It was also the final night that the club was open.

1964: Sam Cooke began a two week engagement at New York’s Copacabana club. Two weeks beforehand, his new manager, Allen Klein, had arranged to have a 20-by-100 foot billboard erected in Times Square that said “Who’s the Biggest Cooke in Town?” A recording of the singer’s finale night at the venue was released that fall as Sam Cooke at the Copa.

1965: The Hollies hit the top of the UK singles chart for the first time with “I’m Alive.” They didn’t reach the top again until 1988 with the reissue of their 1969 hit “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.”

1966: Janis Joplin performed for the first time as the lead singer for Big Brother and the Holding Company at a show at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco.

1966: The Rolling Stones began their third American tour at the Manning Bowl in Lynn, Massachusetts.

1967: “Bottle of Wine” by the Fireballs was released. The song became their second most successful single in the US after “Sugar Shack” in 1963, reaching #9.

1967: “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane was released. Originally written and recorded by singer Grace Slick while she had been with her previous group, the Great Society, Jefferson Airplane’s version became their second and last song to reached the top 10 on both the Billboard and Cash Box singles charts. According to Slick, the composition was supposed to be a slap to parents who read their children novels such as Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland Through the Looking Glass and then wondered why their children later used drugs.

1967: “Pictures of Lily” by the Who was released in the US following the single’s UK release two months earlier.

1968: The Beach Boys released their fourteenth studio album, Friends. The relatively short album sold poorly in the US, but reached #13 in the UK and has since been highly regarded by fans.

1971: Todd Rundgren released his second studio album, Runt. The Ballad of Todd Rundgren. Rundgren wrote, arranged, and produced every song on the album in addition to handling all guitar, keyboard, and vocal parts. As with his first album, his second was initially credited to “Runt.”

1972: Bill Withers scored his only #1 single with “Lean on Me” when it reached the top of the Billboard R&B chart. Two weeks later the record also topped the Hot 100 pop chart.

1972: “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” by The Hollies entered the Billboard Hot 100. The single later became the band’s fifth top 10 hit in the US and their highest charting song, reaching #2 by September.

1972: Neil Young and Graham Nash, backed by The Stray Gators, released “War Song,” a single issued in support of George McGovern’s presidential campaign against Richard Nixon.

1974: Endless Summer, a compilation album comprising hits by The Beach Boys from 1962-1965, was released by Capitol Records. The album’s unexpected success revitalized the band’s popularity after years of lukewarm sales and, in addition to reaching #1 in the US and Canada, returned them to a level of commercial success they had not experienced there since the mid 1960s.

1980: Jackson Browne released Hold Out, his sixth studio album and only LP to reach #1 on the Billboard pop chart.

1985: “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits was released as the second single from their fifth studio album, Brothers in Arms. The song features guest backing vocals by Sting. It became the group’s most commercially successful single, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US and #4 in the UK.

1988: Elton John released his twenty-first studio album, Reg Strikes Back.

1989: Paul McCartney topped the UK chart with his eighth solo studio album, Flowers in the Dirt.

1995: Eddie Vedder left the stage with a stomach flu seven songs into a Pearl Jam outdoor concert in San Francisco. Neil Young, who had been traveling with the band to promote their collaborative Mirrorball album, was brought out to finish the show.

1997: “Sunny Came Home” by Shawn Colvin was released as the second single from her fourth studio album, A Few Small Repairs. It became her biggest hit, reaching #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary and Adult Top 40 Airplay charts.

1997: Del Amitri released their fifth studio album, Some Other Sucker’s Parade.

1999: Eric Clapton put one hundred of his guitars up for auction at Christie’s Auction House in New York to raise funds for his Crossroads Center drug rehab clinic in Antigua. The auction generated nearly $5 million for the clinic. The guitar he used on “Layla,” a 1956 Fender Stratocaster nicknamed “Brownie,” went for $450,000. The most expensive guitar ever sold at the time, it was later eclipsed by Clapton’s other favorite guitar, “Blackie,” which was sold at auction five years later for $959,500. In 2006, another Stratocaster signed by several celebrities including Clapton was auctioned to benefit the victims of the 2004 Asian tsunami and sold for a record amount of $2.8 million.

2003: Michael McDonald released Motown, an album of covers of songs originally recorded by Motown artists Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Temptations, and The Stylistics.

2007: The White Stripes went to #1 on the UK chart with their sixth and final studio album, Icky Thump. In the US, it became their highest-charting LP, reaching #2 on the Billboard chart.

2008: Peter Gabriel released Big Blue Ball, an album that had been in production for more than eighteen years that features the collaborative efforts of several artists from all over the world including Wendy Melvoin, Sinéad O’Connor, Karl Wallinger, Natacha Atlas, and Papa Wemba. After initial recording had finished in 1995, Stephen Hague, who co-produced the album with Gabriel and Wallinger, was called on to sort out the project. When the album was launched in the US, Gabriel stated that the project was “the most fun music making I’ve ever had.”

2014: Phish released their thirteenth studio album, Fuego.

2016: Neil Young released Earth, a live album recorded with Promise of the Real during their 2015 Rebel Content Tour and augmented with studio overdubs. Young described the album as “a collection of 13 songs from throughout my life, songs I have written about living here on our planet together.”

Birthdays Today

Rosalie Sorrels, influential folk singer-songwriter and activist, was born in Boise, ID in 1933.

Paul Michael “Oz” Bach, folk musician and guitarist for Spanky and Our Gang, was born in Paw Paw, WV in 1939.

Arthur Brown, singer and songwriter best known for his wild and flamboyant persona as the leader of the Crazy World of Arthur Brown and Kingdom Come, was born in Whitby, North Riding of Yorkshire, England in 1942.

Jeff Beck, prolific guitarist and member of the Yardbirds, the Jeff Beck Group, Beck, Bogert & Appice who has also appeared on albums by Rod Stewart, Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, Morrissey, Donovan, Diana Ross, Kate Bush, Roger Waters, Stevie Wonder, Cindy Lauper, ZZ Top, Toots and the Maytals, and others, was born in Wallington, Surrey, England in 1944.

John “Charlie” Whitney, guitarist and founding member of Family, Streetwalkers, and Axis Point, was born Richard John Whitney in Skipton, West Riding of Yorkshire, England in 1944.

Chris Wood, saxophonist and flautist for Traffic and Ginger Baker’s Airforce, was born in Quinton, Birmingham in 1944.

Colin Blunstone, songwriter and lead singer for the Zombies, was born in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England in 1945.

Mick Fleetwood, drummer and co-founder of Fleetwood Mac, was born in Redruth, Cornwall, England in 1947.

Patrick Moraz, songwriter, composer, and musician best known for his tenure as a keyboardist with Yes and the Moody Blues, was born in Morges, Switzerland in 1948.

John Illsley, bassist and founding member of Dire Straits, was born in Leicester, England in 1949.

Derrick “Duckie” Simpson, vocalist and co-founder of Black Uhuru who remains the group’s only consistent member, was born in 1950.

Astro, percussionist, trumpeter, and vocalist for UB40, was born Terence Wilson in Birmingham, West Midlands, England in 1957.

Andy McCluskey, singer, songwriter, and record producer, best known as the lead singer, bassist, and co-founder of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, was born George Andrew McCluskey in Heswall, Wirral, Cheshire, England in 1959.

Curt Smith, bassist, keyboardist, vocalist, and co-founder of Tears for Fears and a solo artist, was born in Bath, Somerset, England in 1961.

Hope Sandoval, singer-songwriter and lead singer for Mazzy Star and Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions, was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1966.

Jeff Cease, lead guitarist for the Black Crowes who left the band between their first and second albums, was born in Nashville, TN in 1967.