Today in Rock & Roll History: June 29th

1957: Buddy Holly and the Crickets began recording sessions for “Oh, Boy!” and “Peggy Sue” among other songs at Norman Petty’s studios in Clovis, New Mexico. Backing vocals were provided by the Picks, who backed several Crickets releases on Brunswick as well as a number of Holly’s solo releases.

1959: Lloyd Price had his third #1 on the Billboard R&B chart with “Personality.”

1962: “Do You Love Me” by The Contours was released on Motown’s Gordy label. Written and produced by Motown CEO Berry Gordy Jr., the song was originally intended for the Temptations, but when Gordy couldn’t find The Temptations, unaware that they had left Motown’s Hitsville USA recording studio, and ran into The Countours in the hallway. Keen to release the song as soon as possible, Gordy had The Contours record the “sure-fire hit” instead. The record sold over a million copies and became The Contours’ only top 40 single, reaching at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was a #1 hit on the Billboard R&B chart. None of The Contours’ future singles lived up to the success of “Do You Love Me,” although its success won the group a headlining position on Motown’s very first Motor Town Revue tour.

1963: Del Shannon’s cover version of the Beatles’ “From Me To You” became the first song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney to appear on the American charts.

1963: Peter, Paul and Mary’s version of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” entered the Billboard Hot 100. Issued just three weeks after the release of the original on Bob Dylan’s album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, the single went on to reach #2 and become the most commercially successful version of the song.

1968: The release of Pink Floyd’s second album, A Saucerful of Secrets, coincided with the band’s performance at a free concert at London’s Hyde Park. It was the first free show at the venue, and additional acts included Jethro Tull, T. Rex, and Roy Harper.

1969: The Jimi Hendrix Experience was at the top of the bill at the Denver Pop Festival at Mile High Stadium. The band was whisked away in response to an audience riot after the performance, and it proved to be the Experience’s final gig together. Bassist Noel Redding soon after left the group and returned to London, citing the band’s exhausting touring schedule and Hendrix’s stated desire to expand the group without consulting him. Drummer Mitch Mitchell continued to play with Hendrix in 1970 with new bassist Billy Cox as the trio posthumously known as the “Cry of Love Band.”

1974: Gordon Lightfoot scored his first and only #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 with the title track from his tenth album, “Sundown.”

1976: “Lowdown” from Boz Scaggs’ seventh album, Silk Degrees, entered the Billboard Hot 100. Co-written with future keyboardist and future Toto co-founder David Paich, the record became Scaggs’ first and only top 10 hit on the Hot 100, reaching #3.

1984: During the first show of Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A. Tour in Saint Paul, Minnesota, singer Patti Scialfa and guitarist Nils Lofgren made their debut as members of the E Street Band. Lofgren had replaced Steven Van Zandt, who had temporarily departed the group.

1985: David Bowie and Mick Jagger recorded their cover of Martha and the Vandellas’ 1964 hit “Dancing in the Street” at Abbey Road Studios. The single was released in August to raise money for the Live Aid famine relief cause and reached #1 on the UK chart and #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.

Birthdays Today

L. Russell Brown, lyricist, composer, and co-writer of pop hits by Tony Orlando, The Four Seasons, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, and others, was born in Newark, NJ in 1940.

Little Eva, pop and R&B singer, was born Eva Narcissus Boyd—Belhaven, NC in 1943.

Garland Jeffreys, singer and songwriter across rock, reggae, blues and soul, was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1943.

Eric Wrixon, keyboardist and founding member of Them and Thin Lizzy, was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1947.

Ian Paice, drummer for Deep Purple and the band’s only constant member since their founding, was born in Nottingham, England in 1948.

Colin Hay, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, actor, lead vocalist for Men at Work, and a solo artist, was born in Saltcoats, Scotland in 1953.

Mitchell Froom, musician and record producer who produced the first three Crowded House albums, which led to more production jobs with Richard Thompson, Los Lobos, The Bangles, Sheryl Crow, Suzanne Vega, Bonnie Raitt, Randy Newman, and many others, was born in California in 1953.

Buren Fowler, lead guitarist for Drivin’ N Cryin’, was born James Van Buren Fowler in Decatur, GA in 1959.