Today in Rock & Roll History: June 6th

1960: “Only The Lonely (Know How I Feel)” by Roy Orbison was released. The record later became his first major hit, reaching #2 in the US and #1 in the UK. Written by Orbison and his songwriting partner Joe Melson, the song was initially offered to Elvis Presley and the Everly Brothers, who both rejected it. During recording at RCA’s Nashville studio, sound engineer Bill Porter devised a new method of mixing, beginning with close-miked backing vocals in the foreground, and ending with the rhythm section soft in the background. This combination later became Orbison’s trademark sound.

1962: After an unsuccessful audition for Decca Records in January, the Beatles performed for producer George Martin in the group’s first session at EMI Studios in London. Martin signed them to a recording contract the following month. The audition was the only EMI session attended by original drummer Pete Best. When the band returned to the studio in September, Ringo Starr had become the group’s new drummer.

1964: The Dixie Cups topped the Billboard Hot 100 with their only #1 single, “Chapel of Love.”

1965: “Back in My Arms Again” by The Supremes became the group’s fifth consecutive #1 single on the Cash Box chart. A week later, it became their fifth straight #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 as well.

1967: The self-titled debut album by San Francisco band Moby Grape was released. In an unprecedented publicity stunt to promote album, Columbia Records also released five singles containing ten of the album’s thirteen tracks on the same day. Of the five singles, only “Omaha” and “Hey Grandma” made the charts, while the LP reached #24.

1969: Elton John’s debut studio album Empty Sky was released in the UK. The album was not released in the US until January of 1975 after John had become established internationally.

1969: During a break in his commitments for the Jeff Beck Group, singer Rod Stewart began work on his first solo album, An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down. Later that summer, Stewart and fellow Jeff Beck Group guitarist Ronnie Wood parted ways with Beck and joined Small Faces members Ronnie Lane, Ian McLagan, and Kenney Jones full time. The addition of Wood and Stewart, who were both taller than the group’s three other members, led them to drop the “Small” from their name. Record company executives wanted them to keep the Small Faces name to capitalize on the group’s earlier success, but the band’s members felt that the change in personnel warranted a new name. As a compromise, their first album was credited to Small Faces in the US, but subsequent albums were attributed to Faces.

1970: “Teach Your Children,” the second single released from Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s second studio album, Déjà Vu, entered the Billboard Hot 100. The group had been joined during sessions by Jerry Garcia on pedal steel guitar, and in exchange, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young agreed to help members of the Grateful Dead improve their vocal harmonies for their upcoming albums, Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty.

1970: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young played the last of five days at the Fillmore East in New York. Heralded by many as America’s answer to the Beatles, demand for tickets was extremely high, with fans lined up around the block. After their final performance, the audience refused to leave, so Graham Nash begged the rest of the band to do an encore. David Crosby demanded cash before they went back out, so the show’s promoter started slipping one-hundred dollar bills under their door. When he got to eight, the group acquiesced and went out for one more song.

1970: Former Pink Floyd leader Syd Barrett played his first and, for the most part, last show as a solo performer at the Music and Fashion Festival held at the Olympia Exhibition Hall in London. He later made a few more guest appearances with other, and later that year released his second of two solo LPs.

1971: As an encore to the first of the two nights at the Fillmore East in New York City, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention were joined onstage by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, who played a half hour set with the band.

1972: The self-titled first album by New Jersey band Looking glass was released by Epic Records.

1978: The self-titled debut album by Boston band the Cars was released on Elektra Records. The LP produced three charting singles and reached #18 on the Billboard pop chart.

1981: Australian band Men at Work’s debut single “Who Can It Be Now?” was released in Australia, where it reached #2 in August. It was later issued in the US in August a year later. Lyricist Colin Hay’s inspiration for the song came from living in an apartment next door to a drug dealer, who’s door was often mistaken for his.

1981: The Psychedelic Furs released their second studio album, Talk Talk Talk.

1981: Siouxsie and the Banshees released their fourth studio album, Juju.

1982: Stevie Wonder, Linda Ronstadt, Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal, Donovan, Jesse Colin Young, and Gil Scott-Heron, and Gary U.S. Bonds were among the artists who performed at the Peace Sunday: We Have a Dream concert for nuclear disarmament before 85,000 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

1983: Crosby, Stills & Nash released Allies, an album which comprises studio tracks and live recordings from concerts at New Universal Amphitheater in California and The Summit in Houston, Texas. The album’s lead track, “War Games,” had been written for the 1983 film of the same name.

1987: Simple Minds topped the UK chart with their first live album, Live in the City of Light.

1987: Kim Wilde scored her only #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” making her the third artist to have a hit with the song along with The Supremes and Vanilla Fudge. The song is also only one of six to reach #1 by two different acts.

1988: The Moody Blues released Sur la Mer, the band’s thirteenth studio album.

1989: Jackson Browne released his ninth studio album, World in Motion.

1989: Stevie Ray Vaughan released In Step, his fourth and last album with backing band Double Trouble.

1996: A thousand copies of Tigermilk, the debut album by Scottish group Belle and Sebastian, was released by student-run label Electric Honey. In 1999, the album was re-released by Jeepster Records.

2000: Steve Earle released his ninth studio album, Transcendental Blues.

2005: Coldplay’s third studio album X&Y was released by Parlophone Records in the UK. A day later the LP was issued in the US by Capitol Records.

2006: Split Enz kicked off a reunion tour of Australia with the group’s classic 1979-1981 lineup at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.

Birthdays Today

Levi Stubbs, baritone singer and lead vocalist for the Four Tops, was born Levi Stubbles in Detroit, MI in 1936.

Gary U.S. Bonds, rock and R&B singer, was born Gary Levone Anderson in Jacksonville, FL in 1939.

Peter Albin, bassist, guitarist, founder of Big Brother and Holding Company, and member of Country Joe and the Fish, was born in San Francisco, CA in 1944.

Edgar Froese, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music pioneer, and founding member of Tangerine Dream, was born in Tilsit, East Prussia in 1944.

Howie Kane, vocalist with Jay and the Americans, was born Howard Kirchembaum in 1945.

Dwight Twilley, singer and songwriter, was born in Tulsa, OK in 1951.

Steve Vai, guitarist, composer, singer, songwriter, and producer, was born in Carle Place, NY in 1960.