Today in Rock & Roll History: June 7th

1954: In the same week that Big Joe Turner’s “Shake, Rattle and Roll” topped the R&B chart, Bill Haley & His Comets entered Decca Records’ New York studio to record their upbeat cover version of the song. Haley’s producer, Milt Gabler, took it upon himself to “clean up” the lyrics of Turner’s song, out of fear of radio station censors barring the record from being played on the air, as was common with what were referred to then as “race records.” Haley’s version entered the pop charts in August, and became the first rock and roll record to sell a million copies.

1963: In the UK, Decca Records released The Rolling Stones’ first single, a cover of the Chuck Berry song “Come On.” By the end of that summer, the song reached #21 on the UK chart.

1964: Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas made their live television debut on The Ed Sullivan Show.

1969: One of rock’s first supergroups, Blind Faith, with Eric Clapton, Steve Windwood, Ginger Baker, and Ric Gretch, made their live debut at a free concert at London’s Hyde Park to an estimated 120,000 people.

1969: Tommy James and the Shondells entered the Billboard Hot 100 with “Crystal Blue Persuasion.” The single was their last top 10 hit, peaking at #2.

1972: Guitarist Carlos Santana and drummer and vocalist Buddy Miles released the collaborative live album, Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles! Live!. The performance was recorded at the Sunshine ‘72 Festival held in Diamond Head, Honolulu, Hawaii.

1975: Elton John’s ninth studio album, Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, debuted at #1 on the Billboard pop chart.

1978: On his 20th birthday, Prince’s first single, “Soft and Wet,” was released by Warner Bros. Records.

1981: Smokey Robinson topped the UK chart with “Being With You,” his only top 10 single in Britain.

1982: The Stray Cats’ third studio album, Built for Speed, which is essentially a compilation of tracks from the band’s first two albums, was released as the band’s first LP in the US. It became their most successful album, reaching #2 on the Billboard chart and #1 on the Cash Box chart.

1982: Chicago’s thirteenth studio album, Chicago 16, was released.

1986: Former Chicago bassist and vocalist Peter Cetera debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 as a solo artist with the lead single from his second solo album, Glory of Love. Two months later the single reached #1.

1993: On his 35th birthday, Prince legally changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol. After initially signing with Warner Bros. Records in 1977, Prince extended his contract with the company in 1992, but contractual disputes prompted him to change his name since Warner Bros. owned the rights to anything credited to “Prince.” He quickly released several albums to remove himself from his contractual obligations before signing with Arista Records in 1998, and in 2000, he resumed going by the name Prince

1993: Chuck Berry, Sam Phillips, Ruth Brown, Pete Townshend, and Billy Joel were among those present for the groundbreaking ceremony for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio seven years after the city had won the rights to host building. The doors to the Hall officially opened in September of 1995.

1993: Tears for Fears released their fourth studio album, Elemental. Despite being released under the Tears for Fears moniker, it is essentially a solo effort by Roland Orzabal, as Curt Smith had left the band in 1991.

1994: Stevie Nicks released Street Angel, her fifth studio album and first after her departure from Fleetwood Mac.

2004: Mike + The Mechanics released their sixth studio album, Rewired. It was the group’s first album released after the death of co-lead singer Paul Young in 1991. Credited to Mike + The Mechanics + Paul Carrack, it is the only album by the band with only one lead vocalist.

2005: Ringo Starr released his fourteenth studio album, Choose Love. It was recorded with the same team from Starr’s Vertical Man and Ringo Rama albums and features guests including Billy Preston and Chrissie Hynde.

2011: The debut album by 11-piece blues rock group the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Revelator, was released.

Birthdays Today

Dean Martin, singer, actor, comedian, and film producer, was born in Steubenville, OH in 1917.

Tom Jones, singer, was born Thomas John Woodward in Treforest, Pontypridd, Glamorgan, Wales in 1940.

Gary Burger, musician best known as the guitarist and vocalist for the Monks, was born in Turtle River, MN in 1942.

Clarence White, bluegrass and country guitarist and singer best known for his involvement with the Kentucky Colonels and the Byrds who, as a session musician, also appears on recordings by the Everly Brothers, Joe Cocker, Ricky Nelson, the Monkees, Randy Newman, Gene Clark, Linda Ronstadt, Arlo Guthrie, and Jackson Browne among others, was born in Lewiston, ME in 1944.

Napoleon Brock Murphy, singer, saxophonist, and flute player best known for his work with Frank Zappa in the 1970s, was born in 1945.

Willie Nile, singer-songwriter, was born Robert Noonan in Buffalo, NY in 1948.

David Torbert, musician and songwriter best known for his associations with the Grateful Dead and the New Riders of the Purple Sage and as a co-founder of Kingfish, was born in 1948.

Johnny Clegg, solo artist and leader of pioneering African world music bands Juluka and Savuka, was born in Bacup, Lancashire, England in 1953.

Prince, singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer, was born Prince Rogers Nelson in Minneapolis, MN in 1958.

Dave Navarro, guitarist for Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jane’s Addiction and a solo artist, was born in Santa Monica, CA in 1967.