Today in Rock & Roll History: March 14th

1958: The Recording Industry of Association of America awarded its first official gold record to Perry Como for his hit single “Catch A Falling Star.”

1963: Liverpool band Gerry and the Pacemakers released their debut single, “How Do You Do It?,” which later went to #1 on the UK chart. Songwriter Mitch Murray had first offered the song to Adam Faith and Brian Poole, who both turned it down. EMI producer George Martin felt it had potential to be a hit for the Beatles, who recorded it in early September 1962. It almost became their first single, but the Beatles’ recording of the song ultimately was not released until it was included on the Anthology 1 compilation in 1995.

1964: The Beatles became the first act to occupy the top three spots on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart with “I Want To Hold Your Hand” at #1, “She Loves You” at #2, and “Please Please Me” at #3. They also had four additional songs on the chart and Billboard magazine reported that sales of Beatles records make up 60% of the entire singles market. Three weeks later, the band held each of the top five spots on the chart and had an additional ten songs on the Hot 100.

1966: “Eight Miles High” by The Byrds was released. The single was banned in several US states due to allegations that the lyrics advocated drug use, but it nonetheless reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. Influenced by the music of sitar player Ravi Shankar and jazz saxophonist John Coltrane, the song was influential in developing the musical styles of psychedelia and raga rock, and many critics cite “Eight Miles High” as the first psychedelic rock song.

1966: Country artist Waylon Jennings released Folk-Country, his second album, his major-label debut on RCA Victor, and his first collaboration with producer Chet Atkins.

1970: Brook Benton scored his seventh #1 on Billboard’s R&B chart with “Rainy Night in Georgia.”

1971: The Rolling Stones played two shows at London’s Roundhouse as the finale for their UK Farewell Tour. They played one more show at the Marquee Club at the end of the month before becoming tax exiles and leaving for France.

1974: Jefferson Starship, previously Jefferson Airplane, played their first live show at San Francisco’s Kabuki Theatre. The new line-up included Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, drummer Johnny Barbata, David Freiberg, Peter Kaukonen, Craig Chaquico, and Papa John Creach.

1978: The Who recorded “Guitar and Pen” at Ramport Studios during sessions for Who Are You, their eighth studio LP and last with drummer Keith Moon.

1981: Roxy Music achieved their sole #1 single when they reached the top of the UK chart with their cover of the John Lennon song “Jealous Guy.”

1983: David Bowie released “Let’s Dance,” the lead single and title track from his fifteenth studio album. Following the release of his last studio LP, Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), Bowie left RCA Records and signed with EMI America in 1982. He then began working with Nile Rodgers of Chic, who co-produced his next album.

1984: Joe Jackson released his seventh studio album, Body and Soul.

1987: “Heartbreak Beat” by the Psychedelic Furs, the lead single from their fifth studio album, Midnight to Midnight, entered the Billboard Hot 100. It was the group’s last song to enter the chart and peaked at #26, making it their highest reaching single on the chart.

1988: Six months after the release of the final album by the Smiths, lead singer Morrissey released his debut solo album, Viva Hate. Six days later, it reached #1 on the UK chart.

1991: The Dave Matthews Band played their first public live show as part of a Middle East Children’s Alliance Benefit at the Trax Nightclub in Charlottesville, Virginia.

1994: Morrisey released his fourth album, Vauxhall and I. It became his second solo LP to go to #1 in UK and reached the top 20 in the US.

1994: Matthew Sweet released Son of Altered Beast, a 7-track EP containing live and alternate versions of several of his songs.

1995: Following its release on vinyl in late February, Matthew Sweet’s fifth album, 100% Fun, was issued on CD and cassette.

2005: Guitarist Elliot Easton and keyboardist Greg Hawkes of The Cars announced that they were teaming up with Todd Rundgren to form a new Cars lineup, dubbed the “New Cars.” They were joined by Rundgren collaborators bassist Kasim Sulton and drummer Prairie Prince. Former Cars singer and songwriter Ric Ocasek, who had opted out of any possibilities of a reunion, gave his blessing to Easton and Hawkes.

Birthdays Today

Lee Hays, folk singer and songwriter, activist, and (bass) member of The Weavers, was born in Little Rock, AR in 1914.

Phil Phillips, singer and songwriter best known for his 1959 song “Sea of Love,” was born in Crowley, LA in 1926.

Quincy Jones, record producer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, composer, arranger, and winner of multiple Grammy awards considered to be one of the most influential jazz musicians of the 20th century, was born Quincy Delight Jones, Jr. in Chicago, IL in 1933.

Jim Pons, bass guitarist and singer with The Leaves, The Turtles, and The Mothers of Invention, was born in Santa Monica, CA in 1943.

Walter Parazaider, sax, flute, and clarinet player and founding member of Chicago, was born in Maywood, IL in 1945.

Michael Martin Murphey, country and western singer-songwriter, was born in Dallas, TX in 1945.

Bob Woodruff, country singer, songwriter, and musician, was born in New York City in 1961.

Billy Sherwood, musician, record producer, mixing engineer, and guitarist and keyboardist for Yes starting in 1997, was born in Las Vegas, NV in 1965.

Michael Bland, drummer with Prince’s backing band the New Power Generation, was born in Minneapolis, MN in 1969.

Bobby Kildea, bassist and guitarist for Belle and Sebastian, was born in Bangor, Northern Ireland in 1972.