Today in Rock & Roll History: March 15th

1965: Gary Lewis & the Playboys released their second single, “Count Me In.” It reached #2 on the pop charts and was included on their second album, A Session with Gary Lewis and the Playboys.

1967: At EMI’s London studios, the Beatles began recording “Within You Without You,” a song George Harrison originally composed on a harmonium. Several musicians were recruited from the Asian Music Circle, a collective based in Fitzalan Road in Finchley, north London, to assist in the recording of the India-influenced song.

1968: “Lady Madonna” by the Beatles was released as a single backed with “The Inner Light.”

1969: Tommy Roe was at #1 in the US for the second and final time with “Dizzy,” which spent four weeks at the top of the chart. That summer, the record became his only #1 single in the UK.

1969: Jay and The Americans released their seventh studio album, Sands of Time.

1971: “I Am… I Said” by Neil Diamond was released. The record became his second top 10 single in the US and UK.

1974: Smokey Robinson released his second solo studio album, Pure Smokey. Several of the album’s songs were written by Robinson with fellow Miracles member Marv Tarplin, who left the group after after Robinson’s departure to assist him in his solo projects.

1974: Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s concert film Pictures at an Exhibition had its US premiere in Los Angeles. The performance had been filmed live in 1970 at the Lyceum Theatre in London.

1975: Earth, Wind & Fire released That’s the Way of the World, their sixth studio album and soundtrack to the film of the same name. It became their first LP to top the Billboard pop chart and their second to top the R&B chart.

1975: The Doobie Brothers had their first of two #1 singles in the US with “Black Water.”

1975: Led Zeppelin went to #1 on the UK album chart with their sixth studio album, Physical Graffiti.

1975: Ben E. King hit #1 on Billboard’s R&B singles chart with “Supernatural Thing.” It was King’s first solo #1 hit since “Stand By Me” in 1961, first top 10 record on the R&B chart since “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)” in 1962, and final single to reach #1.

1976: After a show at the Liverpool Empire Theatre, Deep Purple’s Glenn Hughes apologized to the audience for the band’s poor performance, citing exhaustion and jet-lag. Offended that Hughes spoke for the entire group, members Jon Lord, Ian Paice, and David Coverdale agreed backstage that they’d had enough. The decision was made public later in July, when manager Rob Cooksey issued a statement that Deep Purple would not be performing together again. In 1984, Ian Gillian, Jon Lord, Ritchie Blackmore, Roger Glover, and Ian Paice reformed the band and signed worldwide deals with PolyGram and Mercury Records.

1977: The Band released Islands, their seventh studio album and last with their original lineup. It is primarily composed of previously unreleased songs from the band’s career and was released to fulfill their contract with Capitol Records so that the soundtrack to their concert film “The Last Waltz” could be released by Warner Bros. Records.

1977: Marvin Gaye released Live at the London Palladium, a live double album recorded at several concerts at the London Palladium in London, England, with the exception of the hit single “Got to Give It Up,” which was recorded at Gaye’s Los Angeles studio Marvin’s Room in January 1977.

1982: Husband and wife duo Richard and Linda Thompson released their sixth and final studio album, Shoot Out the Lights.

1986: The Heartbeat 86 benefit concert was held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, England. Organized by Electric Light Orchestra drummer Bev Bevans, the event was inspired by the 1985 Live Aid benefit concert and sought to raise funds for Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Performers included Electric Light Orchestra, Roy Wood, The Moody Blues, Denny Laine, UB40 with Ruby Turner, The Rockin’ Berries, The Fortunes, The Applejacks, Steve Gibbons, Robert Plant, who performed for the first time with Big Town Playboys, as well as a surprise appearance by George Harrison. The concert also marked the premiere of Electric Light Orchestra’s new bassist, Martin Smith. Portions of nine-hour show were broadcast on the in August and on MTV in November. The single “Action!” by the Tandy Morgan Band had been released earlier to promote concert.

1988: Talking Heads released their eighth and final studio album, Naked. The band dissolved shortly after the album’s release, but did not announce their breakup until 1991.

1988: Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger kicked off his first solo tour in Osaka, Japan in support of his second album, Primitive Cool. The show marked the first time a member of the Stones visited the country since the group’s aborted 1973 tour, which had been scrapped due to drug-related visa problems.

1997: U2’s ninth studio album, Pop, reached #1 on the UK chart.

1999: Bruce Springsteen performed with the E Street Band for the first time in ten years at his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The ceremony happened to coincide with Springsteen’s decision to reunite with the band for a world tour.

Birthdays Today

Lightnin’ Hopkins, country blues singer, songwriter, guitarist, and occasional pianist, was born Sam John Hopkins in Centerville, TX in 1912.

Les Cooper, doo wop musician and leader of the Soul Rockers best known for the hit single “Wiggle Wobble,” was born in Norfolk, VA in 1921.

James Mitchell, saxophonist for the Memphis Horns, who worked with artists such as Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, the Doobie Brothers, Al Green, Sam and Dave and Otis Redding, was born in 1931.

D.J. Fontana, drummer best known for playing with Elvis Presley on over 460 RCA recordings over fourteen years, was born Dominic Joseph Fontana in Shreveport, LA in 1931.

Arif Mardin, rock record producer who collaborated with Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack, Laura Nyro, Phil Collins, Queens, the Bee Gees, Hall & Oates, Chaka Khan, and many others, was born in Istanbul, Turkey in 1932.

Howard Greenfield, lyricist and songwriter who worked out of the Brill Building in the 1960s and is best known for his successful collaborations with Neil Sedaka, Jack Keller, and Helen Miller, was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1936.

Hughie Flint, drummer with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, McGuinness Flint in early 1970s, and The Blues Band, was born in Manchester, Lancashire, England in 1940.

Phil Lesh, bassist and co-founder of the Grateful Dead, was born Philip Chapman Lesh in Berkeley, CA in 1940.

Mike Love, singer, songwriter, and co-founder of the Beach Boys, was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1941.

Sly Stone, songwriter, record producer, and leader of Sly and the Family Stone, was born Sylvester Stewart in Denton, TX in 1943.

Ralph MacDonald, percussionist, songwriter, arranger, and record producer who co-wrote songs including “Where Is the Love” for Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway and “Just the Two of Us” by Bill Withers and Grover Washington Jr., was born in Harlem, NY in 1944.

David Costell, lead guitarist for Gary Lewis & the Playboys, was born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1944.

Howard E. Scott, guitarist and founding member of War and the LowRider Band, was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1946.

Ry Cooder, multi-instrumentalist, composer, record producer, solo artist, and member of supergroups Rising Sons and Little Village, was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1947.

Francisco Hernandez “Frank” Lugo, bassist for ? and The Mysterians, was born in Welasco, TX in 1947.

Steve Nisbett, drummer for Steel Pulse, was born in Nevis in 1948.

Preston Hubbard, bassist for the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Roomful of Blues, was born in 1953.

Sananda Francesco Maitreya (formerly known as Terence Trent D’Arby), singer and songwriter, was born Terence Trent Howard in Manhattan, NY in 1962.