Today in Rock & Roll History: March 18th

1958: Gene Vincent released his third album, Gene Vincent Rocks! And the Blue Caps Roll.

1960: The Everly Brothers recorded “Cathy’s Clown,” the duo’s first single for Warner Bros. Records.

1963: The Temptations released “I Want a Love I Can See,” the fourth single from their debut single, Meet the Temptations.

1965: The Temptations released “It’s Growing,” the second single from their second studio album, The Temptations Sing Smokey.

1965: The Rolling Stones scored their third #1 in the UK with “The Last Time.” The single reached #9 in the US.

1966: “Somebody Help Me” by The Spencer Davis Group was released. The follow-up to their UK #1 single “Keep On Running,” it likewise topped the British chart.

1966: Crispian St. Peters released “The Pied Piper,” the second single from his debut album, Follow Me…. It became his only song to reach the top 30 in the US, peaking at #4, and went to #1 in Canada.

1967: The Beatles scored their thirteenth chart-topping single in the US with “Penny Lane.” Originally intended for their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, it was instead released as a single backed with “Strawberry Fields Forever” due to pressure from EMI to put out new material. The song’s title refers to the name of a street near John Lennon’s house in Liverpool. He and Paul McCartney would meet at Penny Lane junction in the Mossley Hill area to catch a bus into the center of the city.

1967: “Happy Jack” by the Who was released in the US after its initial release in the UK in December.

1972: Jackson Browne debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with his first single, “Doctor, My Eyes.” It became his first of two top 10 hits on the chart, peaking at #8.

1972: “Jump Into the Fire,” the second single from Harry Nilsson’s seventh album, Nilsson Schmilsson, entered the Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at #27 in April.

1972: Paul Simon scored his first solo #1 album when his self-titled second solo studio album went to the top of the UK chart.

1972: A few days after the release of his Harvest LP, Neil Young achieved his only #1 single with “Heart of Gold.” Featuring backing vocals by James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt, the record is Young’s only single to reach the top 20 on the US pop charts.

1972: Al Green started ten weeks at the top of the Billboard R&B chart with his fourth LP and first of six straight #1 albums on the chart, Let’s Stay Together.

1976: The film The Man Who Fell To Earth starring David Bowie premiered in London. Bowie was originally approached to produce the film’s soundtrack, but contractual disputes lead to the music being coordinated by former leader of The Mamas and Papas John Phillips, who provided his own contributions in addition to that of Japanese percussionist Stomu Yamash’ta as well as Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor.

1977: The Clash released their debut single, “White Riot,” which later peaked at #38 on the UK charts.

1977: Former Stooges singer Iggy Pop released his debut solo album, The Idiot. It was produced by Pop’s friend David Bowie, who also wrote much of the album’s music. The project was recorded at Château d’Hérouville in France, where Pop and Bowie had moved in an attempt to rid themselves of their drug addictions.

1978: Big Star released their third studio album, Third.

1978: The California Jam II festival drew a quarter of a million fans to the Ontario Motor Speedway near Los Angeles to hear Heart, Dave Mason, Santana, Bob Welch, and others. Highlights from the event were later released as a double live album by CBS Records.

1978: Art Garfunkel’s cover of Sam Cooke’s “(What A) Wonderful World,” featuring Paul Simon and James Taylor, peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song reached #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

1980: Grace Slick released her second solo studio album, Dreams.

1985: “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears, the third single from their second studio album, Songs from the Big Chair, was released. It became their second of two #1 singles in the US and their second-highest reaching single in the UK, where it peaked at #2.

1996: The second Beatles Anthology compilation album was released. The two-disc set features “Real Love,” a track the remaining members of the Beatles recorded using an old demo track recorded by John Lennon in 1977 with a handheld tape recorder on his piano at home. The composition originated as part of an unfinished stage play that Lennon had been working on at the time entitled The Ballad of John and Yoko.

2003: The Allman Brothers Band released their twelfth and final studio album, Hittin’ the Note. It is their only studio album to include both slide guitar player Derek Trucks and bass player Oteil Burbridge and marks the full-time return of guitar player Warren Haynes to the band. It was also their only studio album not to include original guitarist Dickey Betts.

2013: The Next Day, David Bowie’s twenty-fourth studio album and first album in a decade, became the fastest-selling album of the year, hitting the top spot on the UK chart in its first week of release. It was Bowie’s first #1 LP since Black Tie White Noise in 1993 and sold 94,000 copies in the first week.

Birthdays Today

George Delmetia Beauchamp, inventor of musical instruments, co-founder of the National Stringed Instrument Corporation, and co-founder of Rickenbacker guitars, was born in Coleman County, TX in 1899.

George Scott, baritone vocalist and founding member of the Blind Boys of Alabama, was born in Notasulga, AL in 1929.

Wilson Pickett, R&B and soul singer and songwriter, was born in Prattville, AL in 1941.

Mike Wilhelm, guitarist, singer, songwriter, and member of influential San Francisco band the Charlatans as well as Loose Gravel and the Flamin’ Groovies was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1942.

Dennis Linde, country singer and songwriter who wrote such hits as “Burning Love,” was born in Abilene, TX in 1943.

Robert Johnson, guitarist and member of Steeleye Span, was born in London, England in 1944.

Eric Woolfson, songwriter, lyricist, vocalist, pianist, producer, and co-creator of The Alan Parsons Project, was born in Charing Cross, Glasgow, Scotland in 1945.

B.J. Wilson, drummer for Procol Harum from 1967-1977, was born Barrie James Wilson in Edmonton, London in 1947.

Bobby Whitlock, singer, songwriter, and musician who’s played with Derek & the Dominos, Eric Clapton, Sam & Dave, Booker T. & the M.G.’s, Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, and George Harrison, was born in Memphis, TN in 1948.

John Hartman, co-founder and original drummer for The Doobie Brothers, was born in Falls Church, VA in 1950.

Grant Hart, drummer and co-songwriter for Hüsker Dü, was born in Saint Paul, MN in 1961.

James McMurtry, singer, songwriter, guitarist, bandleader, and occasional actor, was born in Fort Worth, TX in 1962.