Today in Rock & Roll History: March 19th

1957: Elvis Presley purchased the Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee for a little over 100,000 dollars. In 1982, the house was opened to the public and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1991. After the White House, it is the most visited house in the United States.

1958: Big Records released “Our Song” by Queens, New York-based teen duo Tom & Jerry. The record was one of a handful released after their debut hit single “Hey Schoolgirl” that failed to achieve any success. Later in the 1960s, the duo reemerged as a folk duo using their real names, Simon & Garfunkel.

1958: Buddy Holly performed his only UK shows at the Regal Cinema in Hull, Yorkshire, England.

1962: Bob Dylan released his self-titled debut album in the US, featuring mostly folk standards along with original compositions “Talkin’ New York” and “Song To Woody.” Initially poor sales lead the record to be known around Columbia Records as “Hammond’s Folly,” referring to John Hammond, producer of Dylan’s early recordings and the man responsible for signing him to the label. The album had been recorded in three short sessions and many tracks were recorded in a single take.

1968: Donovan traveled to India to study transcendental meditation under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, along with several other celebrities that included musicians Mike Love, Paul Horn, Mia Farrow, and the Beatles. During their time in Rishikesh, India, Donovan taught John Lennon and Paul McCartney a guitar finger-picking technique that was later implemented by Lennon on the Beatles songs “Julia” and “Dear Prudence,” and by McCartney on “Blackbird.” George Harrison was also influenced by Donovan’s picking style and later composed “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

1975: Tommy: The Movie had its Los Angeles premiere at Mann’s Wilshire Theater. Pete Townshend, Keith Moon, John Entwistle, Ann-Margret, Tina Turner, Elton John, and Robert Stigwood were among those in attendance and all were interviewed by David Frost for an ABC Wide World Special. Other celebrities interviewed by Army Archerd on their way into the theater or the afterwards at a party held at the Studio One Club included Paul and Linda McCartney, Ron Wood, Kenney Jones, Sally Kellerman, Dean Martin, Tommy Smothers, and Ryan and Tatum O’Neal. The special aired on US television later that month.

1975: America’s fifth studio album Hearts, as well as the album’s first single “Sister Golden Hair,” were released. The LP became the group’s fourth top 10 hit in the US and the single became the group’s second to reach #1.

1978: Billy Joel made his UK live debut at London’s Dury Lane Theatre.

1990: Depeche Mode’s seventh studio album Violator was released. Featuring hit singles such as “Personal Jesus” and “Enjoy the Silence,” the album propelled the band into international stardom and it became their first top 10 entry on the Billboard pop album chart in the US.

Birthdays Today

Clarence “Frogman” Henry, rhythm and blues singer and pianist, was born in New Orleans, LA in 1937.

Paul Atkinson, guitarist, record executive, and co-founder of the Zombies, was born in Cuffley, Hertfordshire, England in 1946.

Ruth Pointer, soul and R&B singer and member of the Pointer Sisters, was born in Oakland, CA in 1946.

Derek Longmuir, drummer and founding member of the Bay City Rollers, was born in Edingburgh, Scotland in 1951.

Ricky Wilson, founding member and original guitarist for the B-52s, was born in Athens, GA in 1953.

Terry Hall, lead singer for the Specials, solo artist, and former a member of groups that include Fun Boy Three, The Colourfield, and Vegas who has also collaborated with artists such as Dave Stewart, Bananarama, Lightning Seeds, Sinéad O’Connor, Stephen Duffy, Damon Albarn, and Shakespears Sister, was born in Coventry, England in 1959.