Today in Rock & Roll History: March 25th

1963: The Beach Boys released their second album, Surfin’ U.S.A.. It peaked at #2 in the US and brought the group newfound national success.

1965: Bob Dylan entered the UK pop chart for the first time with “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” which peaked at #9 three weeks later.

1966: Billy Preston released Wildest Organ in Town!. The largely instrumental album features covers of popular rock and R&B songs and was arranged by Sly Stone.

1966: “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” by Dusty Springfield was released. Co-written by Pino Donaggio and Vito Pallavicini, the Italian song—titled “Io che non vivo (senza te)”—was introduced as part of the 1965 Sanremo Festival song contest. It reached the final round and topped the Italian chart in March that year. Springfield, who participated in the festival, was so moved by the song that she acquired an acetate recording. After having an instrumental track recorded, English lyrics were written by Ready Steady Go! producer Vicki Wickham and Yardbirds manager Simon Napier-Bell, neither of whom had experience as songwriters nor understood the original Italian lyrics. The single became Springfield’s most successful single and reached #1 on the UK chart.

1966: At a photo session at Bob Whitaker’s studio in London, the Beatles posed in white coats using meat and disassembled dolls for the cover of their next American album, Yesterday and Today. After a public outcry, the album was pulled from stores and re-issued with a new cover. John Lennon and Paul McCartney defended the cover while George Harrison later called the photoshoot a “naive and dumb” idea.

1967: The Who and Cream made their US concert debut at the RKO 58th Street Theatre in New York as part of disc jockey Murray “the K” Kaufman’s “Music in the Fifth Dimension” package show. Additional acts on the bill included Mitch Ryder, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, The Blues Project, Phil Ochs, Simon & Garfunkel, the Blues Magoos, and the Young Rascals.

1967: “Happy Together” became the Turtle’s only chart-topping single in the US, starting a three-week run at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Written by former members of New York band the Magicians Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon, the song had been rejected at least a dozen times before it was offered to the Turtles.

1967: “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” by Aretha Franklin was released as the title track and lead single from Franklin’s first album with Atlantic Records. Recorded at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the record became Franklin’s first major hit, becoming her first #1 on Billboard’s R&B chart and first single to reach the top 30 on the Hot 100, where it peaked at #9.

1968: The 58th and final episode of The Monkees television show was broadcast in the US.

1969: Following their wedding in Gibraltar the day before, John Lennon and Yoko Ono began their honeymoon with the first of two week-long “Bed-Ins for Peace” at the Amsterdam Hilton hotel. Knowing their honeymoon would be a huge press event, the couple invited the press into their room everyday between 9am and 9pm.

1970: Jimi Hendrix’s live album Band of Gypsys was released by Capitol Records. Recorded New Year’s Day at New York’s Fillmore East in New York, it was Hendrix’s first album without Jimi Hendrix Experience members Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell. Instead, Hendrix was accompanied by Billy Cox on bass and Buddy Miles on drums. It was Hendrix’s last full-length album released before his death.

1970: Velvet Underground co-founder and former member John Cale released his debut solo studio album, Vintage Violence. In his autobiography, Cale described the album as “simplistic” and said there wasn’t “much originality on that album, it’s just someone teaching himself to do something.”

1972: Deep Purple released their sixth studio album, Machine Head. It became the band’s most commercially successful album, topping the charts in several countries, and their highest charting LP in the US, where it peaked at #7.

1972: America achieved their only #1 album when their self-titled debut LP reached the top of the Billboard pop chart. On the same day, the album’s lead single and the group’s debut release, “A Horse With No Name,” started three weeks at #1 on the Hot 100.

1972: Lindisfarne started four weeks at #1 on the UK chart with their second album Fog On The Tyne.

1974: “Sundown” by Gordon Lightfoot was released as the first single and title track from his ninth studio album. Both the single and the album became Lightfoot’s only #1s on on their respective charts in the US.

1974: Earth, Wind & Fire released their fifth studio album, Open Our Eyes. It became the group’s first to reach #1 on the Billboard R&B chart.

1975: “When Will I Be Loved” by Linda Ronstadt was released as the third single from her fifth studio album, Heart Like a Wheel. The single later surpassed the success of the original version by the Everly Brothers, reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 that summer and #1 on the Cash Box chart.

1976: Wings released their fifth studio album, Wings at the Speed of Sound. Released at the height of the band’s popularity during their Wings Over the World tour, the LP reached #1 in the US and #2 in the UK. As a reaction to critics who believed Wings was merely a vehicle for Paul McCartney, the album features lead vocals from every member of the band and two songs from the album were written or co-written by band members other than Paul and his wife Linda.

1977: Elvis Costello’s debut single, “Less Than Zero,” was released on the Stiff Records label. Costello later wrote that the song was inspired by his anger at seeing an unrepentant former leader of the British Union of Fascists being interviewed on BBC television.

1978: The Who performed a secret concert for fan club members at London’s Shepperton Studios. The show was filmed for Jeff Stein’s upcoming Who documentary The Kids Are Alright.

1978: 20 Golden Greats by Buddy Holly and The Crickets went to #1 on the UK album chart, giving Holly his first ever chart-topping LP almost twenty years since his first release in 1959.

1982: The Church released their second studio album, The Blurred Crusade.

1983: Motown Records celebrated its 25th anniversary with a concert in Pasadena, California featuring Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Martha Reeves, Jr. Walker, The Commodores, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, a reunited Diana Ross & The Supremes, and a reunited Jackson 5. The show was later broadcast on NBC in May as Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever.

1985: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released “Rebels,” the second single from their sixth studio album, Southern Accents, which was released the following day.

1985: The self-titled debut album by The Power Station was released. The band comprised singer Robert Palmer, former Chic drummer Tony Thompson, and Duran Duran members John Taylor and Andy Taylor. Bernard Edwards, also from Chic, was involved as the group’s recording producer and for a short time also functioned as their manager.

1997: Matthew Sweet released his sixth studio album, Blue Sky on Mars.

2003: Ringo Starr released his thirteenth studio album, Ringo Rama. Contributors include Willie Nelson, Charlie Haden, Van Dyke Parks, David Gilmour, Shawn Colvin, Timothy B. Schmit, and Eric Clapton.

2008: The Raconteurs released their second studio album, Consolers of the Lonely.

2008: The B-52’s released Funplex, their seventh studio album and first full LP of new material since 1992.

2008: Counting Crows released their fifth studio album, Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings.

2011: Jack Bruce released his fourteenth and final studio album, Silver Rails.

Birthdays Today

Bonnie Guitar, singer, musician, and producer best known for her country pop hit “Dark Moon,” who co-founded the Dolton Records label, which published the first recordings by the Fleetwoods, the Ventures, and the Frantics, was born Bonnie Buckingham Seattle, WA in 1923.

Paul Motian, jazz drummer, percussionist, and composer who played an important role in freeing jazz drummers from strict time-keeping duties, was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1931.

Tom Wilson, record producer who helmed key albums by Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa, Simon & Garfunkel, the Velvet Underground, and others, was born in Waco, TX in 1931.

Johnny Burnette, rockabilly singer-songwriter, member of The Rock and Roll Trio with older brother Dorsey Burnette, and father of Rocky Burnette, was born in Memphis, TN in 1934.

Hoyt Axton, folk singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor, was born in Duncan, OK in 1938.

Aretha Franklin, singer, songwriter, pianist, and civil rights activist known as “The Queen of Soul,” was born in Memphis, TN in 1942.

Peter Daltrey, musician, lead singer, main songwriter for Kaleidoscope and Fairfield Parlour, and a solo artist, was born in Bow, East London, England in 1946.

Elton John, singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer, was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight in Pinner, Middlesex, England in 1947.

Brinsley Schwarz, singer and multi-instrumentalist who formed Kippington Lodge, which later became Brinsley Schwarz, founding member of Graham Parker’s backing band The Rumour, and occasional member of Ducks Deluxe, was born in Woodbridge, Suffolk, England in 1947.

Neil Jones, guitarist for Amen Corner, was born in Llanbradach, South Wales in 1949.

Chuck Greenberg, musician, songwriter, and composer who was a member of the Bee Gee’s backup touring band, the saxophone and flute player for Shadowfax, producer at Windham Hill record label with artists such as Alex de Grassi and Will Ackerman, and pioneering performer of the lyricon, the first electronic wind instrument, was born in Chicago, IL in 1950.

Jack Lee, songwriter, musician, and co-founder of The Nerves alongside Peter Case and Paul Collins best known for writing “Hanging on the Telephone”—covered by Blondie—and “Come Back and Stay”—covered by Paul Young, was born in the US in 1952.

Steve Norman, saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist for Spandau Ballet, was born in London, England in 1960.

Jeff Healey, jazz and blues-rock vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter, was born Norman Jeffrey Healey in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1966.

Frank Ferrer, drummer and member of The Beautiful, The Psychedelic Furs, Love Spit Love, and Guns N’ Roses, was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1966.