Today in Rock & Roll History: March 27th

1952: Sun Records began operations in Memphis, Tennessee. Founded by Sam Phillips, Sun was the first company to record Elvis Presley, Charlie Rich, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash.

1958: Audio Fidelity Records marketed the first stereophonic records to the public. The first four stereo discs available to the general public, released by Audio Fidelity in March of 1958, were Johnny Puleo and his Harmonica Gang Volume 1, Railroad – Sounds of a Vanishing Era, Lionel – Lionel Hampton and his Orchestra, and Marching Along with the Dukes of Dixieland Volume 3.

1961: Paul Revere and the Raiders debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Like, Long Hair.” The instrumental reached #38 on the Hot 100 and #30 on the Cash Box chart.

1964: The Beatles’ single “Cry For A Shadow” backed with “Why” was released. Both sides were recorded during the summer of 1961 when the band was backing Tony Sheridan as the Beat Brothers. The instrumental “Cry For A Shadow,” a parody of popular UK group The Shadows, was originally intended to be the single’s B-side, but Polydor Records put it on the A-side with the title “Beatle Bop.” It was first time a Beatles recording of an original song had been commercially released, one of only two songs officially released with Pete Best on drums, and the only Beatles track in which John Lennon and George Harrison share writing credits.

1965: The Supremes had their fourth #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Stop! In The Name of Love.”

1965: The Who debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with “I Can’t Explain.”

1965: “She’s Coming Home” by The Zombies was released in the US, where it reached #58. The single was later issued in the UK in April.

1967: Fats Domino played his first ever UK show at London’s Saville Theatre, where he was supported by The Bee Gees and Gerry and The Pacemakers.

1967: The Young Rascals recorded “Groovin’,” which later became their second #1 single.

1968: The Who appeared at The Forum in Montreal, Canada. Opening for them were The Troggs, who were making their North American debut.

1968: The Beatles were at the top of the UK singles chart with “Lady Madonna,” the group’s fourteenth UK single to reach #1.

1969: Diana Ross & the Supremes released “The Composer,” the second single from their sixteenth studio album, Let The Sunshine In. The song was written and produced by Smokey Robinson and, like many Supremes singles recorded in 1968 and 1969, Motown session singers The Andantes were used on the record instead of Supremes members Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong.

1970: Ringo Starr’s debut solo album Sentimental Journey was released as the Beatles were splitting apart. It was the third solo release by a Beatles member and was followed three weeks later by the release of Paul McCartney’s first solo album. Produced by George Martin, the album was rushed out so as to avoid clashing with the release of the Beatles’ final album Let It Be. Encouraged by the other Beatles and his family to release a solo album, Ringo chose to record standards chosen by his family since they were his first musical influences.

1970: Yes released “Time and a Word,” the lead single and title track from their second studio album.

1971: Bruce Springsteen & Friendly Enemies opened for The Allman Brothers Band at the Sunshine In in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Springsteen had just disbanded his group Steel Mill and within a few weeks formed Dr. Zoom & The Sonic Boom with Steve Van Zandt.

1971: “What’s Going On,” the title track from Marvin Gaye’s eleventh studio album, started five weeks at the top of the Billboard R&B chart.

1971: Isaac Hayes had his third straight #1 on Billboard’s R&B album chart with …To Be Continued.

1972: Three Dog Night released their eighth album, “Seven Separate Fools.”

1976: “Welcome Back” by John Sebastian, the title track to his fourth solo studio album and the theme song to the 1970s American television sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, entered the Billboard Hot 100. It was Sebastian’s only top 40 hit as a solo artist and reached #1 in May.

1979: Ian Hunter released his fourth solo album, You’re Never Alone with a Schizophrenic. The LP features contributions from Mick Ronson, John Cale, and Roy Bittan, Max Weinberg, and Garry Tallent from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. It became Hunter’s highest charting album in the US, reaching #35 on the Billboard chart.

1981: “Watching the Wheels” by John Lennon from his fifth album with wife Yoko Ono, Double Fantasy, was issued in the UK two weeks after its release in the US.

1984: King Crimson released Three of a Perfect Pair, their tenth studio album and last to feature the quartet of Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Tony Levin, and Bill Bruford.

1989: Ringo Starr and Buck Owens re-recorded “Act Naturally,” a song originally recorded by Owens in 1963 covered by the Beatles in 1965. The duo’s duet version was produced by Jerry Crutchfield and Jim Shaw and released at the end of July.

1993: 10,000 Maniacs released “Candy Everybody Wants,” the second single from their fifth studio album, Our Time in Eden.

Birthdays Today

Philip Chess, record producer and co-founder of Chess Records with his brother, Leonard, was born Fiszel Czyż in Motal, Poland (now Belarus) in 1921.

Sarah Vaughan, acclaimed jazz vocalist, was born in Newark, NJ in 1924.

Janis Martin, singer nicknamed the “Female Elvis,” who was one of the few women working in rock and roll during the 1950s and one of country music’s early female innovators, was born in Sutherlin, VA in 1940.

Derrick Morgan, reggae, rocksteady, and ska songwriter and musician who worked with Desmond Dekker, Bob Marley, and Jimmy Cliff, was born in Clarendon, Jamaica in 1940.

Walter “Bunny” Sigler, R&B singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer who was instrumental in creating the “Philly Sound” alongside Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff in the 1970s, was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1941.

Michael “Smitty” Smith, drummer for Paul Revere and the Raiders from 1962-1967 and 1971-1972, was born in Portland, OR in 1942.

Andy Bown, singer, multi-instrumentalist, solo artist, session musician, and member of The Herd, Judas Jump, and Status Quo, was born in Beckenham, South London, England in 1946.

Tony Banks, keyboardist for Genesis, was born in East Hoathly with Halland, East Sussex, England in 1950.

Wally Stocker, lead guitarist for The Babys, who also toured with Rod Stewart, Air Supply, and Humble Pie, was born in London, England in 1953.

Paul “Wix” Wickens, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer who’s worked with artists such as Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Edie Brickell, David Gilmour, Boy George, Bon Jovi, Nik Kershaw, Paul Carrack, and Paul McCartney and has been a member of McCartney’s touring band since 1989, was born in Brentwood, Essex, England in 1956.

Billy MacKenzie, singer, songwriter, and co-founder of The Associates, was born in Dundee Scotland in 1957.

Andrew Farriss, multi-instrumentalist, keyboardist, backing vocalist, and main composer for INXS, was born in Perth, Australia in 1959.

Brendan Hill, drummer and original member of Blues Traveler, was born in London, England in 1970.