Today in Rock & Roll History: March 7th

1966: Brian Wilson released his debut solo single “Caroline, No,” the first solo record released by a member of the Beach Boys. Written by Wilson and Tony Asher, it reached #32 on Billboard Hot 100 and appeared two months later as the final track on the Beach Boys album “Pet Sounds.”

1966: The Who released “A Legal Matter,” the second single from their debut album, My Generation, in the UK. It was the first record by the band to feature guitarist Pete Townshend on lead vocals rather than Roger Daltrey. It was later issued in the US in August.

1966: Tina Turner recorded her vocals for “River Deep – Mountain High” during sessions produced by Phil Spector at Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles. The record later reached #3 in the UK but only #88 on the US charts.

1969: The Who released the original recording of “Pinball Wizard” from their rock opera Tommy. The single reached #4 in the UK and #19 on the US charts after being released in the States two weeks later.

1969: Small Faces released “Afterglow of Your Love,” the second single from their third studio album, Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake. The band had officially broke up that same month, and their manager released the song as their final single without the group’s permission.

1969: Genesis released their debut studio album, From Genesis to Revelation. The LP and its singles were commercially unsuccessful, and afterward the group severed ties with producer Jonathan King.

1970: Mountain released their debut album, Climbing!, though singer and guitarist Leslie West’s 1969 debut solo album, Mountain, produced by and recorded with bassist and vocalist Felix Pappalardi, is often cited as the band’s first album.

1970: Melanie released “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain),” the second single from her third album, Candles in the Rain. Written after performing at Woodstock in 1969, it became her breakthrough hit in the US, climbing to #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #3 on the Cash Box Top 100.

1970: Simon & Garfunkel’s final studio album, Bridge Over Troubled Water, started ten weeks at #1 on the Billboard pop chart. The duo had split-up by the time of its release.

1972: Roberta Flack released her recording of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” a song written by Ewan MacColl for his future wife, Peggy Seeger. Flack’s version became her breakthrough hit, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #4 on the R&B chart.

1973: The Byrds released their self-titled twelfth and final studio album. It was recorded as the centerpiece of a reunion among the five original band members: Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, David Crosby, Chris Hillman, and Michael Clarke. The last time that all five members had worked together as the Byrds was in 1966, prior to Clark’s departure from the band.

1975: David Bowie’s R&B-influenced LP Young Americans was released. The album reached #2 in the UK and #9 in US.

1981: Phil Collins released “I Missed Again,” the second single from his debut solo album, Face Value.

1983: English band Tears for Fears released their debut studio album, The Hurting. It peaked at #1 on the UK chart and contains the group’s first three hit singles: “Mad World,” “Change,” and “Pale Shelter.”

1983: English group Bananarama released their debut album, Dee Sea Skiving. It is their only top 10 LP on the UK chart, where it peaked at #7.

1985: The charity single “We Are the World” by USA for Africa was released. Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and produced by Quincy Jones and Michael Omartian, the project had been inspired by the release of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by British charity supergroup Band Aid the year before and featured contributions by dozens of artists.

1987: The Beatles’ first five albums, Please Please Me, With the Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night, Beatles for Sale, and Help!, were released on compact disc. Since Capitol Records decided to release the original UK mixes of the albums on CD, it meant that the first four CDs were released in mono, marking the first time that many of the mono mixes were available in the US.

2003: The White Stripes released “Seven Nation Army,” the lead single from their fourth studio album, Elephant. It became the duo’s first song to enter the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at #76. In the UK, it was their first top 10 hit, reaching #7.

2006: Donald Fagen released his third studio album, Morph the Cat.

2006: The Buzzcocks released their eighth studio album, Flat-Pack Philosophy.

2008: To mark the 40th anniversary of their second album, Odessey and Oracle, the four surviving original members of the Zombies began a three-night series of concerts at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire Theatre in London.

2012: Sales of albums by The Monkees soared following the death of singer Davy Jones. Best Of The Monkees re-entered the Billboard pop album chart at #20 with sales of over 17,000 units.

Birthdays Today

Hamilton Bohannon, percussionist, songwriter, record producer, and leader and arranger of Bohannon & The Motown Sound, who provided backing for many of the label’s top acts on tour, including Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Diana Ross and the Supremes, and The Four Tops, was born in Newnan, GA in 1942.

Chris White, singer, songwriter, and bassist for the Zombies and Argent, was born in Barnet, Hertfordshire, England in 1943.

Townes Van Zandt, singer-songwriter who had been an influence to countless artists such as Willie Nelson, Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, Bob Dylan, Robert Earl Keen Jr., Norah Jones, and Jason Isbell, was born John Townes Van Zandt in Fort Worth, TX in 1944.

Arthur Lee, singer, songwriter, and original leader and frontman of Love, was born Arthur Porter Taylor in Memphis, TN in 1945.

Peter Wolf, original lead vocalist for the J. Geils Band and a solo artist, was born Peter Blankfield in Bronx, NY in 1946.

Matthew Fisher, musician, songwriter, producer, and organist and vocalist for Procol Harum, was born in Addiscombe, Croydon, England in 1946.

Rocco Prestia, bassist for Tower of Power, was born in Sonora, CA in 1951.

Ernie Isley, guitarist and percussionist for the Isley Brothers, was born in Cincinnati, OH in 1952.

Randy Guss, musician, songwriter, and drummer for Toad the Wet Sprocket, was born in Detroit, MI in 1967.