Today in Rock & Roll History: March 9th

1959: Brook Benton had his first #1 on Billboard’s R&B chart with “It’s Just a Matter of Time.”

1959: Frankie Avalon went to #1 on the US pop charts for the first time with “Venus.”

1961: The Supremes’ debut single, “I Want a Guy,” was released by Motown Records on the Tamla label.

1968: Bob Dylan started ten weeks at #1 on the UK chart with his third album to top the chart, John Wesley Harding. The LP marked Dylan’s return to acoustic music after three albums of electric rock and was well received critically and commercially. Less than month earlier, the album had peaked at #2 in the US despite the fact that Dylan had made Columbia Records release the album with little publicity.

1969: Cream’s fourth and final studio album, Goodbye, debuted at the top of the UK chart. A week later, it peaked at #2 in the US.

1969: CBS aired a repeat episode of the music and comedy variety show The Smothers Brothers’ Comedy Hour instead of the originally scheduled episode featuring guest Joan Baez, who used her appearance to publicize the predicament of her husband who had been arrested for objecting to the draft. The network explained the decision by stating that because that week’s episode did not arrive in time to be previewed, it could not be shown at the originally intended date. An edited version aired two months later.

1972: Businessman and manager Allen Klein presented UNICEF with the first check from the proceeds from sales of George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh album, totaling $12 million raised for children in east Africa. Klein had already been accused of laundering money from the charity and nearly $9 million more was held up in legal limbo until 1982.

1973: Canned Heat released their ninth studio album, The New Age. It was the group’s first album to feature musicians James Shane and Ed Beyer, and also features the last recording by singer Clara Ward.

1974: Bad Company, featuring former members of Free, Mott the Hoople, and King Crimson, made their concert debut in Newcastle, England.

1979: The Jam released “Strange Town” as a single in the UK with the B-side “The Butterfly Collector.” The record was issued in the US in May with the A and B sides switched.

1979: Manfred Mann’s Earth Band released their ninth album, Angel Station. Several changes were made to the band’s line-up, including former Wings drummer Geoff Britton replacing founding member Chris Slade and Steve Waller replacing guitarist Dave Flett.

1981: Smokey Robinson released “Being with You,” the title track from his recently released album of the same name. The single reached #1 on Billboard’s Hot Soul Singles chart and #2 on the Hot 100, making it his highest charting solo hit on the Billboard pop charts.

1981: Robert Plant appeared at a wine bar in Stourbridge, England with a group of blues players dubbed The Honeydrippers and performed a set of vintage R&B and blues standards. A short tour of clubs followed and Plant began writing new material with guitarist Robbie Blunt. In the summer of 1982, Plant released his debut solo album, Pictures at Eleven.

1983: The Isley Brothers released “Between the Sheets,” the lead single and title track from their twenty-second album of the same name.

1984: “Borrowed Time” by John Lennon, from his final album with wife Yoko Ono, Milk and Honey, was released in the UK. The single was issued two months later in the US. Lennon claimed the song was inspired by a 1980 sailing holiday from Newport Rhode Island to Bermuda and Bunny Wailer’s song “Hallelujah Time,” which contains the line “living on borrowed time.”

1987: U2’s fifth studio album, The Joshua Tree, was released. With an unprecedented merchandising effort on the part of Island Records, it was the first new release to be made available on the compact disc, vinyl record, and cassette tape formats on the same date. The album also received a platinum certification from the RIAA within 48 hours of being released, making it the then fastest selling album in the history of the UK chart.

1990: Hall & Oates released their fourteenth studio album, Change of Season.

1991: Years after the band had broken up, The Clash achieved their only #1 single when a re-release of “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” went to the top of the UK chart. Originally released as the second single from the band’s 1982 album Combat Rock, the re-issue coincided with the song’s use in a television advertisement for blue jeans.

1993: Widespread Panic released their third studio album, Everyday.

1999: Wilco released their third studio album, Summerteeth.

1999: Van Morrison released his twenty-seventh studio album, Back on Top.

Birthdays Today

Billy Ford, one half of pop duo Billy & Lillie and frontman for Billy Ford & the Thunderbirds, was born in Bloomfield, NJ in 1919.

Ornette Coleman, saxophonist, violinist, trumpeter, composer, and jazz innovator, was born in Fort Worth, TX in 1930.

Lloyd Price, R&B vocalist, was born in Kenner, LA in 1933.

John Cale, musician, composer, singer, songwriter, producer, and founding member of the Velvet Underground, was born in Garnant, Carmarthenshire, Wales in 1942.

Mark Lindsay, lead singer for Paul Revere & the Raiders, was born in Eugene, OR in 1942.

Gary Walker, drummer and vocalist with the Standells and the Walker Brothers, was born in Glendale, CA in 1942.

Trevor Burton, guitarist, bassist, vocalist, and founding member of The Move, was born Trevor Ireson in Aston, Birmingham, England in 1944.

Robin Trower, singer, songwriter, solo artist, and original guitarist for Procol Harum, was born in Catford, South East London, England in 1945.

Jim Cregan, songwriter, guitarist, and bassist best known as a member of Family and Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel and for his work with Rod Stewart, was born in Yeovil, Somerset, England in 1946.

Jimmie Fadden, drummer and co-founder of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, was born in Long Beach, CA in 1948.

Chris Thompson, singer and guitarist with Manfred Mann’s Earth Band and a solo artist, was born in Ashford, Kent, England in 1948.

Frank Rodriguez, keyboardist for ? and the Mysterians, was born in Crystal City, TX in 1951.