Today in Rock & Roll History: May 14th

1955: Bo Diddley debuted on the US R&B charts with first recorded song. “Bo Diddley.” The single reached #1 and spent eighteen weeks on the charts.

1965: The debut album by Donovan What’s Bin Did and What’s Bin Hid was released by Pye Records in the UK. The US version, issued in June by Hickory Records, had its title changed to Catch the Wind to match his debut single.

1967: Dionne Warwick’s seventh album, “On Stage and in the Movies,” was released. Though none of the album’s songs were written by Warwick’s longtime writing and production duo Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Bacharach and David did arrange and produce the LP.

1968: The Rascals recorded “People Got to Be Free.” The song became group’s third single to reach #1 on the Billboard and Cash Box pop charts, their last to make the US top 20, and their fourth and final million-selling record.

1968: John Lennon and Paul McCartney held a press tour in New York City to promote their newly-formed multi-media corporation Apple Corps in the United States. The final stop was on The Tonight Show with baseball great Joe Garagiola filling in for host Johnny Carson. Shortly after returning to England, the Beatles began sessions that resulted in their self-titled “White Album.”

1969: Neil Young’s second studio album, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, was released. It was Young’s first album with his longtime backing band Crazy Horse and was his first to enter the Billboard pop chart, where it peaked at #34. On the same day “Down by the River” was released as a single. In 1977, Young explained that he had written “Down by the River,” “Cinnamon Girl,” and “Cowgirl in the Sand” while delirious in bed with a high fever.

1972: T. Rex was at #1 on the UK singles chart “Metal Guru,” the band’s fourth and final song to top the chart.

1977: Heart released their third studio album, Little Queen.

1979: Blondie released “One Way or Another” as the fourth North American single from their third studio album, Parallel Lines. The song was inspired by frontwoman Deborah Harry’s experience with a stalker in the early 1970s.

1979: The Kids Are Alright, a documentary film about the Who premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. The film features the band’s last performance with original drummer Keith Moon at Shepperton Studios in May of 1978, which was filmed three months before his death.

1981: Peter Frampton’s seventh studio album Breaking All the Rules was released.

1982: The Clash released their fifth studio LP, Combat Rock. It became the band’s best-selling album and was their first to enter the top 10 on the US charts.

1983: Eurythmics debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This).”

1984: Chicago released Chicago 17, the group’s fourteenth studio album and last with founding member Peter Cetera.

1988: “New Sensation,” the third single from INXS’s sixth album Kick, entered the Billboard Hot 100, where it later peaked at #3.

1988: Atlantic Records celebrated its 40th anniversary with a non-stop thirteen-hour concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden dubbed “It’s Only Rock and Roll.” The star-studded show featured artists exclusive to Atlantic spanning the company’s forty years including Lavern Baker, Ruth Brown, Yes, Genesis, The Rascals, Wilson Pickett, the Coasters, the Bee Gees, Vanilla Fudge, Iron Butterfly, Roberta Flack, Paul Rodgers, Ben E. King, and The Blues Brothers. A reunited Led Zeppelin also performed, with Jason Bonham filling his father’s role on drums.

1990: Packed!, the fifth album by The Pretenders, was released. The LP could be considered a solo release by band leader Chrissie Hynde, who recorded the album primarily with several session musicians. Drummer Blair Cunningham, the only member present from the group’s previous album, backs Hynde along with a number of musicians who had previously worked with the Pretenders.

1996: The Specials released Today’s Specials, their fourth studio album and first since 1984.

1996: J. Geils band frontman Peter Wolf released his fourth solo album, Long Line.

1996: Elvis Costello released All This Useless Beauty, his seventeenth studio album and last with his long-standing backing band The Attractions.

1996: The Buzzcocks released their fifth studio album, All Set.

2001: R.E.M.’s twelfth studio album, Reveal, was released.

2002: Van Morrison released his twenty-ninth studio album, Down the Road.

2005: Two weeks after achieving his fifth #1 on the UK album chart, Bruce Springsteen went to the top of the Billboard pop chart in the US with his thirteenth studio album and third acoustic LP, Devils & Dust, granting him his seventh #1 and fourth #1 debut on the Billboard chart.

Birthdays Today

Will “Dub” Jones, bass vocalist and member of The Coasters, was born in Shreveport, LA in 1928.

Bob Johnston, record producer best known for his work with Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, and Simon & Garfunkel, was born in Hillsboro, TX in 1932.

Grady Gaines, blues saxophonist who recorded with Little Richard in the 1950s. He backed other musicians such as Dee Clark, Little Willie John, Sam Cooke, James Brown, Jackie Wilson, and Joe Tex, was born in Waskom, TX in 1934.

Bobby Darin, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and actor, was born Walden Robert Cassotto in East Harlem, NY in 1936.

Charlie Gracie, rock pioneer and rhythm and blues singer and guitarist, was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1936.

Troy Shondell, singer and songwriter best known for his 1961 hit single, “This Time”, was born Gary Wayne Schelton in Fort Wayne, IN in 1939.

Jack Bruce, musician, singer, songwriter, bassist and vocalist for Cream, and a solo artist who was also a member of the Graham Bond Organisation, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, and West, Bruce and Laing, was born John Symon Asher Bruce in Bishopbriggs, Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1943.

Clive Palmer, banjo player and founding member of the Incredible String Band, was born in Edmonton, North London, England in 1943.

Derek Leckenby, lead guitarist for Herman’s Hermits, was born in Leeds, England in 1943.

Gene Cornish, guitarist, harmonica player, member of Joey Dee and Starliters, and co-founder of The Young Rascals, was born in Ottowa, Ontario, Canada in 1944.

Bill Tillman, saxophone player for Blood, Sweat, Tears, was born in Dallas, TX in 1947.

Al Ciner, guitarist with American Breed from 1966-1969 who also briefly played with Gary & The Knight Lites, Rufus, and Three Dog Night, was born in Chicago, IL in 1947.

Arthur Grant, multi-instrumentalist for the Edgar Broughton Band, was born in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England in 1950.

David Byrne, songwriter, lead singer, guitarist, founding member of Talking Heads, and a solo artist, was born in Dumbarton, Scotland in 1952.

Ian Astbury, founding member and lead vocalist of the Cult, was born in Heswall, Cheshire, England in 1962.

Anthony Gomes, blues rock guitarist and singer, was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1970.

Dan Auerbach, singer-songwriter, producer, solo artist, and guitarist and vocalist for the Black Keys, was born in Akron, OH in 1979.