Today in Rock & Roll History: May 23rd

1953: Bill Haley and His Comets’ first release with Essex Records, “Crazy Man Crazy,” entered the Cash Box Best Sellers list at #19. It peaked at #11 a month later.

1960: After hitting the top of the UK chart earlier that month, The Everly Brothers were at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the third and final time with their first single on the Warner Bros. label, “Cathy’s Clown.”

1963: Paul Revere & The Raiders were signed to Columbia Records. The band went on to release twelve albums with the label and achieved fourteen Billboard top 40 singles between 1965 and 1971.

1964: “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying” by Gerry and the Pacemakers entered the Billboard Hot 100, where it later reached #4.

1965: Bob Dylan’s fifth studio album, Bringing It All Back Home, took over from his second album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, at the top of the UK chart.

1966: Marvin Gaye’s seventh studio album, Moods of Marvin Gaye, was released. Six tracks from the album were issued as singles. All of them reached the top 40 on the R&B charts and four reached the top 40 on the pop charts—a rare feat for a solo R&B artist at the time.

1967: Pink Floyd recorded their second single, “See Emily Play,” at Sound Techniques Studios in London. Syd Barrett had been inspired by the “looning about” of early Pink Floyd fan Emily Young, who later became a renowned sculptor.

1969: British band Thunderclap Newman released their debut single, “Something in the Air.” The group was put together by Pete Townshend of the Who with the purpose of performing songs written by musician and vocalist Speed Keen, who had written “Armenia City in the Sky” for the Who. Pianist Andy “Thunderclap” Newman and 15-year-old guitarist Jimmy McCulloch were recruited to form the trio. The song was produced by Townshend, who also arranged the strings and played bass under the pseudonym Bijou Drains, and was originally titled “Revolution,” but was later re-titled to avoid confusion with the Beatles song of the same name. It became the band’s biggest hit, spending three weeks at #1 on the UK in July, and was included on their debut album, “Hollywood Dream.”

1969: The Who’s fourth album and double LP rock opera Tommy was released. Immediately hailed by critics as the group’s breakthrough, the band set out on an extensive tour to promote the album’s release, with gigs that included the University of Leeds, the 1969 and 1970 Isle of Wight Festivals, and Woodstock.

1969: Cilla Black’s fourth studio album Surround Yourself with Cilla was released. Produced by George Martin, it was Black’s first album to only be recorded and released in stereo as well as her first to fail to make the UK charts.

1970: Three Dog Night’s cover of Randy Newman’s “Mama Told Me (Not To Come)” entered the Billboard Hot 100. Seven weeks later it became the group’s first #1 single in the US and first record to chart in the UK.

1970: “Vehicle” by Chicago-based band The Ides of March peaked at #2 on Billboard Hot 100. The record was purported to be the fastest-selling single in Warner Bros. Records’ history.

1970: After leaving the Animals the year before, Eric Burdon made a return to the charts when his new band War entered the Billboard Hot 100 with their first single, “Spill the Wine.” Three months later, the record became the band’s first of seven top 10 singles in the US and reached #3.

1970: The Grateful Dead played their first concert outside the US at the Hollywood Rock Festival near Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, England. Featured bands at the event included Free, Ginger Baker’s Air Force, Colosseum, Family, Black Sabbath, Traffic, and Mungo Jerry, who made their live debut as the show’s opening act.

1974: George Harrison started his own record label, Dark Horse Records.

1975: Todd Rundgren released his sixth studio album, Initiation, in which he fully embraced the synthesized progressive rock sound he began exploring with his band Utopia.

1975: Motown released the sixth studio album by The Jackson 5, Lookin’ Through the Windows.

1976: Bruce Springsteen released “Prove It All Night,” the lead single from his fourth studio album, Darkness on the Edge of Town.

1976: Bob Dylan performed the penultimate show of his Rolling Thunder Revue tour at Hughes Stadium in Fort Collins, Colorado. Recordings from the concert, along with recordings from a show in Fort Worth, Texas a week earlier were released in September as the live album Hard Rain. The Fort Collins concert was also taped and later aired by NBC as a one-hour television special also titled Hard Rain.

1979: Diana Ross released her tenth studio album, The Boss. The LP was written and produced by longtime collaborators Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson.

1980: The fifth album by Graham Parker and The Rumour, The Up Escalator, was released by Stiff Records in the UK and Arista in the US.

1980: Roxy music released their seventh studio album, Flesh + Blood. It was an immediate commercial success and became the group’s second #1 album on the UK chart. It also was their first album to reach the top 10 in the US, where it reached #6.

1983: Bob Marley and the Wailers released Confrontation, their thirteenth and final studio album and first after Marley’s death in 1981,

1985: Darryl Hall and John Oates headlined a concert celebrating the reopening of the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem. Joined by Temptations members David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks, the performance was recorded and released two years later as the live LP Live at the Apollo.

1986: Rod Stewart released his fourteenth studio album, Every Beat of My Heart.

1987: Bob Seger released “Shakedown,” a single written by Seger, Harold Faltermeyer, and Keith Forsey for the soundtrack to the film Beverly Hills Cop II. It became Seger’s only #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1988: The Moody Blues released “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere,” the first single from their thirteenth studio album, Sur la Mer. It was the band’s last top 40 hit in the US, peaking at #30 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1988: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts released their sixth studio album, Up Your Alley.

1988: Rod Stewart’s fifteenth studio album, Out of Order, was released. The album was produced by Stewart and Power Station members Andy Taylor, Bernard Edwards, and Tony Thompson.

1989: The Ramones released their eleventh studio album, Brain Drain. It was the band’s last LP to feature founding member Dee Dee Ramone, the first to feature drummer Marky Ramone since Subterranean Jungle in 1983, as well as the group’s last album with Sire Records.

1995: The Rembrandts released their third studio album, L.P.. It became the duo’s highest-charting album to date, reaching #23, and its final, hidden track, “I’ll Be There For You,” was used as the theme song for television sitcom Friends.

1995: North Carolina group Squirrel Nut Zippers released their debut album, The Inevitable.

1995: Chicago released their eighteenth studio album, Night & Day: Big Band. The album is a departure from the group’s top 40 material with a focus on big band and swing. It was also their first after leaving Reprise Records and starting their own imprint label, Chicago Records.

1995: Jerry Lee Lewis released his thirty-eighth studio album, “Young Blood.” It features an all-star cast of musicians and attempted to recapture the 1950s Sun Records style which Lewis was best known for.

1995: Chris Isaak’s fifth studio album, Forever Blue, was released.

1995: Warren Zevon released his ninth studio album, Mutineer.

1998: Aretha Franklin’s thirty-fourth studio album, A Rose Is Still a Rose, was released.

2000: Don Henley released his fourth solo studio album, Inside Job.

2000: Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts released Charlie Watts/Jim Keltner Project, a tribute to several jazz drummers recorded with prolific session musician Jim Keltner.

2000: XTC released their fourteenth studio album, Was Star (Apple Venus Volume 2).

2011: Blondie released “Mother,” the lead single from their ninth studio album, Panic of Girls.

Birthdays Today

Robert Alexander “Bumps” Blackwell, bandleader, songwriter, arranger, and record producer who oversaw early hits by Little Richard and groomed artists like Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Ernestine Anderson, Lloyd Price, Sam Cooke, Herb Alpert, Larry Williams, and Sly and the Family Stone at the start of their music careers, was born in Seattle, WA in 1918.

Gary Burden, artist considered one of the pioneers of the concept of album cover art who designed covers for acts including Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Joni Mitchell, the Doors, the Eagles, and Jackson Browne, was born in Cleveland, OH in 1933.

Robert Moog, engineer, electric music pioneer, and inventor of the Moog synthesizer, an instrument that has been used on albums by numerous artists, including The Byrds, The Monkees, The Doors, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Simon & Garfunkel, the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Leon Russell, The Beach Boys, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Gary Numan, and Wendy Carlos, was born in New York City in 1934.

General Johnson, R&B songwriter, producer, and frontman of Chairmen of the Board, was born in Norfolk, VA in 1941.

Ramon “Tiki” Fulwood, drummer for Parliament-Funkadelic, was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1944.

Danny Klein, bassist for the J. Geils Band, was born in the Bronx, NY in 1946.

Ruth Underwood, musician who played xylophone, marimba, vibraphone, and other percussion instruments for Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, was born Ruth Komanoff in 1946.

Bill Hunt, horn player and original keyboardist for Electric Light Orchestra, was born in Birmingham, England in 1947.

James Mankey, guitarist for Concrete Blonde and Sparks, was born in the state of Washington in 1952.

Rick Fenn, guitarist for 10cc and collaborator with Mike Oldfield, Rick Wakeman, Peter Howarth, and Nick Mason, was born in 1953.

Philip Selway, musician, singer, songwriter, and drummer for Radiohead, was born in Oxfordshire, England in 1967.

Jewel, singer-songwriter, was born Jewel Kilcher in Payson, UT in 1974.