Today in Rock & Roll History: May 25th

1963: Otis Redding debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with “These Arms of Mine.” Redding had made his first appearance on the R&B chart with the same record in March.

1965: During a London concert, Kinks guitarist Dave Davies was knocked unconscious when he fell into drummer Mick Avory’s cymbal. According to band leader and Dave’s brother Ray Davies, Avory had been looking to exact revenge on Dave, who had kicked over Avory’s drum kit in retaliation to an alcohol-fueled fight the two had had night before. Convinced he had killed his bandmate, Avory immediately fled Cardiff’s Capital Theatre and went into hiding. When the police caught up with him, Avory denied the whole thing happened, though the police pointed out the show’s entire audience were witnesses. Dave Davies, who received sixteen stitches, dropped all charges against the band’s drummer, and relations in the group were smoothed over, though the remaining dates on the band’s tour were canceled. The American Federation of Musicians refused to allow the band to tour in the US for four years due to their “violent” reputation at a time when British music was taking America by storm, and the band’s popularity in the US suffered as a result. Ray Davies later said that the ban took away the Kinks’ best years when the band was performing at its peak.

1968: Simon & Garfunkel fourth LP Bookends hit #1 in the US for the first of three weeks, replacing their own soundtrack to the film The Graduate, which had just spent seven weeks at the top of the chart. The two albums switched places with each other twice more for an additional six weeks at the top.

1973: Mike Oldfield’s debut album Tubular Bells was released. The album reached #3 on the Billboard pop chart, #1 on the Cash Box chart, and went on to become a multi-million seller after its usage in the film The Exorcist.

1973: A free concert by Carole King at New York’s Central Park drew a crowd of over 70,000 people. At the time it was the largest crowd to gather at the park’s Great Lawn for a concert.

1974: “Rock and Roll Heaven” by The Righteous Brothers entered the Billboard Hot 100. Originally penned by Alan O’Day and Johnny Stevenson as a tribute to deceased artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Otis Redding, producers Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter added verses that include Jim Croce and Bobby Darin to The Righteous Brothers’ version, which later made it to #3 in July. It was the duo’s first chart hit since 1967 and first top 10 hit since 1966.

1974: Wet Willie entered the Billboard Hot 100 with “Keep On Smilin’.” It was the Alabama band’s first single to chart and ultimately most successful, reaching #10.

1974: Three Dog Night’s cover of Leo Sayer’s “The Show Must Go On” peaked at #4 in the US on the Billboard Hot 100 #1 on the Cash Box Top 100. It was also the band’s last top 10 hit and final gold single. Originally co-written and recorded by Leo Sayer in 1973, Sayer was reportedly unhappy Three Dog Night altered the last line of the song’s chorus from “I won’t let the show go on” to “I must let the show go on.”

1978: Drummer Keith Moon played his last show with the Who at a secret concert for fan club members at London’s Shepperton’s Studios. The show was filmed for American filmmaker Jeff Stein’s documentary about the band, The Kids Are Alright.

1978: The self-titled debut solo studio album by Pink Floyd guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour was released.

1985: Supertramp’s eighth studio album Brother Where You Bound was released.

1987: The second single from U2’s The Joshua Tree album, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” was released. It became the band’s second consecutive #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

1991: Steely Dan co-founder Donald Fagen released his second solo album, Kamakiriad. It was Fagen’s first collaboration with Steely Dan partner Walter Beck, who produced the album, since 1980.

2009: Simple Minds released their fifteenth studio album, Graffiti Soul. The LP became the group’s first in fourteen years to enter the 10 on the UK chart.

Birthdays Today

Hal David, lyricist best known for his collaborations with composer Burt Bacharach, was born in New York City in 1921.

Donnie Elbert, soul singer and songwriter, was born in New Orleans, LA in 1936.

Tom T. Hall, country music singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, and writer, was born in 1936.

Brian “Blinky” Davison, original drummer for The Nice, was born in Leicester, England in 1942.

Mitch Margo, singer, songwriter, and vocalist for the Tokens, was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1947.

Paul Weller, singer and songwriter who founded both the Jam and the Style Council before establishing himself as a solo artist, was born John William Weller, Jr. in Woking, Surrey, England in 1958.