Today in Rock & Roll History: May 25th

1961: Marvin Gaye released “Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide,” the first single from his debut album, The Soulful Moods of Marvin Gaye. The song was written by Motown CEO Berry Gordy and features backing vocals by The Andantes.

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.

1968: Simon & Garfunkel’s fourth studio album, 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, totally sixteen cumulative weeks at #1 between the two albums.

1973: Mott the Hoople released “Honaloochie Boogie,” the UK follow-up to their breakthrough single, “All The Young Dudes,” and first single from their sixth studio album, Mott.

1973: Mike Oldfield’s debut album, Tubular Bells, was released. It 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 and #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.

1985: “Centerfield,” the title track from John Fogerty’s third solo studio album, entered the Billboard Hot 100 on its way to peaking at #44.

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

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

1987: The Cure released their seventh studio album, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me. It was the group’s first to enter the top 40 of the Billboard pop chart in the US and reached the top 10 in several other countries.

1993: Donald Fagen released Kamakiriad, his second solo studio album and first collaboration with Steely Dan partner Walter Becker since 1986.

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.

Norman Petty, musician and record producer best known for his association with Buddy Holly and the Crickets who also produced singles for acts such as Roy Orbison, Buddy Knox, Waylon Jennings, and Jimmy Gilmer and the FIreballs, was born in Clovis, NM in 1927.

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.

Jimmy Capps, Nashville-based guitarist who played on some of the biggest country hits of the 1970s and ’80s and a fifty year member of the Grand Ole Opry house band, was born in Fayetteville, NC in 1939.

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

Jessi Colter, singer-songwriter who collaborated with husband Waylon Jennings and other artists including Willie Nelson, Tompall Glaser, Steve Cash, and Eric Clapton, was born Mirriam Johnson in Phoenix, AZ in 1943.

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

Clarence Burke Jr., lead singer of the Five Stairsteps and co-founder of The Invisible Man’s Band, was born in Chicago, IL in 1949.

Chuck Ruff, drummer for the Edgar Winter Group, was born in Reno, NV in 1951.

John Grimaldi, musician, songwriter, and guitarist for Argent, was born in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England in 1955.

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.