Today in Rock & Roll History: May 2nd

1960: Benjamin Earl Nelson of the Drifters left the group to sign a solo contract with ATCO Records and perform under the stage name Ben E. King.

1961: Elvis Presley released “I Feel So Bad,” his version of a song written and first recorded by Chuck Willis in 1954. On the flip side of the double A-side single was “Wild in the Country,” the title track from Presley’s film of the same name.

1963: The Beatles had their second #1 on the UK singles with “From Me To You.”

1964: The Beatles’ Second Album climbed to the top spot of the US charts three weeks after its release, making it the first album ever to reach the top that quickly. The album continued the band’s hold on the #1 spot after their second American album and first released by Capitol Records “Meet The Beatles!” had been at #1 for eleven weeks.

1964: The Rolling Stone’s cover of Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away” entered the US singles charts. It later peaked at #48 on the Billboard chart.

1965: Although he’d sworn that he would never allow the band to appear on his show again, Ed Sullivan played host to the Rolling Stones for a second time. To prevent any disturbances among the group’s fans, the Stones were locked in the show’s studios the entire day. During the band’s previous appearance on the show in October, Sullivan became impatient with the audience’s screaming during and after the group’s performance.

1967: The Four Tops released “7 Rooms of Gloom,” the fourth single from their fourth studio album, Reach Out.

1967: Capitol Records pulled the plug on the Beach Boys’ mysterious Smile project. Brian Wilson, who had taken more than a year to compose and produce the album, could not bring himself to finish it. After hearing the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, he was convinced that Smile would be seen as second best. The project was eventually re-recorded and released by Wilson in 2004.

1968: Aretha Franklin released “Think” backed with a cover of Sam Cooke’s “You Send Me” as the first single from her thirteenth studio album, Aretha Now.

1968: During a late night jam session that included Steve Winwood and Jack Casady at New York’s Record Plant studio, Jimi Hendrix recorded “Voodoo Chile” a song based on the Muddy Waters’ “Rollin’ Stone.” At fifteen minutes, it is Hendrix’s longest studio recording, and served as the basis for “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” which was recorded by Hendrix and Experience members Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell the next day during the filming of a short documentary for ABC television. Both songs were later included on the band’s Electric Ladyland double album and “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” became Hendrix’s only single to top the UK chart in November of 1970, two months after his death.

1969: The Byrds released their cover of Bob Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay.” The band decided to cover the song after Bob Dylan played the band his newly recorded Nashville Skyline album at band leader Roger McGuinn’s house. Producer Bob Johnson overdubbed a female choir on the track, which the band didn’t realize until the single was released. They were so upset with Johnson that they never worked with him again.

1969: “Living in the Past” by Jethro Tull was released in the UK. It became one of the band’s best-known songs and was issued in the US in October 1972.

1969: After recording thirteen takes of George Harrison’s “Something” in April, the Beatles were back in the studio with Billy Preston playing organ to record an additional thirty-six takes, the last of which became the basis for the released song.

1969: The Who’s rock opera Tommy made its official London premiere in its entirety at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, which was followed immediately by a tour of the US. The first American performance of Tommy came a week later at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit, the city that emerged as the Who’s first major fan base in the US.

1970: Five Stairsteps entered the Billboard Hot 100 with “O-o-h Child.” The record became the group’s only mainstream hit single to enter the top 10, peaking at #8.

1972: Bruce Springsteen auditioned for renowned CBS Records A&R man John Hammond in New York, playing a short set for him in his office. Hammond was so impressed that he had Springsteen record a dozen more demos, all of which ended up on his first album, Greetings From Asbury Park. Hammond wanted to see Springsteen in front of an audience, so he also arranged for a second audition that night at New York’s Gaslight Club for other Columbia executives.

1978: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released their second studio album, You’re Gonna Get It!.

1979: On the first night of the Who’s 1979 UK tour, former Small Faces drummer Kenney Jones appeared onstage with the band at London’s Rainbow Theatre for the first time after replacing original drummer Keith Moon.

1980: South Africa’s apartheid government banned Pink Floyd’s single “Another Brick In The Wall” after black children adopted the song as their anthem in protest against inferior education.

1980: Joy Division took the stage at Birmingham University’s High Hall for what would be their final concert. As part of their 45-minute set, the band debuted their new song, “Ceremony.” It was the only time Joy Division ever performed the song live. After the death of frontman Ian Curtis, it became New Order’s debut single in 1981.

1981: Hall & Oates released “You Make My Dreams,” the fourth and final single from their ninth studio album, Voices.

1983: New Order released their second studio album, Power, Corruption & Lies.

1988: Island Records released the self-titled debut album by Melissa Etheridge.

1989: English band The Stone Roses released their self-titled debut album.

1989: The Cure released their eighth studio album, Disintegration. Marking a return to the group’s gloomy and introspective style present in earlier albums, the album became the band’s commercial peak, reaching #3 in the UK and #12 in the US, and remains their highest-selling record.

1989: Simple Minds released their eighth studio album, Street Fighting Years. It became their fourth straight #1 LP on the UK chart.

1995: Bob Dylan’s MTV Unplugged album was released. Recorded at Sony Music Studios in New York City on November 17 and 18 in 1994, it gave Dylan his best sales in years and reached #23 in the US and #10 in the UK.

1995: Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson released his second studio album, Divinities: Twelve Dances with God, which features a dozen tracks that are each influenced by different ethnical musical traditions. Later that year, Anderson undertook a solo tour in support of the album.

2004: The Who released “Real Good Looking Boy” backed with “Old Red Wine.” Both tracks were the first new songs released by the band for 15 years and were included on the compilation LP Then and Now.

2005: Thirty-six years after the band’s breakup, Cream began a short-lived reunion tour at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Recordings of the concerts were collected in the live album Royal Albert Hall London May 2-3-5-6.

2006: Neil Young released his twenty-seventh studio album, Living With War, which Young described as as “a musical critique of U.S. President George W. Bush and his conduct of the war in Iraq.”

2006: Pearl Jam released their self-titled eighth studio album.

2016: Cyndi Lauper released her eleventh studio album, Detour. Recorded in Nashville, the album of country music covers includes contributions from Willie Nelson, Alison Kraus, Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, and Jewel.

Birthdays Today

Link Wray, guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist who popularized guitar distortion and the power chord, was born Fred Lincoln Wray, Jr. in Dunn, NC in 1929.

Bunk Gardner, woodwind player and tenor saxophonist for Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention from 1966-1969, was born John Leon Guarnera in Cleveland, OH in 1933.

Engelbert Humperdinck, pop singer, was born in Madras, British India in 1936.

Bob Henrit, drummer and founding member of Argent who played with several other bands including Unit 4 + 2, the Roulettes, and the Kinks, was born in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, England in 1944.

Miles Copeland III, brother of Police drummer Stewart Copeland, manager for the Police and later Sting, and founder of I.R.S. Records, was born in London, England in 1944.

Goldy McJohn, original keyboardist for Steppenwolf, was born John Raymond Goadsby in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1945.

Lesley Gore, singer and songwriter, was born Lesley Sue Goldstein in Brooklyn, NY in 1946.

Ken “Spider” Sinnaeve, bassist, session musician, and sideman with several Canadian artists such as Streetheart, Tom Cochrane, Kim Mitchell, and The Guess Who, was born in 1947.)

Vet Stone, lead singer for Sly and the Family Stone’s background group Little Sister, was born in Vallejo, CA in 1950.

Jo Callis, musician, songwriter, and member of The Rezillos, Boots for Dancing, and The Human League, was born in Rotherham, Yorkshire, England in 1951.

Prescott Niles, bassist for The Knack and Missing Persons, was born in 1954.

David Rhodes, guitarist, singer, songwriter, solo artist, and principal studio and touring guitarist for Peter Gabriel since 1980, was born in London, England in 1956.