Today in Rock & Roll History: May 30th

1960: “I’m Sorry” by Brenda Lee 15-year-old Brenda Lee was released. It became her third top 10 single on the US charts as well as her first to reach #1.

1964: Johnny Rivers’ cover of Chuck Berry’s “Memphis, Tennessee” was released. It became his first single to enter the US charts and rose to #2 in July.

1964: The Beatles scored their fourth #1 single in US that year with “Love Me Do.”

1966: The Beatles released “Paperback Writer.” By the end of the next month, the song went #1 on the US charts as well as the UK chart.

1968: After recording several demos at George Harrison’s home a week earlier, the Beatles began recording sessions at EMI Studios in London for their self-titled double album, later known as the “White Album,” with the recording of a bluesy arrangement of “Revolution,” which was later titled “Revolution 1.”

1969: The Beatles released “The Ballad of John and Yoko” in the UK a week before the single was issued in the US. The song, which chronicles the events surrounding John Lennon’s marriage to Yoko Ono, became the Beatles’ seventeenth and final UK #1 single as well as the group’s first single to be released in stereo in Britain without a mono mix.

1972: Live at Max’s Kansas City, by the Velvet Underground was released. The live album, recorded at famous nightclub Max’s Kansas City in New York City in 1970, was issued to fulfill the group’s contract with Atlantic Records, who had lost faith in the band’s commercial prospects. The archival tapes used for the album had been recorded by an assistant of Andy Warhol on a portable cassette recorder.

1972: Bobby Womack’s fourth studio album, Understanding, was released. Recorded at American Sound Studio in Memphis, Tennessee and at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, it became his highest-charting album to date, reaching #7 on the R&B chart and #43 on the Billboard pop charts.

1972: Roxy Music played their first gig at the Great Western Express Festival in England, an event marred by heavy rain and high winds.

1973: George Harrison released his fourth studio album, Living in the Material World. After Harrison’s triple album All Things Must Pass and his pioneering charity project the Concert for Bangladesh, the album was among the most highly anticipated releases of the year, and was certified gold by RIAA two days before its release. In June, the LP became Harrison’s second #1 in the US.

1975: The Who recorded “Squeeze Box” at Shepperton Sound Stage on Ronnie Lane’s Mobile Studio in Surrey, England. Later included on the band’s Who By Numbers LP, the song had originally been intended for a television special planned in 1974, in which the group’s performance was to be accompanied by one hundred topless women playing accordions.

1978: Led Zeppelin reconvened in Stockholm to begin work on the band’s eighth studio album, In Through the Out Door. With guitarist Jimmy Page in the middle of a heroin addiction and drummer John Bonham struggling with alcoholism, it was left to singer Robert Plant and bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones to direct the group through the album’s sessions. It was also the band’s last album with Bonham.

1979: Peter Frampton released his sixth studio album, Where I Should Be.

1980: Peter Gabriel released his third self-titled album. Commonly referred to as Gabriel’s “Melt” album based on the album’s cover image, it has been acclaimed as his artistic breakthrough as a solo artist.

1981: Echo & the Bunnymen released their second studio album, Heaven Up There. In June, the LP became the band’s first to enter the top 10 on the UK chart. It was also their first album to chart in the US, where it reached #184.

1984: Jefferson Starship released Nuclear Furniture, the band’s eighth studio album and last before the departure of leader Paul Kantner and the formation of the offshoot band Starship.

1986: Steve Winwood’s fourth solo album, Back in the High Life, was released.

1988: Bob Dylan’s twenty-fifth studio album, Down in the Groove, was released. The album was highly collaborative, with contributions by artists the included Eric Clapton, Sly Dunbar, Jerry Garcia, Mark Knopfler, Brent Mydland, Robbie Shakespeare, Paul Simonon, Bob Weir, and Ronnie Wood. It became Dylan’s second LP to receive almost unanimous negative reviews. Sales were poor and it reached only #61 in the US.

1990: Australian band Midnight Oil staged an impromptu show for 10,000 people in front of the Exxon Building in New York City to protest the Exxon Valdez disaster, unfurling a banner which read “Midnight Oil Makes You Dance – Exxon Oil Makes Us Sick.”

1999: Jimmy Buffett made his album chart comeback when his twenty-third studio album, Beach House on the Moon, debuted on the Billboard pop chart at #8.

2000: Billy Bragg and Wilco released Mermaid Avenue Vol. II, the second album in a trilogy of releases that pairs previously unheard lyrics by Woody Guthrie with music written by Bragg and Wilco.

2005: Oasis released their sixth studio album, Don’t Believe the Truth.

Birthdays Today

Benny Goodman, influential jazz clarinetist and bandleader known as the “King of Swing” who’s bands launched the careers of many major jazz artists, was born in Chicago, IL in 1909.

Jim Murray, guitarist, harmonica player, and vocalist for Quicksilver Messenger Service who left the band before the recording of their first album, was born in 1942.

Lenny Davidson, guitarist for the Dave Clark Five, was born in Enfield, Middlesex, England in 1944.

Topper Headon, drummer for the Clash, was born Nicholas Bowen Headon in Bromley, Kent, England in 1955.

Tom Morello, guitarist, singer, songwriter, activist, member of groups that include Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, a touring member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, and a solo artist known as the Nightwatchmen, was born in Harlem, NY in 1964.

Tim Burgess, singer-songwriter, lead singer of the The Charlatans (aka Charlatans UK), and a solo artist, was born in Salford, Lancashire, England in 1967.