Today in Rock & Roll History: May 31st

1961: Chuck Berry opened his Berry Park in Wentzville, Missouri. The 30-acre complex featured a swimming pool, miniature golf course, ferris wheel, children’s zoo, and a picnic area.

1965: Junior Walker & the All Stars released their debut album, Shotgun.

1966: Filming began for The Monkees television show. The first episode premiered on NBC later that year in September.

1969: Blood, Sweat & Tears’ third single, “Spinning Wheel,” was released. The record later peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, making it the band’s only #1 single.

1969: Joe Cocker made his debut on the US album charts with his first LP, With a Little Help From My Friends. Two months later, it peaked at #35 on the Billboard pop chart.

1969: The 5th Dimension’s fourth studio album, The Age of Aquarius, entered the Billboard pop chart. A month later, it became the group’s highest-charting album, peaking at #2 on both the pop and R&B charts.

1972: James Gang released their fourth studio album, Straight Shooter.

1974: Chicago released “Call on Me,” the second single from their sixth studio album, Chicago VII. It was the band’s first song written by trumpet player Lee Loughnane, who was also the last original member to receive a songwriting credit.

1975: The Isley Brothers released “Fight the Power,” the lead single from their thirteenth studio album, The Heat Is On. It became the group’s second #1 on Billboard’s R&B chart. It also reached #4 on the Hot 100 pop chart and #13 on the dance chart, making it their first single to reach the top 20 on three different charts.

1976: The Who made it into the Guinness Book of Records for the loudest gig ever at the Charlton Athletic Grounds in England, which measured 120 decibels from 50 meters away.

1977: Linda McCartney and Wings released the single “Seaside Woman” under the pseudonym Suzy and the Red Stripes in the US. It the first song Linda McCartney wrote by herself and was written in 1971 in response to lawsuit against her husband Paul McCartney that alleged that her co-writing of Paul’s debut solo single, “Another Day,” was “inauthentic.” Two years later, the single was issued in the UK. Both it and its B-side, “B-side to Seaside,” were later included on Linda McCartney’s posthumous album Wide Prairie.

1977: Beatlemania, a Broadway musical revue that focused on the music of the Beatles as it related to the events of the 1960s, opened at Winter Garden Theatre in Manhattan.

1988: The second single from Morrisey’s debut solo album, “Everyday Is Like Sunday,” was released. It went to #9 on the UK chart and has since become one of his best known songs.

1994: The Church released Sometime Anywhere, the group’s ninth studio album and first without founding member Peter Koppes.

1995: Gary Moore released Blues for Greeny, a tribute album to Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green. Moore used the same 1959 Les Paul Standard guitar used to record the original tracks, which Green had sold to Moore after leaving Fleetwood Mac.

1999: Mike + The Mechanics released their fifth studio album, Mike & The Mechanics. Also known as M6, the LP was the band’s last with founding member Paul Young before his death in 2000.

Birthdays Today

Red Holloway, sax and harmonica player who played with artists like B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Billie Holliday, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, George Benson, and John Mayall, was born in Helena, AR.

Peter Yarrow, singer and songwriter, and member of folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary, was born in Manhattan, NY in 1938.

Augie Meyers, singer, songwriter, musician, founding member of the Sir Douglas Quintet and the Texas Tornados, owner of several record labels, and session player on releases by artists including Bob Dylan, Tom Jones, Tom Waits, and Doug Sahm, was born in San Antonio, TX in 1940.

Wayne Carson, musician, songwriter, and record producer whose most famous songs as a writer include “The Letter,” “Neon Rainbow,” “Soul Deep,” and “Always on My Mind,” was born in Denver, CO in 1943.

Junior Campbell, composer, songwriter, and founding member, lead guitarist, piano player, and singer for Marmalade, was born William Campbell, Jr. in Parkhead, Glasgow, Scotland in 1947.

John Bonham, drummer for Led Zeppelin, was born in Redditch, Worcestershire, England in 1948.

Mike Edwards (aka Swami Deva Pramada), cellist for Electric Light Orchestra, was born in West London, England in 1948.

Karl Bartos, musician, composer, and member of Kraftwerk, was born in Berchtesgaden, West Germany in 1952.

Wendy Smith, singer and guitarist for Prefab Sprout, was born in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, England in 1963.

Steve White, drummer who’s worked extensively with Paul Weller and the Style Council among other groups, was born in Southwark, London, England in 1965.