Today in Rock & Roll History: May 5th

1956: Elvis Presley’s self-titled debut album became the first rock and roll album to reach the top of the Billboard chart, starting ten weeks at #1.

1958: Dion and the Belmonts released their second single, “I Wonder Why.” It became the group’s first national pop chart hit, reaching #22 on the Billboard Top 100.

1962: Peter, Paul & Mary debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Lemon Tree.”

1962: The Shirelles had their second of two #1 singles on the Billboard R&B chart with “Soldier Boy.”

1963: The Beatles’s debut album, Please Please Me, reached the top of the UK chart, where it stayed for thirty consecutive weeks. It was displaced by the band’s follow-up LP, With The Beatles, which led the chart for a further twenty-one weeks.

1965: Keyboardist Alan Price left The Animals. He was temporarily replaced by Mick Gallagher, and his position was later permanently filled by Dave Rowberry. Price had left the group due to personal and musical differences as well as his fear of flying while on tour. After leaving The Animals, he went on to a successful career as a solo artist and with The Alan Price Set. He also rejoined The Animals when the band reformed in 1975-1976 and 1983.

1966: Marvin Gaye released “Take This Heart of Mine,” the fourth single from his seventh studio album, Moods of Marvin Gaye.

1967: The Jimi Hendrix Experience released their third UK single, “The Wind Cries Mary.” According to producer Chas Chandler, the song was recorded in about twenty minutes at the end of a recording session for “Fire.” Drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding had never rehearsed the song, and after playing it once, Hendrix added several additional overdubs.

1967: The Kinks released “Waterloo Sunset,” the band’s first single in true stereo. Later that year, it was featured on their fifth studio album, Something Else by the Kinks.

1967: The Moody Blues released “Fly Me High” from their second album, Days of Future Passed.

1968: Buffalo Springfield played their last live concert in Long Beach, California. After the show, guitarist and vocalist Neil Young left the group for the final time. 43 years later, at the annual Bridge School Benefit in 2011, surviving members Young, Stephen Stills, and Richie Furay reunited for two concerts, followed by a brief tour that culminated in a performance at that year’s Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee.

1968: Two days after her eighteenth birthday, singer Mary Hopkin appeared on UK talent show Opportunity Knocks. British model Twiggy saw Hopkin’s performance and suggested to Paul McCartney that she sign with the Beatles’ Apple Records. McCartney later produced her first single with the label, “Those Were The Days,” a song previously offered to both Donovan and the Moody Blues. Five weeks after recording, the record went to #1 on the UK chart and #2 in the US. It was Hopkin’s only #1 and first of four top 10 hits.

1969: Nearly a month after its release in the UK, the Beatles’ single “Get Back” was issued in the US. Credited to the Beatles and Billy Preston, it is the only time an additional artist was attributed to a Beatles release. The record was also the group’s first US single released in true stereo rather than mono—a growing trend in music that was fully adopted by the Beatles by the end of the year. “Get Back” began its twelve-week chart run five days later, and two weeks later it went to #1, where it remained for five weeks.

1971: The Rascals released their eighth studio album, Peaceful World. Vocalist Eddie Brigati and guitarist Gene Cornish had left the band in 1970, and Peaceful World was the first album released by the group’s new lineup with original members Felix Cavaliere and Dino Danelli, and several new members, including former Paul Butterfield Blues Band guitarist Buzz Feiten and vocalist Annie Sutton. After six years with Atlantic Records, it was also the band’s first release with the Columbia label.

1971: The US Federal Communications Commission, convinced that a growing number of popular songs contained coded drug-related messages directed at children, issued a public notice warning radio station program directors to not to air songs with possible drug references. Such songs included Brewer and Shipley’s “One Toke Over the Line,” Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” and the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” Many disc jockeys were surprised by the notice, noting that by their observation, many groups were actually putting out anti-drug songs. The FCC, unable to explicitly define what constituted a reference to drugs and facing criticism for an encroachment on the freedom of artistic expression, opted to leave the judgment up to individual broadcasters. Nicholas Johnson, the only FCC commissioner to vote against the decision, claimed the ruling wasn’t about drugs, but was an attempt by president Richard Nixon’s administration to crack down on dissent. Johnson referenced a briefing from the Defense Department that “used a lot of of lyrics that aren’t talking about drugs at all—they’re anti-war songs or songs attacking the commercial standards of society, the standards of conspicuous consumption.”

1972: The Bickershaw Festival began in Wigan, Lancashire, England, featuring performances by the Grateful Dead, Dr. John, Donovan, The Kinks, Captain Beefhart, Hawkwind, America, Country Joe MacDonald, Wishbone Ash, New Riders of the Purple Sage, the Incredible String Band, Brinsley Schwarz, Maynard Ferguson, and the Flamin Groovies. Additional non-musical acts included Cheech and Chong, high divers, and clowns. Rain throughout most of the three-day festival and inadequate security led the concert site to be awash with mud and there was little semblance of organization, with locals wandering freely to see the show. Despite being a financially unsuccessful venture for its organizers, among the audience members were future Clash co-founder Joe Strummer, who reportedly said it was his favorite concert, and Elvis Costello who, after witnessing a five-hour set by the Grateful Dead, convinced himself that he should start a band.

1973: Michael Jackson released “With a Child’s Heart,” the first single from his third studio album, Music & Me.

1973: Elvis Presley went to the top of the Billboard pop album chart with Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite. Presley’s first chart-topping album in the US since the soundtrack to Roustabout in 1965, the album contains all the live performances from the television special of Presley’s concert of the same name, which was broadcast live via satellite across the globe in January. It was Presley’s second double album, his last #1 LP during his lifetime, and the first album to reach the top of the Billboard chart released in quadraphonic sound.

1974: The band Television appeared at New York’s CBGB club. Making their first appearance at the venue was supporting act the Stillettoes, who later became known as Blondie.

1974: Billy Preston’s ninth album, The Kids & Me, was released following his tour of Europe. The album was dedicated to St. Elmo’s Village, an inner-city children’s recreation center, located in mid-city Los Angeles.

1978: Peter Gabriel released “D.I.Y.,” the lead single from his second self-titled solo album commonly referred to as Scratch.

1978: Bob Seger released Stranger in Town, his tenth studio album and second with the Silver Bullet Band. Like his previous album Night Moves, the Silver Bullet Band backed Seger on roughly half the songs and the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section backed Seger on the other half.

1980: Peter Gabriel released “No Self Control,” the second single from his third eponymous solo studio album often referred to as Melt.

1981: Talking Heads released “Houses in Motion,” the third single from their fourth studio album, Remain in Light.

1981: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released their fourth studio album, Hard Promises.

1981: The Who released “Don’t Let Go The Coat,” the second single from their ninth studio album, Face Dances.

1990: Billy Idol released “Cradle of Love,” the first single from his recently released fourth studio album, Charmed Life. It became one of his biggest hits in the US, reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1990: Nearly ten years after the death of drummer John Bonham, Led Zeppelin reunited to perform a lengthy reunion set at the wedding of Bonham’s son Jason in Kidderminster, England, with the groom taking his father’s place behind the drums. The immediate chemistry inspired an additional reunion performance at the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert in December 2007.

1992: The Neville Brothers released their sixth studio album, Family Groove.

1992: Radiohead’s first commercial release, an EP titled Drill, consisting of demos recorded at the Courtyard Studio in Oxon, England, was released by Parlophone Records. At the time, the band was still called “On a Friday” and adopted the name “Radiohead” a month later.

1996: Steve Earle released his sixth studio album, I Feel Alright.

1997: Paul McCartney released his tenth solo studio album, Flaming Pie. It was McCartney’s first studio album in over four years and was mostly recorded after his involvement in the Beatles Anthology project.

2003: Jack Bruce’s sixth studio album, Jet Set Jewel, was released. The album had been recorded in 1978, but was rejected by Polydor Records as uncommercial. It wasn’t until 2003 when Bruce campaigned for the reissue of his previous work that the LP was released by Polydor.

2004: The Zombies released their fourth studio album and first since 1991, As Far As I Can See….

Birthdays Today

Blind Willie McTell, prolific blues and ragtime singer and guitarist who influenced future artists such as the Allman Brothers Band, Bob Dylan, Taj Mahal, Chris Smither, and Jack White, was born William Samuel McTier in Thomas, GA in 1898.

Marshall Grant, bassist for Johnny Cash’s original backing band, The Tennessee Two, and later the Tennessee Three, as well as Cash’s road manager, was born in Bryson City, NC in 1928.

Johnnie Taylor, R&B, soul, blues, and gospel singer, was born in Crawfordsville, AR in 1934.

Ace Cannon, rockabilly saxophonist, was born in Grenada, MS in 1934.

Delia Derbyshire, pioneering electronic musician and composer who influenced many future artists, was born in Coventry, Warickshire, England in 1937.

Jim King, musician, singer, and original member of Family, was born in Alec Woodburn in Kettering, Northamptonshire, England in 1942.

Maggie MacNeal, solo artist and half of the duo Mouth & MacNeal, was born in Tilburg, Netherlands in 1950.

Ian McCulloch, singer-songwriter and frontman for Echo & the Bunnymen, was born in Liverpool, England in 1959.

Kevin Mooney, bassist and guitarist with Adam and the Ants and Sinéad O’Connor, was born in Greenwich, England in 1962.

Adele, singer-songwriter, was born Adele Laurie Blue Adkins in Tottenham, London, England in 1988.