Today in Rock & Roll History: May 8th

1961: “Your Heart Belongs To Me” by The Supremes was released. Written by Smokey Robinson, it was the last single recorded by the group as a quartet and became their first record to chart on Billboard’s Hot 100 pop chart.

1965: The video for Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” was filmed in an alley behind the Savoy Hotel in London. The famous clip shows Dylan hoisting up cue cards corresponding to the song’s politicized lyrics, which had reportedly been painted by fellow folk singer Joan Baez and Animals keyboard player Alan Price. The video also served as the opening to filmmaker D. A. Pennebaker’s 1967 documentary of Dylan’s first tour of England, Don’t Look Back.

1965: The Guess Who debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Shakin’ All Over.”

1967: Gerry and the Pacemakers announced they were splitting up, feeling they could no longer keep pace with the rapidly changing UK rock scene. Gerry Marsden went on to work as an actor and performer in musical theater, and later reformed The Pacemakers with new members in 1972.

1970: The Beatles released their twelfth and final group album Let It Be almost a month after the band had broken up. Originally conceived of as the Get Back project, most of the album had been recorded over a year earlier with the intention of releasing it before the group’s previous album, Abbey Road, and was completed with the help of keyboardist Billy Preston and producer Phil Spector. Within a week, the motion picture of the same name documenting the rehearsing and recording of the album was released in the US. Ten days later, the LP was issued in America.

1970: The Jackson 5’s second album ABC was released.

1971: “It’s Too Late” backed with “I Feel The Earth Move” by Carole King, the first single from her Tapestry album, entered the Billboard Hot 100. Six weeks later the single reached #1.

1972: Billy Preston headlined the first rock concert at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, a benefit program for the Environmental Policy Center.

1974: The Kink’s thirteenth studio album Preservation: Act 2 was released.

1976: During his Rolling Thunder Revue tour, Bob Dylan invited Willie Nelson to share the stage at Texas’s Hofheinz Pavilion. Nelson’s touring band, dubbed the Rolling Smoke Revue, joined the caravan of musicians that included Joan Baez, Roger McGuinn, Ramblin’ Jack Ellitott, T-Bone Burnett, Mick Ronson, and others. Ticket sales for the event were slow due to competition with a pair of John Denver shows and a sold-out concert by Johnny Winter and Weather Report.

1976: Former Lovin’ Spoonful frontman John Sebastian was at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Welcome Back,” his only chart-topping solo hit and only song to enter the US top 40.

1976: The first single from the Steve Miller Band’s Fly Like an Eagle LP, “Take the Money and Run,” entered the US singles charts. The song peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #8 in Canada.

1977: The Grateful Dead played one of their most celebrated shows at Barton Hall at Cornell University in New York. The show became very popular among tape collectors, and on the concert’s 40th anniversary in 2017, a mastered recording was officially released by Rhino Records.

1979: Three Imaginary Boys, the debut album by British alternative rock band the Cure, was released on the Fiction Records label. It was later released in the US with an altered track list as the compilation album Boys Don’t Cry.

1989: The debut studio album by Berlington, Vermont band Phish, Junta, was self-released without the support of a record label. The album received a wider release by Elektra Records when it was reissued on CD in 1992.

1992: Genesis began their We Can’t Dance Tour in Irving, Texas. It was the band’s last full length tour and last with drummer and vocalist Phil Collins’ until the group reunited in 2007 for their Turn It On Again Tour. Live recordings from the We Can’t Dance Tour were later released as the The Way We Walk series of live albums.

2012: Glenn Frey released his fifth and final solo album, After Hours.

Birthdays Today

Robert Johnson, blues singer, songwriter, guitarist and harmonica player whose recordings have influenced generations of musicians, was born in Hazlehurst, MS in 1911.

Ricky Nelson, singer, songwriter, and actor, was born Eric Hilliard Nelson in Teaneck, NJ in 1940.

John Fred, singer, songwriter, and leader of John Fred and his Playboy Band, was born John Fred Gourrier in Baton Rouge, LA in 1941.

Danny Whitten, singer, songwriter, guitarist known for his work as a member of Neil Young’s backing band Crazy Horse and for writing the song “I Don’t Want to Talk About it,” a hit for Rod Stewart and Everything But the Girl, was born in Columbus, GA in 1943.

Paul Samwell-Smith, bassist, engineer, co-producer, and co-founder of the Yardbirds who went solo 1966 and worked as a producer with Cat Stevens, Jethro Tull, Carly Simon, Renaissance, and many others, was born in Richmond, Surrey, England in 1943.

Bill Legend, drummer for T. Rex from 1971-1973, was born in Barking, Essex, England in 1944.

Keith Jarrett, jazz, fusion, and classical composer, solo artist, and band leader, was born in Allentown, PA in 1945.

Phillip Bailey, songwriter, percussionist, and one of the lead singers for Earth, Wind & Fire, was born in Denver, CO in 1951.

Chris Frantz, drummer, producer, and co-founder of Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club, was born in Fort Campbell, KY in 1951.

Billy Burnette, guitarist, singer, songwriter, and a member of Fleetwood Mac from 1987-1995, was born Dorsey William Burnette III in Memphis, TN in 1953.

Joe Bonamassa, guitarist, singer, and songwriter, was born in New Hardford, NY in 1977.