Today in Rock & Roll History: May 8th

1962: “Soldier’s Plea” by Marvin Gaye was released. It was his last non-charting single before achieving his first hit, “Stubborn Kind of Fellow,” and was later included on his 1963 LP That Stubborn Kind of Fellow.

1962: The Supremes released “Your Heart Belongs to Me,” the third single from their debut album, Meet the Supremes. 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.

1962: “Having a Party” by Sam Cooke was released with “Bring It On Home to Me” as the single’s B-side. Produced by Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore, the A-side was recorded in a party-like atmosphere, as several friends were invited to the session.

1965: The video for Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” was filmed in an alley behind the Savoy Hotel in London. Dylan is shown hoisting up cue cards corresponding to the song’s lyrics, which were written by folk artist Donovan, Dylan associate Bob Neuwirth, beat poet Allen Ginsberg, and Dylan himself. Both Ginsberg and Neuwirth are also visible behind Dylan. Shot by filmmaker D. A. Pennebaker, the video also served as the opening to 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 a project titled Get Back, 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 released their second studio album, ABC.

1971: “It’s Too Late” backed with “I Feel The Earth Move” by Carole King, the first single from her second studio album, Tapestry, 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 released their thirteenth studio album, Preservation: Act 2.

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

1985: The Beach Boys released “Getcha Back,” the lead single from the group’s twenty-fifth self-titled studio album and their first release after the death of drummer and co-founder Dennis Wilson.

1987: Diana Ross released Red Hot Rhythm & Blues, her seventeenth studio album and last of six albums released by RCA.

1989: Burlington, Vermont band Phish released their debut studio album, Junta. The album was was initially self-released without the support of a record label, and 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 tour with drummer and vocalist Phil Collins’ until they 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.

1995: Elton John released “Made in England,” the title track and second single from his twenty-fourth studio album.

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.

Jon Mark, singer-songwriter and guitarist, best known for his recordings with Marianne Faithfull, Sweet Thursday, John Mayall and Mark-Almond, was born Jon Michael Biurchell in Falmouth, Cornwall, 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.

Henry Priestman, singer, keyboardist, record producer, songwriter, co-founder of It’s Immaterial and member of The Yachts and The Christians, was born in Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England in 1955.

Martha Wainwright, singer-songwriter and daughter of Loundon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, was born in Montreal, Quebec in 1976.

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