Today in Rock & Roll History: May 9th

1962: Beatles manager Brian Epstein met with the head of A&R for EMI’s Parlophone Records, George Martin, for the second time and once again played him some material by the Beatles. Martin wasn’t overly impressed, but agreed to provisionally sign the group given Epstein’s enthusiasm and on the condition that the band attend an audition early the following month at EMI’s London studios. The audition lead to the band getting their first recording contract.

1964: Louie Armstrong had his only #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Hello, Dolly!.”

1965: Bob Dylan performed the first of two sold-out shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall to conclude his ten day tour of Europe. Audience members on opening night included the Beatles and Donovan.

1966: The Doors played at Hollywood’s Whiskey a-Go-Go for the first time. The club’s talent agent, Ronnie Harran, had seen the band perform at the London Fog and invited them to audition at the Whiskey a-Go-Go. The Doors went on the become the venue’s house band throughout the rest of the summer.

1969: Diana Ross & The Supremes released “No Matter What Sign You Are,” the third single from their sixteenth studio album, Let the Sunshine In. Written by Berry Gordy, Jr. and Henry Crosby, the song was intended to be the group’s final single before the departure of Diana Ross, but it failed to meet Gordy’s expectations when it didn’t reach the top 20. As with most singles credited to Diana Ross & the Supremes, backing vocals were provided by session singers rather than Supremes members Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong.

1969: After a day of mixing at Olympic Sound Studios in London, the Beatles ended up arguing after John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr attempted to persuade Paul McCartney to sign a contract officially appointing Allen Klein as Apple Record’s financial manager. Lennon, Harrison, and Starr had all signed the contract the day before and McCartney was the lone hold out. The session ended with everyone but McCartney walking out of the studio. Later that night, Steve Miller happened to come by the studio and asked McCartney if he could use the space. Together they recorded “My Dark Hour” for Miller’s upcoming Brave New World album, with McCartney playing drums as well as contributing backing vocals, guitar, and bass. On the album, McCartney is credited with the alias “Paul Ramon.” Klein was eventually given a three year contract as the Beatles business manager, with the other three Beatles out-voting McCartney. The disagreement was one of the factors that contributed to band’s breakup.

1969: George Harrison released Electronic Sound, his second studio album and last of two LPs issued on the Beatles’ short-lived Zapple record label, an Apple Records subsidiary specializing in avant-garde music. The album comprises two lengthy pieces performed on a Moog 3-series synthesizer and was one of the first electronic music albums by a rock musician. Harrison subsequently introduced the Moog to the Beatles’ sound, and the instrument was first used by the band on their 1969 album Abbey Road.

1969: John Lennon and Yoko Ono released Unfinished Music No. 2: Life with the Lions, the second of three experimental albums of avant-garde music. The LP was released in the US two weeks later.

1970: “Ride Captain Ride” by Tampa band Blues Image entered the Billboard Hot 100. It was the group’s first of two singles to enter the chart and reached #4 in both the US and Canada.

1970: The Guess Who achieved their only #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US with “American Woman” backed with “No Sugar Tonight.”

1975: Arrows released their fourth single, “Broken Down Heart.” On the record’s flip side was a song written by lead singer Alan Merrill titled “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” which was soon after re-recorded and flipped to A-side status on subsequent pressings. Merrill said he wrote the song as “a knee-jerk response to the Rolling Stones’ ‘It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)’.” It’s success earned the band a weekly UK television series and was a hit for several other artists, most notably Joan Jett and the Blackhearts in 1982.

1980: Genesis released “Duchess,” the second single from their tenth studio album, Duke.

1984: Bruce Springsteen released “Dancing in the Dark,” the lead single from his seventh studio album, Born in the U.S.A..

1986: The Rolling Stones released “One Hit (To the Body),” the second single from their eighteenth British and twentieth American studio album, Dirty Work.

1989: Cyndi Lauper released her third studio album, A Night to Remember.

1989: John Mellencamp released Big Daddy, his tenth studio album and last released under the name John Cougar Mellencamp.

1994: The Pretenders released their sixth album, Last of the Independents. Most of the LP is performed by Chrissie Hynde and guitarist Adam Seymour in conjunction with a rotating series of musicians on bass and drums that include Andy Rourke, Ian Stanley, and Robbie McIntosh. The album also marked the official return of drummer Martin Chambers, who had been fired by Hynde eight years prior.

1995: Elvis Costello released Kojak Variety, a covers album featuring songs by artists such as Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Bob Dylan, Mose Allison, Randy Newman, Little Richard, Jesse Winchester, and Ray Davies.

1998: Brian Wilson performed his first solo concert at the Norris Cultural Center in St. Charles, Illinois.

2006: Paul Simon released his eleventh solo studio album, Surprise.

2011: The Zombies released their fifth studio album, Breathe Out, Breathe In. The band recorded their first music video since the group’s original formation in 1961 for the track “Any Other Way.”

Birthdays Today

Nokie Edwards, guitarist and bassist for the Ventures, was born Nole Floyd Edwards in Lahoma, OK in 1935.

Sonny Curtis, singer, songwriter, guitarist and vocalist for the Crickets, was born in Meadow, TX in 1937.

Dave Prater, baritone and tenor singer for soul duo Sam & Dave, was born in Ocilla, GA in 1937.

John Hawken, keyboardist and session musician who has played with The Nashville Teens, Renaissance, Spooky Tooth, Third World War, Vinegar Joe, Strawbs, and Illusion, was born in Bournemouth, England in 1940.

Danny Rapp, lead singer for Danny & the Juniors, was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1941.

Pete Birrell, bassist for Freddie and the Dreamers, was born in Manchester, England in 1941.

Tommy Roe, pop singer-songwriter, was born in Atlanta, GA in 1942.

Mike Millward, guitarist for The Fourmost, was born in Bromborough, Birkenhead, England in 1942.

Bruce Milner, keyboardist for Every Mother’s Son, was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1943.

Don Dannemann, lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the Cyrkle, was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1944.

Richie Furay, singer, songwriter, guitarist, and founding member of Buffalo Springfield, Poco, and the Souther–Hillman–Furay Band, was born Paul Richard Furay in Yellow Springs, OH in 1944.

Steve Katz, guitarist, singer, record producer, and original member of Blood, Sweat & Tears, the Blues Project, and American Flyer, was born in New York City in 1945.

Bob Margolin, electric blues guitarist, was born in Brookline, MA in 1949.

Billy Joel, singer-songwriter and pianist, was born William Martin Joel in the Bronx, NY in 1949.

Tom Petersson, bassist for Cheap Trick, was born in Rockford, IL in 1950.

John “Rhino” Edwards, bass guitarist who’s worked with Peter Green, Climax Blues Band, Dexys Midnight Runners, and Status Quo, was born in Chiswick, London, England in 1953.

David Gahan, singer-songwriter, lead singer for Depeche Mode, and solo artist, was born David Callcott in Epping, Essex, England in 1962.

Paul Heaton, singer-songwriter, frontman for the Housemartins, and founder of the Beautiful South, was born in Bromborough, Cheshire, England in 1962.

Paul McGuigan, bassist and founding member of Oasis, was born in Manchester, England in 1971.