Today in Rock & Roll History: November 12th

1955: Billboard magazine published The Top 100 for the first time. The chart combined all aspects of a single’s performance, such as sales, airplay and jukebox activity, and was based on a point system that typically gave sales more weight than radio airplay. The “Best Sellers In Stores,” “Most Played by Jockeys” and “Most Played in Jukeboxes” charts continued to be published concurrently with the new Top 100 chart.

1964: On his 19th birthday, Neil Young wrote “Sugar Mountain” just after leaving one of his first bands, The Squires.

1965: Marc Bolan, later of T. Rex fame, made his television debut on Britain’s Ready Steady Go!, performing his first single, “The Wizard.” Additional acts on the program included The Small Faces, The Nashville Teens, Tom Jones & Wilson Pickett

1966: Teens on Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip clashed with police over the recent passage of a strict curfew that sought to reduce traffic and loitering. Young people saw it as an infringement of their civil rights, and fliers were distributed along the Strip inviting people to demonstrate later that day. As many as 1,000 demonstrators arrived to protest the aggressive and repressive enforcement of the curfew law. The Sunset Strip curfew riots continued on and off into the early 1970s and inspired Stephen Stills to write the Buffalo Springfield hit, “For What It’s Worth.” Other groups such as the Standells, the Mamas and the Papas, Frank Zappa, and the Monkees also recorded socially conscious songs inspired by the events.

1966: “I’m a Believer” by the Monkees was released, the second single from their second album. The song became the group’s second US #1 as well as an international hit. The single’s B-side “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone,” written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, had been originally recorded by Paul Revere and the Raiders and released as part of their Midnight Ride album earlier that year in May.

1966: The Monkee’s self-titled debut album started a 13-week run at the top of the Billboard pop album chart and ultimately sold over three million copies in three months. It was later knocked off the #1 spot by the Monkee’s second album, More of the Monkees, which stayed at the top for another 18 weeks—the longest of any album by the group.

1966: Johnny Rivers had his first and only US #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Poor Side of Town.” The song marked a transition from the Go Go sound of Rivers’ early hits to a pop-soul style. Background vocals on the song were provided by the Blossoms, lead by Darlene Love.

1976: Queen’s single, “Somebody to Love” was released. It later reached #2 in the UK, #13 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #9 on the Cash Box chart.

1979: Rock Justice, a rock opera produced by Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship member Marty Balin, began a four-day run at the Old Waldorf Club in San Francisco. The production’s story about a rock star who was put in jail for failing to produce a hit for his record company was based on Balin’s experiences and legal fights with former Jefferson Airplane manager, Matthew Katz.

1988: U2 went to #1 on the Billboard pop album chart with their sixth studio album Rattle and Hum, the soundtrack LP to the concert documentary film of the same name.

Birthdays Today

Bob Crewe, singer, songwriter, manager, and record producer, who produced and co-wrote several hits for the Four Seasons with Bob Gaudio, and also wrote successful records for artists that include Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Lesley Gore, Bobby Darin, Roberta Flack, Patti LaBelle, and Michael Jackson, was born in Newark, NJ in 1930.

Mort Shuman, singer, pianist, and songwriter, best known for his collaboration with Doc Pomus, who co-wrote many 1960s rock and roll hits, such as “Viva Las Vegas,” “Little Sister,” “A Teenager in Love,” “This Magic Moment,” “Save The Last Dance For Me,” “(Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame,” and “Sweets for My Sweet”, was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1938.

Ruby Nash Curtis, R&B singer and leader of Ruby and the Romantics, was born in Akron, OH in 1939.

Brian Hyland, singer and musician known for his 1960 novelty hit, “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini”, was born in Woodhaven, Queens, New York City in 1943.

John Walker, singer, songwriter, guitarist, and founder of The Walker Brothers, was born John Joseph Maus in New York City in 1943.

Errol Brown, singer, songwriter, and frontman of Hot Chocolate, was born Lester Errol Brown in Kingston, Jamaica in 1943.

Booker T. Jones, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, record producer, and arranger, best known as the frontman of the Stax record label house band, Booker T. & the M.G.’s, was born in Memphis, TN in 1944.

Neil Young, singer-songwriter, solo artist, and member of Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, was born Neil Percival Young in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1945.

Buck Dharma, guitarist, songwriter, and founding member of Blue Öyster Cult, was born Donald Roeser in Long Island, NY in 1947.

Laurence Juber, session musician and guitarist with Paul McCartney and Wings from 1978-1981, was born in Stepney, East London, England in 1952.

Brix Smith, singer, guitarist, and songwriter with The Fall and The Adult Net, was born Laura Elisse Salenger in 1962.