Today in Rock & Roll History: November 1st

1955: James Brown and the Famous Flames recorded their first demo, performing “Please, Please, Please” at a radio station in Macon, Georgia. The session lead to their signing with King Records, where they re-recorded the song in February the following year, after which it climbed to #6 on the R&B chart.

1962: The Beatles started a two-week residency at the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany. It was the band’s second engagement at the club, and on occasion they shared the bill with Little Richard, whom they’d performed with in Liverpool the previous month.

1963: The Rolling Stones released their second single in UK, “I Wanna Be Your Man,” a song written for them by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

1966: The Doors signed for a month-long engagement at their first New York City gig at the trendy Ondine Discotheque nightclub. The band visited the club for the first time the day before on Halloween, after which they mixed their debut album with producer Paul Rothchild.

1968: George Harrison became the first member of the Beatles to release a solo album in the UK with the soundtrack to the Joe Massot film, Wonderwall. The album was later released in the US in early December.

1969: “Suspicious Minds” by Elvis Prelsey reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Presley’s eighteenth and final US #1 hit during his lifetime.

1969: Creedence Clearwater Revival’s anti-war anthem “Fortunate Son” entered the Billboard Hot 100, later peaking at #3.

1969: “Up On Cripple Creek” by the Band entered the Billboard Hot 100. Four weeks later, the song became their first top 40 hit.

1969: “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” by B.J. Thomas entered the Billboard Hot 100. The song had been written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach for the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and later won a Grammy Award for Best Original Song. Thomas had been recovering from laryngitis, which made his voice sound hoarser than the version that was released as a 7-inch single.

1970: The Beatles’ Abbey Road album spent the first of eight weeks at #1 on the Billboard pop chart. The LP later spent an additional non-consecutive 3 weeks at #1, trading places twice with Led Zeppelin’s second album.

1974: After the departure of bassist Mike de Albuquerque during sessions for Electric Light Orchestra’s Eldorado album, Kelly Groucutt made his debut with the band at the start of their tour in support of the album in Detroit, MI. Groucutt was asked by band leader Jeff Lynne to adopt a stage name since the group had already had a number of members named Michael, Mike, or Mik, so Groucutt decided to go with his school nickname, Kelly.

1975: Jefferson Starship achieved their first and only #1 album with Red Octopus when it hit the top of the Billboard pop chart. It has since become the best-selling album by any incarnation of Jefferson Airplane and its spin-off groups.

1975: Elton John’s first single from his Rock of the Westies LP, “Island Girl,” became his fifth #1 hit in US, staying at the top for the next three weeks. Before the end of the year, the single was certified gold.

1975: Faces played their final show at Labor Temple in Minneapolis, MN. Rod Stewart’s more successful solo career, Ron Wood’s increased involvement with the Rolling Stones, and the group’s lack of enthusiasm culminated in the announcement of their breakup in December.

1983: The Rolling Stones released “Undercover of the Night,” the lead single from their seventeenth British and nineteenth American album, Undercover.

Birthdays Today

Andre Williams, R&B singer and producer who worked artists such as Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, Parliament, Ike & Tina Turner, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, in addition to his solo recordings, was born Zephire Andre Williams in Bessemer, AL in 1936.

Mike Burney, jazz saxophonist and member of Wizzard, was born in Great Barr, Birmingham, England in 1944.

Ric Grech, multi-instrumentalist and bassist for Family, Blind Faith, Traffic, and Ginger Baker’s Air Force, was born Richard Roman Grechko in Bordequx, France in 1946.

Bob Weston, guitarist and member of Fleetwood Mac in the early 1970s, who also recorded and performed with Graham Bond, Long John Baldry, Murray Head, Sandy Denny, and Danny Kirwan, was born in Plymouth, Devon, England in 1947.

David Foster, musician, record producer, composer, songwriter, and arranger who co-founded Airplay (with Jay Graydon), played with Ronnie Hawkins, Chuck Berry, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Boz Scaggs, co-wrote songs for Chicago, and has produced artists that include Chaka Khan, Chicago, Rod Stewart, Barbara Streisand, and Whitney Houston, was born in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada in 1949.

Dan Peek, musician and member of America, was born in Panama City, FL in 1950.

Beau Jocque, Creole zydeco musician and songwriter, was born Andrus J. Espre in Kinder, LA in 1953.

Lyle Lovett, singer-songwriter, actor, and producer, was born in Klein, TX in 1957.

Eddie MacDonald, bass player with the Alarm, was born in St. Asaph, Wales in 1959.

Anthony Kiedis, Red Hot Chili Peppers lead singer and songwriter, was born in Grand Rapids, MI in 1962.

Magne “Mags” Furuholmen, songwriter, keyboardist, guitarist, and bassist for A-ha, was born in Oslo, Norway in 1962.