Today in Rock & Roll History: November 23rd

1899: The first jukebox was installed at Palais Royal Hotel in San Francisco.

1936: Robert Johnson created the template for electric blues, a precursor of rock and roll, in Room 414 of the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, Texas, recording ten tracks that have since inspired generations of blues enthusiasts: “Kind Hearted Woman Blues,” “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom,” “Ramblin’ on My Mind,” “When You Got a Good Friend,” “Come on in My Kitchen,” “Terraplane Blues,” “Phonograph Blues,” and “Sweet Home Chicago.”

1963: Jimmy Gilmer & the Fireballs went to the top of Billboard’s R&B chart with their biggest hit and only #1 single, “Sugar Shack.” It was the final week before Billboard temporarily ceased publishing their R&B chart. No official reason was given, but it was suspected that the methodology for producing the chart was being questioned since an increasing number of Caucasian acts were topping the chart in addition to an abundance of crossover hits between the R&B chart and the Hot 100 pop chart, leading to both charts being too similar. Fourteen months later, Billboard resumed publication of their R&B chart in late January of 1965. Some publications have referenced Cash Box magazine’s in their place.

1964: The Beatles released “I Feel Fine” backed with “She’s a Woman” in the US. Four days later the single was issued in the UK. One of the first uses of guitar feedback in popular music, Lennon had written the guitar riff while in the studio recording “Eight Days a Week.” Both John Lennon and George Harrison said that the riff had been influenced by a 1961 Bobby Parker song called “Watch Your Step,” which the Beatles had covered in concert in 1961 and 1962. Paul McCartney also said the drums on “I Feel Fine” had been inspired by Ray Charles’ 1959 single, “What’d I Say.”

1964: The Rolling Stones were banned from the BBC for “unprofessionalism” after showing up late for appearances on radio shows Top Gear and Saturday Club.

1968: “Love Child” by Diana Ross and the Supremes became the group’s eleventh #1 pop single in the US when it topped the Cash Box chart. A week later the song also reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

1968: After recording their debut album, Led Zeppelin signed to the Atlantic Records label. The band’s manager, Peter Grant, had flown to New York City with the album’s master tapes and along with Jimmy Page, met with Atlantic president Ahmet Ertegun and his partner, Jerry Wexler. Unbeknownst to Grant, English singer Dusty Springfield had already put in a good word for the band to Wexler, who had produced Springfield’s “Dusty in Memphis” the previous month. Springfield was a friend of Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, who had previously been a member of her tour band. Ertegun offered Grant and the group a five year deal with a $200,000 advance, an unheard of amount of money for a group that no one had even heard yet. Led Zeppelin stayed with Atlantic for their entire career and Ertegun became a close friend to each member of the group. Ertegun later inducted the band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and after Ertegun’s death in 2006, Led Zeppelin reformed for one night to perform at a tribute concert for Ertegun in 2007.

1970: George Harrison’s first solo single, “My Sweet Lord,” was released by Apple Records. The song became the first #1 single by a former Beatle in the US and UK and was the biggest-selling UK single of 1971. Harrison had originally given the song to fellow Apple Records artist Billy Preston, who included it on his Encouraging Words album earlier in September.

1970: Cat Stevens released his fourth album, Tea for the Tillerman. Containing some of his best-known songs such as “Wild World” and “Father and Son,” it became Stevens’ breakthrough hit in the US. It was his first LP to enter the top 100 in the US, making it all the way to #8, and was followed by four albums that all reached the top three.

1989: Paul McCartney began the North American leg of his first North American tour since 1976 with the first of several shows a the Forum in Inglewood, CA.

1991: Genesis topped the UK chart with We Can’t Dance, their fourteenth studio album and fifth #1 LP.

Birthdays Today

Betty Everett, soul singer and pianist best known for her biggest hit single, “Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss),” was born in Greenwood, MS in 1939.

Bruce Hornsby, keyboardist, singer, and songwriter, was born in Williamsburg, VA in 1954.

Chris Bostock, bassist, keyboardist, songwriter, and producer known for his work with groups that include JoBoxers, Dave Stewart and the Spiritual Cowboys, The Stingrays, The Style Council, Shakespears Sister, and The Rhythm Sisters, was born in Bristol, England in 1962.

Ken Block, lead singer and guitarist of Sister Hazel, was born in Gainesville, FL in 1966.