Today in Rock & Roll History: November 24th

1958: “16 Candles” by The Crests entered the Billboard singles charts. It later became the group’s first and biggest hit record, reaching #2 on the pop charts, and #4 on the R&B chart.

1958: Richie Valens’ second single from his self-titled debut album, “Donna” back with “La Bamba,” entered the Billboard pop singles chart. The A-side became Valens’ first top 10 hit, reaching #2 on both the Billboard and Cash Box charts.

1961: Chicago blues legend Howlin’ Wolf made his first appearance in the UK for his first European tour, promoting his latest single, “Little Baby.”

1964: The Who, previously known as “The High Numbers,” performed their first gig under their new name at London’s Marquee Club, kicking off a 16-week residency at the venue.

1966: With touring behind them, the Beatles began work on their eighth album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, keen to utilize the recording studio to its fullest potential. The first song recorded was John Lennon’s “Strawberry Fields Forever,” which later incorporated vocal and instrumental overdubs and speed-altering tape effects.

1973: Ringo Starr achieved his first solo #1 single in the US with “Photograph,” a song he’d co-written with fellow Beatles bandmate George Harrison and the only song officially credited to the pair. The record was Starr’s third top 10 hit in the UK, reaching #8.

1974: As the newly-formed Jefferson Starship wrapped up their 1974 tour at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom, former Jefferson Airplane member Marty Balin, who had disassociated himself from the band in 1971, joined them onstage to sing “Caroline,” a song Balin had written with Paul Kantner earlier that year. By the following year, Balin had joined the group with his old bandmates and their next LP, Red Octopus, later became the group’s only to reach #1.

1975: An article in Newsweek Magazine about the sinking of American shipping freighter the SS Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior during a storm inspired Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot to write “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” Released three years later, the song topped the Canadian charts, reached #1 on the US Cash Box chart, and #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it Lightfoot’s second most successful single behind “Sundown.” Lightfoot reportedly considers the song to be his finest work.

Birthdays Today

Tommy Allsup, session guitarist and member of Buddy Holly’s “touring” Crickets, who also worked with Bob Willis, Ritchie Valens, the Big Bopper, Roy Orbison, and Willie Nelson, was born in Owasso, OK in 1931.

Jim Yester, guitarist, vocalist, and keyboardist with The Association, was born in Birmingham, AL in 1939.

Donald “Duck” Dunn, bassist and session musician for Stax Records house band Booker T. and the M.G.’s, who played on thousands of records by countless artists, was born in Memphis, TN in 1941.

Pete Best, first drummer for the Beatles from 1960-1962, who later started the Pete Best Band in 1988 with younger brother Roag, was born Randolph Peter Scanland in Madras, India in 1941.

Richard Tee, pianist, studio musician, singer, arranger, and solo artist who has several hundred studio credits, including singles by artists such as Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, Bill Withers, the O’Jays, George Harrison, Billy Joel, was born Richard Ten Ryk in Brooklyn, NY in 1943.

Robin Williamson, multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and founding member of the Incredible String Band, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1943.

Lee Michaels, singer, songwriter, keyboardist, and organist, was born Michael Olsen in Los Angeles, CA in 1945.

Clem Burke, drummer for Blondie, who has also played with such groups as the Romantics, Pete Townshend, Eurythmics, Dramarama, the Fleshtones, Iggy Pop, Joan Jett, and the Ramones, was born Clement Bozewski in Bayonne, NJ in 1954.