Today in Rock & Roll History: November 26th

1962: The Beatles, still relatively unknown in the UK, recorded their second single, “Please Please Me,” and its B-side, “Ask Me Why,” at EMI Studios in London. The single was released in Britain the following January.

1965: During a Thanksgiving celebration in a deconsecrated church in Great Barrington, Massachusetts owned by friends of singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie, Ray and Alice Brock, Guthrie and his friends cleaned out the church, and since the landfill was closed, dropped the trash over a cliff where other locals had done the same. The next day, Guthrie was arrested for littering, and as a result, was rejected from the military draft board due to his criminal record. The events were immortalized two years later when Guthrie wrote what became his most beloved song, “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree.” The 18-minute composition takes up the entire A-side of Guthrie’s debut album, titled “Alice’s Restaurant,” inspired a 1969 film of the same name, and it has since become a tradition for radio stations to play the song each Thanksgiving.

1965: The Kinks released their third studio LP, The Kink Kontroversy. The album’s title mocked the reputation the band had developed over previous years after onstage fights and concert riots in Europe led to a ban on Kinks concerts in the US. The album was a transitional one for the group, including elements of their early blues-influenced style and early indications of the future direction of Ray Davies’ songwriting style. It was also the first Kinks album issued in the US by Reprise Records that was identical to the UK version.

1966: Wilson Pickett’s version of Mack Rice’s “Mustang Sally” entered the Billboard Hot 100. Pickett’s version climbed to #23 on the Hot 100 and also reached #6 on the R&B chart.

1966: Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels’ cover of William “Mickey” Stevenson’s “Devil With a Blue Dress On” peaked at #4 on Billboard Hot 100. Written by soul singer Shorty Long, Stevenson’s recording had failed to chart. Two years later, Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels recorded the song as a medley with an original arrangement of Little Richard’s “Good Golly, Miss Molly.” Their more uptempo version ended up becoming their most well-known and highest charting hit in the US.

1966: “I’m Losing You” by the Temptations entered the Billboard R&B chart, where it became the group’s fourth straight #1.

1968: Cream played their Farewell Concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall to a crowd of over 10,000 fans. The opening acts for the show were the newly formed progressive rock band Yes and Irish blues rock band Taste.

1973: The New York Dolls made their live debut at the Big Biba Rainbow Room in London.

1989: MTV aired the debut episode of their Unplugged program, featuring British group Squeeze along with solo artist Syd Straw and Elliot Easton of the Cars.

1994: The Eagles started two weeks at the top of the Billboard pop chart with Hell Freezes Over, the band’s second live album and first after a fourteen-year break-up.

Birthdays Today

Tina Turner, singer-songwriter, dancer, and actress, was born Anna Mae Bullock in Nutbush, TN in 1939.

David White, singer-songwriter and founding member of Danny and the Juniors who wrote “Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay” and co-wrote a number of other hits, including “At the Hop,” “You Don’t Own Me,” and “1-2-3,” was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1939.

Davey Graham, guitarist and one of the most influential figures in the 1960s British folk revival who inspired many fingerstyle acoustic guitarists such as Bert Jansch, Wizz Jones, John Renbourn, Martin Carthy, John Martyn, Paul Simon, and Jimmy Page, was born David Michael Gordon Graham in Market Bosworth, Leicestershire, England in 1940.

Amos Garrett, musician, guitarist, singer, composer, and musical arranger who has recorded with over 150 artists including Maria Muldaur, Stevie Wonder, Todd Rundgren, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, and Bonnie Raitt, was born in Detroit, MI in 1941.

Alan Henderson, bassist and founding member of Them, was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1944.

Jean Terrell, R&B and jazz singer who replaced Diana Ross as the lead singer of The Supremes in 1970, was born in Belzoni, MS in 1944.

John McVie, bassist with Fleetwood Mac as well as John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, was born in Ealing, London, England in 1945.

Gayle McCormick, singer best known as a member of Smith, was born in St. Louis, MO in 1948.