Today in Rock & Roll History: November 30th

1964: Gary Lewis recorded “This Diamond Ring.” Co-written by Al Kooper, Bob Brass, and Irwin Levine, the song climbed to #1 in the US the following January. Although the song is credited to Gary Lewis & the Playboys, the music was actually provided by members of the Los Angeles session group known as the Wrecking Crew, and Lewis’ voice was heavily mixed with those of Ron Hicklin.

1966: The Yardbirds officially announced that Jeff Beck had left the band, leaving Jimmy Page as sole guitarist in the group, within which Page would plant the seeds of Led Zeppelin. Beck went on to form the Jeff Beck Group with guitarist Ronnie Wood and vocalist Rod Stewart.

1968: “Everyday People” by Sly and the Family Stone entered Billboard Hot 100, on its way to becoming the group’s first #1 record in February of 1969.

1968: The Rolling Stones’ quasi documentary, One Plus One, directed by Jean-Luc Godard, was released in the UK. The film features several uninterrupted shots of the band in London’s Olympic Sound Studios recording and re-recording various parts of “Sympathy for the Devil” along with the vivid dissolution of band member Brian Jones. Additional footage includes politically charged imagery and scenes referencing the political unrest at the time. The film was released in the US April 22, 1969 under the name Sympathy for the Devil and with an altered ending, both changes made by producer Ian Quarrier.

1968: The self-titled second album by Traffic entered the Billboard pop chart. Early that year, after the successful release of the band’s debut LP, Mr. Fantasy, Dave Mason had left the group while Traffic went on tour. In May, Mason was invited back to record the next album but despite writing half of the album’s songs, he made little contribution to those written by Jim Capaldi and Steve Winwood. By October of 1968, Mason had once again left the band, but returned for a tour and a live album in 1971.

1969: The Simon and Garfunkel television special Songs of America, directed by Charles Grodin, aired on CBS. The program had a very political tone, featuring new clips of labor activist Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers, the Poor People’s Campaign’s march on Washington, and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Robert F. Kennedy. It was also the broadcast debut of the title song from the duo’s upcoming album Bridge Over Troubled Water. Originally sponsored by Bell Telephone, executives at the company balked when they saw the finished product, allegedly claiming it featured too many Democrats. Simon & Garfunkel afterward struck a deal with CBS to air the program.

1969: The Monkees performed the penultimate show of their 1969 tour at the Oakland Coliseum in California. Michael Nesmith announced plans for a new band while Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz vowed to performing as the Monkees. Almost seventeen years later, the original four members played together again live for the group’s 20th anniversary tour.

1979: Pink Floyd’s double album, The Wall, was released. Conceived of by bassist Roger Waters, the rock opera explores the self-imposed isolation of a jaded rockstar, which Waters modeled after himself and former bandmate Syd Barrett. It was the band’s last album as a quartet. Keyboardist Richard Wright was fired by Waters during production, but stayed on as a salaried musician.

1985: English band The Dream Academy debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with what became their biggest hit single, “Live in a Northern Town,” which had been written as an elegy to British folk musician Nick Drake, who died in 1974. The song reached #7 on the Hot 100, #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and peaked at #15 on the UK chart.

Birthdays Today

Allan Sherman, comedy writer, television producer, singer, and actor best known for his hit single, ”Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh,” was born Allan Copelon in Chicago, IL in 1924.

Dick Clark, radio and television personality and host of “American Bandstand,” a program that gave many new music artists their first exposure to national audiences, was born Richard Wagstaff Clark in Mount Vernon, NY in 1929.

Bob Moore, session bassist and member of the Nashville A-Team session group who recorded and performed with Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Pasty Cline, Bob Dylan, Jerry Lee Lewis, Brenda Lee, Moby Grape, and others, was born in Nashville, TN in 1932.

Luther Ingram, R&B and soul singer-songwriter, was born in Jackson, TN in 1937.

Rob Grill, bassist, lead singer, producer, and manager for the Grass Roots, was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1943.

Leo Lyons, bassist for Ten Years After, was born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England in 1943.

Roger Glover, songwriter and bassist for Deep Purple, was born in Brecon, Powys, Wales in 1945.

Shuggie Otis, singer-songwriter, recording artist, and multi-instrumentalist, was born Johnny Alexander Veliotes Jr. in Los Angeles, CA in 1953.

June Pointer, singer and youngest of the founding members of the Pointer Sisters, was born in Oakland, CA in 1953.

David Sancious, multi-instrumentalist and early member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, was born in Asbury Park, NJ in 1953.

George McArdle, bassist with the Little River Band, was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1954.

Billy Idol, singer, songwriter, member of Generation X, and a solo artist, was born William Michael Albert Broad in Stanmore, Middlesex, England in 1955.

John Aston, guitarist for the Psychedelic Furs, was bornin Forest Gate, London, England in 1957.

Murray Attaway, lead singer and guitarist for Guadalcanal Diary, was born in Atlanta, GA in 1957.