Today in Rock & Roll History: October 20th

1956: “Love Me Tender” by Elvis Presley debuted at #2 on the Billboard “Best Sellers in Stores” chart. It was the first time a single debuted at the #2 position and made a comparable splash on County & Western chart, reaching #9, and R&B chart, where it went to #10.

1960: Roy Orbison topped UK singles chart with “Only the Lonely” after reaching the #2 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US earlier in July.

1961: Elvis Presley released his fourth soundtrack album, Blue Hawaii. It was issued a month before the release of the film of the same name, which also starred Presley, and spent twenty weeks at the top of Billboard’s Top Pop LPs chart.

1962: Peter, Paul and Mary’s self-titled debut album went to #1 on the Billboard pop chart.

1962: “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Borris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The record was a spoof on contemporary dance crazes such as the Twist and Mashed Potato and featured Pickett’s impressions of veteran horror stars Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi.

1962: “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by The Four Seasons entered the Billboard Hot 100. It became their second consecutive #1 hit, spending five weeks at the top.

1962: Marvin Gaye first entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart with “Stubborn Kind of Fellow.” The single reached #46 on the pop chart and #8 on the R&B chart.

1962: The Contours topped the Billboard R&B chart with their only #1 record, “Do You Love Me.” It was also the group’s highest charting single on the pop charts, where it peaked at #3.

1964: The Yardbirds released their version of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Good Morning, School Girl.” The record was the follow-up to their debut single, “I Wish You Would”—a song that had originated with another Chicago blues artist, Billy Boy Arnold.

1965: The Beatles recorded “We Can Work It Out” during sessions for their “Rubber Soul” album. With nearly eleven hours dedicated to the song, it was by far their longest expenditure of studio time up to that point.

1966: The Yardbirds recorded a version of their hit “Over Under Sideways Down” as a jingle for General Food’s Great Shakes beverages. Other groups that produced similar “Great Shakes” jingles included the Who, the Blue Magoos, the Spencer Davis Group, the Happenings, the Tokens, the Chiffons, and Dusty Springfield.

1967: The Byrds released their recording of the Gerry Goffin and Carole King song “Goin’ Back” backed with “Change Is Now” as the lead single from their fifth studio album, The Notorious Byrd Brothers.

1967: Davy Jones of the Monkees opened Zilch!, a mod boutique in New York’s Greenwich Village. The store sold “hip” clothing and accessories and allowed customers to design their own clothes. The grand opening was attended by Peter Tork, actors Sally Field and David Pearl, singer Lynne Randell, and over 2,000 fans.

1969: John Lennon’s second non-Beatles single and the first for which he took full songwriting credit, “Cold Turkey,” was released in the US. Credited to the Plastic Ono Band, the group’s members were Eric Clapton on guitar, Ringo Starr on drums, and Klaus Voorman on bass. The song was reported to have been about Lennon and wife Yoko Ono going “cold turkey” from their brief heroin addictions, but Lennon’s personal assistant at the time later claimed that the song had been inspired by a severe case of food poisoning. Lennon was supposedly embarrassed about the song’s true origin and said it was about heroin withdrawal.

1969: John Lennon and Yoko Ono released Wedding Album in the US. The LP was the pair’s third and final experimental album following Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins and Unfinished Music No. 2: Life with the Lions. The LP was issued in Britain in early November and credited to simply “John and Yoko,” without last names.

1969: The Who began a six-night run at the Fillmore East in New York City performing their new rock opera Tommy in its entirety.

1971: Elvis Presley released Elvis Sings The Wonderful World of Christmas, his fifteenth studio album and first Christmas album of new recordings since “Elvis’ Christmas Album” in 1957.

1973: Peter Frampton released his second studio album, Frampton’s Camel.

1973: “Angie” by the Rolling Stones became the group’s seventh #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In the UK, the single peaked at #5.

1973: The title track to the Steve Miller Band’s eighth studio album, The Joker, entered the Billboard Hot 100, where it later became the group’s first to reach #1.

1973: Spirit entered the Billboard Hot 100 for the last time with “Mr. Skin” from their fourth studio album, Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus. The song’s title was the nickname of drummer Ed Cassidy due to his shaved head.

1973: Gladys Knight & the Pips started four weeks at the top of the Billboard R&B chart with “Midnight Train to Georgia.” A week later, the record became the group’s first #1 single on the Hot 100 pop chart.

1974: Peter Frampton released his third studio album, Somthin’s Happening.

1976: Led Zeppelin concert documentary The Song Remains the Same premiered at Cinema I in New York. The film features footage from three nights of concerts at Madison Square Garden during the band’s 1973 Houses of the Holy tour.

1978: English band Dire Straits’ self-titled debut album was released in the US, where it reached #2 on the Billboard chart.

1978: The Police played their first US concert with two late-night sets at New York City’s CBGB music club. The band reportedly flew into the US on budget tickets, carrying their instruments as luggage, and traveled from city to city throughout the rest of the tour in a cramped Ford Econoline van.

1978: Elvis Costello and the Attractions released “Radio Radio.” Produced by Nick Lowe and recorded around the same time as Costello’s second album, This Year’s Model, the single originated as a Bruce Springsteen-inspired song called “Radio Soul” that Costello had written in 1974. He reworked the song’s lyrics into a more direct, sarcastic criticism of the commercialism of English radio. Issued as a single in the UK, the track was added to the US version of This Year’s Model, which was released earlier that year in May.

1979: Blondie’s fourth album, Eat to the Beat, entered the Billboard pop chart.

1979: Herb Alpert had his second of two #1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Rise,” eleven years after his first chart-topping single, “This Guy’s in Love with You,” in 1968.

1979: The Buggles rose to #1 in the UK with “Video Killed The Radio Star.” The song had been written by Buggles members Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes, in addition to Bruce Woolley, who left the group by the time the Buggles signed with Island Records in 1979. Downey also recorded the song with his group, the Camera Club, for their debut album, English Garden.

1980: U2 released their debut studio album, Boy.

1986: Frankie Goes to Hollywood released their second and final studio album, Liverpool.

1992: Keith Richards released his second solo studio album, Main Offender. Afterward, Richards returned to recording exclusively with the Rolling Stones and did not release another solo album until Crosseyed Heart in 2015.

1998: Producer George Martin released In My Life, an album that almost entirely consists of covers of Beatles songs featuring guest vocalists that include Robin Williams, Goldie Hawn, Céline Dion, Jim Carrey, Phil Collins, and Sean Connery.

2009: Timothy B. Schmit released his fifth studio album, Expando.

Birthdays Today

Charlie Fuqua, founding member, baritone vocalist, and guitar for The Ink Spots, was born in Martinsburg, WV in 1910.

Bill Chase, trumpeter and leader of the jazz-rock band Chase, was born in Squantum, MA in 1934.

Eddie Harris, jazz musician best known for playing tenor saxophone and for introducing the electrically amplified saxophone, was born in Chicago, IL in 1934.

Wanda Jackson, country-pop vocalist and one of the first popular female rockabilly singers, was born in Maud, OK in 1937.

Jay Siegel, lead singer for The Tokens, was born in Brighton Beach, NY in 1939.

John Carter, singer, songwriter, record producer and founding member of The Ivy League who co-wrote songs by such acts as Herman’s Hermits, Brenda Lee, The Music Explosion, Peter and Gordon, The Flower Pot Men, and Mary Hopkin, was born John Nicholas Shakespeare in Small Heath, Birmingham, England in 1942.

Ric Lee, drummer for Ten Years After, was born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England in 1945.

Tom Petty, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, actor, solo artist, and a founding member of Mudcrutch, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and the Traveling Wilburys, was born Thomas Earl Petty in Gainesville, FL in 1950.

Bill Randle, radio disc jockey who, while working at WERE in Cleveland, Ohio, used his popularity to bolster the careers of young musicians such as Bobby Darin, Fats Domino, and Elvis Presley, was born William McKinley Randle Jr. in Detroit, MI in 1955.

Ricky Byrd, guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer, and member of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts who has also performed, recorded or toured with such artists as Roger Daltrey, Ian Hunter, Southside Johnny, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Joe Walsh, Mavis Staples, Smokey Robinson, The Beach Boys, Jimmy Page, Steve Miller, Graham Nash, Bruce Springsteen, Dion, Elvis Costello, Paul Shaffer, Bobby Whitlock, Peter Wolf, and Stevie Wonder, was born in The Bronx, New York City in 1956.

Mark King, lead singer and bassist for Level 42, was born in Cowes, Isle of Wight, England in 1958.

Jim Sonefeld, drummer, percussionist, rhythm guitarist, and founding member of Hootie and the Blowfish, was born in Lansing, MI in 1964.