Today in Rock & Roll History: October 29th

1955: Sam Phillips launched WHER, the first all-girl radio station in the world, in Memphis, TN. Each of the young women who auditioned for the station assumed there would only be one position for a female announcer like many other stations at that time. It wasn’t until a few days before the first broadcast that they learned of the “All Girl Radio” format and that almost every position at the station was held by a woman, including sales staff, management, record librarians, copy writers. Phillips had used a portion of the $35,000 he made from the sale of Elvis Presley’s recording contract to RCA Records to finance the station and additional funding came from Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson, who also provided the station’s first home, in the third Holiday Inn ever built.

1963: Dion released “Drip Drop,” a song written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and first recorded by The Drifters in 1958. Dion’s version became the bigger hit, reaching #6 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1965: Brunswick Records released the Who’s iconic single “My Generation” in the UK. It was released in the US by Decca Records a week later.

1965: The Beatles finished recording “We Can Work It Out” with an overdubbing session. With nearly eleven hours dedicated to the song, it was by far the band’s longest expenditure of studio time up to that point.

1966: The Four Tops had their second #1 on Billboard’s R&B chart with “Reach Out I’ll Be There.”

1966: After achieving local success in Michigan with the B-side of their debut single, the national reissue of ? and Mysterians’ “96 Tears” went to #1 in the US. The song was the group’s biggest success and only top 20 single. Although he closely guarded his true identity at the time, the man known as “?” turned out to be Rudy Martinez from Saginaw Valley, Michigan.

1968: “Hooked on a Feeling” by B.J. Thomas was released. Written by songwriter Mark James, the single became Thomas’ second top 10 hit, reaching #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Cash Box charts, and reached #3 in Canada.

1971: Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels film premiered at the Doheny Plaza Theater in Hollywood. The film starred The Mothers of Invention, Flo and Eddie, Keith Moon as a nun, and Ringo Starr as Frank Zappa.

1973: John Lennon released his fourth solo album, Mind Games, in the US, two-and-a-half weeks before it was issued in the UK. The album’s lead single of the same name, released on the same day, peaked at #18 in the US on the Billboard Hot 100 and #10 on the Cash Box Top 100. In the UK the song reached #26. The album had originally been titled Make Love, Not War and began in 1969 during sessions for the Beatles’ Let It Be album.

1973: Dave Mason released his third solo studio album, It’s Like You Never Left. Contributors to the album include George Harrison, Stevie Wonder, Graham Nash, Carl Radle, and Malcolm Cecil.

1979: Frank Zappa released “Joe’s Garage,” the first single from Joe’s Garage Act 1, the first installment of a three-part rock opera.

1983: “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues,” the first single from Elton John’s seventeenth studio, Too Low For Zero, entered the Billboard Hot 100.

1983: Hall & Oates released “Say It Isn’t So,” the first of two new singles from their compilation album Rock ‘n Soul Part 1.

1984: British band Frankie Goes to Hollywood released their debut studio album, Welcome to the Pleasuredome. The double album entered the UK chart at #1 and it was a top ten seller in several other countries.

1985: Elton John released “Nikita,” the lead single from his nineteenth studio album, Ice on Fire.

1988: After leaving Clannad in 1982, Irish singer-songwriter Enya had her first major solo hit single with, “Orinoco Flow,” which started its first of three weeks at #1 on the UK chart.

1990: The Traveling Wilburys released their second and final studio album, Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 3. According to Jeff Lynne, the album’s title was suggested by George Harrison, who said “Let’s confuse the buggers.”

1991: After its exclusive release in the Soviet Union in 1988, Paul McCartney’s seventh solo album, Снова в СССР, was released internationally. The album, which consists entirely of covers of rock and roll oldies, was initially conceived by McCartney as a fake bootleg from the USSR. Instead, it was initially released on in the Soviet Union in the spirit of glasnost.

1994: After a fourteen-year absence, the Eagles re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 with “Get Over It,” the lead single from the band’s live reunion album, Hell Freezes Over.

1996: Wilco released their second studio album, Being There.

1996: Yes released their fifteenth studio album, Keys to Ascension. It was the group’s first album after the departure of guitarist Trevor Rabin and keyboardist Tony Kaye and marked the return of former members Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman.

2005: Arctic Monkeys hit #1 in the UK with their debut single, “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor.”

Birthdays Today

Neal Paul Hefti, jazz trumpeter, composer, and arranger best known for writing the music for The Odd Couple movie and television series and for the Batman television series, was born in Hastings NE in 1922.

Denny Laine, singer, songwriter, guitarist, solo artist, founding member of the Moody Blues, Paul McCartney and Wings, and an original member of Ginger Baker’s Air Force, was born Brian Frederick Hines in Birmingham, England in 1944.

Robbie van Leeuwen, guitarist and main songwriter for Dutch bands The Motions and Shocking Blue, was born in The Hague, Netherlands in 1944.

Mick Gallagher, Hammond organ player, songwriter, and record producer who played with the Animals, the Clash, and Ian Drury and the Blockheads and contributed to recordings by Paul McCartney, Roger Daltrey, Robbie Williams, Dave Stewart, and Annie Lennox, was born in Fenham, Newcastle upon Tyne, England in 1945.

Melba Moore, singer, actress, and original cast member of the musical Hair, was born Beatrice Melba Hill in New York City in 1945.

Peter Green, blues rock singer-songwriter and guitarist who replaced Eric Clapton in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and later co-founded Fleetwood Mac, was born Peter Allen Greenbaum in Bethnal Green, London in 1946.

David Paton, bassist, guitarist, singer, co-founder of Pilot, who also played with the Alan Parsons Project, Kate Bush, Camel, and Elton John, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1949.

Roger O’Donnell, keyboardist and solo artist known for his work with the Cure, The Psychedelic Furs, Thompson Twins, and Berlin, was born in London, England in 1955.

Randy Jackson, singer-songwriter, musician, and founding member of the Jacksons, was born born Steven Randall Jackson in Gary, IN in 1961.

Einar Örn Benediktsson, singer, trumpet player, artist, and politician best known as a former member of the Sugarcubes, was born in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1962.

Peter Timmins, drummer for the Cowboy Junkies, was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1965.

Chris Baio, bassist for Vampire Weekend and a solo artist, was born in Bronxville, NY in 1984.