Today in Rock & Roll History: September 11th

1952: At Atlantic Records on West 56th Street in New York City, company president Ahmet Ertegun began recording his newest signing, 21-year-old Ray Charles, who’d signed with Atlantic eight days earlier.

1958: Lloyd Price recorded “Stagger Lee” in New York City for ABC-Paramount. Originally recorded by Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians in 1911 as “Stack O’ Lee Blues,” the American folk song that recounts the murder of Billy Lyons by “Stag” Lee Shelton, in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1895. Price’s version ended up reaching the top Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in February of 1959.

1962: Following their third studio session a week earlier, the Beatles returned to EMI’s London studios for a third attempt a recording both sides of their debut single. Producer George Martin was worried about the quality of Ringo Starr’s drumming, so he brought in experienced session player Andy White to play for the session. Starr was relegated to playing tambourine on “Love Me Do” and maracas on its B-side, a remake of “P.S. I Love You.” The band also recorded a new arrangement of their song “Please Please Me,” after Martin expressed his displeasure with the slow, Roy Orbison-styled rehearsal from the previous week. Afterward, EMI began pressing “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You” as the Beatles’ debut single. Initial pressings featured Ringo Starr on drums from the September 4th session, but these were later replaced with the Andy White version.

1964: Beatles member George Harrison formed his own music publishing company Mornyork Ltd, which by early December later that year, changed its name to Harrisongs Ltd. Both Harrison and fellow Beatles member Ringo Starr had been unsatisfied with their writer’s royalties and the unremarkable status implicit in their business arrangement with Northern Songs, a company established in 1963 by music publisher Dick James and Beatles manager Brian Epstein on behalf of primary Beatles songwriters John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Harrison wrote “Only a Northern Song” in 1967 about his dissatisfaction with the company, and upon the expiration of his contract in 1968, left Norther Songs and adopted Harrisongs. Starr likewise founded Startling Music.

1964: The Five Faces of Manfred Mann, the first studio album by Manfred Mann, was released in the UK. A significantly different LP with the same name was later released as the group’s second album in the US the following February, and shares only two tracks with its UK counterpart.

1965: The Beatles topped the Billboard pop album chart for the first of nine weeks with the North American version of their fifth studio album, Help!

1967: The Beatles began filming their television film, Magical Mystery Tour, shooting throughout the West Country of England, including Devon and Cornwall, although most of the footage was not used in the finished film.

1968: The Beatles began recording “Glass Onion” for their self-titled double album known as The White Album.

1977: David Bowie and Bing Crosby recorded a duet of the Christmas song “The Little Drummer Boy” with an added counterpoint, “Peace on Earth,” at Elstree Studios in London. The track had been recorded for Crosby’s final television Christmas special, Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas. The son peaked at #3 on the UK chart and became one of Bowie’s best selling in his career.

1982: Frank Zappa’s only US top 40 hit, “Valley Girl,” recorded with his 14-year-old daughter, Moon Unit, peaked at #32 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1982: American Fool, John Mellencamp’s fifth studio album, released under the name John Cougar, began nine weeks at #1 on the Billboard pop album chart.

1982: Chicago started two weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with their second single to top the chart, “Hard To Say I’m Sorry.”

1987: Prince’s Paisley Park recording studios officially opened in Chanhassen, Minnesota. The expansive, $10 million, 65,000 square foot facility was used not just by Prince, but also by many artists from around the world.

Birthdays Today

Estelle Axton, record executive and co-founder of Stax Records, along with her brother Jim Stewart, was born in Middleton, TN in 1918.

Charles Patrick, lead singer of doo-wop group The Monotones, was born in 1938.

Bernie Dwyer, drummer for Freddie and the Dreamers, was born in West Didsbury, Manchester, England in 1940.

Jack Ely, lead singer and guitarist of the Kingsmen, was born in Portland, OR in 1943.

Mickey Hart, Grateful Dead drummer, percussionist, solo artist, and musicologist, was born Michael Steven Hartman in Brooklyn, NY in 1943.

Leo Kottke, acoustic guitarist and singer, was born in Athens, GA in 1945.

Dennis Tufano, solo artist and original lead singer of the Buckinghams, was born in Chicago, IL in 1946.

John Martyn, singer-songwriter and guitarist, was born Ian David McGeachy in New Malden, Surrey, England in 1948.

Jon Moss, Culture Club drummer who also played with other bands including London, The Nips, The Damned, and Adam and the Ants, was born in Wandsworth, South London, England in 1957.

Mick Talbot, keyboardist, songwriter, composer, record producer, and member of groups such as the Style Council and Dexy’s Midnight Runners, was born in Wimbledon, London, England in 1958.

Victor Wooten, bassist for Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, was born in Mountain Home, Idaho in 1964.

Moby, electronic musician, DJ, record producer, singer, songwriter, was born Richard Melville Hall in Harlem, NY in 1965.

Harry Connick Jr., singer, composer, and actor, was born in New Orleans, LA in 1967.

Richard Ashcroft, singer, songwriter, guitarist, lead vocalist for the Verve, and a solo artist, was born in Wigan, Lancashire, England in 1971.

Johnny Buckland, multi-instrumentalist and lead guitarist and co-founder of Coldplay, was born in Islington, London, England in 1977.