Today in Rock & Roll History: September 12th

1963: Two weeks after its release, “She Loves You” by the Beatles hit #1 in the UK. The song remained on the chart for 31 consecutive weeks, 18 of them in the top three.

1963: In addition to recording messages to promote their upcoming Australian tour the following June, the Beatles worked on recording four songs for their second LP, “Hold Me Tight,” “Little Child,” “I Wanna Be Your Man,” and George Harrison’s first composition, “Don’t Bother Me.”

1965: The most well-known version of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” was released. Originally written by Paul Simon over a period of several months during 1963-1964, Simon and Garfunkel originally recorded and released song on their first album, Wednesday Morning, 3AM. The album’s commercial failure led to the duo splitting up. In the Spring of 1965, the song began to attract airplay at radio stations in Boston and Florida, which inspired the song’s producer, Tom Wilson, to remix the track with overdubbed electric instrumentation. Simon & Garfunkel were not informed of the new remix until after its release. When the new version reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 the first week in 1966, Simon and Garfunkel hastily reunited to record their second album, which Columbia Records titled Sounds of Silence in an attempt to capitalize on their hit single.

1966: The first episode of the Monkees’ television show aired on NBC.

1967: British band Traffic played one of their first live shows at the Konserthuset Concert Hall in Stockholm, Sweden. Later known as Traffic Jam, the concert had occurred nine days after Sweden switched from driving on the left-hand side of the road to the right.

1969: Promoter John Brower telephoned John Lennon at the Apple Records office to invite Lennon and Yoko Ono to the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival festival the following day. Lennon agreed on the condition that he could perform. The Beatles hadn’t toured since the summer of 1966, and there was little enthusiasm to perform live again. Lennon quickly assembled a new group, calling on Eric Clapton, Klaus Voormann, and Alan White. Not only was their appearance at the Toronto festival the live debut of the Plastic Ono Band, but before Lennon left for Canada, and on the way to the show, he told Beatles manager Allen Klein and his new bandmates that he had decided to leave the Beatles, telling them, “It’s over.”

1970: Smokey Robinson & the Miracles reached #1 in the UK with “Tears of a Clown.” Later in December, the song record went to #1 in the US on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts.

1970: James Taylor debuted on the US charts when his single “Fire And Rain” entered the Billboard Hot 100, ultimately reaching #3.

1970: The Moody Blues’ sixth album, A Question of Balance, entered the Billboard pop chart, later reaching #3.

1970: Two years after the first tribute concert for Woody Guthrie in New York, 18,000 people attended the west coast tribute at the Hollywood Bowl in CA. Joan Baez, Jack Elliott, Arlo Guthrie, Odetta, Country Joe McDonald, Richie Havens, Earl Robinson and Pete Seeger performed. The house band included Ry Cooder and members of Swampwater.

1975: Pink Floyd’s ninth studio album, Wish You Were Here, was released in the UK by Harvest Records, and the following day it was issued in the US by Columbia. Recorded during numerous recording sessions at Abbey Road Studios in London, Roger Waters had come up with idea to split the group’s 26-minute tribute for former band member Syd Barrett, “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” into two parts that would bookend the album around three new compositions, with an overall concept linking them—an idea that the band had employed with great success on their previous album, The Dark Side of the Moon. The album later became the band’s second #1 in both the US and UK.

1992: Eric Clapton’s Unplugged LP entered the Billboard pop chart at #4. The following February, the album won a Grammy for Album of the Year. 26 weeks later—24 of them spent in the top 5—the album became Clapton’s first and only live album to reach #1. It has since been Clapton’s best-selling live album, as well as one of the best-selling live albums in the US, with sales exceeding 10 million copies.

2005: After years of neglect, the Grateful Dead’s newly restored original tour bus was placed on display at the Volo Auto Museum in Volo, IL. Nicknamed “Sugar Magnolia,” the bus had been used by the band to travel across the country from 1967 to 1985.

Birthdays Today

Maria Muldaur, folk and blues singer and songwriter, was born Maria Grazia Rosa Domenica D’Amato in Manhattan, NY in 1943.

Barry White, soul and R&B singer-songwriter, record producer, and composer, was born Barry Eugene Carter in Galveston, TX in 1944.

Colin Young, lead vocalist with the Foundations, who joined in 1968 to replace Clem Curtis, was born in Barbados, West Indies in 1944.

Tony Bellamy, lead guitarist, pianist and vocalist for Redbone, was born in Las Vegas, NV in 1946.

Gerry Beckley, guitarist and founding member of America, was born in Fort Worth, TX in 1952.

Barry Andrews, singer, songwriter, musician, and keyboardist who was a member of groups XTC and League of Gentlemen, co-founded Shriekback, and also collaborated with artists such as Brian Eno and Iggy Pop, was born in Lambeth, London, England in 1956.

Ben Folds, singer-songwriter, record producer, solo artist, and frontman for the Ben Folds Five, was born in Winston-Salem, NC in 1966.