Today in Rock & Roll History: September 16th

1957: “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On” by Jerry Lee Lewis peaked at #3 on the US pop singles charts. It later became his first #1 record when it topped the R&B and country charts. Lewis, along with session drummer Jimmy Van Eaton and guitarist Roland Janes, had recorded the song in just one take.

1960: Johnny Burnette recorded the original version of “You’re Sixteen,” the song that later became his first top 10 hit in the US and second to reach the top 5 in the UK.

1963: Swan Records released “She Loves You” by the Beatles in the US after Parlophone Records had issued it in the UK. Despite the band’s recent hits in Britain, the record received relatively little radio airplay, stalled on the charts, and only sold about a thousand copies. It was only until after CBS News aired a repeat broadcast of a five minute feature on Beatlemania in Britain in December that the single gained popularity in the States. This led to the rushed release of the Beatles’ next single, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” in the US just weeks before the band’s first visit to America. After “I Want to Hold Your Hand” climbed to #1, launching the British Invasion, “She Loves You” re-emerged on the charts, making it all the way to the top in March.

1963: While the Beatles took a two-week holiday, John Lennon and wife Cynthia went to Paris for a belated honeymoon and George Harrison became the first Beatle to travel to the US, where he visited his sister, Louise, in Benton, Illinois. Ringo Starr had planned to join Harrison, but went with Paul McCartney to Greece instead. Louise had received a copy of the Beatles’ single, “From Me To You,” from their mother, which she took to WFRX-AM in West Frankfort. The record was later played on the station in June—the first time the Beatles’ music was broadcast in the US. George Harrison also played with a local group, The Four Vests, at the VFW, where he was introduced as “the Elvis of England.” While on holiday, Harrison also bought a fireglo red Rickenbacker 420 guitar, which he had refinished in black to match Lennon’s, and visited record stores, where he bought a copy of the James Ray single “Got My Mind Set On You,” which he later covered in 1987.

1964: The Beatles performed their only concert in New Orleans to an audience of 12,000 people.

1964: Music variety television show Shindig! premiered on ABC, featuring Sam Cooke, The Everly Brothers, and the Righteous Brothers.

1964: “As Tears Go By,” the first single by Marianne Faithfull, entered the UK top 10. The song was one of the first original compositions by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. Stones manager Andrew Loog Odham had supposedly locked Jagger and Richards in a kitchen to force them to write a song together.

1964: Sam Cooke released “That’s Where It’s At,” a song he co-wrote with J.W. Alexander and had recorded nearly a year earlier.

1966: Eric Burdon recorded Eric Is Here, his first album after the breakup of the original incarnation of the Animals. Credited to Eric Burdon & The Animals, Burdon was actually accompanied by the Benny Golson orchestra and the Horace Ott Orchestra. The album was released exclusively in the US the following March.

1968: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr of the Beatles recorded “I Will” for their self-titled ninth studio album, with take #65 being chosen as the best. The trio also recorded “Step Inside Love,” a song McCartney had written for singer Cilla Black, which turned into an improvised tune, “Los Paranoias.”

1969: Motown Records released Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell’s third and final duet album, Easy. Gaye later claimed that Terrell been ill due to complications caused by a brain tumor, so most of the female vocals on the album were performed by Valerie Simpson, who served as co-songwriter and co-producer for the LP along with her future husband Nickolas Ashford. Simpson, however, denied the claim and has insisted that it’s Terrell’s vocals that are on the record. Concerned that Motown was taking advantage of Turrell’s condition, Gaye was assured by the label that proceeds from the LP would go to Terrell’s family for insurance of her health.

1969: Martha Reeves and the Vandellas released their sixth studio album, Sugar ‘n’ Spice.

1970: Jimi Hendrix played what would be his final live performance, joining Eric Burdon and War on stage at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London’s Soho district. Burdon later wrote that Hendrix made the members of War play better than ever before. Hendrix died in his girlfriend’s London apartment two days later.

1971: The Rolling Stones’ eleventh British album, Goats Head Soup, debuted at #1 on the UK chart. The LP reached #1 on the Billboard chart in the US a month later.

1972: Three Dog Night reached #1 on Billboard Hot 100 for the third and final time with “Black & White,” the first single from their eighth studio album, Seven Separate Fools. Their version had been inspired by the recording of the song by UK reggae group Greyhound, which had reached the UK top 10 the year before. The song was originally written by Earl Robinson and recorded by Pete Seeger in 1956, and had been inspired by the 1954 US Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education, which outlawed racial segregation of public schools.

1972: Former Humble Pie guitarist Peter Frampton made his solo debut in New York City, opening for the J. Geils Band at the Academy of Music.

1972: Rod Stewart had his second #1 album on the UK chart with his fourth studio album, Never a Dull Moment. In the US, the album peaked at #2.

1975: Bob Dylan began recording sessions for his fifteenth studio album, Blood on the Tracks, at A&R Recording in New York City.

1975: Linda Ronstadt released her sixth solo LP, Prisoner in Disguise. It became her second top 5 album after the breakthrough success of her previous album, Heart Like a Wheel.

1977: New York band Talking Heads released their debut studio album, Talking Heads: 77.

1977: Who guitarist Pete Townshend and former Small Faces bassist Ronnie Lane released the collaborative album, Rough Mix. After a brief tour of North America, the Who had taken a hiatus to pursue individual interests. Lane had contacted Townshend to produce his next album, but the project instead turned into a collaboration between the pair that also incorporated contributions from John Entwistle, Ian Stewart, Charlie Watts, and Eric Clapton.

1977: Diana Ross released her seventh solo studio album, Baby It’s Me.

1978: Boston scored their first #1 album in the US with their second studio LP, Don’t Look Back.

1980: John Mellencamp, then known as John Cougar, released his fourth studio album, Nothin’ Matters And What If It Did, which was produced by soul guitarist Steve Cropper.

1985: The Waterboys released their third studio album, This Is the Sea. It became the group’s first LP to enter the UK chart and reached #37. The album features the band’s first recording with new member Steve Wickham and it was the last album with Karl Wallinger, who left to form his own band, World Party. Waterboys leader and principal songwriter Mike Scott describes the album as “the record on which I achieved all my youthful musical ambitions.”

1988: Talk Talk released their fourth studio album, Spirit of Eden.

1997: Carly Simon released Film Noir, her seventeenth studio album and third devoted to standards.

2003: David Bowie released Reality, his twenty-third studio album and last album of original material for ten years, until the release of The Next Day in 2013.

2006: 65-year-old Bob Dylan debuted at the top spot on the Billboard pop album chart with his 32nd studio album, Modern Times, making him the oldest living musician to top the US LP charts.

Birthdays Today

Florence Greenberg, record producer and founder and owner of Tiara Records, Scepter Records, Hob Records, and Wand Records who is best known for working with several 1960s singers including Dionne Warwick, the Shirelles, Tammi Terrell, Chuck Jackson, B.J. Thomas, and others, was born in 1913.

Jon Hendricks, jazz lyricist, singer, and one of the originators of vocalese, which adds lyrics to existing instrumental songs, who was considered one of the best practitioners of scat singing, was born in Newark, OH in 1921.

Charlie Byrd, jazz guitarist best known for bringing Brazilian bossa nova music into the mainstream of North America through his collaboration with Stan Getz, was born in Suffolk, VA in 1925.

B.B. King, blues singer, guitarist, songwriter, and record producer known as the “King of the Blues,” was born Riley B. King in Itta Bena, MS in 1925.

Joe Butler, drummer, vocalist, and founding member of The Lovin’ Spoonful, was born in Long Island, NY in 1941.

Bernie Calvert, bassist and keyboardist for The Hollies from 1966-1981 who beforehand had played on albums by the Everly Brothers, was born in Brierfield, England in 1942.

Don Preston, guitarist, singer, songwriter, and session musician that recorded with artists including Leon Russell and Joe Cocker, and participated in George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh, was born in Denver, CO in 1942.

Betty Kelly, member of The Velvelettes and Martha and the Vandellas from 1964-1967, was born in Attalla, AL in 1944.

Winston Grennan, session drummer who performed on thousands of tracks by artists including Toots and the Maytals, Bob Marley, the Wailers, Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker, Paul Simon, Eddie Kendricks, Peter, Paul & Mary, Booker T. and the M.G.’s, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Garland Jeffreys, Herbie Hancock, and others, was born Winston Richards in Duckenfield, Jamaica in 1944.

Rex Fowler, singer, songwriter, and co-founder of Aztec Two-Step, was born Kansas City, MO in 1947.

Kenney Jones, drummer for Small Faces, Faces, and the Who, was born in Stepney, London, England in 1948.

Ron Blair, original bassist for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers who left in 1982 to pursue a session career and rejoined in 2002, was born in San Diego, CA in 1948.