Today in Rock & Roll History: September 17th

1931: The RCA Victor Company demonstrated the first long-playing (or “LP”) record to rotate at 33-1/3 rpm at the Savoy Hotel in New York City.

1960: The Everly Brothers recorded “Walk Right Back,” a song written by Sonny Curtis. The single later became the duo’s eleventh top 10 hit in the US and their third #1 in the UK.

1962: “Anna (Go to Him)” by Arthur Alexander was released. A personal favorite of John Lennon, the song was covered by the Beatles for their debut album the following year.

1964: English band Manfred Mann released their debut American studio album, The Manfred Mann Album.

1964: The Supremes released “Baby Love,” the fifth single from the group’s second studio album, Where Did Our Love Go. The single became their second to go to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, Cash Box, and Billboard R&B charts. Beginning with “Baby Love,” The Supremes became the first Motown act to have more than one American #1 single, and by the end of the decade, had more #1 singles than any other Motown act (or American pop music group) with twelve.

1966: Wilson Pickett scored his third #1 on Billboard’s R&B chart with “Land of 1,000 Dances.”

1966: The Ventures released their twenty-second studio album, Wild Things!, which marked a turn towards a heavier sound relative to the band’s earlier releases.

1967: During rehearsals for their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, the Doors were asked by a producer to change the line in their recent #1 hit, “Light My Fire,” from “Girl, we couldn’t get much higher” to “Girl, we couldn’t get much better.” Sullivan also requested the band smile more. It’s unclear whether or not they agreed, but after performing “People Are Strange,” singer Jim Morrison disregarded the request and sang “Light My Fire” with its original lyrics. After the show, producers told the band that they had hoped to have them on the show several more times, but decided instead to ban them from any future appearances. Morrison replied, “Hey, man, we just did the Sullivan show.”

1967: Keith Moon of the Who rigged his bass drum to explode at the end of ”My Generation” during the group’s American television debut on the CBS program The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Moon was already in the habit of placing an explosive charge in his drums to detonate while Pete Townshend smashed his guitar at the end of each Who performance, but this time Moon packed significantly more explosives in his drum kit. The resulting explosion nearly blew the band offstage, engulfed Townshend and singer Roger Daltrey in a cloud of white smoke, singed Townshend’s hair, left shrapnel in Moon’s arm, momentarily knocked the show off the air, and caused the show’s next guest, actress Betty Davis, to faint while she waited in the wings.

1973: “D’yer Mak’er” by Led Zeppelin, from their fifth studio album, Houses of the Holy, was released as a single in the US. A fusion of reggae and 1950s doo-wop, the song’s title is a play on the word “Jamaica” when spoken in an English accent.

1973: Billy Joel began recording “Piano Man,” a fictionalized retelling of Joel’s own experience as a piano-lounge singer for six months in 1972-1973 at the now defunct Executive Room bar in the Wilshire district of Los Angeles.

1976: Ringo Starr released his fifth solo album, Ringo’s Rotogravure. It was Starr’s last album to feature active involvement from all four former members of the Beatles before John Lennon’s death in 1980.

1977: Fleetwood Mac’s eleventh studio album, Rumours, spent its record-breaking nineteenth week at the top of the Billboard pop chart. It went on to extend its record to thirty-one non-consecutive weeks, which was later broken by Michael Jackson’s Thriller LP in 1984.

1979: Frank Zappa released the first act of his three-part rock opera, Joe’s Garage. The second and third acts were released two months later.

1980: The Doobie Brothers’ released their ninth album, One Step Closer. It was the band’s last top 5 LP on the Billboard chart, reaching #3, as well as the band’s last to include Michael McDonald in the group’s lineup.

1982: George Thorogood and the Destroyers released “Bad to the Bone,” the second single and title track from their fifth studio album. While it was not immediately popular upon its initial release, the song’s music video frequently appeared on the recently launched MTV, and its popularity grew as it was licensed for films, television, and commercials.

1982: The Clash released “Straight to Hell,” from their fifth studio album Combat Rock, as a double A-side single with “Should I Stay or Should I Go.”

1982: Phil Lynott released his second solo album, The Philip Lynott Album.

1984: Eagles bassist and vocalist Timothy B. Schmit released his debut solo album, Playin’ It Cool, which features guest appearances from Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Steve Lukather, Carl Wilson, J.D. Souther, and Rita Coolidge.

1985: Thompson Twins released Here’s to Future Days, their fifth studio album and final release as a trio.

1987: Bruce Springsteen released “Brilliant Disguise,” the lead single from his eighth studio album, Tunnel of Love. The song reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Mainstream Rock chart.

1990: Hall & Oates released “So Close,” the first single from their fourth studio album, Change of Season.

1990: The Human League released their sixth studio album, Romantic?.

1991: Uncle Tupelo released their second studio album, Still Feel Gone.

1991: Los Angeles band Hole released their debut album, Pretty on the Inside.

1997: Fleetwood Mac began their first tour in twenty years at Meadow Music Theatre in Hartford, Connecticut.

1997: Hall & Oates released their fifteenth studio album, Marigold Sky.

2007: Mark Knopfler released his fifth solo studio album, Kill to Get Crimson.

2007: Deborah Harry released Necessary Evil, her fifth solo studio album and first solo release in fourteen years.

2013: Elvis Costello released Wise Up Ghost, a collaborative album with The Roots.

Birthdays Today

Hank Williams, regarded as one of the most significant and influential American singers and songwriters of the 20th century, was born Hiram King Williams in Mount Olive, AL in 1923.

Bill Black, rock and roll pioneer and bass player in Elvis Presley’s early trio who later formed Bill Black’s Combo, was born in Memphis, TN in 1926.

Jack McDuff, jazz organist, bandleader, and mentor to guitarist George Benson, was born in Champaign, IL in 1926.

Ken Kesey, social and literary icon and counterculture figure of the 1960s and 1970s, was born in La Junta, CO in 1935.

Lamonte McLemore, vocalist and founder of The 5th Dimension, was born in St. Louis, MO in 1939.

Fee Waybill, lead singer and songwriter for The Tubes who worked with other acts including Toto, Richard Marx, and Billy Sherwood, was born John Waldo Waybill in 1950. Omaha, NE

BeBe Winans, gospel and R&B singer, was born Benjamin Winans in Detroit, MI in 1962.