Today in Rock & Roll History: September 19th

1958: Elvis Presley released his second soundtrack album, King Creole.

1960: Hank Ballard and the Midnighters became the first group to have three songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at the same time: “Finger Poppin’ Time,” “The Twist,” and “Let’s Go Let’s Go Let’s Go.”

1960: Chubby Checker’s first major hit, “The Twist,” reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100. The original version by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, released the year before, had managed to reach #28 on the US pop charts. In 1959, Dick Clark, then the host of Saturday night television program American Bandstand, wanted “The Twist” performed on his show. It’s uncertain why Ballard never made an appearance on the show, either due to Ballard being unavailable, or Clark wanting the song done by another artist. Clark had local artist Chubby Checker record the song, and Checker performed “The Twist” to a nationwide audience on Clark’s show in August of 1960.

1967: The Bee Gees released “Massachusetts,” the lead single from their fourth studio album, Horizontal, in the US. The song became the group’s first of five #1 hits in the UK singles chart, reached #1 in twelve other countries, peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, and eventually became one of the best-selling singles of all time, selling over five million copies worldwide. When the Gibb brothers wrote the song, none of them had been to Massachusetts.

1967: Gary Puckett & The Union Gap released their debut single and the title track from their first LP, “Woman, Woman.”

1968: The Beatles began recording George Harrison’s song “Piggies” with producer Chris Thomas on harpsichord. The track was later released as part of the band’s self-titled “White Album.”

1969: Fleetwood Mac released Then Play On, the band’s third studio album, last with founding member Peter Green, and first to feature Danny Kirwan.

1970: Neil Young’s third studio album, After the Gold Rush, entered the Billboard pop chart. The first of four solo albums released by each member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in the wake of their chart-topping 1970 album Déjà Vu, it managed to reach #8. Young’s backing band, Crazy Horse, was augmented by Jack Nitzsche and eighteen-year-old musical prodigy Nils Lofgren of the Washington, D.C.-based band Grin. Lofgren later contributed to future Neil Young albums in addition to enjoying solo success and a lengthy tenure as a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.

1970: Diana Ross achieved her first solo #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” the second single from her debut solo album.

1970: The soundtrack to Performance, the crime drama film directed by Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg and starring Mick Jagger, was released following the film’s release in August. The album was produced by Jack Nitzsche and features music from Randy Newman, Merry Clayton, Ry Cooder, Jack Nitzsche, Buffy Sainte-Marie, The Last Poets and Mick Jagger.

1970: The first Glastonbury Festival, billed as the Pilton Pop, Blues & Folk Festival, took place at Worthy Farm in Somerset, England. Original headliners the Kinks and Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders pulled out and were replaced by Tyrannosaurus Rex. Other acts included Keith Christmas, Al Stewart, Stackridge, and Quintessence. Inspired by the open-air Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music held earlier that year, organizer Michael Eavis hosted the event, partly to clear his overdraft. Only 1,500 people attended, however, and put Eavis further in debt.

1971: Deep Purple had their first #1 on the UK album chart with their fifth studio LP, Fireball. The album peaked at #32 on the US Billboard chart.

1972: “Ventura Highway,” the lead single from America’s second studio album, Homecoming, was released. The record made it to #8 on the Billboard and Cash Box pop charts.

1978: Linda Ronstadt released her ninth studio album, Living in the USA. It became her third and final #1 on the Billboard pop chart.

1979: The No Nukes concert, one of the decade’s largest series of benefit concerts, was held at Madison Square Garden for the first of four days. The event was organized by Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE), a group put together by Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, Bonnie Raitt, John Hall, and journalist and activist Harvey Wasserman. After the recent partial reactor meltdown on Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, the public safety concerns of nuclear energy was running high. The show attracted numerous other musicians including James Taylor, who’d written to President Carter on the subject, as well as Tom Petty, the Doobie Brothers, Chaka Khan, Poco, and Bruce Springsteen. That November, recordings from the shows arrived in stores as the triple LP “No Nukes: The Muse Concerts for a Non-Nuclear Future,” and a concert film was released the following year.

1980: The Police released “Don’t Stand So Close to Me,” the lead single from their third studio album, Zenyatta Mondatta.

1981: The Rolling Stones began nine weeks at the top of Billboard pop chart with their eighteenth American studio album, Tattoo You.

1981: Simon & Garfunkel held a free benefit concert in New York’s Central Park where they performed for more than 500,000 people. Proceeds of the show went toward the redevelopment and maintenance of the park, which had deteriorated due to a lack of funding. The concert was broadcast by HBO and was later released as a live album in February of 1982. The performance marked a short-lived reunion of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. Tensions between the two prevented them from committing to a permanent reunion, but the duo did embark on a tour of Japan and Europe the next year.

1988: Enya released her second studio album, Watermark. The LP became her first to chart in the US, reaching #25.

1995: Son Volt, a band formed by Jay Farrar after the breakup of Uncle Tupelo, released their first album, Trace.

2006: The Indigo Girls released their tenth studio album, Despite Our Differences.

Birthdays Today

Billy Ward, piano prodigy and co-founder of Billy Ward and his Dominoes, one of the most successful R&B groups of the 1950s that launched the careers of Clyde McPhatter and Jackie Wilson, was born Robert L. Williams in Savannah, GA in 1921.

Brook Benton, pop, R&B, and soul singer and songwriter, was born Benjamin Franklin Peay in Lugoff, SC in 1931.

Brian Epstein, music entrepreneur and manager for the Beatles as well as Gerry and the Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, The Fourmost, Cilla Black, The Cyrkle, and Tommy Quickly, was born in Liverpool, England in 1934.

Nick Massi, bass singer and bass guitarist for The Four Seasons, was born in Newark, NJ in 1935.

Gene Dinwiddie, saxophone player for the Paul Butterfield Blues Band who was also a session musician for artist such as B.B. King, Gregg Allman, Melissa Manchester, Jackie Lomax, and Etta James, was born in Louisville, KY in 1936.

Bill Medley, singer, songwriter, and baritone half of The Righteous Brosthers, was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1940.

Paul Williams, singer, songwriter, and actor who wrote several pop hits including “An Old Fashioned Love Song” and “Out in the Country” by Three Dog Night, “You and Me Against the World” by Helen Reddy, “Fill Your Heart” by David Bowie, and “We’ve Only Just Begun” and “Rainy Days and Mondays” by The Carpenters, was born in Omaha, NE in 1940.

Cass Elliot, singer, actress, solo artist, and member of The Mamas and The Papas, was born Ellen Naomi Cohen in Balitmore, MD in 1941.

Freda Payne, singer and actress best known for her 1970 hit single, “Band of Gold,” was born in Detroit, MI in 1945.

David Bromberg, eclectic multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter, was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1945.

John Coghlan, original drummer for Status Quo, was born in Dulwich, London, England in 1946.

Lol Creme, guitarist, vocalist, keyboardist, bassist, and music video director best known as a founding member of 10cc and afterward as a member of the Godley & Creme, Art of Noise, and the Producers, was born Laurence Neil Creme in Prestwich, Lancashire, England in 1947.

Twiggy, British cultural icon and model who had a top 20 hit in the UK with her cover of Country Joe McDonald’s “Here I Go Again,” was born Lesley Hornby in Neasden, Middlesex, England in 1949.

Daniel Lanois, record producer, songwriter, musician, and solo artist best known for producing albums for a wide variety of artists, including Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Peter Gabriel, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Brian Eno, and U2, was born in Hull, Quebec, Canada in 1951.

Nile Rodgers, record producer, songwriter, musician, composer, arranger, guitarist, co-founder and lead guitarist for Chic, and collaborator with several artists including Diana Ross, Thompson Twins, David Bowie, Bryan Ferry, Mick Jagger, Madonna, INXS, and Sheena Easton, was born in New York City in 1952.

Rusty Egan, drummer for UK band Rich Kids who later collaborated with Midge Ure and was a member of Visage among other groups, was born in London, England in 1957.

Lita Ford, singer, songwriter, solo artist, and lead guitarist of The Runaways, was born London, England in 1958.

Kenny Smith, guitarist, vocalist, and member of Band of Ruhks, was born in Nine Mile, IN in 1967.

Candy Dufler, saxophonist who’s performed and recorded with artists such as Van Morrison, Prince, Dave Stewart, Maceo Parker, Alan Parsons, Pink Floyd, and Tower of Power, was born in Amsterdam, Netherlands in 1969.

Paul Winterhart, drummer for Kula Shaker, was born in Hammersmith, London, England in 1971.