Today in Rock & Roll History: September 20th

1957: “Peggy Sue” by Buddy Holly, backed with “Everyday” was released as the second single from his self-title debut album. Though it was credited solely to Holly, Crickets bassist Joe Mauldin and drummer Jerry Allison played on the recording. The record entered the Billboard Hot 100 in November and peaked at #3, making it Holly’s second top 5 single.

1963: Marvin Gaye released “Can I Get a Witness,” a song composed by Motown writing and production trio Holland-Dozier-Holland. According to writer Eddie Holland, Gaye originally complained that the song was above his vocal range, but after hearing Holland perform it once, Gaye recorded it in a single take, leading Holland to later call Gaye “the most versatile vocalist I ever worked with.”

1964: The Beatles concluded their summer tour of the US and Canada with a free charity show for United Cerebral Palsy of New York City and Retarded Infants Services at the Paramount Theater in New York City. Tickets sold for up to $100 to both young fans and city’s wealthy elite. Outside the venue, two hundred police officers attempted to control over 100,000 fans.

1969: John Lennon announced his departure from the Beatles to the rest of the group immediately after business manager Allen Klein had renegotiated a new contract for the band with EMI and Capitol Records.

1969: Blind Faiths’ self-titled album went to #1 on the Billboard pop chart just under a week after it had topped the UK chart. The LP had sold over half a million copies in its first month of release.

1969: “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for the first of four weeks. It was the fictional band’s only #1 in the US and first of two top 10 singles.

1971: Peter Frampton left Humble Pie to begin a solo career.

1973: Neil Young played the opening night of the brand new Roxy club on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. Backing Young were the Santa Monica Flyers, a band assembled for his recently finished album, Tonight’s the Night, which consisted of the Crazy Horse rhythm section of Billy Talbot and Ralph Molina along with Ben Keith and Nils Lofgren.

1975: Janis Ian’s seventh studio album, Between the Lines, became her first and only LP to top the Billboard pop chart.

1975: David Bowie scored his first US #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Fame,” a song co-written with Carlos Alomar and John Lennon, who provided addition vocals during recording. The song was recorded during a one-day jam session at Electric Lady Studios in New York. Years later, Bowie described “Fame” as an angry song directed at the Mainman management group who he had been working with at the time. The single reached #17 in the UK.

1976: Stephen Stills and Neil Young, credited as The Stills-Young Band, released Long May You Run, the pair’s only collaborative album as a duo.

1977: Linda Ronstadt released her cover of Buddy Holly’s “It’s So Easy” as the second single from her eighth studio album, Simple Dreams. It later became her fifth US top 5 hit.

1980: Kate Bush achieved her first #1 on the UK chart with her third studio album, Never for Ever.

1980: Queen started five weeks at the top of the Billboard pop chart with their first #1 album in the US, their eighth studio album, The Game.

1982: Tears for Fears released “Mad World,” the third single from their debut studio album, The Hurting. The record became their first chart hit, reaching #3 in the UK, and reached the top 40 in several other countries.

1982: Dire Straits released Love over Gold, the band’s fourth studio album and first to reach #1 on the UK chart.

1982: Poco released their fifteenth studio album, Ghost Town. It was the band’s first release on Atlantic Records and their final album to feature the lineup that played on their 1978 breakthrough LP, Legend.

1983: The first ARMS Charity Concert was held at London’s Royal Albert Hall in support of Action into Research for Multiple Sclerosis. Initially intended to be a single event, it had been the idea of former Small Faces and Faces bassist Ronnie Lane, who ultimately succumbed to the disease. Billed as The Ronnie Lane Appeal for ARMS, the concert featured a star-studded lineup of British musicians that included Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Steve Winwood, Andy Fairweather Low, Bill Wyman, Kenney Jones, and Charlie Watts. It was also the first time that Clapton, Beck, and Page—all former lead guitarist for the Yardbirds—performed onstage together. The event was such a success, the musicians involved decided to perform an additional nine shows in the US, with appearances by Joe Cocker, Paul Rodgers, and Ronnie Lane himself.

1985: Simple Minds released “Alive and Kicking,” the first single from their seventh and most successful album, Once Upon a Time. The record became their last top 10 hit in the US, peaking at #3.

1994: Robert Palmer released his twelfth studio album, Honey.

1995: In New Orleans, Natalie Merchant launched her first solo tour since leaving 10,000 Maniacs, in support of her debut solo album, Tiger Lily.

1999: Yes released The Ladder, the group’s eighteenth studio album and only LP with six full-time members following the addition of guitarist Billy Sherwood and keyboardist Igor Khoroshev.

Birthdays Today

Johnny Allen, R&B pianist and arranger who worked for both Motown and Stax Records, was born in Uchee, AL in 1917.

Bobby Nunn, R&B singer, member of the The Robins, and original member of The Coasters, was born in 1925.

Eddie Bo, blues and R&B singer and pianist who recorded for more than 40 different record labels, was born Edwin Joseph Bocage in New Orleans, LA in 1930.

Eric Gale, jazz musician and session guitarist who appeared on an estimated five hundred albums by artists such as Mose Allison, Maxine Brown, the Drifters, Jesse Belvin, Quincy Jones, Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Joe Cocker, Van Morrison, Carly Simon, and Billy Joel, was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1938.

Sweet Pea Atkinson, R&B singer, one of the vocalists for Was (Not Was), solo artist, and contributor to recordings by Elton John, Brian Wilson, Jackson Browne, and others, was born in Oberlin, OH in 1945.

Mick Rogers, guitarist, singer, songwriter, and founding member of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, was born Michael Oldroyd in Dovercourt, Essex, England in 1946.

John and Chuck Panozzo, fraternal twins, drummer and bassist, and co-founders of Styx, were born in Chicago, IL in 1948.

Ricci Martin, musician, singer, youngest son of Dean Martin, and collaborator with Beach Boys member Carl Wilson, was born in Beverly Hills, CA in 1953.

Alannah Currie, drummer, percussionist, and vocalist for Thompson Twins, was born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1957.

Dave Hemingway, musician, songwriter, vocalist, member of the Housemartins, and co-founder of The Beautiful South, was born in Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England in 1960.

Ana Egge, folk singer-songwriter, was born in Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1976.