Today in Rock & Roll History: September 28th

1956: “Love Me Tender” by Elvis Presley was released. The single debuted on the pop charts in early October at the unprecedented position of #2. It became Presley’s fifth #1 on the US pop charts and reached #3 on the Billboard Country and R&B charts. In early October,

1967: Motown Records released “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” by Gladys Knight and Pips. After hearing Aretha Franklin’s version of Otis Redding’s “Respect,” co-writer and producer Norman Whitfield rearranged the song in an effort to “out-funk” Franklin, adding funk elements indicative of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. After much deliberation, Motown president Berry Gordy reluctantly agreed to release the song as a single on the label. It became Gladys Knight and the Pips’ biggest hit since 1961, their second #1 on the Billboard R&B chart, and their second top 10 single on the Hot 100 chart.

1968: The Beatles’ biggest hit, “Hey Jude,” started nine-weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was one of the largest-selling records of the 1960s, selling over eight million copies.

1968: Janis Joplin’s manager, Albert Grossman, announced Joplin’s departure from Big Brother and the Holding Company.

1972: “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” by The Temptations was released. Written by Motown songwriters Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for The Undisputed Truth in 1971, their version peaked at #63 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #24 on the R&B charts. Later that year, Whitfield, who also produced the song, had it remade as a twelve-minute record for The Temptations, which later became the group’s last #1 on the Hot 100 and won three Grammy Awards in 1973.

1973: Status Quo released their sixth studio album, Hello!. It became the band’s first LP to top the UK chart.

1974: Bad Company’s self-titled debut LP, the first album released on Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song record label, reached #1 on the Billboard pop chart.

1974: After leaving David Bowie’s entourage and releasing three solo albums, guitarist Mick Ronson began a brief stint with Mott the Hoople, replacing Ariel Bender.

1974: Stevie Wonder topped the Billboard R&B chart with “You Haven’t Done Nothin’” from his seventeenth studio album, Fulfillingness’ First Finale.

1974: Three Dog Night entered the Billboard Hot 100 with “Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues).” Originally written by Allen Toussaint and released by Frankie Miller, B.J. Thomas, James Montgomery, and Maria Muldaur that same year, Three Dog Night’s version became the most popular, reaching #33 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #26 on the Cash Box chart.

1976: Stevie Wonder released his eighteenth studio album, Songs in the Key of Life. It became his fourth #1 on the Billboard R&B chart, third album to top the pop chart, as well as the best-selling and most critically acclaimed album of Wonder’s career.

1981: The Kinks released “Destroyer,” from their nineteenth studio album, Give the People What They Want, as a single exclusively in the US.

1985: Kate Bush scored her second #1 album on the UK chart with her fifth studio LP, Hounds of Love. The album was her first to enter the top 40 on the Billboard pop chart in the US.

1987: The Smiths’ fourth and final studio album, Strangeways, Here We Come, was released several months after the group had disbanded. Many critics, in addition to guitarist and songwriter Johnny Marr and vocalist Morrisey, agree that the album is the band’s best.

1987: Depeche Mode released Music for the Masses, their sixth studio album and first to enter the top 40 on the Billboard pop chart in the US.

1992: Queen guitarist Brian May released his first solo album, Back to the Light, in the UK. The LP was issued in the US in early February of 1993.

1999: Indigo Girls released their seventh studio album, Come On Now Social.

2004: Mark Knopfler released his fourth solo studio album, Shangri-La.

2010: Neil Young released his thirtieth studio album, Le Noise. Produced by Daniel Lanois in Los Angeles, the album’s title is a pun on the mispronunciation of Lanois’ name.

2010: The Doobie Brothers released their thirteenth studio album, World Gone Crazy.

2010: Gin Blossoms released their fifth studio album, No Chocolate Cake.

2018: Just shy of a year after Tom Petty’s death, Reprise Records released An American Treasure, a compilation box set of rare and unreleased songs and obscure album tracks from Petty’s career with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Mudcrutch, and as a solo artist that showcase his talent as a songwriter.

Birthdays Today

Ed Sullivan, television personality and impresario who was the creator and host of “The Toast of the Town”—later renamed “The Ed Sullivan Show”—that presented countless musical acts to an American audience, was born in Manhattan, NY in 1901.

Koko Taylor, blues singer known as the “Queen of Chicago Blues,” was born Cora Anna Walton in near Memphis, TN in 1928.

Ben E. King, soul and R&B singer, record producer, lead vocalist for The Drifters before going solo, was born Benjamin Earl Nelson in Henderson, NC in 1938.

Elbridge Bryant, tenor vocalist and founding member of The Temptations, was born in Thomasville, GA in 1939.

Nick St. Nicholas, bandleader, bass guitarist, singer, and songwriter best known for his partnership in Steppenwolf, was born Klaus Karl Kassbaum in Hamburg, Germany in 1943.

Peter Hope-Evans, multi-instrumentalist and half of British blues rock duo Medicine Head, was born in Brecon, Powys, Wales in 1947.

Paul Burgess, session drummer and member of 10cc, Jethro Tull, Magna Carta, Joan Armatrading, and The Icicle Works, was born in Manchester, England in 1950.

Norton Buffalo, singer-songwriter, record producer, harmonica player who led his own band, The Stampede, and played with acts such as Clover, Bill Kirchen, Elvin Bishop, Command Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, the Steve Miller Band, Bonnie Raitt, The Doobie Brothers, Mickey Hart, Merl Saunders, Jerry Garcia, and others, was born in Oakland, CA in 1951.

Jim Diamond, singer-songwriter best known as the lead singer for Ph.D. and as a solo artist who also performed with Gully Foyle, Alexis Korner, co-founded Bandit, was born in Bridgeton, Glasgow, Scotland in 1951.

Andy Ward, drummer, founding member of Camel, and member of Marillion and Canterbury, was born in Epsom, Surrey, England in 1952.

Keni Burke, singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist who started out as a member of Five Stairsteps, worked as a session musician for George Harrison’s Dark Horse Records, and contributed to songs by artists such as Sly & the Family Stone, Billy Preston, Curtis Mayfield, Bill Withers, Dusty Springfield, Diana Ross, and Gladys Knight, was born in Chicago IL in 1953.

Moon Unit Zappa, actress, author, and daughter of Frank Zappa, was born in New York City in 1967.

A.J. Croce, singer-songwriter and son of Jim Croce, was born Adrian James Croce in Bryn Mawr, PA in 1971.