Today in Rock & Roll History: September 3rd

1952: Ray Charles signed with Atlantic Records. Later that year his first single with the label, “Roll with Me Baby,” was released. Five years later, the label released Charles’ self-titled first LP.

1956: During his third day of sessions at Radio Recorders in Hollywood, Elvis Presley recorded “Ready Teddy,” “First in Line,” and “Rip It Up.”

1962: “He’s a Rebel” by The Crystals entered the Billboard Hot 100, where it later became the group’s biggest hit and reached #1. The single was actually recorded by California girl group The Blossoms, who producer Phil Spector had record the song while The Crystals were on tour. Over a month later, the song entered the R&B chart, where it peaked at #2. The Crystals were forced to add the song to their live repertoire, but lead singer Barbara Alston was unable to mimic Blossoms lead vocalist Darlene Love. For this reason, 15-year-old Dolores “LaLa” Brooks was hired to join the group.

1965: Lou Christie recorded “Lightnin’ Strikes” at Olmstead Studios in New York City. The song later reached the top of both the US and Canadian charts and was Christie’s only #1 single.

1966: Donovan was at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first and only time with “Sunshine Superman.” The song also reached an all-time high for Donovan on the UK chart, peaking at #2.

1966: The Supremes had their fourth #1 on the Billboard R&B chart with “You Can’t Hurry Love.”

1966: Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass topped the Billboard pop chart with their sixth LP and third straight #1, What Now My Love.

1966: “96 Tears” by Question Mark and the Mysterians entered the Billboard Hot 100. By the end of October, it became the group’s only single to reach #1 in the US.

1968: “Almost in Love” by Elvis Presley was released as a single from the soundtrack to the film Live a Little, Love a Little with the B-side “A Little Less Conversation.”

1968: At the Ohio State Fair in Columbus, Sly and the Family Stone won the final round of NBC TV’s summer talent competition, Showcase ‘68. Winners from each of the show’s ten previous episodes, which included American Breed and the Chambers Brothers, had all competed for the $10,000 prize.

1970: The Dave Clark Five, who scored a dozen hits during the British Invasion of the 1960s, announced they were disbanding despite having had three UK hit singles that year—two of which reached the top 10. Original members Lenny Davidson, Rick Huxley, and Denis Payton left while Alan Parker and Eric Ford joined on lead guitar and bass. The new lineup, renamed “Dave Clark and Friends,” lasted until 1973.

1971: Fleetwood Mac released Future Games, their fifth studio album and first with Christine McVie as a full member. It was also the group’s first of five LPs to feature guitarist Bob Welch.

1974: “The Bitch Is Back,” the second and final single from Elton John’s eighth studio album, Caribou, was released. The song had been inspired by co-writer Bernie Taupin’s then-wife, who would use the phrase whenever John was in a bad mood.

1977: Nearly 110,000 fans packed Englishtown Raceway in Old Bridge, New Jersey for an eleven-hour concert by the Grateful Dead, the Marshall Tucker Band, and New Riders of the Purple Sage.

1982: The first US Festival was held in San Bernardino, California. Apple Computer Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak believed that the 1970s had been the “Me” generation, and with the help of promoter Bill Graham, wanted to encourage the 1980s to be more community-oriented and to combine technology with rock music. An enormous state-of-the-art temporary stage was constructed at Glen Helen Regional Park and music acts during the three-day event included The Ramones, The B-52s, The Police, Talking Heads, Santana, The Cars, The Kinks, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Grateful Dead, Fleetwood Mac, Jimmy Buffett, and Jackson Browne.

1983: The Eurythmics achieved their only #1 on the US charts when “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” went to the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

1984: Cyndi Lauper released her cover of Jules Shear’s “All Through the Night” as the fourth single from her debut album, She’s So Unusual.

1985: “Driver 8” by R.E.M. was released as the second single from their third studio album, Fables of the Reconstruction.

1991: Blues Traveler released their second studio album, Travelers and Thieves.

2012: Mark Knopfler released his seventh solo album, Privateering, in the UK and Canada. The album was not released in the US at the time due to a contractual dispute with Warner Bros. Records. A year later, after Knopfler had signed with Universal Music Group, the album was issued in the States on Verve Records.

Birthdays Today

Memphis Slim, blues pianist, singer, and composer who led a series of bands and made over five hundred recordings, was born John Len Chatman in Memphis, TN in 1915.

Larry Parnes, pop manager, impresario, and the first major British rock manager, whose stable of singers included many of the most successful British rock singers of the late 1950s and early 1960s, was born in London, England in 1929.

Tompall Glaser, singer, guitarist, and central figure in the Outlaw country movement, was born in Spalding, NE in 1933.

Freddie King, blues guitarist and singer, was born in Gilmer, TX in 1934.

Kenneth Pickett, original lead vocalist for The Creation, was born in Ware, Hertfordshire, England in 1940.

George “Shadow” Morton, record producer and songwriter best known for his influential work in the 1960s, writing hits for the Shangri-Las and working with the Who, Jimi Hendrix, Iron Butterfly, Janis Ian, and Vanilla Fudge, was born in Richmond, VA in 1941.

Al Jardine, singer, songwriter, guitarist, and co-founder and rhythm guitarist for The Beach Boys, was born in Lima, OH in 1942.

George Biondo, bassist for Steppenwolf, was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1945.

Mike Harrison, musician, solo artist, and lead singer for The V.I.P.’s, Art, the Hamburg Blues Band, and most notably Spooky Tooth, was born in Carlisle, Cumbria, England in 1945.

“Skinny” Dennis Sanchez, upright bass player who accompanied artists including Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, and Richard Dobson, was born in 1946.

Eric Bell, founding member and original guitarist for Thin Lizzy who was later a member of the Noel Redding Band in the mid-1970s, a solo artist, and leader of blues trio the Eric Bell Band, was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1947.

Don Brewer, drummer and co-lead vocalist for Grand Funk Railroad, was born in Flint, MI in 1948.

Perry Bamonte, guitarist, keyboardist, and six-string bassist for the Cure from 1990-2005, was born in London, England in 1960.

Jonathan Segel, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and member of Camper Van Beethoven, was born in 1963.