| In 1954, Big Joe Turner recorded the original version
of the 1950s hit, Shake, Rattle and Roll. Bill Haley and His Comets
would have the most success with the song, but Turner had a much
bluesier feel on his single, which was also more influential at the time.
Big Joes powerful voice couldnt be ignored once he was
backed by Atlantic Records around 1951.
| Screamin Jay Hawkins recorded I
Put a Spell On You in 1956.
It was also covered by such bands as CCR, Manfred Mann and The
Animals. Hawkins originally tried opera, but didnt have any
luck. Later on, his solo stage shows became quite theatrical, with
Screamin Jay arising from a coffin, thanks to Alan Freed and the
$300 that went along with the suggestion during one of Freeds Rock and
Roll Shows. Hawkins would return to the coffin permanently exactly 44
years later when he died from complications following surgery. Shortly after
his death, a web site at www.jayskids.com went up in hopes of tracking down his
57 offspring, only one of whom was in regular contact with
| The Dick Clark Show was launched on U.S.
television this week in 1958.
Jerry Lee Lewis, Connie Francis, The Royal Teens, Pat
Boone and Johnnie Ray made guest appearances on the weekly Saturday
night show. It debuted 6 months after the huge success of American Bandstand,
and stayed on the air for a little over 2½ years. Clark was a very busy
man in the late 1950s and early 1960s, with Bandstand and his weekend show, as
well as financial interests in record companies, record manufacturing and
artist management. The worlds oldest teenager had to slow
down though, when the payola scandal hit.
| It wasnt until 1960 that Elvis Presley earned his
first gold award for an album. The self-titled release included songs like
Rip It Up and Ready Teddy and was released several years
| The Everly Brothers recorded their last top
10 hit for the Cadence label in 1960, when they finished off When Will I Be Loved.
Warner Brothers Records lured them away with a $1 million contract, and soon
had a huge hit with Cathys Clown. Cadence took advantage of the
duos momentum and released When Will I Be Loved shortly after,
making it another top 10 smash. All the biggest Cadence and Warner hits became
available on the same disc for the first time in 1999, when Rhino released
their All-Time Original Hits. Many of the tracks on The Very Best of
The Everly Brothers from 1964 contained re-recordings.
| Reprise Records, future home to Eric
Clapton, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix,
Chicago, Gordon Lightfoot, Fleetwood Mac, Chris
Isaak, The Kinks and other rock artists, was created by Frank
Sinatra in 1961. At the time
it was formed, Ol Blue Eyes said that he would never sign any
rock and roll bands to HIS label, but the almighty dollar proved to
be very persuasive. Later on, an attempt was made by the company to transfer
all rock acts to the mother ship, Warner Brothers Records, but Neil Young
refused. Other, more recent artists releasing material on Reprise Records
include Alanis Morissette and The Barenaked Ladies. Three and a
half years after the formation of the label, it had its very first U.S. number
1 hit in Dean Martins, Everybody Loves Somebody, for a
single week in 1964.
| Nat King Cole died in 1965 of lung cancer. He was only 47 years
old. Daughter Natalie had just turned 15 the previous week. Nat
originally played in jazz bands, on the strength of his piano skills, but
when Mona Lisa became a huge hit, he found himself drawn into the world
of popular music. Cole kept the hits coming, with songs like A
Blossom Fell, Send for Me, Looking Back, Ramblin
Rose and Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer. The Christmas Song
(chestnuts roasting on an open fire...), from 1946, is probably
his best known song. Coles last hit was the 1991 engineered duet
with Natalie, Unforgettable.
| The Rolling Stones made another appearance
on The Ed Sullivan Show, in 1966.
| Jimi Hendrix was presented with a key to
the city of Seattle in 1968. He
also played a free show for students at Garfield High School. Later in the year
Hendrix would release his only top 40 U.S. single, a remake of Bob
Dylans, All Along the Watchtower. Jimi left Seattle
when he was 14, to become a musician, but wasnt accepted on American soil
until he toured the U.K. in 1966 and 1967.
| Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd was fired
from the band in 1968, and
permanently replaced with David Gilmour. Roger Waters later wrote
and dedicated the song, Shine On You Crazy Diamond, to the increasingly
unstable, Barrett. It was included on the Wish You Were Here
album in nine parts.
| While on tour in the U.K., Joni Mitchell
announced in 1970 that she
would no longer make any live appearances. She was back on stage by the end of
the year. The Who turned the same about face into a routine in the
1980s. In the spring of 1970, she released Ladies of the Canyon, one of
her best albums. It included a couple of classic Mitchell tracks,
Woodstock and Big Yellow Taxi.
| The Who recorded their Live at Leeds
album in 1970, at Leeds
University in Yorkshire. It was released a few months later and made the top 5
in both the U.K. and America. A single from the LP, Summertime Blues,
also did reasonably well, crawling into the top 40. In 1995, the album was
reissued on CD with eight other songs recorded at the concert, but not included
on the original album.
| Led Zeppelin was in their prime in 1972 when a concert in Singapore was
cancelled. After officials noticed the long hair that group members were
sporting, the band wasnt allowed to leave their plane, and so the concert
got canned. Led Zeppelin IV had been released a couple months earlier,
and Black Dog was burning up the singles chart.
| Al Green ruled the pop charts in the U.S.
this week in 1972 when
Lets Stay Together was at number 1. It began a string of top 10
hits, and soon included Look What You Done for Me, Im Still in
Love With You, You Ought to Be With Me, Call Me, Here I Am
and Sha-La-La. All were produced by Willie Mitchell,
bandleader and vice president of Hi Records, who signed Green in 1969.
But when the soul singer broke with Mitchell, the hits dried up pretty
fast. By 1979, Green dedicated his time to being minister of the church
he bought a few years before. In 1989, he squeaked back into the top 10 one
more time, with a duet with Annie Lennox, Put a Little Love in Your
Heart (off the Scrooged soundtrack).
| John and Yoko hosted The Mike
Douglas Show this week in 1972
while Douglas had a weeks holiday. Chuck Berry was one of
their guests. John Lennons, Rock N Roll album
was released exactly three years later, in 1975. It contained a couple of Chuck Berry songs so
that Berry would receive royalties from sales of the album. As a
Beatle, Lennon had ripped off several lines of
Berrys, You Cant Catch Me, and included them in
Come Together. As a settlement, Lennon agreed to record and
release the songs. An unauthorized version of the album, titled, Roots
John Lennon Sings the Great Rock and Roll Hits, was released in
early February, which Lennon had stopped. A single from the album,
Stand By Me, hit number 20 in the U.S.
| Pink Floyd tried out some Dark Side of
the Moon material, including the song Eclipse, at three performances
at the Rainbow Theatre in London, in 1972. This practice of playing live versions of songs yet
to be released would soon be stopped by the band, as bootleg copies of their
material often appeared before the studio releases.
| Rick Nelson began his first U.K. tour in
1972, long after the hits had
dried up. He took his music very seriously, and refused to play the oldies
circuit. With his Stone Canyon Band, Nelson preferred the sounds
of country-rock, even though it wasnt what his long-time fans wanted to
hear. However, later in the year Nelson returned to the top 10 with
Garden Party, his last major hit and the first in over eight
| Stevie Wonder jammed with Johnny Winter
and Dr. John in 1974.
The trio was opening the Bottom Line club in New York. Also appearing were
James Taylor, Carly Simon and Mick Jagger.
| Yes played the first of two nights at New
Yorks Madison Square Garden in 1974. The concert that night had sold out within
days of tickets going on sale, and the gig hadnt even been advertised!
Yes had just released the overblown Tales from Topographic Oceans
| Dreamboat Annie peaked at number 36 on the
U.K. albums chart in 1977. The
previous year, Hearts debut album made it to number 7 in the U.S.,
on the strength of the excellent singles, Crazy On You, Magic Man
and the title track. The group was originally based in Seattle, but moved
to Vancouver, British Columbia, so that manager / sound engineer / boyfriend
Mike Fisher wouldnt be drafted. Heart soon signed with CBS
Records, thereby entering into a legal dispute over their follow-up album,
Magazine. In the meantime, they issued Little Queen and the hit
| had their last U.S.
hit when Fool in the Rain peaked at number 21 in 1980. The song was from their final studio
album of new material, In Through the Out Door. It was definitely a
change in direction for the group, emphasizing a keyboard sound instead of the
guitar-riff rock that made them famous. The album had already hit number 1 all
over the world, and was their first studio record since 1976s,
| Billy Idol left punk band, Generation
X, in 1981 to begin a solo
career. He took with him the track, Dancing With Myself, and turned it
into a minor hit. A year later, songs like Hot in the City and White
Wedding were getting enormous airplay. Several more hits followed
throughout the 1980s, including Eyes Without a Face, To Be a Lover
and Mony Mony (live). His last album was 1993s,
Cyberpunk, after which he contributed the title track to the 1994 movie,
| In 1984, Joe Perry and Brad Whitford saw
Aerosmith backstage in Boston and agreed to re-join the group. Three
years later they would mount one of the biggest comebacks in rock and roll with
the release of the Permanent Vacation album, and its singles, Dude
(Looks Like a Lady), Angel and Rag Doll. In 1990 this same week, Janies Got a
Gun hit number 4 on the U.S. singles chart.
| Bon Jovi had their biggest hit when
Livin On a Prayer made it to number 1 in the U.S. for the first of
4 weeks in 1987. It followed
You Give Love a Bad Name straight to the top of the charts, and paved
the way for Wanted Dead or Alive (all from the Slippery When Wet
album), to crack the top 10 a few months later. The group first squeaked
into the top 40 in 1984 with Runaway. Bon Jovis string of
hits continued into the mid-1990s.
| INXS played a sold out crowd at Madison
Square Garden in 1991, as their
current single, Disappear, peaked at number 8. It was their last top 10
single in the U.S., and after Not Enough Time barely made it into the
top 30, the band disappeared from the singles chart. Disappear was
slightly more successful than the lead-off track from their X album,
| The 1993
BRIT Awards named Simply Red best group of the year, and its
lead singer, Mick Hucknall, Best Male Artist. At the awards show,
Hucknall and the boys performed Wonderland, a track from their
huge European CD, Stars. Sales of the album had recently topped the 8
| In 1994, Celine Dion had her first number 1 hit with,
The Power of Love. It was a cover of the Jennifer Rush song from
1984. Many hits have followed, songs like My Heart Will Go On,
Because You Loved Me and All By Myself. It has been reported that
Dion has sold over 100 million records world-wide, with Falling Into
You and Lets Talk About Love at the 10 million mark in the
U.S. and The Colour of My Love at 6 million.
| Songwriter Diane Warren was honoured by the
American Society of Composers and Performers in 1995. She was given the Voice of Music Award, which seems
rather odd since she hasnt had any hits singing her own material. It has
taken artists like Aretha Franklin, Celine Dion, Cher,
Starship and Aerosmith to have success with Warrens
songs. A few years after her award, Johnny Mathis recorded an entire
album of Warren tracks, aptly titled, Because You Loved Me: Songs of
| Mike + The Mechanics had their re-recorded
version of an earlier hit, All I Need is a Miracle 96, stop at
number 27 on the U.K. singles chart in 1996. A greatest Hits package was released shortly
after, and climbed to number 3. It was not available in North America, except
as an import. The original version of All I Need is a Miracle only made
it to number 53 in the U.K., but went top 10 in America, as did their first
single, Silent Running.
|Doors keyboard player, Ray Manzarek,
Gene McDaniels (both in 1935) and Steve Hackett (Genesis, 1950), were made from A Hundred Pounds
|Peter Tork (The Monkees, 1944) and Peter Gabriel (1950) began their rise to the Big
|Rob McConnell (1935) and Tim Buckley (1947) arrived on a Blue Afternoon.
Helliwell (Supertramp, 1945) and Melissa Manchester (1951) exploded into the world like a
|Bill Doggett (1916) and Sonny Bono (1935) were pretty Soft when they
|Tommy Edwards (1922), Bobby Lewis (1933) and Gene Pitney (1941) were Tossin and Turnin during
|Yoko Ono (1933), Dennis DeYoung (lead singer of Styx,
1947), Juice Newton
(1952) and John Travolta
(1954) werent born on
Summer Nights because it was February.
Jay Hawkins died in 2000 at
the age of 70, after complications from surgery.
|Waylon Jennings died in his sleep in 2002, at the age of 64.
|Buddy Knox died of cancer in 1999. Mick Tucker, extraordinary
drummer for The Sweet, died in 2002 of leukaemia.
|Nat King Cole died in 1965 of lung cancer. Mike Bloomfield died in
1981 of a drug
|Billy Ward died in 2002 at the age of 80. Doris Troy died at the age
of 67 in 2004.
||Billy Cowsill died at the age of 58 in 2006, after suffering from several