| Elvis Presley made his first major
recording in 1954. Thats
All Right was adlibbed after sessions with Sam Phillips at his Sun Studios
were going nowhere. The next couple of days saw the recording of the hits
B-side, Blue Moon of Kentucky. And the rest, as they say, is
| A Memphis DJ by the name of Dewey Phillips spun
Thats All Right (Mama) in 1954. It was the very first Elvis Presley record
that was transmitted over the radio waves, and was released by Sun Records.
Popular music would never be the same.
| Brenda Lee signed a recording contract in
1956 at the age of 11, after five
years of singing professionally. Little Miss Dynamite, as she was
called, racked up a total of 29, top 40 singles in the 1960s, including the
number 1 hits, Im Sorry and I Want to Be
| Elvis Presley sang Hound Dog to a
basset hound on the Steve Allen Show in 1956. The King was wearing a tuxedo for the
performance, which came after he had been backed on I Want You I Need You I
Love by The Jordanaires. Allen, Andy Griffith and Imogene Coca later
joined Elvis in the Range Round-up skit, earning the singer $5000 for
the night. Hound Dog wasnt recorded for official release until the
| Paul McCartney and John Lennon met
in 1957 at a church fête.
Lennons band, The Quarry Men, were playing and McCartney
met up with them after the gig.
| Gary U.S. Bonds saw his only number 1 hit,
Quarter to Three, spend its second of two weeks at number 1 in 1961. He added lyrics to The Church
Street Fives instrumental, A Night With Daddy G., while he was
in the studio with the group.
| A Hard Days Night premiered at the
London Pavilion in 1964. The
classic black and white film captured
at their zaniest. One of the most memorable scenes in the movie had them
running around in a field to the tune of Cant Buy Me Love. John
Lennon commented, We loathed the script because it was somebody
trying to write like we were in real life. In retrospect Alun Owen didnt
do a bad job, but at the time we were self-conscious about the dialogue. It
| Frank Sinatra returned to the top spot of
the singles chart in 1966 with
Strangers in the Night. He would have his biggest hit a year later (in a
duet with daughter Nancy), with Something Stupid. His first
number 1 hit was in 1940 as vocalist with The Tommy Dorsey Band.
Strangers in the Night can be found on the 1997 collection, Very Best
of Frank Sinatra, from Reprise Records.
| Aretha Franklin finally cracked the U.K.
singles chart when Respect made an appearance in 1967. The song would eventually make it to
number 10, but went all the way to the top in the U.S. The Queen of
Souls biggest hit in Britain would come 10 years later in the form of
I Knew You Were Waiting (for Me),a duet with George Michael. It
was also her only other U.S. number 1 pop hit.
| Windy by The Association hit number
1 in the U.S. at the beginning of the Summer of Love in 1967. It stayed there for 4 weeks, making
it their biggest hit. The song was written by a friend of the band, while still
in her teens, and was included as one of the 22 songs on a demo tape she
submitted to producer Bones Howe. Ruthann Friedman also got to
contribute some vocals to the successful track in an all night recording
| The Yardbirds finished a U.S. tour in
1968 and then called it quits.
Jimmy Page was running the band and soon transformed it into
. The group still had live commitments and so Page
worked on forming The New Yardbirds, which became
| Former Rolling Stone member, Brian Jones
died in his swimming pool in 1969. Some feel that it wasnt an accident. Jones
had left the band only weeks before.
| The legendary Louis Armstrong died in
1971 at the age of 70. Satchmo
(short for satchel mouth), was one of the most talented musicians of the
20th century. It only seems right that his recording of Hello,
Dolly! was the song that replaced
at number 1 at the beginning of the British Invasion. I Want to Hold Your
Hand, She Loves You and then Cant Buy Me Love combined
for 14 consecutive weeks at number 1 until Armstrong jumped in for a
week at the age of 62.
| The Doors lost lead singer Jim Morrison
in 1971. He apparently died
of heart failure in a Paris bathtub. His contribution to the music of The
Doors has been highly overrated. The rest of the band deserves more credit
than they received.
| Billy Preston had the number 1 song in
1973 with, Will It Go Round in
Circles. Preston also had success with Outa-Space, Space
Race, Nothing from Nothing and With You Im Born Again
(with Stevie Wonders ex-wife, Syreeta). He also had the
privilege of playing on several Beatles recordings, earning him the
title of The Fifth Beatle for a short period in 1969. Get Back
was credited to
with Billy Preston, as was its flip-side, Dont Let Me Down.
Preston joined the Apple roster later in 1969.
| Brian Peter George St. John Le Baptiste De La
Salle Eno left Roxy Music in 1973. He and leader, Bryan Ferry, hadnt been
getting along. Eno appeared on the bands first two albums, Roxy
Music and For Your Pleasure.
| David Bowie began work on the film, The Man
Who Fell to Earth, in 1975. He
was joined by Buck Henry, Rip Torn and James Lovell, Commander of Apollo
| Gonna Fly Now, the theme from the first
Rocky movie, was number 1 this week back in 1977. Bill Conti wrote and produced the mostly
instrumental track for the film starring Sylvester Stallone.
| Roger Waters got so angry during a
Montreal, Canada, Pink Floyd concert in 1977 that he spat on a fan. While Pigs On the Wing
(Part 2), an acoustic number from their recent Animals album, was
being performed, a fan let off some fireworks and kept screaming near the
stage. If this wasnt annoying enough, he then began climbing the mesh
separating the crowd from the band. When he got near Waters, the bass
player let the saliva fly. The incident caused Waters to later reflect
on the need to be isolated from the audience while playing, laying the first
brick that would soon become The Wall.
| In 1978, Gerry Raffertys Baker Street failed at
displacing Shadow Dancing from the top spot. The Andy Gibb song
was at its third week at number 1, but Baker Street wasnt able to
do anything about it. Raffertys biggest hit would spend another
four weeks at number 2, after which it followed Shadow Dancing down the
| Pressings of Some Girls by The Rolling
Stones were halted in 1978,
when celebrities featured on the album cover (including Lucille Ball),
| Van McCoy died of a heart attack in
1979, at the age of 35. He had
worked for several record labels throughout the 1960s, including one of his
own. Before he had his own number 1 hit in 1975 with The Hustle,
McCoy produced The Shirelles, Gladys Knight and The Pips
and The Stylistics.
| played its last live
concert in 1980 in West Berlin.
They ended with Whole Lotta Love at the Eissporthalle, finishing their
European tour. Their final original studio album, In Through the Out
Door, had been released the previous summer.
| A 1984
independence day concert by The Beach Boys in Miami saw Ringo
Starr sit in with the band, just months after the drowning of Dennis
Wilson. The group would have three more top 40 hits before the end of the
| The Doobie Brothers were on the comeback
trail in 1987 when original
leader, Tom Johnston, took the group to the Soviet Union for The July
Fourth Disarmament Festival. The group, without replacement Michael
McDonald, joined the likes of Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor,
Santana and several Russian groups at the festival. The Doobies
would sign a new contract with Capitol Records the following year and
record a new studio album. They had disbanded in 1983 after their Farewell
Tour and LP.
| CDs began outselling vinyl records in 1989. The dominance of CDs virtually wiped
out the singles phenomenon as nothing ended up replacing the 45 rpm single. The
3½ CD single died out after record companies refused to offer it
at a reasonable price. The larger, full-size CD singles are still
| ZZ Top finished their European Recycler
tour in 1991. The album being
promoted had peaked in the U.S. at number 6, with the help of the Doubleback
single, a song that had already been heard on the Back to the Future III
soundtrack. Recycler was their last original album for Warner
Brothers Records, and was a solid effort. The group would sign a five record
deal with RCA Records exactly a year later, worth $30 million.
| A new Eagles collection, The Very Best
of The Eagles, hit number 4 on the U.K. albums chart in 1994. The compilation was allowed by band
members because it was originally created for a European country where no
collections on CD were available. Earlier in the year, the group blocked a
double CD package that their record company put together for a summer release.
Don Henley, Glenn Frey and the rest of the band felt that Elektra
Records was just trying to shaft fans into buying another arrangement of the
same old hits.
| The debut album by Hootie and The Blowfish
was released in 1994 this
week. Cracked Rear View was a smash, but took many months before it
gained attention. It eventually produced three top 10 singles and has sold over
16 million copies in the U.S. alone. The albums title was taken from a
song by John Hiatt. Only Boston has had a better selling debut
| The Doobie Brothers began a U.S. tour in
1994, starting off in Texas. They
travelled throughout the country, sharing the bills with Foreigner.
Three years before, The Doobies had released their Brotherhood
album, and a double live effort was still two years away.
| Ray Charles played the 21st
Montreal International Jazz Festival in 2000. His orchestra began the show with three
instrumentals, after which The Genius came out and played a short set of
12 abbreviated songs. The Molson Centre crowd was treated to songs like
Georgia On My Mind, Whatd I Say, I Cant Stop
Loving You and Hold On Im Comin, but Charles was
done and gone long before the audience was satisfied. The 69 year old legend
didnt allow any opportunity for an encore as the lights came up
immediately after he left the stage.
|A Never Ending Song of Love continued as
Willie Dixon (1915),
Bobby Day (1930),
Delaney Bramlett (Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, 1939), Debbie Harry
(Blondie, 1945) and
Dan Aykroyd (The Blues Brothers, 1952) came into the world.
|Family and friends of Paul Williams (The
Temptations, 1939) and
Leapy Lee (1942) were on
Cloud Nine when they were born.
|Isnt It Time that Fontella Bass
(1940), Mike Corby
(The Babys, 1955) and
Laura Branigan (1957)
celebrate their birthdays?
|It was on a Lovely Day that Mitch Miller
(1911), Bill Withers
(1938), Jeremy Spencer
(Fleetwood Mac, 1948)
and John Waite (1955) were
|The Heart of Rock and Roll began beating with the
arrival of Smiley Lewis (1913), Robbie Robertson (1944) and Huey Lewis (1950).
|The Birth of the Boogie occurred on this day, as
Bill Haley (1925),
Della Reese (1931) and
Gene Chandler (1937)
|Oh My My, Mary Ford (1928), Ringo Starr (1940) and Ron Hiller
were all brought into the world.
|Guy Mitchell died in 1999 following surgery. Herbie Mann died after a
lengthy battle with prostate cancer in 2003. Obie Benson (The Four Tops) died
in 2005 at the age of
|Former Rolling Stone member, Brian Jones,
drowned in his swimming pool in 1969. Jim Morrison died of heart failure in
||Barry White died in 2003 at the age of 58.
|Big band trumpeter, Harry James, died in 1983 at the age of 67. Ernie K-Doe
was 65 when he died of various internal illnesses in 2001. Johnny Russell passed away at
the age of 61 in 2001.
|The legendary Louis Armstrong passed away in
1971 at the age of 70. Van
McCoy died of a heart attack in 1979, at the age of 35. Michael Hartman died in
2000 of cystic fibrosis at the
age of 24. James Hill of The Fairfield Four died at the age of 83
|Freddie Neil died of cancer in 2001 at the age of 64.