Saturday, May 21, 2011

Congratulations to Italy--First Appearance in Top Five

My friends from Italy ranked in the top five countries for visitors today--the first time Italy has appeared in the top five.  I spent some time there a few years back in Rome, Florence and Venice.  Recommend all three but we loved Venice and would go back there in a heartbeat.  Just don't go in the middle of summer when it's hot--the algae accumulates and I'm told the smell is not great.  But any other time--we went in early May and loved it!  Also recommend going to nearby Lido and go to the edge of the Adriatic Sea.  Rome of course is legendary--to think you're walking where Caesar did is pretty humbling.  Definitely take the "Scavi Tour" in the Vatican--very hard to get in but well worth it.  There, you are walking on paths of the 1st century and on the footsteps that St. Peter made.  Florence too has tons of history and is the home of renaissance art.  The Uffizi Gallery and the Academia are superb.  We marveled at the talent displayed before us.  Spend a lot of time observing Michelangelo's masterpiece "David"--the craftsmanship is unparalleled and you're standing before history.  One note of caution:  be aware of the shysters and scammers, especially in Rome and on Trenitalia, the train service within Italy.

Here is the list of Top Five Visitors from today:

1.  United States 57
2.  Denmark 24
3.  Germany 20
4.  Italy 6
4.  United Kingdom 6

Retro Look Back

In 1981, the "M" in "MTV" actually stood for Music Television, as opposed to "Mundane".  They actually played music videos 24 hours a day back when they had enough good music to last that long.  To make up for the lack of quality songs, the station now uses considerable filler.

Hits of Paul Revere & the Raiders

I can't go too long after starting without including the hits list for our hometown band.  Paul Revere & the Raiders started in Boise, Idaho (some were from Caldwell, about 20 miles from Boise) in 1960.  The radio station I worked for (KFXD) was the one that broke the group.  Nearly every one of their releases in the 60's and early 70's was a huge hit in Boise.  And yes, Paul Revere is every bit as nice in person as he seems.

1960:  "Beatnik Sticks"
1961:  "Paul Revere's Ride"
           "Like, Long Hair" (#38)
           "Like Charleston"
           "All Night Long"
1962:  "Like Bluegrass"
           "Shake It Up - Part 1"
           "Tall Cool One"
1963:  "So Fine"
           "Louie, Louie" (the best version of the song)
1964:  "Louie, Louie Go Home"
           "Over You"
           "Ooh Poo Pah Doo" (I'm going to have to ask him about this one!)
1965:  "Steppin' Out" (#46, #8 in Canada)
           "Just Like Me" (#11, #28 in Canada)
1966:  "Kicks" (#4, #1 in Canada)
           "Hungry" (#6, #3 in Canada)
           "The Great Airplane Strike" (#20, #45 in Canada)
           "Good Thing" (#4)
1967:  "Ups and Downs" (#22)
           "Him or Me, What's It Gonna' Be" (#5)
           "I Had a Dream" (#17)
           "Peace of Mind/Do Unto Others" (#42)
1968:  "Too Much Talk" (#19)
           "Don't Take It So Hard" (#27, #11 Canada)
           "Cinderella Sunshine" (#58, #38 Canada)
1969:  "Mr. Sun, Mr. Moon" (#18, #8 Canada)
           "Let Me" (#20, #12 Canada)
           "We Gotta' All Get Together" (#50, #6 Canada)
1970:  "Just Seventeen" (#82)
           "Gone Movin' On"
1971:  "Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian) --#1
           "Birds of a Feather" (#23)
1972:  "Country Wine" (#51)
           "Powder Blue Mercedes Queen" (#54)
           "Song Seller" (#96)
1973:  "Love Music" (#97)
1974:  "All Over You"
1975:  "Your Love (Is the Only Love)"
1976:  "Ain't Nothin' Wrong"

 The Raiders on The Smothers Brothers television show

The #81 Album of All-Time in the Rock Era--"Different Light" by the Bangles

If you don't own the album, this next entry would probably be the only "surprise" in the Top 100 Albums. It has plenty of statistics to support it, but many of the so-called "experts" that come up with these lists do not include this album. That's a disservice to the public.

I've posted how the Go-Go's were the first self-contained, all-girl group to make it big in rock (or music in general for that matter). And by self-contained, I mean a group that writes their own songs, plays their own instruments, and decides their own fate. The Bangles were the second such group, and you can argue which was "better"; the two both had great success. The group's debut album is also very good and was critically acclaimed as well, but it did not make the Top 100.

The biggest strength of the album is its Track Rating*, and again that is a measure of consistency of an album, 10 being the highest rating an album can attain. Different Light has a Track Rating of 9.18, not the highest in the Top 100 but certainly up there. There is not a bad song on the album; it can be tracked through in its entirety, and few people would say there is even an "average" song on the album. Another strength is the album's airplay. Different Light features four smash hits, led by the monster hit "Walk Like an Egyptian", which is one of the Top Songs in the Rock Era*. "Manic Monday", a song written for them by Prince under the pseudonym "Christopher", was another of the singles, along with "If She Knew What She Wants" and "Walking Down Your Street". Those four singles gave the Bangles a presence on the radio for an extended time, both on popular music and Adult Contemporary stations. Since AC was beginning to take over as the most popular format at the time, millions of people were turned on to the Bangles' sound.

There's one track that wasn't a hit that is especially worth checking out--"Following" is truly one of the great "undiscovered" songs of the rock era. The title track, "Angels Don't Fall In Love", "Not Like You" and "Return Post" are also solid and display the group's great harmonies. But again, there isn't a bad song on the album and your favorites may be different than the ones I've listed.

Airplay and consumer satisfaction quite naturally lead to chart success and album sales. Different Light reached #2, spent nine weeks in the Top 10 and 82 weeks (over a year and a half) on the chart. The album has sold three million copies in the United States.

Different Light:
1. "Manic Monday" ("Christopher" (Prince))--3:06
2. "In a Different Light" (Susanna Hoffs, Vicki Peterson)--2:52
3. "Walking Down Your Street" (Louis Gutierrez, Hoffs, David Kahne)--3:04
4. "Walk Like an Egyptian" (Liam Sternberg)--3:24
5. "Standing in the Hallway" (Hoffs, Kahne, Debbi Peterson, V. Peterson)--2:56
6. "Return Post" (Hoffs, V. Peterson)--4:22
7. "If She Knew What She Wants" (Jules Shear)--3:49
8. "Let It Go" (Hoffs, D. Peterson, V. Peterson, Michael Steele)--2:32
9. "September Gurls" (Alex Chilton)--2:45
10. "Angels Don't Fall In Love" (Hoffs, V. Peterson)--3:23
11. "Following" (Steele)--3:21
12. "Not Like You" (Hoffs, Kahne, D. Peterson)--3:06

The Bangles are:

Susanna Hoffs, Vocals and guitars
Vicki Peterson: Vocals and guitars
Michael Steele: Vocals, guitars and bass
Debbi Peterson: Vocals, drums and percussion

Rusty Anderson and Barbara Chapman Harp contributed guitar work on the album, Mitchell Froom and David Kahne help out with keyboards and synthesizers and Carlos Vega added drums to the project. Other than that, it's all Bangles.

This album was recorded in the summer and autumn of 1985. David Kahne produced the album. The Engineers were Tchad Blake, David Leonard and Peggy McLeonard. Leonard also did the mixing for Different Light. The album was released in January of 1986 on Columbia Records.

Coming in at #81--Different Light by the Bangles.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Five Best Songs: Paul Anka

Since it's the anniversary of the Canadian crooner's recording of "Diana" (May 21), a good time to feature him in this segment.
1.  "Diana"


2.  "Put Your Head On My Shoulder"

3.  "Having My Baby"


4.  "Puppy Love"


5.  "Lonely Boy"

This Date in Rock Music History: May 21

1963:  The Beatles recorded five songs for the BBC radio show Saturday Club and six for Steppin' Out before a live audience at the Playhouse Theatre in London.
1964:  The Drifters recorded "Under The Boardwalk".  Johnny Moore was called upon to sing lead after Rudy Lewis had died the night before.
1965:  The Four Tops appeared on the U.K. television show Ready Steady Goes Live!
1966:  Mel Carter's "Band of Gold" was #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
1966:  A hot new song was moving up the chart.  It was called "Paint It Black" from the Rolling Stones.

1966:  "Monday, Monday" spent a third week at #1 for the Mamas and the Papas, just ahead of "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" from Bob Dylan.  The Rascals' former #1 "Good Lovin'" was at 3, followed by the relentless "When A Man Loves A Woman" by Percy Sledge.  The rest of the Top 10:  The Mindbenders moved from 13 to 5 with "A Groovy Kind of Love", Paul Revere & the Raiders' great song "Kicks" was #6, Nancy Sinatra was stuck on seven with "How Does That Grab You, Darlin'?", Dionne Warwick's "Message To Michael" was #8, the Beach Boys slipped to #9 with "Sloop John B" and the Supremes had their eighth top ten song with "Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart", which moved from 15-10.

1966:  If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears from the Mamas and Papas was the new #1 album on this date.  Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass climbed from 60 to 2 with What Now My Love.  Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass), the greatest hits package by the Rolling Stones, was at 3 with Alpert & the Tijuana Brass's album Going Places finally falling from #1.  The great sound of the Brass enabled the group to be on top of the Album charts for 15 weeks that year; they were about the only artist that could compete with the Beatles.  Color Me Barbra from Streisand was #6, followed by Soul & Inspiration by the Righteous Brothers, another Alpert & the Tijuana Brass album (Whipped Cream & Other Delights) falling to #8 in its 54th week, I Hear a Symphony from the Supremes at #9 and The Best of the Animals at #10.

1966:  We were introduced to a new artist on this date, and not just an ordinary one.  Neil Diamond's first hit debuted on this date, as the highly Underrated* song "Solitary Man" first hit the chart.  It only reached #55.  Columbia Records would re-release the song in 1970 but even then it only hit #21.  
1968:  Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones once again was arrested for possession of cannabis in his apartment in London.

1970:  Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young recorded the song "Ohio" at The Record Plant in Los Angeles, just 17 days after the murder of four youths at Kent State University in Ohio.  (Note:  Neil Young wrote the best response to the incident with the song "Ohio", a tale dripping in satiric criticism.  Unfortunately, most of the Internet gets the events leading up to the release of the single wrong.  Some websites claim the band released the single on May 14, 1970.  You already know about the ridiculous song and artist rankings of 'Rolling Stone', but the magazine claims the song was recorded May 15.  This is physically impossible.  The book 'Encyclopedia of Great Popular Recordings' by Steve Sullivan reports that Neil Young wrote "Ohio" on May 19, while saying the group recorded it on May 15 in the same article--very difficult to record a song if it hasn't been written yet, so that's out. 
Neil Young wrote the lyrics to the song after seeing the story in 'Life' magazine, according to numerous sources, including 'Time' magazine.  That copy of 'Life' magazine was published on May 15 (as you can see from the photo of the 'Life' cover above), making it impossible to read it, write and arrange the song, book a recording studio, and then record it, either on May 14 or May 15.  According to the book 'Neil Young:  Long May You Run:  The Illustrated History, Updated Edition' by Daniel Dudrcholz and Gary Graff, Crosby handed Young a copy of Life.  Neil took out his guitar, and had the song 20 minutes later.  According to album liner notes written by Crosby, the group booked the Record Plant for May 21, and released the song within a week after recording.  The book 'American Reckoning:  The Vietnam War and Our National Identity' by Christian G. Appy confirms that "Ohio" was recorded on May 21.) 
1971:  Paul McCartney released the album Ram in the U.K., four days after it had been released in the United States.

1971:  Marvin Gaye released the landmark album What's Going On.
1971:  The group Free ("All Right Now") announced they were breaking up.

1973:  Deep Purple released the single "Smoke On The Water".  (Note:  several websites with little knowledge of the music industry claim the single was released on May 26.  "Smoke On The Water" debuted on the Singles chart on May 26, 1973.  It is physically impossible for a song to be released by a record company, mailed to radio stations, received by the stations, listened to and added to playlists, reported by the radio stations to the trade papers, and printed and published by the trade papers, all in one day.)
1976:  The Rolling Stones performed the first of six concerts at Earls Court in London, but reviews were already calling them "dinosaurs".
1977:  Tavares owned the #1 R&B song with "Whodunit".
1977:  "Hello Stranger" by Yvonne Elliman held off all challengers in a fourth week at #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

                                        Climax Blues band was, well, climaxing

1977:  "Sir Duke" was the new #1 song in the land from Stevie Wonder, his tribute to jazz great Duke Ellington.  Leo Sayer fell to #2 after a short stay at the top with "When I Need You".  The Climax Blues Band had the biggest hit of their career with "Couldn't Get It Right" at #3.  KC and the Sunshine Band moved to 4 with "I'm Your Boogie Man", Marvin Gaye edged up to 5 with "Got To Give It Up" and Fleetwood Mac jumped from 14-6 with "Dreams".  The rest of the Top 10:  Bill Conti had #7 with "Gonna' Fly Now (Theme From "Rocky")", even though the Maynard Ferguson version was much more popular, the Eagles' former #1 "Hotel California" was now #8, Glen Campbell tumbled to #9 with "Southern Nights" and Kenny Rogers moved into the Top 10 with "Lucille".

1977:  The Fleetwood Mac album Rumours regained the #1 spot after a tussle with Hotel California from the Eagles, which was able to hold on to #1 for seven weeks.  Rumours would go on to spend 27 more weeks at #1.  

1979:  Donna Summer released the single "Bad Girls".  (Note:  some websites claim the song was released June 23.  "Bad Girls" debuted on the Singles chart on May 26, 1979.  It is physically impossible for a song to be included on the Singles chart if it has not yet been released as a single.)

1979:  The Charlie Daniels Band released the single "The Devil Went Down To Georgia".  (After reading this, you should be able to discount everything VH-1 says, that is if you haven't already.  VH-1 says that the single was released June 23.  According to 'Billboard', the song debuted on its Singles chart on June 23.  It is physically impossible for a record company to release a single, mail it to radio stations, be received and listened to by the radio stations, added to the station playlist, reported to the trade papers and then printed and published by the trade papers, all in one day.  According to Charlie Daniels himself on his official website, the single was released May 21.)
1980:  How's this for ignoring the adage "The customer is always right"?  Joe Strummer of the Clash was arrested in Hamburg, West Germany after he smashed his guitar over the head of an audience member.

1982:  The Hacienda Club opened in Manchester England.  It would house concerts by U2, the Smiths, Oasis, Madonna and others over the years.
1983:  Michael McDonald married singer Amy Holland.
1983:  "Beat It" by Michael Jackson was #1 on the R&B chart.
1983:  "My Love" from Lionel Richie was the new #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

1983:  Thriller maintained a lock on the #1 position on the Album chart for the 13th consecutive week out of 36 that it would spend at the top.

1984:  Bruce Springsteen released the single "Dancing In The Dark".
1985:  Marvin Gaye released what was to be his last album, Dream of a Lifetime.
1988:  "Mercedes Boy" from Pebbles topped all songs on the R&B chart.

1988:  "Shattered Dreams" from Johnny Hates Jazz may not have been able to reach #1 on the regular chart but it was the #1 song in Adult Contemporary radio, which was beginning to be the most reliable chart of popular music tastes.
1992:  Icon Johnny Carson chose Bette Midler to be the one and only guest and his final guest of The Tonight Show on NBC-TV.  Carson then bid farewell to his million of fans the following night with just him on stage and clips of The Tonight Show highlights.
1994:  Aaliyah moved to #1 on the R&B chart with "Back & Forth", where she would stay for three weeks.

1994:  All-4-One jumped from 8 to 1 with "I Swear" to take over the top spot from "The Sign" by Ace of Base".  The group would spend the next 11 weeks at the top.
2000:  Whitney Houston led the way on the U.K. Album chart with her Greatest Hits package.
2003:  Pearl Jam ended their recording arrangement with Epic Records.
2003:  Ike Turner was refused entry into Japan because of a past drug conviction for cocaine.  Hopefully wife-beating also qualifies for denial of entry.  (Note:  one website shows the date as May 20, though there is no credible corroboration of that date.)  
2003:  Sir Paul McCartney received an honorary degree of music from St. Petersburg State University in Russia.

2004:  The Eagles appeared in concert at the Journal Pavilion in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
2007:  Scott Stapp, former lead singer of Creed, was arrested and charged with domestic assault in Boca Raton, Florida.
2008:  Steven Tyler of Aerosmith checked into a rehab facility in California.  
2008:  Lou Pearlman, the music executive responsible for creating both the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync, was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for a long-running scam that swindled thousands of people out of their life savings.  Many victims were in their 70's and 80's and lost everything.
2009:  Natalie Cole underwent a kidney transplant at  Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
2010:  Bono of U2 underwent emergency spinal surgery in Munich, Germany after being injured prior to a tour.

Born This Day:

1940:  Tony Sheridan, who once worked with the Beatles ("My Bonnie"), Gene Vincent and others, was born in Norwich, Norfolk, England; died February 16, 2013 in Hamburg, Germany after undergoing heart surgery.

1941:  Ronald Isley of the Isley Brothers was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.
1943:  Vincent Crane, keyboard player for The Crazy World of Arthur Brown ("Fire" in 1968); died in a deliberate overdose of Anadin tablets February 14, 1989 in Westminster, London.
1943:  John Dalton of the Kinks (Note:  some websites say Dalton was born in Enfield, Middlesex, England, while '' and a few other sites say he was born in Edgware, Middlesex, England.  Since no credible sources exist for either place, we are leaving his place of birth blank.)
1943:  Hilton Valentine of the Animals was born in  North Shields, Northumberland, England.  (Note:  some websites make the mistake of saying Valentine was born in North Shields, North Tyneside, England.  North Tyneside is the current county of North Shields, but Valentine was born in 1943, long before the county of North Tyneside was created in 1974, and you will never see North Tyneside listed as the county of birth on Valentine's official birth certificate.  Valentine's place of birth is listed as North Shields, Northumberland, England on his official website.)
1944:  Marcie Blane ("Bobby's Girl") was born in Brooklyn, New York.
1947:  Bill Champlin of Chicago was born in Oakland, California.

1948:  Leo Sayer was born in Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, England.
1954:  Marc Ribot, songwriter and guitarist for Norah Jones, Tom Waits and Elvis Costello, was born in Newark, New Jersey.

1955:  Stan Lynch, drummer for Tom Petty and producer for Don Henley, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Note:  '' and other websites that mistakenly followed their lead claim Lynch was born in Gainesville, Florida, no doubt assuming that since he played drums for Petty that he was born in the same city.  Bad assumption.  Lynch was born in Cincinnati, according to the book 'Tom Petty:  Rock 'n' Roll Guardian' by Andrea M. Totondo.)1963:  Tim Lever of Dead or Alive ("You Spin Me 'Round")
1972:  The Notorious B.I.G. (Biggie Smalls, aka Christopher G. Wallace), was born in Brooklyn, New York; shot in Los Angeles March 9, 1997 at age 24.  (Note:  some websites report Wallace was born in New York City, but according to the newspaper 'The New York Times', he was born in Brooklyn.  'The Times' also confirms that St. Mary's Hospital, now closed, was in Brooklyn.)
1975:  Lee Gaze, guitarist of Lostprophets, was born in Pontypridd, Wales.
1978:  Adam Wade Gontier, lead singer, songwriter and rhythm guitarist for Three Days Grace, was born in Norwood, Ontario, Canada.
1985:  Mutya Buena of the Sugababes was born in Kingsbury, London.  (Note:  some websites simply state that Buena was born in London, as if either she was born in the city of London or the general county of Greater London.  According to the newspaper 'The Mirror', Mutya was born in Kingsbury, London.)

Lyrics to "Talkin' 'Bout a Revolution" by Tracy Chapman

Here are the lyrics to the featured Unknown/Underrated Song of the Rock Era*--"Talkin' 'Bout a Revolution" by Tracy Chapman.

Don't you know you're talking about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper
Don't you know they're talking about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper

While they're standing in the welfare lines
Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation
Wasting time in unemployment lines
Sitting around waiting for a promotion

Don't you know you're talking about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper

Poor people are gonna rise up
And get their share
Poor people are gonna rise up
And take what's theirs

Don't you know you better run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run
Oh I said you better run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run

Finally the tables are starting to turn
Talking about a revolution
Finally the tables are starting to turn
Talking about a revolution oh no
Talking about a revolution oh no

While they're standing in the welfare lines
Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation
Wasting time in unemployment lines
Sitting around waiting for a promotion

Don't you know you're talking about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper

And finally the tables are starting to turn
Talking about a revolution
Finally the tables are starting to turn
Talking about a revolution oh no
Talking about a revolution oh no
Talking about a revolution oh no

Featured Unknown/Underrated Song of the Rock Era: Talkin' Bout a Revolution" by Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman has the new featured song in the Underrated Songs of the Rock Era section.

Watch her live!

The #82 Album of All-Time in the Rock Era--"Cracked Rear View" by Hootie & the Blowfish

We began the Top 100 Albums on May 1 and here we are up to #82.

Cracked Rear View was the debut by Hootie & the Blowfish. The album dominated the music scene in 1995, selling an incredible 10.5 million copies that year alone! This is reflected in the incredible chart performance of the album. Not only was it #1 for 8 weeks; it was also #2 for 8 weeks and #3 for an additional 12 weeks. That's 28 weeks as one of the top three albums. Cracked Rear View went on to remain in the Top Ten for 55 weeks and remain on the chart for 129 weeks. The album has now reached 16 million copies; the only downside is that it has a particularly low Track Rating of 8.46. In other words, the hits you know are great but there isn't much else on the album.

Four singles generated huge airplay for this release, let by the monster hit "Hold My Hand".  "Let Her Cry", "Only Wanna' Be With You" and "Time" were the other hits from Cracked Rear View.

Hootie & the Blowfish received a Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal for "Let Her Cry".

All songs written by Mark Bryan, Dean Felber, Darius Rucker and Jim "Soni"Sonefeld.

1.    "Hannah Jane" --3:33
2.    "Hold My Hand" --4:15
3.    "Let Her Cry" -- 5:08
4.    "Only Wanna' Be with You" --3:46
5.    "Running from an Angel" – 3:37
6.    "I'm Goin' Home" – 4:11
7.    "Drowning" – 5:01
8.    "Time" – 4:53
9.    "Look Away" – 2:38
10.  "Not Even the Trees" – 4:37
11.  "Goodbye" – 4:05

Hootie & the Blowfish were:  Darius Rucker, lead vocals, acoustic guitar and percussion, Mark Bryan played mandolin, piano, electric guitar, acoustic guitar and percussion, Den Felber played bass guitar, clavinet and piano and Jim Sonefeld played drums, percussion, piano and glasses!  They got a lot out of each group member.  David Crosby was a backup vocalist on "Hold My Hand", while Lili Haydn played violin and John Nau contributed piano and Hammond organ work on the album.

Don Gehman was largely responsible for the sound you hear on Cracked Rear View--he was the producer, engineer and the mixer for the album.  Eddy Schreyer mastered it while Jean Cronin was the Art Director and Michael McLaughlin was the Photographer.

Hootie & the Blowfish recorded Cracked Rear View in 1994 at N.R.G. Recording Services in North Hollywood, California.  It was released July 5, 1995 on Atlantic Records.

Cracked Rear View is next, at #82.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

This Date in Rock Music History: May 20

1954:  The landmark single "Rock Around The Clock" was released by Bill Haley & the Comets.  The song wouldn't officially begin the Rock Era until it reached #1 a year later after being featured in the movie The Blackboard Jungle and re-released.

1957:  16-year-old Paul Anka, who had won a trip to New York City, stayed with some Canadian friends known as the Rover Boys.  The Rover Boys were already signed to ABC Records, and suggested Paul go see Don Costa at ABC.  He audtioned for Costa with "Diana", a song he had written about a girl in Canada.  Costa signed Anka to a recording contract and had him record the song at the ABC-Paramount Studios in Manhattan.  (Note:  some websites report that Anka recorded the song on May 21.  Although there are no credible sources for either date, our best research indicates that Anka recorded the song May 20.  Some websites report that Anka recorded the song at Capitol Recording Studios in New York City, and some say he recorded it at Don Costa Studio.  While Costa was the man who signed him to a contract and produced him, there is no record of him owning a recording studio in Manhattan, and, since Anka signed the contract with ABC-Paramount and released "Diana" on ABC-Paramount Records, it seems unlikely that he would record the song at a recording studio for Capitol Records.)
1957:  Frank Sinatra recorded "Witchcraft".
1957:  Andy Williams had the #1 U.K. song with "Butterfly".

1957:  A new duo began that would influence vocals for decades to come.  The Everly Brothers debuted with the first hit of their careers and they picked a good song to start out with.  "Bye Bye Love" was that song with gave the Brothers their start on this date, and it eventually reached #2 for four weeks.
1960:  The Silver Beetles started a seven-day tour of Scotland at the Town Hall in Alloa, Clackmannanshire.  (Note:  some websites claim the group was known as the Silver Beatles.  According to 'The Beatles Bible', the group did not change the spelling to the Silver Beatles until July.) 
1961:  Cliff Richard made his first appearance on television on the U.K. ITV show Thank Your Lucky Stars.

1964:  Elvis Presley's movie Viva Las Vegas premiered at the Paramount Theatre in New York City.  (Note:  website owners are thoroughly confused as to the opening dates of the movie.  Some report the movie premiered in New York City on April 20, while others say it premiered May 20.  Some say the movie opened in theaters on April 20, while others say it was May 17, May 20, June 7, or June 17.  The book 'Elvis Presley:  Silver Screen Icon' by Steve Templeton shows that the movie premiered in New York City on April 20, and opened nationally on June 17.  'Billboard' magazine reports the premiere was April 20, but that doesn't jive with a couple of other reports.  'Turner Classic Movies' reports that 'Viva Las Vegas' premiered on May 20.  And the newspaper 'The New York Times' printed a review on May 21, 1964.  It is extremely unlikely that 'The Times' would do a review in May on a movie which either premiered or opened in April.  So, while there is conflicting information among credible sources, we believe, based on the review in 'The New York Times", that the movie premiered in New York City on May 20.  It is then logical that the movie opened nationwide on June 17.)
1964:  Rudy Lewis of the Drifters died of a brain seizure brought on by drugs at age 27 in Manhattan, New York.  (Note:  some websites say Lewis died in Harlem, New York.  Harlem is a neighborhood within Manhattan, not a city, and will never be listed on an official death certificate.)
1966:  John Entwistle and Keith Moon were late arriving for a Who concert at the Ricky Tick Club in Windsor, Berkshire, England, so bandmates Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey began performing without them along with the bassist and drummer of the local group who opened the show.  When Moon and Entwistle finally got there, a fight broke out and Townshend actually hit Moon over the head with his guitar.  Moon and Entwistle quit the band but rejoined a week later.  (Note:  some websites say the Ricky Tick Club was in Newbury, England, but according to the BBC, it was in Windsor.)
1966:  On a more peaceful front, George Harrison visited Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
1967:  Jimi Hendrix signed a recording contract with Reprise Records.
1967:  The Turtles moved nothing like their name--88 to 58 with "She'd Rather Be With Me".

1967:  "Groovin'" from the Young Rascals took over #1 in only its fifth week on the chart.  The Supremes fell with "The Happening" followed by Arthur Conley's "Sweet Soul Music" and "Somethin' Stupid" from Frank & Nancy Sinatra.  The rest of the Top 10:  Aretha Franklin shot up from 14 to 5 with her future #1 "Respect", the Happenings had #6 with "I Got Rhythm", Engelbert Humperdinck had #7 with "Release Me", Peaches & Herb were stuck at #8 with "Close Your Eyes", the Buckinghams were on their way down with "Don't You Care" and the Dave Clark Five had song #10--"You Got What It Takes".
1967:  The album More of the Monkees set a record at the time with its 15th week at #1 on the Album chart.
1968:  Pete Townshend married Karen Astley.

1968:  Following their return from India, the Beatles met at George Harrison's home in Esher, Surrey and taped 23 new songs.  Many of those would find their way to the White Album and Abbey Road, including "Cry Baby Cry", "Revolution", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "Blackbird".
1970:  The Beatles' last movie Let It Be opened in theaters in the U.K.  It had premiered in New York City on May 13.
1970:  We were introduced to a Texas trio on this date, and it wasn't the usual twang and swing to which we had become accustomed to.  ZZ Top debuted on the charts with their first hit "Francene", which eventually hit #69.
1972:  "The Candy Man" became the new #1 song for Sammy Davis, Jr.

                        "Compared to What", one of the top tracks on Roberta's #1 album...

1972:  First Take was the #1 album from Roberta Flack, holding off Neil Young's Harvest.  America was #3 with the Graham Nash/David Crosby collaboration at #4.  The rest of the Top 10:  Manassas from Stephen Stills at #5, Eat a Peach by the Allman Brothers Band edging up to #6, Fragile from Yes falling to #7, Tapestry, still in the Top 10 for Carole King, Smokin' by Humble Pie at #9 and Let's Stay Together by Al Green entering the list.
1972:  Roberta Flack dominated the Singles chart for the sixth straight week with "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", one of The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*.  At that time, only 20 songs in the Rock Era had been #1 for more weeks than her smash.
1978:  "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late" from Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams was the #1 song on the Adult Contemporary chart.  The hit came 15 years after Mathis last had a Top 10 hit and 21 years after his only other #1 song "Chances Are".
1978:  Saturday Night Fever spent an 18th week at #1 on the Album chart.  
1979:  Elton John performed at the Great October Hall in Leningrad, Soviet Union (now St. Petersburg) for the first of four nights.

1985:  The famous Apollo Theater in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York reopened with a concert from Hall & Oates.
1988:  Priscilla Presley held a news conference to deny that Elvis was still alive.  It won't work, Priscilla--those same people still think Obama was not born in the United States and they also still think the earth is flat.  And there's no such thing as global warming.  It's no use.  The best thing to do is just laugh at them.
1989:  "Second Chance" by .38 Special was #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

1989:  Paula Abdul moved into the #1 spot with "Forever Your Girl".  "Real Love" from Jody Watley was #1 and the former #1 "I'll Be There For You" by Bon Jovi was #3.

1991:  Wilson Phillips released the single "The Dream Is Still Alive".

1991:  Bonnie Raitt released the single "Something To Talk About".
1995:  Don Henley married Sharon Summerall in Malibu, California.  Tony Bennett, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and Sting performed at the wedding reception.
1997:  It was chaos in Kansas City, Missouri.  U2 had paid for traffic control to close down five lanes of traffic on Interstate 670 so they could shoot the video "Last Night On Earth".  Traffic jams galore occurred and a Cadillac crashed into a plate glass window while swerving to miss a cameraman.
1998:  Bill Ward, drummer from Black Sabbath, was rushed to a hospital in London after suffering a heart attack during rehearsal.

1998:  Bob Dylan, who was always so good with words, had some nice things to say about Frank Sinatra at a funeral mass for the legendary singer at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills, California.  Dylan said "Right from the beginning, he was there with the truth of things in his voice.  His music had an influence on me, whether I knew it or not.  He was one of the very few singers who sang without a mask.  It's a sad day."  Mourners included Tony Bennett, Gregory Peck, Don Rickles, Diahann Carroll, Ed McMahon, Joey Bishop, and Tony Danza. 

2000:  Superstar group the Guess Who reunited for a concert in Manitoba, Canada.
2000:  In the Words Have Meaning Department:  Ted Nugent was dropped from the Muskegon Summer Celebration in Michigan after he reportedly used racial slurs in a radio interview.  There are many animals that have more of a right to be a human than the nutjob Nugent is.
2004:  Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails sued his former manager, alleging that he was cheated out of millions since first signing with J. Artist Management in 1989.

2005:  The Beach Boys Historic Landmark was dedicated at the site of the childhood home of Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson (3701 W. 119th St. in Hawthorne, California).  The home was demolished in the mid-1980's (things aren't preserved in the United States like they are everywhere else in the world; they're torn down.)  
2006:  Tool had the #1 album 10,000 Days.
2007:  Rhianna began 10 weeks at the top of the U.K. Chart with her song "Umbrella".
2008:  The United States Congress on this date passed a resolution designating May 13 as "Frank Sinatra Day" to honor the legendary singer's contribution to our culture.

2008:  Jimmy Dean ("Big Bad John") donated $1 million to Wayland Baptist University in Texas.
2008:  Curtis Mayfield was inducted into the Hollywood Rock Walk.  (Note:  some websites claim Mayfield was inducted May 23.  The correct date of induction is May 20, according to the official website for the Rock Walk.)

Born This Day:
1940:  Shorty Long ("Here Comes The Judge") was born in Birmingham, Alabama; died June 29, 1969 when he drowned in the Detroit River in Michigan.
1942:  Jill Jackson ("Paula" of Paul and Paula, who had the big hit "Hey Paula") was born in McCamey, Texas.

1944:  Joe Cocker was born in Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England; died December 22, 2014 from lung cancer in Crawford, Colorado.

1946:  Cher (Cherilyn Sarkasian), part of the duo Sonny & Cher and later a solo superstar, was born in El Centro, California.
1954:  Jimmy Henderson, guitarist of Black Oak Arkansas, was born in Jackson, Mississippi.  (Note:  some websites claim there was a Jimmie Henderson of Black Oak Arkansas that was born on this day.  No such person was ever in the Black Oak lineup--the correct spelling is Jimmy.)
1955:  Steve George, keyboardist of Mr. Mister, was born in Phoenix, Arizona.

1958:  Jane Wiedlin, guitarist for the Go Go's, was born in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.
1960:  Susan Cowsill of the Cowsills was born in canton, Ohio.  (Note:  some websites, including ', claim Susan was born in Newport, Rhode Island.  When 'Allmusic' says something, odds are it's wrong--according to the more respected 'Billboard' and other reputable sources, Susan was born in Canton.)
1961:  Nick Heyward of Haircut 100 ("Love Plus One" in 1982) was born in Beckenham, Kent, England.
1961:  Dan Wilson, singer, songwriter and guitarist with Semisonic, was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
1963:  Brian Nash, guitarist with Frankie Goes To Hollywood, was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England.
1964:  Patti Russo, the female lead vocalist with Meat Loaf
1972:  Busta Rhymes was born in Brooklyn, New York.