Saturday, February 21, 2015

This Date in Rock Music History: February 22

  Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis Presley on Grooveshark
1956:  A handsome singer with a great voice first was heard on the radio this week as he debuted on the chart with his first single--Elvis Presley and "Heartbreak Hotel".  And history was made.
1958:  The movie The Big Beat, an Alan Freed project starring Fats Domino, the Diamonds and the Del-Vikings, debuted in Detroit, Michigan.
1960:  Dinah Washington & Brook Benton were at #1 on the R&B chart for a third week with "Baby (You've Got What It Takes)", on the way to having one of The Top R&B Songs of All-Time*.
1960:  Percy Faith had a relatively brief climb to #1 (seven weeks) with "The Theme from 'A Summer Place'".
1962:  Elvis reigned on the U.K. chart with the double-sided "Rock-A-Hula Baby"/"Can't Help Falling In Love".
1963:  The Beatles began the Northern Music Publishing Company with Dick James.  However, the initial deal maintained that James and his partner, Charles Silver, always had one more share than John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and manager Brian Epstein combined.  This fact would have a devastating effect on Lennon and McCartney in later years. 
1963:  "Please Please Me" by the Beatles achieved #1 in the U.K.
1964:  Meet the Beatles!  was #1 on the Album chart for the second week while Introducing...the Beatles moved from 22 to 3.
1964:  The song that really got the Beach Boys' careers kick started--"Fun, Fun, Fun", moved from #69 to #27.
                   The Four Seasons were one of the pre-Beatles acts that stayed strong...

1964:  "I Want To Hold Your Hand" by the Beatles spent a fourth week at #1 with "She Loves You" by the Beatles second.  The Four Seasons moved impressively from 11 to 3 with their latest--"Dawn (Go Away)".  Lesley Gore's #2 smash "You Don't Own Me" was behind that trio while the instrumental "Java" from Al Hirt was up to #6.  The rest of the Top 10:  Major Lance with "Um" five times, the Rip Chords and "Hey Little Cobra", the Rivieras warmed up as "California Sun" moved from 14-8, the Tams had "What Kind Of Fool (Do You Think I Am" and Diane Renay moved from 21 to 10 with "Navy Blue".

1965:  The Beatles flew to the Bahamas to begin filming their second movie, Help!  (Note:  Several websites report that the group began filming on this date.  The truth is that the Beatles flew there on February 22, and began filming at New Providence Island in the Bahamas on February 23, according to the book 'The Beatles Diary Volume 1:  The Beatles Years' by Barry Miles.)   
1967:  The Beatles recorded the piano chord for "A Day In The Life" at EMI Studios on Abbey Road in London.  John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Mal Evans, road manager of the group, all simultaneously played an E major chord on separate pianos, hitting the chord as hard as possible.  As the sound diminished, faders were increased, to the point that at the end of the chord, the studio air conditioners can be heard.  It took nine takes to achieve the desired sound.  Take seven was the longest at 59 seconds, but take nine was judged to be the best.  Producer George Martin then used three overdubs to thicken the sound. 
1968:  Genesis released their first single "The Silent Sun".
1969:  The Beatles began recording the album Abbey Road with the track "I Want You (She's So Heavy)".
1969:  Sly & the Family Stone took over at #1 on the R&B chart with "Everyday People".

      Harrison's great song highlights 'The White Album'.

1969:  For the eighth week in a row, The White Album by the Beatles was #1.  Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell was second on this day with the Soundtrack to "Yellow Submarine" third.  TCB from Diana Ross & the Supremes with the Temptations fell while the Greatest Hits by the Association was #5.  The rest of the Top 10:  the great self-titled Blood, Sweat & Tears, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida from Iron Butterfly, Elvis by Elvis Presley, Crimson & Clover from Tommy James & the Shondells entered the Top 10 and another one from Diana Ross & the Supremes & the Temptations, called Diana Ross & the Supremes Join the Temptations, was #10.

1969:  "Proud Mary" by CCR moved from 21 to 9 on this date.

1971:  Three Dog Night released the single "Joy To The World".

1971:  George Harrison released the single "What is Life".
1974:  Alvin Lee performed a solo concert at the Rainbow Theatre in London.
1975:  "Nightingale" by Stanley, Idaho's Carole King was the new #1 Adult song.
1975:  AWB by the Average White Band was the new #1 album with Bob Dylan's excellent Blood on the Tracks moving up to challenge.  Former #1 Heart Like a Wheel from Linda Ronstadt was third, followed by Miles of Aisles and Jethro Tull's War Child.  The rest of the Top 10:  B.T. Express with Do It ('Til You're Satisfied), Elton John's 1969 album Empty Sky became a Top 10 album six years later, what with Elton's huge mid-70's success, Rufusized by Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan, Barry Manilow II was #9 and Grand Funk edged up with All the Girls in the World Beware!!!

Lady Marmalade by Patti LaBelle on Grooveshark
1975:  "Lady Marmalade" was the toast of the town as Labelle reached #1 on the R&B chart.
1975:  B.J. Thomas had a lot on his mind, and succinct titles weren't part of it.  His new song "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" moved from #81 to #44.  

                           Grand Funk had a great sound with this one...

1975:  The Average White Band received more good news as their single "Pick Up The Pieces" went to #1.  The Eagles were ready to make their move with "Best Of My Love" while Grand Funk's great song "Some Kind Of Wonderful" moved to #3.  The Doobie Brothers were next with "Black Water" and Olivia Newton-John proved she was for real as "Have You Never Been Mellow" vaulted from 18 to 5.  The rest of the Top 10:  America's "Lonely People", Frankie Valli was up to #7 with "My Eyes Adored You", former #1 "You're No Good" by Linda Ronstadt tumbled, John Lennon's "#9 Dream" was, um, #9 and Stanley, Idaho's Carole King took "Nightingale" to #10.

1976:  Florence Ballard of the Supremes died of cardiac arrest from a blood clot of one of her coronary arteries at the age of 32 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Note:  some websites erroneously report her death as February 21.  According to the books 'Motown:  The Golden Years:  More than 100 Rare Photographs' by Bill Dahl and 'The Encyclopedia of Sixties Cool:  A Celebration of the Grooviest People' by Chris Strodder, Ballard entered Mt. Carmel Mercy Hospital in Detroit on February 21, and died the next morning.)  



1978:  The members of the Police appeared as blondes in a commercial for Wrigley's chewing gum and decided to keep their new looks.
1979:  Journey entered into a sponsorship with Budweiser.
1980:  Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow appeared at The Royal Highland Exhibition Hall in Edinburgh, Scotland.
1986:  "Sara" by Starship took over as the #1 Adult Contemporary song.


1986:  Two new acts both reached the Top 10 on this date.  The Dream Academy was at #7 with "Life In A Northern Town" while Mike + the Mechanics placed "Silent Running" at #8.
1988:  Stevie Wonder received the 1998 MusiCares Person of the Year award.
1989:  In one of the biggest blunders ever by the Grammy Awards, they included a Heavy Metal category and then gave the Grammy to Jethro Tull.  Do the Grammy people even have a clue what music is?
1989:  Tracy Chapman won the Grammy for Best New Artist.

1989:  Bobby McFerrin won Record and Song of the year for "Don't Worry, Be Happy" at the Grammys.
1992:  TLC appeared on the radio for the first time as their debut single "Ain't 2 (sic) Proud 2 (sic) Beg" first appeared on the charts.
1992:  Paul Young reached #1 on the AC chart with "What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted".
1992:  Shakespear's Sister took over at #1 for an eight-week run at the top with "Stay".
1992:  It was obvious by now that Garth Brooks had himself a classic, with the #1 album for the 13th week--Ropin' the Wind.  


1993:  Radiohead released their debut album--Pablo Honey.
1993:  Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of Iron Maiden, announced he was leaving the band to pursue a solo career. He returned in 1999.

1994:  Papa John Creach, the violinist with Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, died of heart failure in Los Angeles at age 76.
1997:  Blur's self-titled album topped the U.K. chart.
 1997:  No Doubt had the #1 U.K. song--"Don't Speak".
1997:  "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls reached #1 after just five weeks.  That ended an 11-week run at the top for Toni Braxton's "Un-Break My Heart", tied for the seventh-longest stint in the Rock Era.

                 "Love Thing" helped the Spice Girls make a splash.

1997:  Tragic Kingdom by No Doubt returned to #1 on the Album chart for the ninth week.  Other albums of note:  Secrets from Toni Braxton was #3, Celine Dion was still at #5 after 48 weeks with Falling Into You, newcomers the Spice Girls debuted at #6 with their first album Spice and Jewel was headed back up after 52 weeks with the sensational Pieces of You.
1999:  And the Beat Goes On..., the story of Sonny & Cher, premiered on ABC-TV.
2000:  Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton and Lauryn Hill were among the people gathered at a church in Los Angeles to honor Curtis Mayfield, the late singer-songwriter who died in December.
2001:  The Beatles were the top money-earners of 2000, bringing in $50 million.  This despite the fact that they hadn't been together for 30 years.


2002:  Little Richard received an NCAACP Image Award.
2004:  Bobby Vinton collapsed onstage while performing at the American Music Theatre in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  He recovered backstage and refused hospitalization.
2005:  After lead singer Josh Homme was found coughing up blood in his hotel room in Paris, France, Queens of the Stone Age canceled their European tour.  Homme was suffering from a serious lung infection.

2005:  Brian "Head" Welch, founding member of Korn, left the group.
2006:  Sheryl Crow had minimally invasive surgery in Los Angeles after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
2008:  Jaheim had the #1 album with Ghetto Classics.
2009:  Earth, Wind & Fire performed at the White House in Washington, D.C. for a dinner of United States Governors.
2010:  Sam Moore of Sam & Dave ("Soul Man") received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

2011:  Adele released the album 21 in the United States.  The singer and album would go on to revitalize rock and bring it out of years of mediocrity.

2011:  The Monkees announced that Michael Nesmith has rejoined the group and they were getting back together for a tour in honor of the group's 45th anniversary.

2012:  The Spice Girls reunited for a spectacular performance at the Closing Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Born This Day:
1923:  Norman "Hurricane" Smith, engineer of all the EMI studio recordings by the Beatles until 1965 and an artist ("Oh Babe, What Would You Say" in 1972), was born in Edmonton, Middlesex; died March 3, 2008 in East Sussex, England.

1927:  Guy Mitchell (real name Albert Cernik), who had one of the biggest hits early in the Rock Era ("Singing The Blues" from 1955), was born in Detroit, Michigan; died July 1, 1999 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Note:  several websites report that Mitchell was born on February 27, but according to 'The BBC', the newspaper 'The Guardian', and the books 'Encyclopedia of Music in the 20th Century' by Lol Henderson and Lee Stacey and 'The Dude Martin Band Story' by Jim Goggin, he was born on February 22.  Some websites say he died on July 2.  The official website for Mitchell, the newspaper 'The Los Angeles Times' and the two books listed above also confirm that Mitchell died on July 1)
1936:  Ernie K. Doe ("Mother-In-Law") was born in New Orleans, Louisiana; died of kidney and liver failure after years of alcoholism on July 5, 2001 in New Orleans.
1938:  Bobby Hendricks, a lead singer of the Drifters, was born in Columbus, Ohio.
1943:  Mick Green, guitarist of Johnny Kidd & the Pirates, was born in Matlock, Derbyshire, England; died January 11, 2010 of heart failure in Essex.
1943:  Louise Lopez of Odyssey ("Native New Yorker"
1945:  Oliver ("Jean" and "Good Morning Starshine") was born in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina; died from lung cancer February 12, 2000 in Shreveport, Louisiana.
1953:  John Sparks, guitarist of Dr. Feelgood
1973:  Scott Phillips, co-founder and drummer of Creed, was born in Valdosta, Georgia.

1974:  James Blunt ("You're Beautiful" from 2006) was born in Tidworth, Wiltshire, England.
1979:  Tom Higgenson, vocalist and guitarist of the Plain White T's

Calendar* Correction: Frankie Lymon

You will see several websites report that Frankie Lymon died on February 28, 1968.  As the ever-intent truth hounds that we are, we want to make sure you know that this is incorrect.  We hope that those sites change their story, but if they don't, we guess that's just more people that view our website instead!

The newspaper article in The New York Times that reported the death was dated February 28, but it plainly says that Lymon "died yesterday" (February 27).  Newspaper articles are printed the day following news, and the February 27 date is confirmed by the gravestone pictured above.

Friday, February 20, 2015

This Date in Rock Music History: February 21

1952:  Jerry Lee Lewis married his first wife at the age of 17.
1958:  The first Flying V guitar, by Gibson, was shipped from a factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
1961:  The hard-working Beatles performed three concerts in one day, their usual lunchtime gig at the Cavern Club, then at the Cassanova Club later that evening before a final show at Litherland Town Hall in Liverpool, England.
1964:  The Echoes, a new group from New York City, recruited an unknown piano player named Billy Joel.  Joel had seen the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, and was inspired to start a rock & roll career and find a band.  (Note:  Joel's website and WINS Radio in New York City list the year as 1963, but of course the Beatles' debut appearance was in February of 1964, and Billy himself confirmed to 'Billboard' in an interview that he joined the Echoes in 1964.)


1966:  The Rascals released the single "Good Lovin'".

Daydream by The Lovin' Spoonful on Grooveshark
1966:  The Lovin' Spoonful released the single "Daydream".

1966:  The Beatles released the single "Nowhere Man".
1968:  McGraw-Hill publishing company outbid eight other competitors for the rights in the United States to Hunter Davies' authorized biography of the Beatles.  McGraw-Hill paid $150,000.

1970:  The Jackson 5 made their television debut on American Bandstand.
1970:  Simon & Garfunkel rose to #1 in the U.K. with their album Bridge Over Troubled Water.  The album went to #1 eight different times and spent a total of 41 weeks at the top.
1970:  Dionne Warwick had one of her biggest career hits with "I'll Never Fall In Love Again", which remained at #1 on the Adult chart for a third week.
1970:  Sly & the Family Stone made it three weeks at #1 on the R&B chart with "Thank You".

1970:  Elvis Presley had been recording for 15 years and on this date, "Kentucky Rain" was one of the hottest songs, moving from 96 to 40.

   And "Travelin' Band" sounds as good now as it did in 1970...

1970:  Sly & the Family Stone remained on top with "Thank You".  Eddie Holman was a surprising second with "Hey There Lonely Girl" while Simon & Garfunkel moved from 13 to 3 in just their third week with "Bridge Over Troubled Water".  The former #1 "I Want You Back" by the Jackson 5 was now fourth with CCR's great double-sided hit "Travelin' Band"/"Who'll Stop The Rain" moving from 9 to 5.  The rest of an excellent Top 10:  "No Time" from the Guess Who, B.J. Thomas and his #1 classic "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head", the Temptations remained in the #8 position with "Psychedelic Shack", the Shocking Blue's former #1 "Venus" and Brook Benton headed into the Top 10 with "Rainy Night In Georgia".
1970:  Led Zeppelin II was the top album for the sixth week, but former #1 Abbey Road by the Beatles had good staying power, remaining second.  The top new entry in the Top 10 was Chicago II, which moved from 44 to 9 in its second week.

  1973:  The Edgar Winter Group released the single "Frankenstein".

        Fleetwood Mac had kicked it up a notch for this album...

1976:  Desire by Bob Dylan was #1 for a third week on the Album chart, holding off Still Crazy After All These Years by Paul Simon, although Paul's was the better album.  Gratitude from Earth, Wind & Fire held on to third with Station to Station by David Bowie another pretender to the crown.  Chicago IX, the group's Greatest Hits package, was at #5.  The rest of the Top 10:  Peter Frampton's solo release Frampton Comes Alive! was on fire, moving from 22-6, the self-titled Fleetwood Mac, which had fallen off the chart on October 4, was back with a vengeance, moving from 15-7, ELO's new release Face the Music, Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan and Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes moved into the Top 10 with Wake Up Everybody.
1976:  The Four Seasons had the top U.K. song with "December, 1963 (Oh What A Night)".
1976:  Art Garfunkel scored a #1 on the Adult chart this week with "Break Away".
1976:  Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan moved to #1 on the R&B chart with their sweet song "Sweet Thing".

                           ELO with one of their biggest hits...

1976:  Paul Simon told of all the ways people took the easy way out with "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover", the #1 song for a third week.  Rhythm Heritage was a factor with "Theme From 'S.W.A.T.'" and Hot Chocolate was a steady third with "You Sexy Thing".  Donna Summer's "Love To Love You Baby" was next, followed by another hormone-driven song, "Love Machine" from the Miracles.  The rest of the Top 10:  Barry Manilow and "I Wrote The Songs", Eric Carmen vaulted from 14 to 7 with his first solo hit "All By Myself", Neil Sedaka was back with "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do", the Eagles' latest smash "Take It To The Limit", one of The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*, moved into the Top 10 and ELO remained at #10 with "Evil Woman".

1977:  The Eagles released the single "Hotel California" (Please click on "Skip Ad" after five seconds...)  (Note:  some websites naively list March 12 as the release date.  "Hotel California" debuted on the Singles chart on February 26.  It is physically impossible for a song to debut on the Singles chart if it has not been released as a single.)
1977:  Neil Diamond's live concert television special aired on NBC.

1978:  Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams released the single "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late".
1980:  Janet Vogel of the Skyliners ("Since I Don't Have You") committed suicide at age 37.
1980:  Fleetwood Mac began a 16-show tour of Australia and New Zealand at the Entertainment Centre in Perth.  The group had kicked off their worldwide Tusk tour on October 26, 1979 at the Minidome in Pocatello, Idaho.
1981:  Prince appeared on Saturday Night Live on NBC.
1981:  Phil Collins debuted at #1 on the U.K. Album chart with Face Value.
1981:  Ronnie Milsap crossed over for a great #1 Adult Contemporary song--"Smoky Mountain Rain".

             She don't remember the Queen of Soul? You've got to be kidding!

1981:  Dolly Parton completed the climb to #1 with "9 To 5".  Eddie Rabbitt was one step away with "I Love A Rainy Night" while former #1 "Celebration" by Kool & the Gang was now third and John Lennon's posthumous release "Woman" was #4.  The rest of the Top 10:  Blondie with "The Tide Is High", REO Speedwagon's "Keep On Loving You", Styx entered the Top 10 with "The Best Of Times", Delbert McClinton with "Giving It Up For Your Love", Dan Fogelberg moved in to #9 with "Same Old Lang Syne" and Steely Dan remained in the #10 spot with "Hey Nineteen".

                                        "Tough Guys"...

1981:  REO Speedwagon, which had toiled for ten years with little success, finally was rewarded as Hi Infidelity became the #1 album.  Double Fantasy from John Lennon dropped while "The Jazz Singer" Soundtrack  by Neil Diamond remained in the #3 spot.  Pat Benatar's excellent Crimes of Passion was fourth with Styx rising a spot with Paradise Theater.  The rest of the Top 10:  the Police with Zenyatta Mondatta, Blondie's Autoamerican, Kenny Rogers' Greatest Hits captured the #8 position, AC/DC was at #9 after 27 weeks with Back In Black and Stevie Wonder closed the list with Hotter Than July.

1982:  Murray "the K" Kaufman, the disc jockey who is believed to have been the first DJ in America to play a Beatles song and who promoted the Beatles' first tour, died of cancer in Los Angeles at age 60.
1986:  Pat Boone was a guest star on The Fall Guy on ABC-TV.
1987:  Sylvester Stone (of Sly & the Family Stone) was thrown in jail on drug charges.
1987:  Bobby Rydell and Fabian appeared on The Facts of Life on NBC-TV.
1987:  Ben E. King had the new #1 song in the U.K. as "Stand By Me", which was featured in the movie of the same name, was re-released.
1987:  Lionel Richie, one of the most successful Adult Contemporary artists of all-time, remained at #1 for the third straight week with "Ballerina Girl".

Walking Down Your Street by Bangles on Grooveshark
1987:  The Bangles were off and running with "Walking Down Your Street"--their latest moved from 95 to 71.

                                   "Wanted Dead or Alive"...

1987:  Bon Jovi held off everyone for a seventh week at #1 on the Album chart with their breakthrough album Slippery When WetThe Way It Is from Bruce Hornsby & the Range at 4, Different Light at #5 after 56 weeks for the Bangles, Invisible Touch from Genesis at #7 and Fore!  by Huey Lewis & the News at #10 were other noteworthy albums.
1990:  Bonnie Raitt was the winner of four awards at the Grammys, including Album of the Year for Nick of Time.
1990:  In yet another blunder by the Grammy Awards, Milli Vanilli won the Best New Artist award.  It was later admitted that they were not the vocalists on the album, and their award was vacated.  (Note:  several websites report that the duo won the award on February 22.  The Grammy Awards were presented on February 21, according to the newspaper 'The New York Times'.)

One of Us by Joan Osborne on Grooveshark
1995:  Joan Osborne released the single "One Of Us".

1995:  Bruce Springsteen performed live with the E Street Band for the first time in seven years at the Tramps nightclub in New York City.
1998:  Celine Dion owned the #1 U.K. song with "My Heart Goes On", which became the world's best-selling single of the year.

                            Rob Thomas and Matchbox 20 with "' A.M.'...

1998:  Yield by Pearl Jam debuted at #2 on the Album chart.  Matchbox 20 (#6) was still in the Top 10 after 49 weeks with Yourself or Someone Like You, Savage Garden (#8) was hanging in there after 43 weeks and Will Smith entered the Top 10 with Big Wilie Style.

2001:  U2 captured Grammys for Record and Song of the Year with "Beautiful Day".
2003:  Ringo Starr started the record label Pumkinhead (correct spelling), geared towards new artists.
2004:  Charlotte Church turned 18, thus gaining control of a trust fund of her earnings that had reached $30 million.

2009:  The Fray had the #1 album with their self-titled debut.
2012:  Fun. released the album Some Nights.

Born This Day:
1933:  Nina Simone (real name Eunice Waymon) was born in Tryon, North Carolina; died of cancer in Carry le Rouet, France on April 21, 2003.
1938:  Bobby Charles ("See You Later, Alligator") was born in Abbeville, Louisiana; died January 14, 2010.

1943:  David Geffen, music industry executive, founder of Asylum Records who signed the Eagles, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Joni Mitchell and Jackson Browne and also founder of his own Geffen Records who signed Donna Summer, Aerosmith, Toni Braxton, Mary J. Blige, Enya, Guns N' Roses, Don Henley and Sonic Youth, was born in Brooklyn, New York.  (Note:  some websites list his birthplace as Borough Park, New York, others as New York City.  Borough Park is the name of a neighborhood--neighborhoods are not official places of birth.  Geffen was born in Brooklyn, according to 'CNN'.)
1946:  Paul Newton, original bassist of Uriah Heap, was born in Andover, Hampshire, England.
1949:  Jerry Harrison, songwriter, keyboardist and guitarist of the Talking Heads, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
1951:  Vince Welnick, keyboardist of the Tubes and the Grateful Dead, was born in Phoenix, Arizona; committed suicide in Forestville, California on June 2, 2006 after battling depression for 10 years.  (Note:  some websites list his birthday as February 22--it was February 21, according to his official website.)
1956:  Lester Hunt, songwriter and guitarist who joined the Climax Blues Band in 1985, was born in Stretford, Manchester, England.
1958:  Mary Chapin-Carpenter was born in Princeton, New Jersey.
1961:  Ranking Roger (real name Roger Charlery), vocalist of the Beat, General Public and the Fine Young Cannibals, was born in Birmingham, England.  
1967:  Michael Ward, guitarist of the Wallflowers, was born in Los Angeles.
1969:  James Dean Bradfield, lead guitarist and lead singer of the Manic Street Preachers, was born in Pontypool, Wales.
1970:  Eric Wilson, bassist of Sublime, was born in Long Beach, California.  (Note:  some websites list his birthday as February 22, and others say he was born in 1969.  There are no credible sources for any date, but our best research indicates he was born on February 21, 1970.)

1986:  Charlotte Church was born in Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales.
1989:  Corbin Bleu of High School Musical was born in Brooklyn, New York.

Strength in the Rock Era

As we continue to enter the numbers for our upcoming update of the major music special Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*, we noticed something we wanted to share.

We have always been under the impression that the Rock Era stayed fairly strong until about 1988 or so, but as more years pass, the analysis gets easier to do.  It now appears that songs began declining towards the end of 1975.  The overall quality was helped considerably by the Bee Gees in 1978, but then fell off again considerably in about 1981 from the strength of the 60's and early 70's. 

Thus, due to the fact that songs post-1975 have not continued to sell, we can conclude without question that the period from 1964-1975 was when the Rock Era was at its peak.  The beginnings in 1955 led up to that, and for the most part, music has declined since 1975.

You will definitely notice this in the songs that qualify for The Top 500*.  Naturally, if a song is #1 with little competition, it isn't going to fare as well as a song that had lots of other great songs around it.  That is far from the only factor, but all things being equal, some after 1976 will have a tougher time comparing to the songs from the heyday of the Rock Era.  There have been other years of strength--1980, 1984 (an especially good year), and other years since then, and times of strength (such as late 1976 and 1977), but the time period from 1976-2015 is far weaker than that from 1964-1974.

Intuitively, this makes sense, since the last of the Baby Boomer musicians were forming bands and recording albums.  In other words, the more younger people you have in a time period, the more creativity is around, and the more likely it is that good music will be produced.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

This Date in Rock Music History: February 20

1949:  Ricky Nelson joined his parents, Ozzie and Harriet, on their radio show, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.
1958:  Buddy Holly released his self-titled album on Coral Records, which included "Peggy Sue" and "Rave On".
1958:  Buddy Holly & the Crickets, the Everly Brothers, Bill Haley & the Comets, Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmie Rodgers opened up the Big Gold Record Stars Tour in Florida.
1963:  The Beatles drove all night from Liverpool to London to perform "Love Me Do" and "Please Please Me" on the live lunchtime BBC radio show Parade of the Pops, an appearance that lasted just over four minutes.  They then drove 160 miles for a concert that night at the Swimming Baths in Doncaster, Yorkshire.
1964:  The Beach Boys recorded "Don't Worry Baby".  (Note:  some websites report that the song was recorded on January 7.  Although recording for the album 'Shut Down Volume Two' began January 1-10, the group recorded "Don't Worry Baby" in the final sessions for the album on February 20, according to the book 'The Beach Boys:  The Definitive Diary of America's Greatest Band, on Stage and in the Studio' by Keith Badman.)
1964:  The Bachelors scored a #1 U.K. hit with "Diane".
1965:  One of The Top 100 Artists of the Rock Era* first appeared on the radio as the Moody Blues debuted on the chart with their first career single--"Go Now".

1965:  The Temptations scored a third straight week at #1 on the R&B chart with the great song "My Girl".
1965:  Gary Lewis & the Playboys had the new #1 song with "This Diamond Ring".
1969:  Goodbye Cream, the movie that featured Cream's farewell concert (November 26,1968 at Royal Albert Hall in London) premiered in the United States in Baltimore, Maryland.

1970:  John Lennon released the single "Instant Karma".


1971:  Australian Helen Reddy first appeared on the radio with her first career hit--"I Don't Know How to Love Him".  She had released "One Way Ticket" in 1968, but it failed to chart outside of her native country.
1971:  Queen opened for Yes at the Kingston Polytechnic in London.
1971:  The Soundtrack to "Jesus Christ Superstar" moved to #1 on the Album chart.
1971:  Gordon Lightfoot reached #1 on the Adult chart with his first hit--"If You Could Read My Mind".
1971:  The Temptations appeared to have another winner as "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)" moved from 51 to 29.

                  The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band hit the Top 10...

1971:  The Osmonds remained the target at #1 for a second week with "One Bad Apple", while "Knock Three Times" by Dawn was still second after falling from the top.  Lynn Anderson had a huge crossover hit with "Rose Garden" and Dave Edmunds had a great sound with "I Hear You Knocking".  The rest of the Top 10:  Newcomer Gordon Lightfoot bounced from 11 to 5 with "If You Could Read My Mind", the Jackson 5 hit #6 with "Mama's Pearl", King Floyd and "Groove Me", Wadsworth Mansion moved from 15-8 with "Sweet Mary", the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band had their first Top 10 with "Mr. Bojangles" and the Bee Gees smash "Lonely Days" was now at #10.
1974:  One day after husband Sonny Bono filed for separation, Cher filed for divorce at the Santa Monica County Courthouse.  (Note:  Much misinformation exists on the Internet.  Numerous websites report that on February 20, Cher filed for separation, then filed for divorce "shortly afterwards", some say February 27.  The authors of the websites are getting the facts confused.  The truth is that Sonny filed for separation on February 19, citing "irreconcilable differences", according to an Associated Press article.  Cher then turned around the next day and filed for divorce seeking dissolution of the marriage, according to the books 'You Haven't Seen The Last of Me' by Daryl Easlea and 'Cher:  If You Believe' by Mark Bego.)  
1976:  The members of KISS placed their footprints on the sidewalk in front of the Grauman Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California.

1978:  ABBA had another #1 song in the U.K. with "Take A Chance On Me".

1982:  Pat Benatar married her guitarist, Neil Geraldo in Maui, Hawai'i.
1982:  Stevie Wonder notched his 14th #1 of his career on the R&B chart with "That Girl", tying the Temptations for fourth all-time in the list for #1 R&B songs.
1982:  Barry Manilow hit #1 for the 12th time in 22 releases on the Adult Contemporary chart with "Somewhere Down The Road".

Juke Box Hero by Foreigner on Grooveshark      
                        "Juke Box Hero" on Foreigner's "4"...

1982:  Freeze-Frame had a lock on #1 on the Album chart for the J. Geils Band for a third week.  Escape by Journey was second with the Go-Go's moving from 9 to 3 with Beauty and the Beat.  The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra once again was fourth with Hooked On Classics.  The rest of the Top 10:  Private Eyes from Hall & Oates, the Police moved to 6 with their new release--Ghost in the Machine, AC/DC was steady at 7 with For Those About to Rock We Salute You, Foreigner's great album 4 was still in the Top 10 after 31 weeks, the self-titled debut by Quarterflash entered the list and Shake It Up by the Cars was still at #10.

                   Air Supply continued their winning ways...

1982:  One of the great stories of the Rock Era, and a song that helped strengthen it--"I Love Rock 'N Roll" by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, moved from #39 to #18.
1982:  "Centerfold" by the J. Geils Band held on to #1 for a third week with former #1 "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" by Hall & Oates #2 for a third week.  Quarterflash was right in the hunt with "Harden My Heart" while Journey's "Open Arms" was fourth.  The rest of the Top 10:  The Cars and "Shake It Up", Stevie Wonder motored up from 22 to 6 with "That Girl", Juice Newton's latest--"The Sweetest Thing (I've Ever Known)", Air Supply was at #8 with "Sweet Dreams", Olivia Newton-John wanted to get "Physical" and Dan Fogelberg climbed to #10 with "Leader Of The Band".
1985:  The Bangles were in concert at the Marquee Club in London.
1986:  Stevie Wonder was a guest on The Cosby Show on NBC-TV.
1988:  Pebbles had the top R&B song with "Girlfriend".
1988:  Expose took over at the top of the AC chart with "Seasons Change".

1988:  Expose made it a Daily Double by taking over at #1 overall with "Seasons Change".  The Pet Shop Boys & Dusty Springfield had the runner-up with "What Have I Done To Deserve This?".  Tiffany's former #1 "Could've Been" was now third while George Michael took a big leap (12-4) with "Father Figure".  The rest of the Top 10:  "Hungry Eyes" from Eric Carmen, Foreigner's 19th hit--"Say You Will", Patrick Swayze and Wendy Fraser were now at position #7 with "She's Like The Wind", Rick Astley entered the Top 10 with "Never Gonna' Give You Up", great singer Paul Carrack and "Don't Shed A Tear" while Roger tumbled down with "I Want To Be Your Man".
1988:  Faith by George Michael remained at #1 on the Album chart for a fourth week.  The Soundtrack to "Dirty Dancing" moved up to challenge, while the self-titled Tiffany, Kick from INXS, Michael Jackson's Bad and Hysteria from Def Leppard were right behind.

1991:  Bob Dylan received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys.

1993:  Whitney Houston released the single "I Have Nothing".

1993:  The compilation album of Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Words of Love, was the #1 album in the U.K., 34 years after Holly's death.
1993:  Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle remained at #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart for the fifth week with "A Whole New World ('Aladdin's' Theme)".

I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston on Grooveshark
1993:  Whitney Houston remained at #1 for the 13th week with "I Will Always Love You", tying Boyz II Men with their song "End Of The Road" for the Rock Era record at the time.
1994:  Tori Amos owned the top U.K. album with Under the Pink.
2000:  The movie Little Richard was shown by ABC-TV.

       "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning"...

2002:  Alan Jackson had the top album with Drive.
2003:  A pyrotechnic display used by the group Great White ignited a blaze that killed guitarist Ty Longley and 99 other people, injured another 200, and destroyed the nightclub The Station in West Warwick, Rhode Island.  (Note:  some websites claim the tragedy was February 19, but the correct date is February 20, according to 'Billboard'.)
2004:  Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age announced that the group would go on despite losing bassist Nick Oliveri and lead singer Mark Lanegan.
2004:  Brian Wilson played the lost Beach Boys album Smile in its entirety at the Royal Festival Hall in London.
2004:  Bobby Brown was thrown in jail without bond in Georgia after violating his probation.
2005:  Jennifer Lopez rose to #1 in the U.K. with "Get Right".

2007:  Christina Aguilera began a North American tour at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.  The Black Eyed Peas and Pussycat Dolls opened for her on the tour.

Born This Day:
1937:  Nancy Wilson (not the one in Heart), who had the 1964 hit "(You Don't Know) How Glad I Am", was born in Chillicothe, Ohio.
1940:  Barbara Ellis of the Fleetwoods ("Come Softly To Me") was born in Olympia, Washington.
1941:  Buffy Sainte-Marie, songwriter who helped pen "Up Where We Belong" (for Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes), among others, was born on the Piapot Reserve in Saskatchewan, Canada.
1944:  Lew Soloff, trumpeter of Blood, Sweat & Tears, was born in Brooklyn, New York.  (Note:  some websites report that Soloff was born in New York City, when he was actually born in Brooklyn, according to his official website.)
1945:  Alan Hull, songwriter, singer and guitarist with Lindisfarne ("Run For Home"), was born in Benwell, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England; died of a heart attack November 17, 1995.
1946:  John W. Geils, Jr,, founder, singer-songwriter and lead guitarist of the J. Geils Band, was born in New York City.

1950:  Walter Becker, songwriter, bassist, guitarist and vocalist of Steely Dan and also a producer, was born in Queens, New York.  (Note:  some websites list his birthplace as New York City, but the Long Island Hall of Fame shows that Becker was born in Queens.)
1951:  Randy California, songwriter, guitarist, vocalist and co-founder of Spirit ("I Got A Line On You") ; died January 2, 1997 while rescuing his 12 year-old son who had been sucked into a riptide off the coast of Molokai, Hawai'i.

1967:  Kurt Cobain, singer-songwriter and lead guitarist of Nirvana, was born in Aberdeen, Washington; died when he shot himself in Seattle, Washington on April 5, 1994.

1975:  Brian Littrell of the Backstreet Boys was born in Lexington, Kentucky.
1977:  Edwin Graham, drummer of the Darkness ("I Believe In A Thing Called Love" from 2003), was born in Great Yarmouth, England.

1988:  Rihanna was born in Saint Michael, Barbados.