Friday, May 20, 2016

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.)

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