Saturday, April 9, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: April 10

1956:  Nat "King" Cole was attacked on stage by five racial weirdos during a show at the Municipal Hall in Birmingham, Alabama.  Police arrested the sick people, hauled them to jail, and Cole returned later that night to thrill the crowd in a second show.
1957:  Ricky Nelson performed for the first time on the television show The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, singing "I'm Walking".
1958:  Bobby Darin recorded "Splish Splash" at Atlantic Studios in New York City.  
1958:  Chuck Willis ("C.C. Rider"), who had suffered stomach ulcers for years, died during surgery for peritonitis in Atlanta, Georgia at the age of 30.  (Note:  some websites mistakenly say Willis died in a car accident.  Other sites claim he died in Chicago, Illinois.  According to the books  'Rhythm and Blues, Rap, and Hip-hop' by Frank Hoffmann and 'The Last Sultan:  The Life and Times of Ahmet Ertegun' by Robert Greenfield, Willis died of periodontitis during surgery in Atlanta.  The book 'Hanging the Peachtree Bandit:  The True Tale of Atlanta's Infamous Frank DuPre' by Tom Hughes also confirms that Willis died in Atlanta.) 

Friday, April 8, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: April 9

1963:  Henry Mancini won the Oscar for Best Original Song (for "Moon River" from Breakfast at Tiffany's) at the Academy Awards.
1964:  Capitol Records won the rights to distribute music by the Beatles in the U.S. in a settlement out of court with Vee Jay Records.

1965:  Bruce Johnston permanently replaced Brian Wilson in public appearances by the Beach Boys, playing bass and singing Brian's vocal parts.

Springsteen Cancels Concert in North Carolina Over New Bathroom Law

Soon, North Carolina may be all to themselves without anyone wanting to visit their state.  Superstar Bruce Springsteen today became the latest to cancel a scheduled appearance in North Carolina after the state passed the law.

The newly enacted law requires individuals to use bathrooms that correspond to the gender on their birth certificate and has drawn fierce criticism for excluding legal protections from gay and transgender people.

"To my mind, it's an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress," Springsteen said in a statement. 

The Top 100 #2 Songs of the Rock Era, Part Ten

Here are the last 10 songs in our feature.  At the beginning, we asked you to guess the actual ranking of the songs and hope you're making good progress.  We'll give you a few days to take these final 10 songs into account and then see how you do before revealing the official rankings!

Never My Love

Loves Me Like A Rock
Paul Simon

One Less Bell To Answer
5th Dimension

Travelin' Band
Creedence Clearwater Revival

You've Made Me So Very Happy
Blood, Sweat & Tears

When Will I See You Again
'Three Degrees

Louie, Louie


You Belong To The City
Glenn Frey

Return To Sender
Elvis Presley

Thursday, April 7, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: April 8

1956:  Elvis Presley played two shows at the Denver Coliseum in Colorado.

1957:  Elvis owned #1 with "All Shook Up".

1959:  Lloyd Price released the single "Personality".  (Note:  one website naively says the single was released April 27.  "Personality" debuted on the chart on April 27.  It is physically impossible for a song to be released by a record company, listened to and added to radio station playlists, reported by the radio station to the trade papers, and printed and published by the trade papers, all in one day.)

Featured Unknown/Underrated Song*: Madonna with "Oh Father"

Here's a powerful song taken from Madonna's album Like A Prayer.  

Oh Father

Written by Madonna and Patrick Leonard

It's funny that way, you can get used
To the tears and the pain
What a child will believe
You never loved me


You can't hurt me now
I got away from you, I never thought I would
You can't make me cry, you once had the power
I never felt so good about myself

Seems like yesterday
I lay down next to your boots and I prayed
For your anger to end
Oh Father I have sinned


Oh Father you never wanted to live that way
You never wanted to hurt me
Why am I running away

Maybe someday
When I look back I'll be able to say
You didn't mean to be cruel
Somebody hurt you too


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: April 7

1956:  Columbia Records announced that all future record releases would be at 45 R.P.M.
1956:  The Platters appeared on Tommy & Jimmy Dorsey's Stage Show on CBS.  (Note:  many websites claim the appearance represented their national television debut.  This is not true.  They appeared on 'The Perry Como Show' on February 11 on NBC-TV, as you can see in the above video clip.  This is also confirmed by '' as well as the book 'Perry Como:  A Biography and Complete Career Record' by  Malcolm Macfarlane and Ken Crossland.) 
1956:  CBS Radio Network premiered the first scheduled national radio program of exclusively rock & roll music, Alan Freed's "Rock 'n" Roll Dance Party".  The writing was on the wall that rock & roll wasn't going away.

Carlo Mastrangelo Has Died

Carlo Mastrangelo (left, above), the bass voice behind the Belmonts, has died at the age of 77.  After Dion left the group for a solo career, Carlo took over as lead singer.  Rest in peace, Carlo.

    The Top 100 #2 Songs of the Rock Era*, Part Nine

    We have 20 more songs to salute in the best #2 songs of the last 60 years:


    Dancing In The Street
    Martha & the Vandellas

    Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
    Elton John

    Classical Gas
    Mason Williams

    Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough
    Don Henley & Patty Smyth

    Little Darlin'

    You're Still The One
    Shania Twain

    I'd Really Love To See You Tonight
    England Dan & John Ford Coley

    What's Going On
    Marvin Gaye

    Electric Avenue
    Eddy Grant

    Tuesday, April 5, 2016

    This Date in Rock Music History: April 6

    1956:  Elvis Presley signed a seven-year, three-movie contract with Paramount Pictures.  (Note:  some websites report that Elvis signed a three-movie deal with Paramount on April 4.  Some sites claim that Presley signed a one-picture deal, with an option for six more, on April 25.  According to the book 'The Gospel According to Elvis' by Kevin Crouch and Tanya Crouch, Presley signed his first contract, a seven-year, three-movie contract, on April 6.  The April 6 date is confirmed by the newspaper 'The Chicago Tribune', as well as the official website for guitarist Scotty Moore.) 
    1957:  Fats Domino held off the competition to remain at #1 for a third week on the R&B chart with "I'm Walkin'".

    The Top 100 #2 Songs of the Rock Era, Part Eight

    Enjoy 10 more great songs that peaked at #2:

    Nights In White Satin
    Moody Blues

    Proud Mary
    Creedence Clearwater Revival

    Fly Like An Eagle
    Steve Miller Band

    Shattered Dreams
    Johnny Hates Jazz

    Dancing In The Dark
    Bruce Springsteen

    Classics IV

    Ride Like The Wind
    Christopher Cross

    Bye Bye Love
    Everly Brothers

    The Closer I Get To You
    Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway

    Baker Street
    Gerry Rafferty

    Monday, April 4, 2016

    This Date in Rock Music History: April 5

    1962:  In 1962, you would find the Beatles performing often at the Cavern Club in their native Liverpool, and that's where they were on this day 49 years ago.  It was a special occasion sponsored by their ever-growing fan club.  
    1964:  The Searchers made their U.S. debut with an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.
    1967:  The Elvis Presley movie Double Trouble premiered in theaters.

    The Top 100 #2 Songs of the Rock Era, Part Seven

    Other people in the music business put far too much importance on #1 songs.  While reaching #1 is a notable achievement, it means nothing unless competition is factored in.  In times where there is little competition, it isn't tough for a song to get to #1.  On the flip side, when there are several great songs out at the same time (ala 1967, 1969, 1973 or 1984, for example), it is extremely difficult to reach #1.  

    In other words, when "Only Girl (In The World)" by Rihanna reached #1 for a single week in 2011, it faced some of the weakest competition of the Rock Era.  It faced just one song in The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era* and only two in the top 1500.  

    Contrast that to the competition faced by "Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In" by the 5th Dimension in 1969.  It faced two songs in The Top 100* and 15 songs in The Top 500* during its chart run in which it dominated the #1 position for six weeks.

    All of the songs featured in this feature, in fact, faced tougher competition than Rihanna's song mentioned above.  So while they may not have gotten to #1 during their time period, they are as strong or stronger than many #1 songs of the Rock Era.

    And here are 10 more of them:

    Lyin' Eyes

    Don't Dream It's Over
    Crowded House

    Dream Weaver
    Gary Wright

    She's Not There

    Kool and the Gang


    Faith Hill

    Cry Like A Baby
    Box Tops

    Love On The Rocks
    Neil Diamond

    Start Me Up
    Rolling Stones

    Sunday, April 3, 2016

    This Date in Rock Music History: April 4

    1956:  Elvis Presley played the first of two nights in San Diego Arena.  The San Diego Police chief released a statement saying that if he ever performed like he did again, he would be arrested for disorderly conduct.

                                                 The great group the Platters...

    1958:  The Platters released the single "Twilight Time".  (Note:  several websites report that the single was released on April 7.  While there are no credible sources as to the exact date of release, there is an article in Billboard magazine, dated April 7, 1958, which says "The Platters have seldom missed, and are currently blazing with "Twilight Time", implying that the record was already released before April 7.)
    1959:  Buddy Holly's song "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" hit #13.  It was the first posthumous release from Holly after his tragic plane crash.
    1960:  Elvis Presley recorded "Are You Lonesome Tonight".
    1960:  Percy Faith's "The Theme From 'A Summer Place'" was #1 for the seventh week in a row, and it wasn't close to done.

    The Top 100 #2 Songs of the Rock Era, Part Six

    Although they did not reach #1 on the charts, these songs have stood the test of time.  Inside The Rock Era presents 10 more of the greatest #2 songs of the last 60 years:

    Bobby Hebb

    I'm Not In Love
    10 cc

    Too Late To Turn Back Now
    Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose

    Rainy Days And Mondays

    Material Girl

    If I Ever Fall In Love

    Under The Bridge
    Red Hot Chili Peppers

    Canadian Sunset
    Hugo Winterhalter & Eddie Heywood

    Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)
    Backstreet Boys

    Lookin' Out My Back Door
    Creedence Clearwater Revival