Friday, May 19, 2017

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:  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.

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