Saturday, March 12, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: March 13

1956:  Elvis Presley released his self-titled debut album on RCA Records, believed to be the first album to sell one million copies.
1961:  Rick Nelson recorded "Travelin' Man".
1961:  Chubby Checker took over at #1 on the R&B chart with "Pony Time".

1961:  "Pony Time" by Chubby Checker was #1 for a third week overall with Elvis Presley waiting behind with "Surrender".

Friday, March 11, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: March 12

1957:  Buddy Holly & the Crickets recorded "Maybe Baby". at Norman Petty's studio in Clovis, New Mexico.
1965:  The Beatles finished the filming of the movie Help!  in the Bahamas.
1965:  James Darren was a guest voice (as "Jimmy Darrock") on the season finale of The Flintstones on ABC-TV.
1966:  Wilson Pickett latched onto #1 on the R&B chart with "634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.)".

Keith Emerson Has Died

Keith Emerson, founding member and legendary keyboardist of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, died this afternoon in Santa Monica, California at the age of 71.

Emerson, Lake and Palmer, one of the leading exponents of progressive rock, are best known for their one and only hit, "From The Beginning" from 1972.  It peaked at #39.

Another outstanding song from the group is this one.

Rest in peace, Keith.

Gogi Grant Has Died

Gogi Grant, who had one of the great early hits of the Rock Era, "The Wayward Wind" (#1 for eight weeks in 1956), died yesterday at the age of 91.  No cause of death was given.  

Thursday, March 10, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: March 11

1963:  The Rolling Stones recorded five tracks at IBC Recoding Studio in London with engineer Glyn Johns, who produced the session, in the hopes of landing a recording contract.  (Note:  some websites report the date of recording as January 28, but according to '', Rolling Stones fan sites, and our best research, the songs were recorded on March 11.)
1964:  After completing the train scenes over the last several days, the Beatles continued to work on the movie A Hard Day's Night, filming "I Should Have Known Better" at Twickenham Studios in London.
1965:  Tom Jones scored the first of 16 #1 songs in the U.K. with "It's Not Unusual".

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: March 10

1956:  The incredible Platters spent an 11th week at #1 on the R&B chart with their classic "The Great Pretender".
1958:  Most would not know this artist until a year later, but on this date, Brook Benton first appeared on the chart with his debut single "A Million Years From Nowhere".

1961:  Songwriter Jeff Barry signed a contract with Trinity Music.  With wife Ellie Greenwich, Barry became one of The Top Songwriters of the Rock Era*, with songs like "Be My Baby" for the Ronettes, "Chapel Of Love" by the Dixie Cups and "River Deep, Mountain High".

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: March 9

1959:   "It's Just A Matter Of Time" by Brook Benton climbed to #1 on the R&B chart.
1960:   Since Elvis Presley had returned from service in the United States Army, the movie Jailhouse Rock was re-released.  (Note:  some websites state that the film was re-released to coincide with Presley's discharge.  As explained earlier on 'Inside The Rock Era', (see March 5 on Calendar*), Presley left active service on March 5, but he was not officially discharged from the Army Reserve until 1964.) 

Sir George Martin Has Died

Sir George Martin, producer and arranger of the Beatles, who also was a composer, arranger, conductor, musician and audio engineer, died today at the age of 90 in Coleshill, Wiltshire, England.  (Note:  several websites merely publish Martin's place of death as the generic Wiltshire, England.  Wiltshire is a county; according to the newspaper 'The Gazette and Herald', Martin died in Coleshill, Wiltshire.)

The death was announced by Ringo Starr of the Beatles via his Twitter account, when he said, "God bless George Martin peace and love to Judy and his family love Ringo and Barbara. George will be missed."

British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: "Sir George Martin was a giant of music - working with the Fab Four to create the world's most enduring pop music."
Martin, who has been referred to as the "Fifth Beatle", because of his extensive involvement on all of the Beatles' original albums, produced 30 #1 songs in the U.K. and 23 in the United States.  In addition to producing the group, Martin had a great talent for arranging strings, such as on the songs "Eleanor Rigby" and "Yesterday".

Martin, who was head of Parlophone Records in the U.K., signed the Beatles to a recording contract in 1962, but suggested the group replace drummer Pete Best with Ringo Starr.

Martin studied at Guildhall School of Music and played the oboe professionally before beginning his career in the recording industry.  During his seven-decade career, Martin won six Grammy Awards and was the recipient of the Grammy Foundation's Leadership Award.  In 1965, Martin was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on the music in the movie A Hard Day's Night.

In 2012, the BBC filmed a documentary about his life, Produced By George Martin.

Martin also produced for artists such as Celine Dion, Sting and Meat Loaf.

AC/DC Rescheduling Shows

AC/DC has canceled some dates on its current tour and is rescheduling them.  

The reason?  The lead singer who was supposed to be belting out the vocals to their hard-driving songs cannot do it anymore because their music is too loud.

Brian Johnson, AC/DC's lead singer since Bon Scott died prior to their album Back in Black, has been told by doctors that he has to quit touring immediately or he will lose his hearing.  So the group will search for a new lead singer with hearing to damage, all the while of course with no concern for your hearing.

Featured Unknown/Underrated Song: "Livin' Thing" from ELO

In the spotlight, this great song from ELO:

"Livin' Thing"

Written by Jeff Lynne

Sailin' away on the crest of a wave
It's like magic
Rollin' and ridin' and slippin' & slidin'
It's magic

And you, and your sweet desire,
You took me, higher and higher
It's a livin' thing,
It's a terrible thing to lose
It's a given thing
What a terrible thing to lose.

Making believe this is what you've conceived
From your worst day,
Moving in line when you look back in time
To your first day

[CHORUS -- repeat]

Takin' a dive 'cos you can't halt the slide
Floating downstream,
So let her go don't start spoiling the show
It's a bad dream

[CHORUS -- repeat]

Monday, March 7, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: March 8

1961:  That hard-working group the Beatles did three shows today, their usual lunchtime performance at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England and concerts at the Aintree Institute and Hambleton Hall in Liverpool.
1962:  The Beatles made their debut on the BBC in Great Britain on Teenager's Turn (recorded the night before), performing "Dream Baby", "Maybelline" and "Please Mr. Postman".

Sunday, March 6, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: March 7

1956:  Kay Starr ("Rock And Roll Waltz") suffered a serious car accident after running a stop sign in Corona, California.  She was hospitalized with neck, arm and leg injuries.
1960:  Percy Faith remained perched at the top for a third week with the great instrumental "Theme From 'A Summer Place'".  
1964:  Al Hirt had the top Easy Listening song for the third week with "Java".

Gayle McCormick Has Died

If you're a long-time fan of the Rock Era, you'll remember the big sexy voice of Gayle McCormick on Smith's great song "Baby It's You".  If you're a newer member, you get to hear her on the video above.  Gayle died March 1 of cancer in St. Louis, Missouri.  She was 67.