On This Day in Rock History: July 16

I suppose by now I can call this category of posts a regular feature of the blog.

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Let’s take a look at some of the things that happened on July 16 in rock history:

1962: The Beach Boys sign a seven-year contract with Capitol Records. In Oct that year, they released their debut studio album, Surfin’ Safari. In addition to the title song and Surfin’, which had both come out as singles prior to the album, Surfin’ Safari also includes 409, one of my favorite early Beach Boys tune and the first in a series of car-themed songs from the band.

1966: Jack Bruce (bass, vocals), Ginger Baker (drums) and Eric Clapton (guitar) form Cream. Over the course of just two years, this amazing power rock trio would release four studio albums and such unforgettable classic blues/rock tunes like I Feel Free, Sunshine of Your Love, White Room and Crossroads. I was fortunate enough to see Jack and Ginger perform with blues dynamo Johnny Winter in Germany in the 80s – one of my first live concerts. Mr. Slowhand remains on my concert bucket list! July 1 6 (2014) also sadly happens to be the day when Johnny passed away at the age of 70.

1969: The Beatles are working at Abbey Road studios on two of my favorite George Harrison songs: Something and Here Comes the Sun. Both tunes were included on the Abbey Road studio album, which was released in September that year. While Let It Be was the last studio album that appeared in May 1970, shortly after the band’s break-up, most of that album had been completed prior to the release of Abbey Road. Originally, the latter was meant to be The Beatles’ final masterpiece. It foreshadowed their break-up with the song The End, the final song in the amazing medley that makes up most of the album’s side two.

2012: Jon Lord passes away at the age of 71. He was best known for being the keyboarder of Deep Purple, the defining hard rock band of the late 1960s/early 1970s, together with Led Zeppelin. Jon also played in a few additional bands, most notably Whitesnake. I think he was perhaps the best rock keyboarder of all time. His fusion of rock with classical and baroque music was pioneering. Jon also demonstrated that hard rock can be so much more than just distorted electric guitars, and what a cool solo instrument a Hammond organ can be! Also see my separate “In Memoriam” post.

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