On This Day in Rock & Roll History: July 5

It’s been four and a half months since the last installment of On This Day in Rock & Roll History, a feature that has appeared irregularly since the very early days of the blog. What tends to happen is I remember the feature, do a few installments based on dates I haven’t covered yet, and then it kind of drops off the radar screen again.

Whenever I come back to it, usually, I find it intriguing what turns up by looking at a specific date throughout music history. Typically, my time period of reference for these posts are the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. Without further ado, following are some of the events that happened on July 5.

1954: Elvis Presley recorded his first single That’s All Right at Sun Records in Memphis, Tenn. The song was written by blues singer Arthur Crudup who also first recorded it in 1946. Some of the lyrics were traditional blues verses Crudup took from Blind Lemon Jefferson, recorded in 1926. Presley’s cover of That’s All Right came together spontaneously when during a break in the studio Elvis started to play an uptempo version of Crudup’s song on guitar. Bill Black joined in on string bass and they were soon joined by Scotty Moore on lead guitar. When producer Sam Phillips heard them play, wisely, he asked them to start over, so he could record. That’s All Right appeared on July 19, 1954, with Blue Moon of Kentucky as the B-side. While the tune gained local popularity and reached no. 4 on the Memphis charts, it missed the national charts.

1966: Chas Chandler, who at the time was the bassist for The Animals, saw Jimi Hendrix for the first time at Café Wha? in Greenwich Village, New York City. He was awestruck by the 23-year-old guitarist’s performance. Hendrix was playing with a band and they called themselves Jimmy James and the Blue Flames. One of the songs Hendrix performed that day was Hey Joe. Coincidentally, When Chandler had heard a version of the tune by folk singer Tim Rose a few days earlier and immediately was determined to find an artist to record it after his return to England. Shortly after the Café Wha? gig, Chandler became Hendrix’s manager and producer and took the guitarist to London. Chandler brought Hendrix together with bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell. They became the Jimi Hendrix Experience, recorded Hey Joe and released the tune as their first single in December of the same year. And the rest is history.

1969: The Who released I’m Free, the second single from Tommy, their fourth studio album. Like most of the rock opera album, the tune was written by Pete Townshend. Backed by We’re Not Gonna Take It, the single didn’t chart in the UK. In the U.S., it reached no. 37 on the Billboard Hot 100. It did best in Germany and the Netherlands where it climbed to no. 18 and no. 20, respectively. The relatively moderate performance is remarkable for a tune that is one of the best-known tracks from the album. Townshend has said the song was in part inspired by The Rolling Stones’ Street Fighting Man.

1974: Linda Ronstadt recorded You’re No Good at The Sound Factory in Los Angeles, working with renowned producer Peter Asher. Written by Clint Ballard Jr., You’re No Good was first recorded by Dee Dee Warwick in 1963, produced by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Ronstadt’s rendition became her breakthrough hit and the most successful version, topping the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and reaching no. 7 on the Canadian mainstream chart. Elsewhere it climbed to no. 15, no. 17 and no. 24 in Australia, The Netherlands and New Zealand, respectively. You’re No Good actually also turned out to be, well, pretty good for Heart Like a Wheel, helping Ronstadt’s fifth solo record to become her first no. 1 in the U.S. on the Billboard 200.

1981: A performance of The Cure at the annual Rock Werchter in Belgium was cut short when the English gothic rock and new wave band was told they had to wrap up so Robert Palmer could begin his set. “This is the final song because we’re not allowed to carry on anymore, ’cause everybody wants to see Robert Palmer,” Cure vocalist Robert Smith told the crowd before the band defiantly launched into an extended 9-minute version of A Forest. While they were wrapping up, bassist Simon Gallup grabbed the microphone and yelled, “Fuck Robert Palmer! Fuck Rock and Roll!” Apparently, the festival organizers forgave The Cure who returned several times in subsequent years. By contrast, Robert Palmer’s 1981 performance at Rock Werchter remained his only appearance at the festival.

Sources: Wikipedia; Songfacts Music History Calendar; Ultimate Classic Rock; YouTube

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22 thoughts on “On This Day in Rock & Roll History: July 5”

  1. poor Cure. I witnessed a similar experience once…in late 90s, I went to see Echo & the Bunnymen in Toronto. They were playing a large dance hall style nightclub, and went on I think at 9. Good size crowd but I was probably towards young end of the people there…many were in their 40s. Owners apparently told them to wrap up at the end of a particular song or basically they’d pull the plugs on their sound system because they wanted us all out to make way for the younger, harder-drinking late night crowd. I’m not sure how much of the set was cut, but Ian McCulloch made it clear he wasn’t pleased at the directive.

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    1. While I would hope Robert Palmer himself didn’t play a role in this saga and as such it was inappropriate to attack him, I find it pretty disrespectful to invite a music act to a festival and then tell them to cut short their set – not to mention the fact this apparently happened while they already were on stage! But it seems both sides smoothed things out, as evidenced by the fast that The Cure returned several times to the festival. Palmer did not. Perhaps he was too embarrassed about the whole thing!

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      1. yeah, I mean it might well not have been Palmer calling the shots but it didn’t make him look good. On the one hand, if it is a festival setting they probably got direct instructions beforehand on how long to play but there would be better ways of handling that situation than they did.

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    1. Also, what a coincidence Chandler had heard “Hey Joe” a couple of days before he saw Hendrix and decided he wanted to find an artist to record the tune. I guess the stars were aligned for Jimi that day!

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  2. I didn’t know that story about Chas Chandler and Jimi Hendrix. That is so cool. I knew he got to London but I was never sure why. I think 1966 was also the same year he was in the Isley Brothers band, but it wasn’t for very long and he only recorded two songs with them or something like that.
    And did you know there is a version of You’re No Good by the British invasion band The Swinging Blue Jeans, the same guys who did Hippy Hippy Shake. And it’s pretty good. I didn’t know the song was that old.

    I don’t think Elvis’s That’s All Right is all that great but the flip side Blue Moon is my favorite Elvis song. Or maybe second favorite. It’s
    just breathtaking as far as I’m concerned. And that’s his song that I listen to the most. I don’t think all those covers of ancient blues songs on his first albums suited his talent at all. They didn’t emphasize his voice. He never would have become that famous if it wasn’t for his pop and country and rockabilly songs . And his rock and roll actually got better as he went along, I think.
    And now about The Who. I’m Free is the best song on Tommy I think, except for maybe See Me Feel Me. Both of those are in my top 5 Who songs probably.

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  3. I’ve just been working on a Hendrix page on my site and have been reading about that. It’s kind of insane how many years he played with acts like Little Richard and the Isley Brothers before he was picked out as a star.

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      1. My top ten song list is pretty conventional really – I just looked up and Rolling Stone’s list has 8 songs in common with my draft. I guess he has a relatively small catalogue compared to, say, The Rolling Stones.

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      2. That is so weird because about 2 days ago I participated in a poll of top Jimi Hendrix songs on the site RYM and my list seemed like the most conventional one. Other people’s were more adventurous than mine. But I just think his most famous songs are also the best ones. I’ll show you the link so you could see what everyone had. It was interesting.

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      3. Are you experienced is the best, especially the North American version which was longer than the UK. My father had the original version and it only had 8 or 9 tracks on it, but by the time I bought my own copy in the 90s it had grown to about 15 tracks. And they were like all the essential ones too. And I think it’s grown even longer now.

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      4. I think each version had 11 tracks, with the UK one not having the singles Purple Haze, Hey Joe, and Wind Cries Mary. There’s now a deluxe 17 track version with all the album tracks, singles, and b-sides.

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      5. Oh. Maybe it just seemed shorter to me because it was missing all those great singles and stuff. And the album cover wasn’t as great either.

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  4. Yeah, Now I can see how the US version didn’t have more tracks on it but just had a better selection, which made me think it was longer cuz there was more that I liked. My father was the only person I ever knew who also had the UK version of that album with the original album cover. I’ve never seen anyone else have it. That’s because he used to go to the import record stores every week and get stuff. There was one right near our house. I was never into buying imports and I used to ask him why he paid such exorbitant prices for an album that he already had as a non-import. It seemed so stupid to me. lol

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