The first Beatles single “Please Please Me” was released in the U.S. on the Vee Jay label in 1963. The song was the second single in the U.K. for the English rock group. It was written by John Lennon as an attempt to create a Roy Orbison type song.
Pan Am flight 101 was greeted by over 5,000 Beatles fans in 1964 as it arrived at New York’s JFK Airport. This was the first time The Beatles were on U.S. soil and it caused a riot as they touched down.
“Pinball Wizard” was recorded by The Who in 1969 at Morgan Studio’s in London, England. The song is one of the band’s most famous live songs, being played at almost every Who concert since its debut live performance on May 2, 1969. The track which was featured on their 1969 rock opera album Tommy was released as a single in 1969 and reached No.4 in the U.K. charts and No. 19 in the U.S.
In 1970, Led Zeppelin scored their first U.K. No.1 album with “Led Zeppelin II”. Released in November 1969, and featuring the US No.4 single “Whole Lotta Love”, it went on to stay on the U.K. chart for 136 weeks. Also reaching No.1 in the U.S., the Recording Industry Association of American (RIAA) in the U.S. has now certified it as having sold over 12 million copies in the U.S. alone.
One hit wonders Shocking Blue went to No.1 on the U.S. singles chart with “Venus” in 1970. This made Shocking Blue the first Dutch act to top the U.S. charts. It made No.8 in the UK. (Later, in 1986, another music act Bananarama took the song “Venus” to No.8 on the U.K. chart in 1986).
American singer-songwriter Paul Simon, in 1976, started a three week run at No.1 in 1976 on the U.S. singles music chart with “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover”, the singers first solo U.S. No.1. The song was the second single form this fourth studio album “Still Crazy After All These Years”. “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” included backing vocals from Patti Austin, Valerie Simpson and Phoebe Snow.
Kool & The Gang started a two week run at No.1 on the U.S. singles music chart in 1981 with “Celebration”. This was the group’s first No.1 and 8th top 40 hit, a No.7 hit in the U.K. The song is still widely popular at wedding receptions, parties and sporting events
John Lennon was at No.1 on the U.K. singles chart with “Woman”, an ode to his wife Yoko Ono in 1981. It was Lennon’s third No.1 in seven weeks after his death on December 8, 1980.
In 1987, George Michael and Aretha Franklin were at No.1 on the U.K. singles music chart with “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)”. Written by Simon Climie, it gave Aretha her first U.K. No.1 almost 20 years after her first hit.
Mercury releases Shania Twain’s album “The Woman In Me” in 1995. The album is Shania’s second and her first with the majority of the songs co-written by Shania. “The Woman In Me” went on to become Shania’s biggest-selling recording of all time selling over 4 million copies and was certified 12 times Platinum by the RIAA in December 2000.
The American band Blondie, in 1999, went to No.1 on the U.K. singles music chart with “Maria”, giving the group their 5th UK No.1 single, 20 years after their first. At the age of 54, lead singer Debbie Harry became the oldest female to make No.1. The song peaked at No.82 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.
Queen’s single “We Will Rock You” topped a poll of music fans to find the greatest rock anthem of all time in 2004. The 1977 song beat the band’s classic “Bohemian Rhapsody” into the second place in a survey of 1,000 people carried out for the UCI cinema chain. The poll was carried out to mark the release of new Jack Black comedy “School of Rock”.
Country music artist Alan Jackson slips into No.1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs music chart in 2004 with “Remember When”. The song was written by Alan Jackson and was released as the second and final single from his album “Greatest Hits Volume II”. The song also swung over to the pop charts and peaked at No.29 on the Billboard Hot 100 music chart.
In 2005, Michael Jackson’s Thriller was named the top video in a poll of Channel 4 viewers in the U.K. The 1983 music video, which depicts the singer as a werewolf and a zombie, beat videos by Madonna and Robbie Williams. Animated videos for Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” and A-Ha’s “Take On Me” were in second and third place respectively. 4th was Queen with “Bohemian Rhapsody”, 5th was Madonna “Like a Prayer”, 6th is Robbie Williams “Rock DJ”, 7th, Michael Jackson “Billie Jean”, 8th is The Verve “Bittersweet Symphony”, 9th Madonna with “Vogue” and 10th is Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
And now it is time to say Happy Birthday to the people who brought us great music or had their hand in creating the music that we all love. Born today, February 7th are:
Earl King – born in 1934, Earl is an American singer, guitarist and songwriter who was most active in R&B blues New Orleans music. Earl was a composer of blues standards such as “I Hear You Knocking”, “One Night”, “Come On” and “Big Chief.
Curtis Ousley– born in 1934, Curtis was better known for his stage name King Curtis. King was an American sax player who was known for his rhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul, blues and funk jazz. He was a session musician who also loved being a musical director and record producer.
Jimmy Greenspoon – born in 1948, Jimmy is an American keyboard player and composer who is best known as the organist for the rock band Three Dog Night. His mother was a silent screen actress who got him involved in piano at an early age. Jimmy went to high school with friend Richard Dreyfuss and Bonnie Franklin and Michael Lloyd. Jimmy and Michael started their music careers by forming a band right out of high school.
David Bryan – born in 1962, David is best known as the keyboardist for the popular American rock band Bon Jovi. David has also co-written and performed backup vocals on many Bon Jovi songs.
Garth Brooks – born in 1962, Garth is an American country pop singer-songwriter. His first album was released in 1989 and peaked at No.2 in the US country album music chart. The album also climbed to No.13 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album music chart.
Deborah Bonham – born in 1962, Deborah is an English rock and blues vocalist and the sister of John Bonham who is the late drummer for the rock band Led Zeppelin.
Sully Erna – born in 1968, Sully is an American guitarist, harmonica player and vocalists who is best known as the vocalist and harmonica player with the hard rock band Godsmack. Sully is ranked 47th in the Top 100 Heavy Metal Vocalists by Hit Parader.
Wes Borland – born in 1975, Wes is an American rock musician and artist. Wes is best known as the guitarist and backing vocalist of the band Limp Bizkit. He is also the lead vocalist of the rock band Black Light Burns.