It’s Micky Dolenz’s birthday, a date which gives us a rare chance to talk about the Monkees here on the site.
Of course, we’re joking: every day is Monkees day around Rhino HQ. Still, it’s always a particular notable occasion when the time comes to celebrate the birthday of one of the key bands here at the label, and we try to make it special.
On this day 53 years ago, Cilla Black was in the final week of her three-week run at the top of the UK Singles chart with her version of the Burt Bacharach / Hal David single, providing her with the breakthrough hit that quickly turned her into a superstar.
Today we celebrate the birthday of Arthur Lee, the genius guitarist, singer, and songwriter behind the band Love. As ever, we’ve got a playlist cocked and ready in order to provide you with some of the best music that Love ever delivered, but in addition, here are seven Lee songs – the number chosen in tribute of the classic Love track “7 + 7 Is,” of course – performed by artists other than Love.
1. The American Four, “Luci Baines” (1964): This novelty song about Lyndon Johnson’s daughter was performed and recorded by Lee’s band, The American Four. It didn’t make much of an impact nationally, but it was reportedly a regional hit.
54 years ago this month, Gerry and the Pacemakers released their debut single, a track which was famously recorded and then set aside by The Beatles. One can’t help but suspect that Gerry Marsden continued to thank his fellow Liverpudlians for this decision for the rest of his days.
58 years ago today, The Drifters recorded their hit single “There Goes My Baby,” which seems like as good an excuse to spotlight the song in Single Stories as any, wouldn’t you say?
“There Goes My Baby” is particularly notable in the history of The Drifters, as it was the first single recorded by the second incarnation of the group. If you don’t know the story about this situation, it’s a doozy, but the nutshell explanation is this: the “Drifters” name was owned by the group’s manager, George Treadwell, and in 1958 he fired all of the original members of the group, took an existing group called The 5 Crowns, and called them The Drifters. In other words, it was exit Clyde McPhatter, enter Ben E. King.
25 years ago today, Little Texas released their debut album, an LP which established the band as a force to be reckoned with on the country charts.
Founded in 1988 in – you guessed it – Texas, the beginnings of the band that came to be known as Little Texas started in 1983, when Porter Howell and Duane Propes met in high school and forged a friendship that led them to both attend Belmont University in Nashville. In 1984, Tim Rushlow and Dwayne O’Brien started playing together in Arlington, Texas, while Brady Seals and Del Gray were keeping busy in the backing band of country singer Josh Logan. Eventually, all of these individuals joined forces and starting playing together as Little Texas, earning themselves a Warner Brothers record deal in 1989.
55 years ago this month, Bobby Darin released his full-length tribute to Ray Charles, one which featured his take on 11 tracks originally recorded by Brother Ray.
Darin, a well-known interpreter of other artists’ material, was a fan of Charles’s work from the moment he heard it, or certainly as soon as he was aware of it. “I’m proud to say that I was on the Ray Charles bandwagon when it was just a baby carriage,” Darin once said. “In fact, two singers – Fats Domino and Ray Charles – opened up my ears to a whole new world, different from anything I’d heard until then. They both became major influences when I realized these are the roots.”