Today in rock history: On this date in 1970, after appearing at the venue the year prior, Led Zeppelin played one its most celebrated and defining gigs when it headlined London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall. John Lennon, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton were among a sell-out crowd that, reportedly, was on its feet for the entirety of a performance that clocked in at over 150 minutes. Playing material from its first two albums (the only Led Zep albums released at the time), the band also played blues and 1950s rock-and-roll covers throughout the triumphant show. Although the performance was filmed with the intention of being released as a concert film, it was unfortunately shelved for many years. Footage from this stellar show finally saw the light of day in 2003 when it was included in a massive deluxe self-titled video anthology that was overseen by lead guitarist Jimmy Page.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1967, guitarist, singer-songwriter and record label owner Dave Matthews was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. Moving around the U.S. as a child, Matthews formed his namesake band and rose to musical prominence in the early 1990s while based out of Virginia. Beginning on a tiny, grassroots local record label, Dave Matthews Band (DMB) slowly built a steady following and grew into its large regional audiences before signing to a major label and beginning its journey as one of America’s best-selling and most beloved bands. Boasting several Grammy awards, multiple gold and platinum-selling records and a slew of No. 1 albums, DMB remains one of the most solid and consistent concert draws to this date. Matthews turns 52 years old today.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1950, one of the best rock and roll frontmen of all time, David Johansen, was born in Staten Island, New York. As the focal point for groundbreaking and highly influential rock and roll band New York Dolls, Johansen was no stranger to wearing a full face of makeup, high heels and tight, women’s clothing while leading his raw and rambunctious band. The Dolls were loved by critics and viewed as a breath of fresh air in the ‘70s, but the band didn’t achieve much in the way of record sales. Still, the band's 1973 self-titled debut album stands as a landmark glam-rock album and has rightfully been credited as a major catalyst in the creation of punk-rock, which would flourish several years later. After his brief stint with the Dolls, Johansen and his distinctive, raspy voice graced many fine solo releases and continued to reign as one of the most charismatic and thrilling lead vocals in rock. Adding acting credits to his lengthy resume, Johansen remains musically active and is known to many only by his 1980s lounge singer alter ego, Buster Poindexter.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1988, the late, great Whitney Houston made music history when the hit single, “So Emotional” became her sixth, consecutive No. 1 pop hit on Billboard’s singles chart. It was the third single plucked from Houston’s multi-platinum, 1987 sophomore album Whitney and it also topped Billboard’s dance chart on the way to becoming one of the best-selling singles of that year. Houston joined The Beatles and the Bee Gees as one of the only artists to have six straight singles reach No. 1.