Today In Rock History: on this date in 1968, Jimi Hendrix released his third and final studio album with his backing band The Experience, the 2-LP set, Electric Ladyland. Hendrix himself produced the album, which is very often referred to as the greatest and most ambitious album the band ever released. The album featured the smash hit cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” which wound up being Jimi’s highest charting single in America as well as Hendrix’s tour de force, the epic “Voodoo Chile.” Featuring guest appearances by contemporaries Steve Winwood, Dave Mason and Al Kooper, this, for many, is the definitive Jimi Hendrix album. Reaching the no. 1 spot on Billboard’s pop albums chart, the million selling record is often regarded as one of the greatest rock and roll albums of all time. The familiar red and yellow close-up cover shot of the artist was not used for the U.K. release of the record; instead, Jimi’s British record company opted for a controversial cover featuring a group of topless women which many retailers refused to carry.
Today in rock history: on this date 1981, British synth-pop group Human League released its third album, Dare. After the departure of two founding band members (who formed another electro/synth band, Heaven 17), the band strayed from the dark, experimental sounds of its first two releases and instead opted for a more commercial, pop-oriented sound, which resulted in one of the best-selling English albums of the 1980s. Boasting five popular and swiftly selling hit singles, the record’s most well-known song is the international smash hit, “Don’t You Want Me.” One of the most recognizable songs of the 80s and one that still sounds timeless and modern, the single benefited from heavy MTV airplay here in the U.S., which introduced the band to many who might not have otherwise been exposed to them. The music on this cutting edge album was created solely on synthesizers without a trace of more conventional instruments which heralded a new approach in creating pop music.
Today in rock history: on this date in 2006, legendary New York City club CBGB closed its doors for good. Opening in 1973, the downtown Bowery club helped launch the careers of groundbreaking artists like Ramones, Patti Smith, Blondie, Talking Heads and Television who appeared regularly at the small but vital music mecca. Massive rent disputes forced the renowned club to close its doors permanently to the disappointment of many. The final performance occurred on the evening before the club’s closure by one of the artists who helped make it famous, Patti Smith. The space that once housed the club is now occupied as a high end shop by clothing designer John Varvatos. The shop occasionally hosts live music concerts as a tribute to keeping the spirit of the club alive.
Today in rock history; Happy Birthday Boy George, plus Iron Butterfly and Paul McCartney release all-time great records
Today in rock history: on this date in 1982, British reggae-influenced pop band Culture Club appeared for the first time on weekly U.K. music program, Top Of The Pops. Booked as a last minute replacement for an artist that had to cancel due to illness, the fateful appearance introduced viewers to the sounds of the new band and, more importantly, exposed them to the gender-bending lead singer with the golden voice, Boy George. The band performed its soon to be smash hit “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me” from its debut album and, literally overnight, became stars in England and would not long after capture a large American audience as well.