Today in rock history: on this date in 1964, after scoring a string of classic hits in America, rock and roll architect Chuck Berry makes his stage debut in the U.K. when he plays the first night of his first English tour. Eagerly awaited and welcomed, Berry performed at the Astoria Theatre in Finsbury Park (now known as the Rainbow Theatre), England to kick off the trek. Berry’s tour, which featured a variety of opening acts including fellow American rock and roll pioneer Carl Perkins and British blues-influenced rock band The Animals woundup being a rousing success. Chuck played a total of 21 cities while overseas for his first concert tour of England.
LAST YEAR IN ROCK HISTORY (MAY 9, 2017)
Today in rock history: Bruce Springsteen opens for Bonnie Raitt, Antmania peaks, Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan is born
Today in rock history: on this date in 2000, Swedish garage/punk band The (International) Noise Conspiracy released its fiery debut album, Survival Sickness. Rising from the ashes of beloved hardcore punk band Refused, The (International) Noise Conspiracy featured members who’d previously been part of the Refused lineup. Highly political, outspoken and brazen, the band managed to incorporate its ideologies into an infectious, powerful, heavy sound and earned quite a following in doing so. Standout cuts from this blazing album include “I Wanna Know About U” and “Smash It Up” among so many more. The (International) Noise Conspiracy was together for just under a decade and released several strong albums throughout its tenure but the band's true element was on a concert stage; the band built quite a reputation for its high energy, scorching live shows which showed off its raw talent more effectively than any albums ever did.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1988, as shipments of Prince’s new album Lovesexy started arriving at retail outlets around the country prior to the album’s release date two days later, many stores immediately refused to carry the record based on its cover artwork. An image of the legendary funk/rock/soul trailblazer posing nude atop an array of flowers on the record’s front cover made some retailers nervous. The revealing photo led to some stores either outright refusing to stock the record or opting to wrap the sleeve in black cellophane to not display the nude image which was based on a snap taken by renowned photographer Jean Baptiste Mondino. Lovesexy was released as a replacement for the artist’s infamous “Black Album” which he chose to not release just before its original planned release date had been established. Lovesexy received lukewarm reviews by critics and did not sell nearly as well as Prince’s more recent successes had. The album went gold and scratched the Top 10 on Billboard’s pop albums chart but did not enjoy a lengthy chart stay. Singles from the album included “Alphabet St.,” “I Wish You Heaven” and “Glam Slam” which all charted respectably but were all more substantial hits in England where they all charted incredibly high. Intended to be heard as one continuous piece of music, the songs on the vinyl pressing of Lovesexy all blended into each other and early CD pressings featured all of the album’s nine tracks combined into one, long, continuous track…which caused many who purchased the release on that format to return their CDs as they believed them to be defective.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1985, The Style Council, Paul Weller’s soul/jazz outfit released its second album, Our Favourite Shop. The band had enjoyed success with its previous full length release, 1984’s Café Bleu but it was the follow up that became the band’s most successful and best-selling album of its short tenure. Our Favourite Shop was the band’s onlyNo. 1 album in its native England and produced several hit singles that all charted well in that country as well. Renamed Internationalists in America and featuring completely different cover artwork and song sequencing, the album showed off Weller’s penchant for mixing styles and genres and features tracks that convincingly delve into funk, soul, pop and jazz. Although many of Weller’s followers were still sore about his abrupt 1982 breakup of his prior band, Mod revivalist heroes The Jam, The Style Council developed its own fan base which helped bolster the success of this impressive album. Lyrically, the record is a highly-political affair where Weller is not afraid to voice his views and opinions on standout tracks like "The Lodgers", "Boy Who Cried Wolf", "Walls Come Tumbling Down!" and “Come to Milton Keynes” which were all released as singles in the U.K. Highly critical of Margaret Thatcher-era England, government and crass commercialism, Our Favourite Shop is considered by many fans of The Style Council to be its finest hour.