Today in rock history: on this date in 1980, Bruce Springsteen released his fifth studio album, the 2-LP set, The River. Bruce’s very first double-album release, this highly anticipated album was also his first to reach the top of the Billboard charts; Springsteen’s very first no. 1 album spent four weeks at the top spot and produced his very first bona fide charting hit single. “Hungry Heart” (a song Springsteen wrote originally with the intention of having The Ramones record) was, until that time, Bruce’s highest charting single climbing as high as no. 5 on Billboard’s pop singles chart. A huge hit all across Europe, several of the albums songs were released as singles in different countries across that continent. Springsteen enjoyed on one of his most successful tours with his accompanying E Street Band in support of the album all across the globe.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1977, Florida-based Southern rock giants Lynyrd Skynyrd released its fifth studio album, Street Survivors. Sadly, just three days after the record’s release, a devastating plane crash claimed the lives of several band members and injured several others, making this the final album to be released with the original band lineup intact. The front cover photo depicted the band engulfed in flames, a graphic that was soon considered to be in poor taste in light of the tragedy that had just occurred. The record label, at the request of surviving band members and the families of the deceased, soon issued an alternate cover that pictured the band against a plain black background. The record was the first Skynyrd record to crack the Top 5 of Billboard’s sales charts and it exceeded sales of one million copies in the U.S. alone not long after its release. Singles culled from the record include the Skynyrd classics “What’s Your Name” and “You Got That Right."
Today in rock history: on this date in 1961, a fateful meeting between two teenage boys would lead to the creation of one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time. Although they were distant childhood friends, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger had drifted apart. However, they were reacquainted when they ran into each other at their local neighborhood station in Dartford, England and struck up a conversation. Jagger was carrying records by Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters, and Keith was carrying his guitar. That afternoon, Jagger invited Richards over to his house to listen to his new records and the seed was planted for the eventual formation for The Rolling Stones. Coincidentally, on this very date, three years later, the U.S. released Stones album, 12x5 was released. Comprised of tracks that had previously only appeared on EPs and albums released in England, the record climbed as high as no. 3 on U.S. Billboard charts and spawned the hit singles “Time Is On My Side” and “It’s All Over Now.”
Today in rock history: on this date in 1966, groundbreaking Texas psychedelic/garage rock band 13th Floor Elevators released its debut album, The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators. Led by eccentric guitarist and singer Roky Erickson, this influential band is often cited as one of the most important and vital groups to bring psychedelic and garage sounds to radio airwaves when a single from the album, “You're Gonna Miss Me" became an AM rock radio hit in ’66. Cited as a major influence on later bands like ZZ Top, R.E.M. and Jesus and Mary Chain, the importance of this band can’t be understated.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1962, The Beatles appeared on television for the very first time ever. Appearing on the local British television program People and Places, the band debuted on the live Manchester, England television program and performed two songs: “Some Other Guy” and a brand new single, “Love Me Do.” The show was only broadcast in the north of England and was seen by a very limited amount of viewers. The band would be invited to appear on the show again thanks to a meteoric rise to fame and a march towards world domination of record sales charts that would be in full force within two years of this, the band's debut on television.