Today in rock history: on this date in 1964, Johnny Cash’s album entitled Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash became the very first country music album to reach Billboard’s No. 1 spot on the publication’s newly created country and western album sales chart. The album contains Cash classics like “Tennessee Flat Top Box,” “Where You There” and of course, the well-known song for which the collection is titled. The album made it as high as No. 17 on Billboard’s pop albums chart as well.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1992, Nirvana appeared as the musical guests on the weekly sketch-comedy show, Saturday Night Live for the very first time (the band would appear again in 1993). Nirvana performed two songs: its breakthrough hit that was helping to make the Washington-based trio a household name, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” as well as “Territorial Pissings.” The band then proceeded to smash all of its instruments on live television after performing. Coincidentally, on the very same day, Nirvana's hit album Nevermind slipped into the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s pop albums chart.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1971, Pearl, the second solo album from powerhouse blues/rock singer Janis Joplin was released. Unfortunately, the album came out three months after the singer’s untimely death but it was a massive hit nonetheless. The record featured signature songs like “Move Over,” the Kris Kristofferson-penned “Me & Bobby McGee” and Joplin’s take on Howard Tate’s 1966 hit “Get It While You Can.” The album shot straight to No. 1 on Billboard’s pop albums chart and held that spot for nine straight weeks.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1964, the garage rock classic “Louie Louie” by The Kingsmen held the No. 1 spot on the Cash Box singles chart. The song, written by Richard Perry, was an R&B hit in the mid-1950s but the Kingsmen’s version was a source of controversy as rumors swirled around the filthy, obscene words that were supposedly used in the song. The truth was, most of the vocals in the song besides its chorus were almost indecipherable. Many radio stations refused to play the song based on those rumors. All of this led to an FBI investigation into the subject matter of the song, but nothing questionable was reported afterwards. The song has been covered countless times by artists like Joan Jett, Black Flag and Toots & the Maytals.