Today in rock history: on this date in 1971, legendary British rock band The Who released its fifth album, the milestone Who’s Next. Born from a totally different project entitled Lifehouse, a rock opera that guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend intended to be the follow up to the 1969 epic album Tommy, Townshend salvaged the songs he’d created which formed the basis for this monster album. The legendary cover photo, suggesting that the band had just urinated against a large concrete piling, was partially a reference to the monolith from the classic 1968 sci-fi film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Legend has it that at the time of the photo shoot, band members weren’t really needing to relieve themselves so water from film canisters was instead thrown against the concrete piling to suggest that they’d just peed on it. The record is largely regarded as the band’s best and most consistent album and is widely recognized as one of the greatest rock and roll albums of all time. The watershed album contains the rock anthems “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Baba O’Riley” as well as the well-known ballad “Behind Blue Eyes.” The multi-platinum selling album was critically acclaimed upon its release and climbed as high as no, 4 on U.S. album charts and to the top spot in the band’s native England. On the short list of essential, pivotal, genre-defining rock and roll albums, this masterpiece most definitely has a firm place on that special list.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1971, legendary soul crooner Al Green released his third album, Al Green Gets Next To You. Produced by renowned Memphis musician and record producer Willie Mitchell, the record saw Green’s distinctive, unmistakable voice travel to new places. His slow, seductive, sultry style hit its stride on this album and his place in pop and R&B history was forever cemented. Containing his own unique takes on Doors classic “Light My Fire” and Temptations hit “ I Can’t Get Next To You,” Green established his unique brand of soul interpretation like no one before him had yet to do. The album also contains the Green classic “Tired Of Being Alone,” one of his most beloved and popular hits which was a top 10 pop and R&B chart success in 1971.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1965, married singing duo Sonny and Cher topped the Billboard singles chart with their hit, “I Got You Babe.” The single sat atop the Billboard pop chart for three weeks and remained one of the couple’s best known and most recognizable hits. The song was later covered in the 1980’s by reggae group UB40 as a duet with Pretenders lead singer Chrissie Hynde and also played a prominent role in the 1993 comedy film, Groundhog Day. Sonny and Cher closed every episode of their early 1970’s comedy/variety show with the song that became known as the couple’s signature tune.
Dave Vanian says he's releasing a Phantom Chords box set complete with unheard tracks
Today in rock history: on this date in 1976, British independent record label Stiff Records released its very first single. British singer/songwriter Nick Lowe holds the distinction of having his infectious power pop song, “So It Goes” be the very first record to start the amazing run of releases the label would soon be known for. Stiff Records was responsible for introducing Elvis Costello, The Damned, Ian Dury and the Blockheads and Madness to record buyers around the globe and was known for its sense of humor, its funny slogans (i.e. “We Came. We Saw. We Left”) and its unusual marketing methods.