Today in rock history: On this date in 1995, Dave Grohl’s post-Nirvana band, Foo Fighters, released its debut, self-titled album. After the death of Nirvana’s lead singer and chief songwriter Kurt Cobain, Grohl, the band’s drummer, began getting involved in various music-related projects. One of those projects included this outfit, a band for which Grohl recorded a pile of songs as preliminary demos before circulating those tapes to friends. Major label interest followed after word got out about the band’s catchy and aggressive pop-punk sound. Signed by Capitol Records, Foo Fighters was a tremendous success and produced several rock radio hit singles like “Big Me” and “This Is a Call” among others. The album would eventually go on be awarded with a platinum record award in recognition of sales exceeding 1 million copies sold. The band recently played Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, and you can read our review here.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1976, a couple of legendary punk rock shows occurred in England. At the club named The Black Swan in Sheffield, the recently formed punk rock band The Clash played its first gig as a support act for The Sex Pistols who’d soon become the most vilified and notorious band in all of England. Over in London, at the Roundhouse, American rock and roll band The Ramones made its British debut. In support of San Francisco, California band Flamin’ Groovies, the downtown New York City rock legends set the U.K. ablaze and, within days, all of the newly formed punk bands in England ramped up their sound and opted for more of a sped up, aggressive sound as a result of the influence of The Ramones. Many of the 2,000 guests in attendance went specifically to witness the loud and powerful band and, as a result, several U.K. punk bands were formed after experiencing the band’s short, sharp, humorous songs and their dynamic onstage presence.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1952, powerhouse rock and roll vocalist John Waite was born in Lancaster, England. Rising to fame as the lead singer of rock and roll band The Babys, which scored several rock radio hit singles and gained quite a reputation for being a reliable hard rock arena act. The Babys came to an abrupt end in the early 1980s, which left Waite to figure out his next move. Waite’s solo career kicked off in 1982 with his debut solo record Ignition and its hit single “Change.” By 1984, Waite’s second solo release, No Brakes became his biggest success to date thanks in great part of the inclusion of monster hit single “Missing You” which achieved No. 1 sales status in America as well as in several countries around the globe. Waite also served a stint as lead singer of rock and roll super group Bad English which scored a major international hit with the late 1980s power balled “When I See You Smile." Continuing as a solo artist, Waite still records new material and tours the world as one of the best-sounding and distinctive rock and roll vocalists with a lengthy resume and career.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1938, R&B and pop vocalist Bill Withers was born in Slab Fork, Virginia. Scoring early 1970s hits like “Use Me,” “Lean on Me” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” Withers was incredibly popular at this stage of his career and continued to write and record into the 1980s. Sadly, many listeners lost touch with this unique songwriter and musical innovator as his hit records started slowing down. Possessing an inimitable voice, Withers was one of the best-selling R&B artists of the 1970s and received several gold and platinum awards along the way. This Grammy award winner was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015 and was the subject of an excellent 2009 documentary, Still Bill, which helped his fans and listeners learn a little more about a somewhat reclusive yet extremely important artist.