Today in rock history: on this date in 1973, Bob Dylan released his album Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, his 12th album overall and the first film soundtrack of his catalog. The mostly instrumental album served as the score for the Sam Peckinpah-directed western film of the same title which starred James Coburn and Kris Kristofferson. Dylan himself even made a cameo. The album was panned and harshly criticized by rock journalists and was accused of being a misstep in Dylan’s catalog. Despite the negative press the record received, it still managed to crack the Top 20 on Billboard’s pop albums chart. The sales of the record were undoubtedly helped by the inclusion of one of Bob’s most beloved and best-known singles, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” which rose to No. 12 on Billboard’s singles chart. The song was later covered by Eric Clapton and Guns N’ Roses and remains one of Dylan’s most recognizable compositions.
TODAY IN ROCK HISTORY
Remembering The Byrds' Gene Clark, who died 27 years ago today
Today in rock history: on this date in 1942, James Roger McGuinn, better known simply as Roger McGuinn, was born in Chicago, Illinois. The folk music artist who’d become the front man and a major contributor to the highly influential 1960s band The Byrds is regarded not only for his memorable vocal contributions to so many of the band’s fantastic records but also for his innovative guitar techniques which helped give The Byrds a sound of its own and set them apart from many of their contemporaries. McGuinn has released several solo albums throughout his career and was a member of Bob Dylan’s famed 1975-1976 Rolling Thunder Revue tour and later worked closely with Tom Petty whom he’d write and tour with in the 1980s.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1987, dynamic and dazzling soul/pop singer Terrence Trent D’Arby released his superb debut album, Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D'Arby in England. The album was an instant success in Britain where it shot all the way up to the No. 1 spot on sales charts there and occupied that top spot for nine weeks. The album would be released in America a bit later in the year, but its rise to prominence in the U.S. was a little slower than the meteoric rise it enjoyed in England. Hit singles from the album included “Wishing Well,” “Sign Your Name,” “If You Let Me Stay” and “Dance Little Sister.” D’Arby’s strong, soulful, emotive voice appealed to record buyers of many ages and backgrounds which helped catapult him to being one of the biggest and best-selling artists of the time. The album eventually went on to sell in excess of 5 million copies worldwide and is often regarded as one of the very best debut albums released in the 80s.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1992, George Harrison released his two-disc set Live In Japan which captured an array of performances with Eric Clapton and his band. Only Harrison’s second live album of his career, this collection included plenty of his solo material as well as a wealth of songs Harrison had recorded and released with The Beatles. After the success he enjoyed as a member of The Traveling Wilburys, Harrison was talked into touring Japan by Clapton to capitalize on the visibility he was enjoying at the time. Harrison’s last tour, in the mid-70s, was poorly received and reviewed due to his voice being badly strained at the time which resulted in disappointment and harsh criticism by many concertgoers. Harrison took Clapton’s advice and completed a successful tour throughout Japan that was captured on this fantastic album. Including Beatles classics like “Taxman” and Something” as well as solo hits like “My Sweet Lord” and “All Those Years Ago,” the record was a massive hit in the country in which it was recorded although, sadly, it had very little success in other parts of the world.