U.K. prog-rock giant Genesis played its first U.S. concert on this day in 1972

This is back when Peter Gabriel did the singing.

Today in rock history: On this date in 1972, inventive and unique progressive-rock band Genesis — already big in England, but still relatively unknown in the U.S. — made its American concert debut in front of a small audience at Brandeis University in Boston, Massachusetts. The show was meant to be a warm-up for the band's bigger gig at Philharmonic Hall in New York City, and this version of Genesis featured the enigmatic Peter Gabriel handling lead vocals and future leader Phil Collins handling all drumming duties. The group’s dramatic show found Gabriel sporting a variety of different, outlandish costumes throughout the performance and being hoisted up to the upper reaches of venues via cables and wires at the conclusion of the epic “Supper’s Ready,” which was often cited as the group’s show-stopping number. The band would return to the U.S. the following year and play a longer run of well-attended shows on its road to world fame.

Today in rock history: On this date in 1926, rock and roll pioneer “Big Mama” Thornton was born in Ariton, Alabama. Born Willie Mae Thornton, the singer and songwriter achieved incredible success as a rhythm and blues artist, and her influence carried over into the world of rock and roll. In 1952, Thornton recorded a version of legendary songwriting duo Leiber and Stoller’s “Hound Dog” — this was several years before Elvis Presley would have a massive hit with it. Big Mama’s bold, powerful version of the song stayed at the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s R&B singles chart for nearly two months straight and wound up selling nearly 2 million copies. Having a major impact on future rock superstar Janis Joplin (who covered Thornton’s classic “Ball ‘n’ Chain”), Thornton is often cited as a key player in the creation and development of rock and roll music. She passed away at the age of 57 in 1984 as a result of liver problems largely attributed to her history of alcohol abuse.

Today in rock history: On this date in 1965, trailblazing rock and roll band The Velvet Underground performed live for the very first time as part of a two-band bill that played in front of a dumbfounded audience at Summit High School Auditorium in Summit, New Jersey. The band performed only three songs — “There She Goes Again,” “Venus in Furs” and “Heroin”, which would all appear on its legendary debut album two years later — but half of the audience actually walked out of this show. The edgy band would obviously become all the rage of the downtown New York City scene under the tutelage of pop artist Andy Warhol a few years later.

Today in rock history: On this date in 1954, Jermaine Jackson, the fourth child in the world-famous Jackson singing family, was born in Gary, Indiana. Rising to fame as part of The Jackson 5 with four of this brothers in the early 1970s, Jermaine was the very first sibling to leave the group to embark on a solo career. After a long tenure with Motown Records, the group left the label’s roster in the mid-'70s, but Jermaine stayed with Motown as he was, at the time, married to the daughter of Berry Gordy, the founder of the record label. While Jermaine had limited success as a soloist, his 1980 funk single “Let’s Get Serious” was a massive crossover hit and earned him a Grammy nomination. He even had a 1982 hit, “Let Me Tickle Your Fancy,” that was a collaboration with new wave pioneers Devo. Jermaine rejoined his brothers in time for a huge mid-'80s “Victory” tour and stayed with them long enough to appear on the group’s final album, 1989’s 2300 Jackson Street.

About The Author

Gabe Echazabal

I was born on a Sunday Morning.I soon received The Gift of loving music.Through music, I Found A Reason for living.It was when I discovered rock and roll that I Was Beginning To See The Light.Because through music, I'm Set Free.It's always helped me keep my Head Held High.When I started dancing to that fine, fine...
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