Today in rock history: on this date in 1964, The Beatles made their first U.S. chart appearance when their first single released in America, “I Want To Hold Your Hand” debuted at No. 45 on Billboard’s pop singles chart only ten days after its release. The record was the fastest-selling single in the history of the band’s U.S. record label, Capitol Records, and it went on to spend seven straight weeks at the No. 1 spot not long after its debut. With this release, Beatlemania had officially taken over in the United States as it already had in Great Britain.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1978, renowned California singer-songwriter Warren Zevon released his third studio album, Excitable Boy. The album was the one that introduced Zevon’s witty lyricism and clever songs to a mass audience as it contained the hit single “Werewolves of London,” which became a Top 20 hit for Zevon. The album went on to become Zevon’s best-selling album and peaked at No. 8 on Billboard’s pop albums chart. Another Zevon classic, “Lawyers, Guns and Money” hails from this fine album which includes guest appearances by musical contemporaries like Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt and Mick Fleetwood.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1981, Wendy O. Williams, the unrestrained lead singer of shock rock New York City band The Plasmatics, was arrested in Milwaukee, Wisconsin after a concert for performing lewd acts on stage. Williams was charged with simulating sex on stage with a sledgehammer which led to her arrest. Williams later sued the city of Milwaukee due to claims that she was sexually abused and beaten by police at the time of her arrest. A jury heard her case but did not rule in her favor and the case was dismissed. In 1998, the Grammy-nominated singer commited suicide at the age of 48.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1983, Canadian rocker Bryan Adams released his third solo album, Cuts Like A Knife which served as his breakthrough record in the U.S. as well as in several countries around the world. After two moderately successful albums that followed a stint as a member of Canadian rock band Sweeney Todd while in his teens, Adams began to get regular airplay on radio as well as the then-budding music video channel, MTV with this release. The title track, especially, was in heavy rotation on MTV thanks to the provocative video that accompanied it. Besides the title track, the album also produced the singles “This Time” and the ballad “Straight From The Heart” which helped the record climb as high as No. 8 on the U.S. Billboard pop albums chart and become the first of many more million-selling albums Adams would enjoy throughout his lengthy career. Read my interview with Adams here.