It’s Friday in The College of Rock n’ Roll Knowledge: 1/15/2021

Good Morning from The Mermaid Lounge! It is Friday here, and we’ve got some great music coming your way! But first, our lesson.

The Original Supremes, formerly known as The Primettes. That’s Barbara Martin on the left, the only one that was legally ‘of age’ to sign the Motown contract in 1961. Find out more below.

Here’s your lesson!

January 15, 1958: Elvis Presley records Hard Headed Woman, Trouble, New Orleans, King Creole, and Crawfish. All in a day’s work for The King.

January 15, 1961: The Supremes sign on with Motown Records. At this time there are four Supremes (once called The Primettes): Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard, and Barbara Martin. All but Martin are under 18 and require parental permission before signing. Diana Ross was just sixteen. Martin sings on their first album, but leaves the group after a year and is not replaced.

January 15, 1964: The Beatles play live at Cinema Cyrano in Versailles, France, in front of an audience of 2,000 people. It’s a warm up for a three-week engagement at the Olympia Theatre that would begin the following night.

Meanwhile, back in Chicago, a legal shitshow is taking place between Capitol Records and Vee Jay Records. Capitol filed an injunction that prohibited Vee Jay from manufacturing or distributing any more Beatles records. Vee Jay, in turn, files suit against both Capitol and Swan Records, which owned the rights to She Loves You. Most of the contracts in the early days of rock n’ roll revolved around individual releases. You can read all the details here in The Beatles Bible, which is my personal bible for Beatles information.

January 15, 1965: Bob Dylan recorded Maggie’s Farm at Columbia Recording Studios in New York.

Also on this day, The Who’s first single, I Can’t Explain, is released in the UK. Jimmy Page helps The Who out on guitar on this one.

January 15, 1966: The Supremes song My World Is Empty Without You enters the charts.

January 15, 1967: Before The Rolling Stones appear on The Ed Sullivan Show, Mick Jagger agrees to change the line “let’s spent the night together” to “let’s spend some time together.” He is obviously visibly annoyed when he is sings the altered lyrics.

January 15, 1971: George Harrison released My Sweet Lord in the UK.

January 15, 1972: Don McLean’s epic American Pie hits #1 in the US. It runs 8:36 seconds long, and you have to flip the 45 record over to hear the whole thing. (I remember that.)

January 15, 1977: Hotel California by The Eagles goes to #1 on the Album charts.

Born On This Day

January 15, 1941: Don Van Vliet, also known as Captain Beefheart, was born in Glendale, California.

January 15, 1948: Ronnie Van Zant, vocalist with Lynyrd Skynyrd, was born in Jacksonville, Florida.

January 15, 1952: Melvin Gayle, cellist with Electric Light Orchestra, was born in London.

And that is today’s lesson from the college. We’ll be back shortly with the line-up.

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