This Week in
Feb. 19 (1940) — William Robinson Jr. is born in Detroit, Mich. Smokey Robinson will become the founder and front man of the Miracles, one of the original acts signed by Motown Record Corp. The group will produce 25 Top 40 hits with Robinson as lead vocalist, principal songwriter and producer, including a 1970 No. 1, “The Tears of a Clown.”
Feb. 19 (1966) — Lou Christie’s “Lightning Strikes” reaches No. 1 on the Billboard pop chart. A plea for a sexual double standard — “Listen to me, baby, it's hard to settle down/Am I asking too much for you to stick around” — it will remain atop the chart for only one week, and Christie won’t record another Top 10 hit.
Feb. 25 (1957) — Buddy Holly and the Crickets record their first charting single, “That’ll Be the Day,” in a Clovis, N.M., studio. The song is a No. 1 hit, and is considered a rock classic — but is not the first version Holly and his band recorded.
This Week in
June 13 (1972) — Clyde McPhatter dies in Teaneck, N.J., at the age of 39. With Billy Ward and His Dominoes, he sang lead on what some consider the first rock and roll record, “Sixty Minute Man,” but is better known as lead vocalist for the original Drifters. As a solo artist, he records three Billboardrhythm and blues No. 1s, one of which, “A Lover’s Question,” reaches No. 6 on the pop chart. He is the first artist be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, as a member of the Drifters and as a solo performer.
June 19 (1961) — “Moody River” by Pat Boone replaces Gary U.S. Bond’s “Quarter to Three” at No. 1 on the Billboard magazine Top 40. A cover of a song written by rockabilly artist Chase Webster, it will remain atop the charts only one week, and be the pop crooner’s sixth and final No. 1. The second best-charting recording artist of the 1950s — behind only Elvis Presley — Boone will for decades hold the record for most consecutive weeks with at least one record in the Billboard charts. His covers of rhythm and blues songs are credited with influencing the popularity of rock and roll.