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This Week in

Rock History

            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

Rock History

      June 9 (1941) — John Douglas Lord is born in Leicester, U.K., the son of an amateur saxophonist who encourages his son’s interest in music. Jon Lord will begin studying classical piano at age five, but in his teens will be influenced by American blues organists and early rock and rollers like Jerry Lee Lewis and Buddy Holly. Moving to London at age 18 to pursue an acting career, he will play in nightclubs and work as a session musician, and in 1967 will be the first musician recruited by former Searcher Chris Curtis for a “supergroup” project. Curtis will be ousted by the band’s investors, but Lord will become a founding member of what is initially called Roundabout, but becomes the first version of Deep Purple. He will be the one of two original member who remained with the band through its early successes, 1968-76 and from its reunion in 1984 until his retirement in 2002, writing many of the group’s songs.

     June 15 (1965) — In the Columbia Records studios in New York City, recording sessions begin that will produce Bob Dylan’s landmark song, “Like a Rolling Stone.” Condensed from a longer piece Dylan had written following what would be his final folk music tour, it is initially recorded in waltz time, but then changed to the rock format, with 21-year-old session musician Al Kooper providing the signature organ lines. Columbia doesn’t like the electrified sound and balks at releasing such a long (six minutes-plus) single, but changes its mind after the recording is leaked. The single hits No. 2 in the U.S., changes Dylan’s image from folk singer to rock star, and is ranked No. 1 in Rolling Stone magazine’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”

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