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
Jan. 10 (1935) — Ronald Hawkins is born in Huntsville, Ark., two days after Elvis Presley enters the world. He majors in physical education in college, during which he forms his first rock and roll band, the Hawks, and also owns a Fayetteville, Ark., club that showcases early rock pioneers like Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison. Hawkins will move to Canada and become one of the most popular acts in Toronto, where he eliminates the competition by hiring away their best musicians. The group that he puts together in that fashion leaves him in 1964 to become one of the most influential acts of the 1960s and ’70s, the Band.
Jan. 13 (1964) — Columbia Records releases The Times They Area a-Changin’, Bob Dylan’s third studio album. The folk artist’s first LP that consists entirely of his own compositions, it takes some flak from critics and fans for lacking humor and musical diversity, but reaches No. 20 on the Billboard album chart, and earns Dylan a gold record. The title song is considered one of the artist’s most famous, and is ranked No. 59 on Rolling Stone magazine’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”; as a 45 RPM single release, it reaches No. 9 on the British charts.