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
Nov. 19 (1966) — “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” by the Supremes begins a two-week run atop the Billboard Hot 100, the ninth of 11 No. 1s that the Motown group will have in a four-year period, and their second of the year. A Morse Code-like radio signal preceding a news announcement reportedly inspired Lamont Dozier — of the legendary Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team — to write the signature guitar riff that opens and runs through the song. “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” has been more often covered than other Supremes songs, including a Top 10 by the psychedelic rock group Vanilla Fudge in 1967; 19 years later, British artist Kim Wilde will cut a version that will become only the sixth song to reach No. 1 for two different artists.
Nov. 21 (1969) — The Moody Blues release their fifth studio album, To Our Children’s Children’s Children, on Threshold Records, the record label the band formed earlier in the year (and named after their earlier 1969 release, On the Threshold of a Dream). The newer LP is well-received critically and commercially successful, a No. 2 in the U.K., No. 14 in the U.S. Inspired by the U.S. moon landing four months earlier, the album will be listened to (on cassette tape) by the crew of the Apollo 15 lunar mission 19 months later.