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
Aug. 2 (1965) — Atco Records releases Look at Us, the debut album by Sonny and Cher. The LP includes the first of 20 charting singles, and the only No. 1 by the supposedly husband-and-wife act (Sonny Bono later in life revealed that they were never legally married until after their first child was born). The couple will sell more than 40 million records, and also host two Top 10 television variety shows, before their divorce breaks up the act.
Aug. 7 (1966) — “Summer in the City” by the Lovin’ Spoonful knocks the Troggs’ “Wild Thing” out of No. 1 in the Billboard Hot 100. It is the first and only chart-topper for a band that had debuted little more than a year earlier, and put seven of its first eight singles in the Top 10, two of those reaching No. 2. The band will only have three Top 40 hits after 1966, breaking up in 1970, after losing two of its original members, Zal Yanovsky in 1967 and John Sebastian the following year.