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. 22 (1959) — Buddy Holly makes the final recordings of a too-short life that will end in an Iowa light-plane crash two weeks later. The set of demos, recorded in his New York City apartment, includes “Peggy Sue Got Married” and “Crying, Waiting, Hoping.” Those two songs will be released six months later as the “A” and “B” sides of a single; but unlike 12 of the artist’s previous 20 45s, it will fail to chart.
Jan. 28 (1956) — Elvis Presley makes his national television debut on Stage Show, the CBS musical variety show hosted by Big Band leaders Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. The program itself had debuted a year and a half earlier as a summer replacement for The Jackie Gleason Show, and returned the following year as a half-hour regular-season series. During his first performance on Stage Show — which earlier that month had introduced pop hitmaker-to-be Bobby Darin to a national TV audience — Presley will sing “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” “Flip, Flop and Fly” and “I Got a Woman.” The King of Rock and Roll will make four more appearances on the show — but, up against Perry Como’s popular TV program, it will decline in ratings and will be dropped by the network in September 1956.