Rock 'n' Roll History for
May 20






1920 - ClassicBands.com

May 20
The Canadian Marconi Company, station XWA (Experimental Wireless Apparatus) in Montreal, Canada, gave what it would later claim to be the first scheduled radio broadcast in North America. Its call letters were changed to CFCF on November 4, 1920, and while the meaning of that call sign has never been officially confirmed, it is generally believed to be "Canada's First, Canada's Finest".

1954 - ClassicBands.com

May 20
Bill Haley And His Comets' "Rock Around the Clock" was released. The record would find only limited success until the following year when it was included on the soundtrack of the film Blackboard Jungle.

1960 - ClassicBands.com

May 20
The Silver Beatles, with Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and drummer Tommy Moore, kick off a seven date tour of Scotland.

1964 - ClassicBands.com

May 20
Rudy Lewis, the lead singer of The Drifters on their hits "On Broadway" and "Up On The Roof", died under mysterious circumstances the night before the group was set to record "Under the Boardwalk". He was 28 years old. Rather than reschedule the studio session to find a new front man, former Drifters backup singer Johnny Moore was brought back to perform lead vocals for the recording. The single reached #4 in the US the following July and #45 in the UK.

1966 - ClassicBands.com

May 20
Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey of The Who grew tired of waiting for John Entwistle and Keith Moon to arrive for a concert. They take the stage at the Ricky Tick Club in Windsor, England with the bass player and drummer of the local band that opened the show. When Moon and Entwistle finally show up in the middle of the set, Townshend whacks Moon on the head with his guitar. Moon and Entwistle quit the band...for a week.

1967 - ClassicBands.com

May 20
Jimi Hendrix signed with Reprise Records on the US Warner Brothers label. He would eventually give them three albums, "Are You Experienced?", "Axis: Bold as Love" and "Electric Ladyland". The live L.P. "Band of Gypsys" was released on Capitol Records a few months before his death.

May 20
The BBC announces that it will not play The Beatles' "A Day In The Life", claiming it contained explicit drug references. On the same day, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr go to the BBC to record interviews for the show Where It's At.

May 20
The Young Rascals score the second of their three Billboard #1 records when "Groovin" reached the top. It made #8 in the UK. Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati wrote this song because their work schedule would only allow them to see their girlfriends on Sunday afternoons.

May 20
Manuel Fernandez, founding member and organist for Los Bravos on their 1966 hit "Black Is Black", committed suicide. He was just 23 years old.

1970 - ClassicBands.com

May 20
The Beatles' last film, Let It Be, premiered. It was basically a documentary of the group's break-up, including footage of their last public performance on the roof of their Apple Corps headquarters in London.

1971 - ClassicBands.com

May 20
Peter Cetera of Chicago lost four teeth when a gang of thugs at a Chicago Cubs baseball game beat the daylights out of him because of the length of his hair. Cetera spent five hours in surgery as a result. He was the band's lead singer and bass player before leaving for a solo career in 1985.

1978 - ClassicBands.com

May 20
Paul McCartney led his group Wings to the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for the third time with "With A Little Luck". It reached #5 in his homeland.

1985 - ClassicBands.com

May 20
Daryl Hall and John Oates headlined a concert for the grand re-opening of the legendary Apollo Theatre in Harlem. The performance was recorded and later released as a 'live' album which also featured two of the original Temptations, David Ruffin and Eddie Kendrick.

1988 - ClassicBands.com

May 20
Priscilla Presley held a press conference to deny that Elvis is still alive. There are however, many who still think otherwise and the Did Elvis Fake His Death? question still remains to this day.

1989 - ClassicBands.com

May 20
Future American Idol judge Paula Abdul started a two week run at #1 on the US singles chart with "Forever Your Girl", her second US chart topper. It was a #24 hit in the UK.

1995 - ClassicBands.com

May 20
Eagles' drummer Don Henley married model Sharon Summerall at his Malibu ranch. In attendance were Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit, David Crosby, Randy Newman, Jimmy Buffett, Jackson Browne, Billy Joel, Sting and Sheryl Crow.

May 20
"Unchained Melody" becomes the first song to reach #1 in the UK by three different artists when the version by Robson Green and Jerome Flynn makes it to the top. Jimmy Young did the trick in 1955 followed by The Righteous Brothers' re-charted rendition in 1990.

1998 - ClassicBands.com

May 20
Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward was taken to hospital in London after suffering a heart attack during a band rehearsal.

2000 - ClassicBands.com

May 20
The Guess Who perform in their home town of Winnipeg, leading to a reunion tour. The line-up featured Randy Bachman, Burton Cummings, Jim Kale, Donnie McDougall and Garry Peterson. Kale would be replaced by another former member, Bill Wallace, before the first show.

2003 - ClassicBands.com

May 20
The South Carolina State Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services pardoned James Brown for all past crimes in the state...including drug, weapons and assault charges. Brown, who appeared before the board, sang "God Bless America" after the decision.

2009 - ClassicBands.com

May 20
Former Creedence Clearwater Revival front man John Fogarty announced to the press that he had finished his latest CD, "The Return of the Blue Ridge Rangers", a sequel to his 1973 solo album. Released on August 25th, it would peak at #25 on the Billboard 200.

2012 - ClassicBands.com

May 20
Robin Gibb of The Bee Gees passed away at the age of 62 after battling colon and liver cancer. His vocals were featured on the hits "Massachusetts", "I Started a Joke", "I've Gotta Get a Message to You" and "Holiday".

2013 - ClassicBands.com

May 20
Ray Manzarek, keyboard player for The Doors, died at the age of 74 after a long battle with bile duct cancer.

2014 - ClassicBands.com

May 20
Two former members of Heart, bassist Mark Andes and drummer Dennis Carmassi, launched a lawsuit against the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for using their likenesses in promoting the 2013 induction ceremony even though they were not inducted. The two were members of Heart from 1982 to 1993, during which the band won four of its Grammy nominations and ten of its twenty Top 40 hits, but only the original lineup from the '60s and '70s were inducted into the Rock Hall. The duo's complaint states that when people offer them congratulations, they were humiliated to explain that they were not actually chosen for induction.

May 20
Prince Rupert Loewenstein, the Rolling Stone's business manager and financial advisor from 1968 to 2007, died at the age of 80 after a long illness.

2016 - ClassicBands.com

May 20
BPI, the British recorded music industry's trade association, announced figures that showed that UK music accounted for 17.1% of the global music market, its highest ever share. Adele, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, One Direction and Coldplay were the the top selling British artists around the world.






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