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This Week in Rock History (June 6-12)

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Big Joe Turner at home in Chicago
  • Big Joe Turner at home in Chicago

June 6
After an unsuccessful audition for Decca Records in 1962, The Beatles perform for producer George Martin at EMI Records in London. Martin was later quoted as saying "they were pretty awful. I understand why other record companies turned them down." John, Paul, George and Pete Best were each paid $12.07 for the session, and got signed to the label in July 1962.

June 7
In 1979, just hours before he is set to perform for President Carter on the front lawn of the White House, the IRS charges Chuck Berry with three counts of tax evasion. Berry will later plead guilty and be ordered to perform a series of benefit shows. He will also spend four months in prison.

During 1954's huge summer in rock music, with Big Joe Turner's "Shake, Rattle and Roll" atop the R&B chart, Bill Haley enters Decca Records' New York studio to record the same number with his band. Haley's version will eventually enter the pop chart in August for an amazing 27 week run, topping at #7, and will become the first rock and roll tune to sell a million copies.

Bill Haley version:

Big Joe Turner version:

June 8
The Crystals' "Da Doo Ron Ron" peaks at #3 in 1963 on the Billboard Pop chart. The song was the work of Phil Spector, who used a multi-track recording system to build the song layer upon layer, achieving a result that will become known as a "wall of sound". Backing musicians included Glen Campbell on guitar, studio legend Hal Blaine on drums and Leon Russell on piano.

June 9
In 1972, Elvis Presley performs for the first time in New York City. He (or more likely Col. Parker) is reported to have offered the press a chance to interview him for a fee of $120,000. Nobody paid.

June 10
In 1967, The Beatles' "Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" starts a 23-week run at #1 on the UK album chart. The LP will also top the Billboard Hot 200 chart for 15 weeks, win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year and eventually sell over 30 million copies world wide.

In 2004, Ray Charles passes away at the age of 73. During his career, Ray appeared on the US Pop charts 77 times and was the first artist to have an album on Billboard's Hot 200 for six decades in a row. Plus, he was smokin' cool.

Legendary performance on the Johnny Cash Show

June 11
In 1966, European radio stations mistakenly report that The Who's lead singer Roger Daltrey is dead. Actually, it was guitarist Pete Townshend who was injured in a car accident a few days earlier. Ah, the days before the internet. Nice to see accuracy hasn't changed, just the speed with which it can be corrected.

ABBA's Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson join U2 onstage in 1992 in Stockholm, Sweden for a rendition of "Dancing Queen".

June 12
One of the greatest, cheesiest, ballsiest, non-ironic rock tunes ever is recorded on this date in 1973: Grand Funk's "We're An American Band," which would eventually become the band's first US number one single, peaking in September.

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