The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum

Today In Rock: May 1


Ralph Bass was born.


Jerry Wexler, a former Billboard magazine writer, joins Atlantic. He soon begins producing records with Ertegun.


Chuck Berry signs with Chess Records, landing a contract on the strength of his songwriting. Label head Leonard Chess is particularly impressed with Berry's version of an old country & western song, "Ida Red," which he's rewritten as "Maybellene."


Sun releases John Cash's "I Walk the Line."


Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes" becomes Sun's first Certified million-seller.


While on tour in England, Lewis is attacked by the press, who are outraged by his marriage. The furor carries back to the U.S. where he is blacklisted from radio and bookings are cancelled.


U.S. pilot Gary Powers, flying a reconnaissance mission over the U.S.S.R., is shot down and captured by the Soviets. The U.S. government's initial claim that the U-2 was a civilian craft is contradicted by Powers' confession while in custody. President Eisenhower shortly announces the suspension of spy flights over the U.S.S.R.


Ray Charles hits #8 with "One Mint Julep".


Jerry Lee Lewis' last Top Forty hit of the rock and roll era, a blistering version of Ray Charles' "What'd I Say," peaks at #30.


Herman's Hermits hit Number One in the U.S. with "Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter." "I'm Henry VIII, I Am" reaches Number One in August.


At the height of the British Invasion, 'Del Shannon Sings Hank Williams', a tribute album to the late country & western legend, is released.


Monday, Monday (The Mamas & the Papas) was a hit.


'Two Yanks in England' is recorded in London with eight pseudonymous songs and musical backing from the Hollies, who are among the Everly Brothers' most devoted fans. Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones (later of Led Zeppelin) also participate in the sessions.


Elvis Presley marries Priscilla Beaulieu, who he met eight and a half years earlier during his tour of duty in Germany, at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. Their daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, is born exactly nine months later, on February 1, 1968.


Apple Corps, Ltd. begins operating in London. It is the Beatles' attempt to take control of their own creative and economic destiny. Later that month, John invites Yoko to his house in Weybridge. They make experimental tapes all night.


John Lennon and Yoko Ono exhibit their first official joint venture at the Arts Lab in London. Soon after, they plant acorns outside Coventry Cathedral as a conceptual "living arts sculpture."


Diana Ross leaves the Supremes to go solo.


Emerson, Lake and Palmer hit #48 in the US with "Lucky Man".


Aretha Franklin's recording of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," which includes King Curtis on sax, tops the R&B singles chart.


'The London Chuck Berry Sessions' is released. One side was recorded in a London studio on February 5th with members of the Faces, while the other comprised material from a concert in Lanchester two days earlier, including "My Ding-a-Ling." It became Berry's best-selling album, reaching #8 on the Billboard chart and earning gold-record status.


Pursued by Clive Davis shortly before the latter's firing, Billy Joel signs to Columbia Records. He writes his first album in Malibu that fall.


A drug-free Eric Clapton launches his solo career in earnest, recording 461 Ocean Boulevard in Miami. Both the album and its key single, "I Shot the Sheriff," go to #1. Virtually reinventing himself in the space of one album, Clapton takes few guitar solos and adopts a more laid-back stylistic demeanor.


Al Green becomes the Rev. Al Green with his acquisition of the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Memphis.


'Turnstiles', Billy Joel's ambitious fourth album, offers a brace of FM radio and concert favorites: "New York State of Mind," "Summer, Highland Falls" and "Say Goodbye to Hollywood."


Willie Nelson teams up with Waylon Jennings to record country's first certified platinum album, 'Wanted: The Outlaws'.


Hotel California (The Eagles) was a hit.


Eric Clapton's biggest-selling album of the Seventies, Slowhand, finds him recording at London's Olympic Studios for the first time since Fresh Cream, the first Cream album. Slowhand yields Top Forty hits in "Lay Down Sally" (#3) and "Wonderful Tonight" (#16), and an FM favorite and live staple in "Cocaine."


Subterranean Pop, a Xeroxed fanzine devoted to underground American music, publishes its first issue.


'Tug of War', which reunites Paul McCartney with Beatles producer George Martin, is released to glowing reviews and strong sales. A duet with Stevie Wonder, "Ebony and Ivory," tops the singles chart for seven weeks.


Harold Faltermeyer hits #3 with "Axel F".


Wishing Well (Terence Trent D'Arby) was a hit.


'Behind the Mask', which finds Lindsey Buckingham replaced with Rick Vito and Billy Burnette, reaches #33 in the U.S. A month earlier, it entered the U.K. chart at #1.


Hanson hits #1 in the Australia with "MMMBop".