On this date in 1984, Athens, Ga., "College Rock" favorites R.E.M. released its second album, the fantastic Reckoning. The album — featuring the singles "So. Central Rain" and "(Don't Go Back to) Rockville" — was well before the band reached superstar status. The band were pretty big for a cult band, but it wasn't until 1988's Green that R.E.M. became worldwide Rock stars (and only got bigger after that).
Green will be the subject of an upcoming local benefit for Northside's Building Value, Inc. Following BVI's annual fundraiser, ReUse-apalooza, on April 27, Cincinnati rockers Messerly & Ewing will head up a Green tribute concert at the Northside Tavern at 10 p.m. The Messerly & Ewing band will become a Rockestra that night, joined by several local musicians as they play the seminal AltRock album, including Jazz pianist Chris Comer, singer/songwriter Mike Fair and members of The Ass Ponys, Wussy, Seven Speed Vortex and Eagle to Squirrel. The show will also include a raffle of R.E.M. merch and memorabilia, donated by the band thanks to a friend of M&E's from the R.E.M. camp. Keep an eye on M&E's Facebook page for updates.
Click on for Born This Day featuring Gerald Way, Hal Ketchum and Carl Perkins.
Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers sharing an April 9 birthday include Zydeco/Blues/R&B singer/musician Rockin' Sidney Simien (1938); Country singer/songwriter ("Small Town Saturday Night") Hal Ketchum (1953); frontman for My Chemical Romance, Gerard Way (1977); Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr. (1979); singer for Post Hardcore greats Escape the Fate, Craig Mabbitt (1987); modern Soul singer Jazmine Sullivan (1987); and singer/guitarist Carl Perkins (1932).
A genuine musical pioneer, Perkins would have turned 80 today had he not passed away in 1998 from throat cancer after having a series of strokes. Perkins' early Rockabilly fed blood into the veins of the burgeoning Rock & Roll movement. He's best remembered for writing and recording the seminal "Blue Suede Shoes," which he claims he wrote Dec. 17, 1955, and recorded it just two days later.
The single came out on Sun Records on the first day of 1956 and became a huge hit. That March, Perkins became the first Country/Rockabilly artist to reach No. 3 on the R&B charts with the song. Perkins and his band performed "Shoes" on ABC's TV show Ozark Jubilee on March 17; that same night, Elvis Presley played "Shoes" on a CBS program. Less than a week later, Perkins and his band were in a serious automobile accident that landed the songwriter in the hospital. The song continued to dominate the charts while he was laid up.
Elvis was pressured into recording a version of "Blue Suede Shoes" under his new contract with RCA Records. Guitarist Scotty Moore has said Elvis gave in because he figured it would help Perkins after his accident; RCA agreed to let the original single run its course before putting out Elvis' version. It was the first song on Elvis' self-titled debut album (released that March) and put out as a single in September. Elvis' version only reached No. 20, but it's safe to say Presley's version is the most remembered. But it did help Perkins' song become one of Rock music's greatest early singles.
Here's Perkins and Co. doing "Shoes" and its B-side, "Honey Don't," later made famous by The Beatles (who also covered Perkins' "Matchbox" and "Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby").