Lots to discuss this week in rock history, but we wanted to focus a little bit on the release of a very special record, Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” originally released July, 20, 1965. If “Blowin’ in the Wind” could be said to be Dylan’s greatest folk masterpiece, then probably the same could be said of “Like a Rolling Stone” with regards to rock music. Dylan the folkie had some trouble figuring out where he wanted the song to go, until he eventually tried the song with a rock arrangement featuring Al Kooper’s stunningly improvised organ riff. Though the record company was initially reluctant to release the lengthy rocker from their prized folk artist, a leaked copy of the tune forced Columbia Records’ hand. It’s legendary status in the annals of rock history transcends its climb to the #2 spot on the Billboard charts – it represents the time when rock music grew up and got serious. Rock music was no longer a mere amusement or entertainment. This was serious art. And speaking of this serious art form, here’s what else happened this week in rock history…

Born This Week in Rock History 

Santana rock history

Carlos Santana, born on July 20th, 1947

Peter Banks – July 15, 1947 (guitar, Yes)
Artimus Pyle – July 15, 1948 (drums, Lynyrd Skynyrd)
Jason Bonham – July 15, 1966 (drums, Black Country Communion)
Ron Asheton – July 17th, 1948 (guitar, Iggy Pop and the Stooges)
Terence “Geezer” Butler – July 17th, 1949 (bass, Black Sabbath)
Ian Stewart – July 18, 1938 (keyboards, The Rolling Stones)
Danny McCullock – July 18, 1945 (guitar, The Animals)
Bernie Leadon – July 19th, 1947 (guitar, The Eagles)
Brian May – July 19th, 1947 (guitar, Queen)
Keith Godchaux – July 19, 1947 (keyboards, The Grateful Dead)
Allen Collins – July 19th, 1952 (guitar, Lynyrd Skynyrd)
Carlos Santana – July 20th, 1947 (guitar, Santana)

Died This Week in Rock History

Johnny Winter – July 16th, 2014
Billie Holiday – July 17, 1959


Bob Dylan Like a Rolling Stone

Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”Music Releases and Top of the Charts

Music Releases and Top of the Charts

Elton John’s Honky Chateau hits #1: July 15th, 1972
The Rolling Stones’ Some Girls hits #1: July 15th, 1978
The Who, “I’m Free” was released: July 16th, 1966
The Beatles, “All You Need Is Love” was released: July 17th, 1967
The Beatles, “Help!” was released: July 19th, 1965

Bob Dylan, “Like A Rolling Stone” was released: July 20th, 1965
Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction was released: July 21, 1987


This Week in Rock History

– The Doors and Jefferson airplane play two shows each, an afternoon set and an evening set, at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. The Doors sets included early classic like “Light My Fire,” “Break on Through,” “The Crystal Ship,” and “The End.” Little information seems to be available about Jefferson Airplane’s performance: July 15, 1967

– Sly and the Family Stone, The Kinks, Canned Heat, and the Edgar Winter Group perform at The Great Western Express Festival in London. Ray Davies announces from the stage that he is retiring because he is sick of everything. This happened soon after his wife had left him with their kids. He went to a local hospital, where he collapses due to an overdose of tranquilizers: July 15, 1973

– Bob Dylan plays what is supposedly his largest gig ever in England at the Blackbushe Aerodome, with special guest Eric Clapton. Over 200,000 people attended the gig. Bob Dylan played a 34 song set featuring classics like “Shelter from the Storm,” “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” “I Shall Be Released,” “Masters of War,” and “The Times They Are A-Changin'”: July 15, 1978

Cream rock history

Cream, the band

– The band Cream is formed with members Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, and Ginger Baker. The band only lasted two years, largely due to the giant clash in personalities between Bruce and Baker, but recorded several classic albums featuring some legendary songs. Cream is generally considered to be the first major supergroup and an early example of the power trio format. July 16, 1966

– The Beatles work on recordings of two George Harrison penned tunes, “Something” and “Here Comes the Sun.” The two songs are generally considered two of George’s masterpieces, impressing all of The Beatles as well as producer George Martin. Harrison was inspired to write “Here Comes the Sun” while wandering around in Eric Clapton’s garden: July 16, 1969

– Pink Floyd record a show at the BBC Paris Cinema in London. The show was broadcast on the John Peel show on July 19, 1970. The relatively early Floyd show contains tunes like “Careful With That Axe, Eugene,” and “Atom Heart Mother”: July 16, 1970

– Jazz legend and occasional blues singer Billie Holidays passes away too young at age 43 from cirrhosis of the liver at a New York City hospital. At the time, she was currently under arrest for possession of narcotics and had NYPD stationed at her hospital room door: July 17, 1959

– Another jazz icon, saxophonist John Coltrane, passes away from liver cancer on Long Island at age 40. Coltrane was one of the most innovative players of the jazz idiom, playing with other greats like Miles Davis and experimenting with forms including hard bop, modal jazz, and avant-garde jazz. Many consider his greatest work to be the song cycle album A Love Supreme. He would be an influence to plenty of rock guitarists in addition to those in the jazz tradition: July 17, 1967

The Rolling Stones have their first hit on the American charts with their cover of Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away.”: July 18th, 1964

Billboard magazine publishes their first combined record sales chart, ranking the hits of all major labels. Sitting atop the ten entries is Tommy Dorsey’s “I’ll Never Smile Again,” lead vocals by Frank Sinatra: July 20th, 1940

– British paper Mersey Beat announces that the Beatles — or rather, the Beat Brothers, as they were then known — have just signed their first recording contract. Not with Capitol, but with famed German producer Bert Kaempfert: July 20th, 1961

– Tribut Apparel

That’s all for This Week in Rock History. Thanks for reading!  If you enjoyed the article, please go over to the right column and like the Joe Bonamassa Official Blog on Facebook. We hope to see you there!