Wednesday, March 31, 1976

Led Zeppelin Presence released


Led Zeppelin

Released: March 31, 1976

Peak: 12 US, 11 UK, 16 CN, 21 AU

Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 0.3 UK, 6.5 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: classic rock/metal


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Achilles Last Stand [10:25] (13 CL)
  2. For Your Life [6:24] (18 CL)
  3. Royal Orleans (Bonham/Jones/Page/Plant) [2:59]
  4. Nobody’s Fault But Mine (Redding) [6:16] (8 CL)
  5. Candy Store Rock [4:11] (6/18/76, --)
  6. Hots on for Nowhere [4:44]
  7. Tea for One [9:27]

Songs written by Plage/Plant unless noted otherwise.

Total Running Time: 44:24

The Players:

  • Robert Plant (vocals)
  • Jimmy Page (guitar)
  • John Paul Jones (bass, keyboards)
  • John Bonham (drums)


3.245 out of 5.00 (average of 22 ratings)

About the Album:

Led Zeppelin’s seventh studio album was the lowest-selling of the band’s career and is generally rated by critics as their worst album. All Music Guide’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine called it “the weakest album Zeppelin had yet recorded.” AMG Even then, it topped the charts in the U.S. and UK and sold more than six million worldwide. Then band were not able to tour in support of the album because of serious injuries Plant had suffered in a car accident in June 1975. WK It also affected the recording of the album – he sang his vocals in a wheelchair. WK

The album was intended as a return to the harder-rock sound of their debut, but with new complexities. This was their only album featuring no keyboards and, save for a rhythm track on “the ersatz rockabilly Candy Store Rock,” AMG featured no acoustic guitar. WK that rockabilly-inspired tune is one of the album’s lesser songs It “doesn’t muster up the loose, funky swagger of Hots on for Nowhere.” AMG On the flip side, “the terse, menacing For Your Life…is the best song on the album.” AMG

In some ways, the album retained some of the “grandiose scope” AMG of Physical Graffiti, the double album released before Presence. It had a couple of “more majestic epics than its predecessor, opening with the surging, ten-minute Achilles Last Stand and closing with the meandering, nearly ten-minute Tea for One.” AMG The latter was a slow blues number Plant wrote about the problems of being separated from family. WK

“The Crescent City love letter of Royal OrleansAMG refers to the Royal Orleans Hotel of New Orleans. It was written about life on the road and references soul singer Barry White. WK

The album also features “the lumbering blues workout Nobody’s Fault but Mine,” AMG a song credited to Page and Plant which is actually a cover of a Blind Willie Johnson song called “It’s Nobody’s Fault But Mine.” The blues number was recorded initially in 1928 and Nina Simone covered it in 1969. WK

Notes: A 2015 reissue included a bonus disc of alternate mixes.

Resources and Related Links:

Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 3/21/2008; last updated 8/18/2021.

Monday, March 22, 1976

Elvis Presley’s Sun Sessions released in album form

The Sun Sessions

Elvis Presley

Released: March 22, 1976

Recorded: August 1953 to October 1955

Peak: 76 US, 16 UK, 1 DF

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Genre: early rock and roll


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to charts.

There have been a variety of releases covering Elvis Presley’s Sun Records’ era. See the “Notes” section on this page for a breakdown of some of those collections. Below are the five singles (A and B-sides) released by Sun.

First single released July 19, 1954:
  • That’s All Right (Arthur Crudup) [1:57] (recorded 7/5/1954, #3 UK, sales: 0.5 m)
  • Blue Moon of Kentucky (Bill Monroe) [2:54] (recorded 7/7/1954)

Second single released September 25, 1954:
  • Good Rockin’ Tonight (Roy Brown) [2:14] (recorded 9/10/1954)
  • I Don’t Care if the Sun Don’t Shine (Mack David) [2:28] (recorded 9/19/1954, #74 US, #23 UK)

Third single released January 8, 1955:
  • Milk Cow Blues Boogie (Kokomo Arnold) [2:39] (recorded Nov-Dec 1954)
  • You’re a Heartbreaker (Jack Sallee) [2:12] (recorded Nov-Dec 1954)

Fourth single released April 10, 1955:
  • I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone (Stan Kesler, William Taylor) [2:37] (recorded Nov-Dec 1954, #21 UK)
  • Baby Let’s Play House (Arthur Gunter) [2:17] (recorded Feb-Mar 1954, released 4/55, #5 US)

Fifth single released August 20, 1955:
  • I Forgot to Remember to Forget (Stan Kesler, Charlie Feathers) [2:30] (recorded 7/21/1955, #1 CW)
  • Mystery Train (Junior Parker, Sam Phillips) [2:26] (recorded 7/21/1955, #25 UK, #11 CW)

These five songs were recorded at Sun Records but not released until Elvis Presley’s first RCA album.
  • I’ll Never Let You Go Little Darlin’ (Jimmy Wakely) [2:26] (recorded Sept. 1954)
  • I Love You Because (Leon Payne) [2:33] (recorded 7/5/1954)
  • Tryin’ to Get to You (Rose Marie McCoy, Charles Singleton) [2:33] (recorded 7/5/1955, released 9/8/56, #16 UK)
  • Blue Moon (Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart) [2:41] (recorded 8/19/1954, released 9/29/56, #55 US, #9 UK)
  • Just Because (Sydney Robin, Bob Shelton, Joe Shelton) [2:34] (recorded 9/54, released 1956)

The Players:

  • Elvis Presley (vocals, acoustic guitar, piano on “Trying to Get to You”)
  • Scotty Moore (electric guitar)
  • Bill Black (double bass)
  • Jimmie Lott (drums on “I’m Left, You’re Right, I’m Gone”)
  • Johnny Bernero (drums on “I Forgot to Remember to Forget” and “Trying to Get to You”)


4.506 out of 5.00 (average of 25 ratings)


“The quintessential Elvis Presley album and the birth certificate for rock’s once and future king.” – Clarke Speicher, The Review


(Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Who doesn’t need this in their record collection?” AMG1 “Presley was one of the most naturally gifted performers his genre ever knew, and was the performer who truly brought the music to the people as no one had before or since.” AMG1The Sun Sessions stands as the quintessential Elvis Presley album and the birth certificate for rock’s once and future king.” RV “On July 5, 1954, Elvis Presley walked into…Sun Studios in Memphis.” TL He was only 19, but along with guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, they made history. His “first recordings captured a force of nature: untutored, unsophisticated, but somehow brilliant.” BL

“There aren’t many rock albums that feature music one can honestly say changed the world as we know it, but that is, if anything, a modest appraisal of the contents of Elvis Presley’s The Sun Sessions.” AMG1 “Elvis certainly didn’t invent rock & roll, and he wasn’t even the first white guy to play it,” AMG1 but he “was (with little room for argument) the single most important artist in the history of rock & roll.” AMG1 “Much as Louis Armstong did for jazz, Elvis created a distinctive new way to play the music that combined a number of influences,” AMG1 such as “elements of blues, gospel and hillbilly music” AMG3 as well as “R&B, country, and pop.” AMG1 He found “a common ground between them that was his and his alone.” AMG1 That “hybrid has become a commonplace of American popular culture [such that] it is difficult to understand how alien his music was in 1954.” CE-59

Sam Phillips, the head of Sun Studios, “once boasted that if he could find a white singer that could sing, sound and feel ‘'like a negro’ that he’d make a million dollars.” AD Phillips had much to do with shaping Elvis’ early sound. Phillips produced five singles with Elvis that were released in 1954 and 1955. The impact of those singles wasn’t immediately felt, but once Elvis hit big, his work with Sun Records resurfaced, largely filling out Elvis’ early albums for RCA Records. As for that million dollars, Phillips fell short of that goal, making $35,000 when he sold Elvis’ contract to RCA. However, the value these songs had in shaping rock and roll is priceless.

The Sun Sessions gathers his five singles from the Sun years and, adds various outtakes from the era, depending on the version of the collection. The resulting “album captures Elvis in his first flush of greatness,” AMG1 collecting “his first, and arguably most important, recordings into one convenient package.” AMG1 “One can hear the thrill of discovery and experimentation on every cut” AMG1 as “Elvis [is] first learning to put his ideas together in the recording studio.” AMG1 He “burst into these sessions, raring to go… his delivery is tense sounding, a result of nerves perhaps, but this tension is released into a collection of stunning vocal performances.” AD “If Elvis would sound stronger and more savvy with time, he never sounded freer or more excited with the possibilities of his own voice as he does on this material.” AMG1 “The sheer enthusiasm Elvis brings to these Sun recordings is audible.” AD This “is a young Elvis Presley…getting ready to unleash…rock & roll…on an unsuspecting world.” AMG3

“My Happiness” and “That’s When Your Heartache Begins”

It has been widely reported that Elvis’ first Sun session was in the summer of 1953 when he entered the studio to record this pair of song’s for his mother’s birthday. Considering that her birthday was in the spring, it is more likely that he made the record for himself to hear how he sounded. CE-60

“Harbor Lights” “and “I Love You Because”

Elvis was back in July 1954 to record what became his first single for Sun. Phillips paired Presley with guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black. Those sessions produced a few songs not released on a single. On “Harbor Lights,” Elvis was trying to croon but “could only manage an insecure whine…the immature sound of a voice that has yet to find itself.” CE-63 He also applied his attempted crooning to “I Love You Because.”

“That’s All Right”

After a break, Moore reported that “Elvis started singing a song, jumping around, acting the fool, and then Bill picked up his bass and started acting the fool too, and I started playing with ‘em. Sam…stuck his head out [from the control booth] and said, ‘What’re you doing?’ We said, ‘We don’t know.’ ‘Well back up,’ he said, ‘try to find a place to start and do it again.’” CE-63

The song was “That’s All Right,” an R&B tune recorded by Arthur Crudup in 1947. Elvis infused it with his country twang, marrying the country music of typically white performers with the R&B music of typically black performers. “It still sounds audacious, as if the players themselves can’t believe what they’re doing.” TL “It came together so perfectly, so seemingly accidental…so pure in its essence.” PG-115

“Blue Moon of Kentucky”

It was Bill Black who suggested that for the B-side, they do “the same thing with a country number that they had done on the Arthur Crudup blues.” PG-115 Bill Monroe’s “stately bluegrass waltz ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky’” CE-64 was transformed from its hillbilly roots into an R&B recording. It represented a performance that was “so loose and raw, so genuine in the emotion and excitement.” AD Phillips was “electrified by what he heard” CE-64 declaring, “Hell, that’s fine! That’s different! That’s a pop song now!” CE-64

“So taken was Bill Monroe by The King’s interpretation…Monroe re-recorded the track to make it sound like Presley.” RV On these and others, Elvis “forever burn[s] his imprint into classic spirituals and bluegrass favorites.” RV

“Good Rockin’ Tonight”

The A-side of Elvis’ second single was another slab of “very assured sounding and hugely enjoyable rock-n-roll” AD via “an R&B song heavy with sexual overtones.” CE-72 It is a cover of another oft-cited candidate as one of rock-n-roll’s first songs. “Good Rockin’ Tonight” was written and sung by Roy Brown in 1948. Singer Wynone Harris had a #1 R&B hit with it that year.

“I Don’t Care if the Sun Don’t Shine”

“In a display of true musical eclecticism, Presley picked…a tune from Walt Disney’s 1949 animated film CinderellaCE-72 for the B-side. “The strange dichotomy between the innocent and the profane that would exercise such a fascination over teenage girls two years later was played out in microcosm on Presley’s second single.” CE-72

This was “the first record to bear evidence of the Presley swagger. He is playful, obviously full of energy and enthusiasm.” CE-72 The song also features the first use of percussion on a Presley record – either bongos played by Phillips’ neighbor Buddy Cunningham or Presley thumping on the back of his guitar. CE-72

“You’re a Heartbreaker”

The A-side of Elvis’ third single was written by Jack Sallee, the manager of the Ruffin Theatre in Covington, Tennessee. He went to Sun to record some promos for a hillbilly jamboree he hosted on Friday nights. Phillips lamented to him that he needed some original material for Elvis and Sallee made a demo of “You’re a Heartbreaker.” It was his first and last published composition. CE-72

You’re a Heartbreaker boasts a great, assured Elvis vocal in contrast to other, more tense performances.” AD

“Milk Cow Blues Boogie”

“This is a wonderful example of Elvis’ unfettered exuberance on the one hand, and of his calculated craft.” PG-121 This was originally the 1930s’ blues song “Milk Cow Blues” by Kokomo Arnold. It had been covered many times, “most notably in western swing versions by Bob Wills and his brother Johnnie Lee. Here Elvis makes it his own, with a beautiful slow beginning that should prove once and for all what a great blues singer he could be.” PG-121

“I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone”

This song, which borrows the melody from a Campbell’s Soup ad, was written by trumpeter Bill Taylor and steel guitarist Stan Kesler from the Snearly Ranch Boys in West Memphis. CE-73 It was “conceived as a slow blues” CE-73 but reworked into “a medium-tempo hillbilly shuffle.” CE-73 Elvis recorded the song at the same session as “You’re a Heartbreaker.”

“Baby Let’s Play House”

The original was released in 1954 by Nashville’s Arthur Gunter and hit #12 on the R&B charts. It sported “a changely countrified charm, enhanced by Gunter’s mellow delivery.” CE-75 Elvis’ version was “marketed as a country record, though it fit few definitions of country music.” CD-75

It was Elvis’ “most aggressive performance on disc to that point.” CE-75It “introduces a note of pure play” PG-125 with “its utterly uninhibited, unpredictable, insensate declaration of joy.” PG-125 Scotty Moore enhanced it “with two bristling solos that were light-years from his fingerpicking roots. The car radio had obviously been tuned to R&B stations along the road.” CE-75

“I Forgot to Remember to Forget”

For Elvis’ fifth single, Phillips would draw again from his own roster of artists. In this case, he tapped “I Forgot to Remember to Forget,” a country song composed by Stan Kesler, who’d co-written “I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone.” The song “strikes a cheerful pop tone in the face of heartbreak.” PG-125 It became Elvis’ first #1 country hit.

“Mystery Train”

This was a song Junior Parker recorded for Sun two years earlier. It was actually another Junior Parker song, “Love My Baby,” which Phillips originally presented to Elvis. The King’s take on “Mystery Train” and and “That’s All Right” are both arguably the apogee of Elvis’ Sun years – each “came together, so perfect in its imperfection.” PG-132 Both are “totally together, tight performances and the voice of Elvis is very rich and the musical backings creating much excitement.” AD In general, it’s on the faster cuts “where Elvis really is himself, really pours his voice out.” AD

“Mystery Train” “overflows with such spontaneity and excitement, it feels like it must have been done in one take. The song rocks and rolls with such rollicking grittiness.” RV It is “as pure, full, and perfect as any record that had ever topped the charts.” CE-78


Regarding the multiple variations of the Sun recordings: they started with The Sun Collection in 1976. This collection included alternate versions of “That’s All Right” and “Milk Cow Blues.”

Then came The Sun Sessions, which bumped those two extra versions in favor of alternates of “I Love You Because”, “I’m Left, You’re Right, I’m Gone,” and “When It Rains, It Really Pours.”

In 1987, The Complete Sun Sessions was released, adding “Tomorrow Night,” “Harbor Lights,” and “When It Rains, It Really Pours” to the original collection as well as alternate takes, bringing the total song count to 28.

1999 saw the release of “the exceptional Sunrise, a generous 38-song double-disc set that contains all of Elvis’ Sun recordings, including alternate takes and several previously unreleased live performances. The compilers wisely…devote the first disc to the original takes, dedicating the second to alternate takes: six live cuts from 1955 and four private demos from 1953 and 1954. This sequencing emphasizes the brilliance of this music. Not only is listening to all 19 masters in a row quite breathtaking, but the second disc winds up as a revelatory experience, since it offers a kind of alternate history by following Elvis’ pre-professional recordings from his Sun sessions to early live performances.” AMG2

Songs that had not appeared on The Complete Sun Sessions included “My Happiness,” “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin,” “I’ll Never Stand in Your Way,” “It Wouldn’t Be the Same without You,” “Fool, Fool, Fool,” “Shake, Rattle & Roll,” “Money Honey,” “Tweedle Dee,” and “Hearts of Stone.”

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Elvis Presley
  • AMG1 All Music Guide - review of The Sun Sessions by Mark Deming
  • AMG2 All Music Guide review of Sunrise by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
  • AMG3 All Music Guide review of The Complete Sun Sessions by Cub Koda
  • BL Blender Magazine (10/08). “100 Greatest American Albums”
  • AD Adrian Denning, Adrian’s Album Reviews review of The Sun Collection
  • CE Colin Escott and Martin Hawkins (1991). Good Rockin’ Tonight: Sun Records and the Birth of Rock ‘N’ Roll. St. Martin’s Press: New York, NY.
  • PG Peter Guralnick and Colin Escott (2022). The Birth of Rock ‘N’ Roll: The Illustrated Story of Sun Records. Welden Owen: San Rafael, CA.
  • RV The Review “100 Greatest Albums of All Time” by Clarke Speicher (October – November 2001; Vol. 128: numbers 12-23).
  • TL Time Magazine (11/13/2006). “All-TIME 100 Albums” by Josh Tyrangiel and Alan Light

Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 3/22/2013; last updated 8/21/2023.

Saturday, March 13, 1976

Eagles top the charts with their first greatest hits

First posted 2/1/2011; updated 6/17/2019.

Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975


Released: 2/17/1976

Charted: 3/6/1976

Peak: #15 US, #2 UK, #12 CN, # AU

Sales (in millions): 38.0 US, 0.3 UK, 42.9 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: California country rock

Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Take It Easy (Glenn Frey/Jackson Browne) [3:29] (5/20/72, #12 US, #9 CB, #12 AC, #12 UK, #8 CN, #49 AU)
  2. Witchy Woman (Don Henley/Bernie Leadon) [4:10] (8/26/72, #9 US, #11 CB, #8 CN, #81 AU)
  3. Lyin’ Eyes (Don Henley/Glenn Frey) [6:21] (9/13/75, #2 US, #3 CB, #3 AC, #8 CW, #23 UK, #19 CN, #34 AU)
  4. Already Gone (Robb Strandland/Jack Temphcin) [4:13] (5/4/74, #32 US, #17 CB, #12 CN)
  5. Desperado (Don Henley/Glenn Frey) [3:33]
  6. One of These Nights (Don Henley/Glenn Frey) [4:51] (5/30/75, #11 US, #11 CB, #20 AC, #23 UK, #13 CN, #33 AU)
  7. Tequila Sunrise (Don Henley/Glenn Frey) [2:52] (6/9/73, #64 US, #40 CB, #26 AC, #68 CN)
  8. Take It to the Limit (Don Henley/Glenn Frey/Randy Meisner) [4:48] (12/20/75, #4 US, #5 CB, #4 AC, #12 UK, #16 CN, #30 AU)
  9. Peaceful, Easy Feeling (Jack Tempchin) [4:16] (12/23/72, #22 US, #20 CB, #20 AC, #35 CN)
  10. Best of My Love (Don Henley/Glenn Frey/J.D. Souther) [4:35] (11/30/74, #11 US, #4 CB, #11 AC, #11 CN)


This album wasn’t just the “first album ever certified platinum;” WR it was the best-selling album in the U.S. in the 20th century. WK It lost the title to Michael Jackson’s Thriller after the artist’s death in 2009, but regained it in August 2018. WK “There may be no explaining that, really, except to note that this was the pervasive music of the first half of the 1970s, and somehow it never went away.” WR

“On their first four albums, the Eagles were at pains to demonstrate that they were a group of at least near-equals, each getting a share of the songwriting credits and lead vocals. But this compilation…demonstrates that this evenhandedness did not extend to singles – as far as those go, the Eagles belong to Glenn Frey and Don Henley.” WR They wrote or co-wrote eight of the collection’s songs and one or the other sang lead on every song but Take It to the Limit.

Of the ten songs that comprise this collection, nine were released as singles (b>Desperado is the sole exception). Eight were top 40 hits on the Billboard pop chart (only Tequila Sunrise missed the top 40), five went top ten, and two of them (One of These Nights and Best of My Love) topped the charts.

The band, however, didn’t have any say in putting together the album and complained it was “nothing more than a ploy by the record company to sell product without having to pay additional production costs.” WK Don Henley didn’t like that songs like “Tequila Sunrise” and “Desperado” were taken out of the context of their original albums. WK The album did, however, buy the band time while they worked on what would become their best-selling studio album, 1977’s Hotel California.

Despite Henley’s frustration that songs were taken out of context, “these songs make up a collection consistent in mood and identity” WK “unlike the albums from which they come.” WK Thre result is that this compilation “works so much better than the band’s previous discs [that it] practically makes them redundant.” WR

“The tunes are melodic, and the arrangements – full of strummed acoustic guitars over a rock rhythm section often playing a shuffle beat, topped by tenor-dominated harmonies – are immediately engaging. There is also a lyrical consistency to the songs, which often concern romantic uncertainties in an atmosphere soaked in intoxicants. The narrators of the songs usually seem exhausted, if not satiated, and the loping rhythms are appropriate to these impressions.” WR

In addition to phenomenal sales, this was the rare compilation that topped the Billboard album charts. It debuted at #4 in its first week and then went to #1 the next week, where it stayed for five non-consecutive weeks. Over the years, the album has logged the equivalent of five years on the album chart.

Review Source(s):