1956: The Alan Freed movie Rock, Rock, Rock! starring Chuck Berry, The Flamingos, The Moonglows, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, LaVern Baker, and Johnny Burnette premiered in New York City.
1960: The Ventures’ debut studio album, Walk, Don’t Run, was released by Dolton Records.
1960: The Crickets released In Style with the Crickets, the group’s first album following the death of frontman Buddy Holly.
1960: Elvis Presley’s third soundtrack album, G.I. Blues, was #1 on the Billboard pop chart.
1964: The debut single by the Zombies, “She’s Not There,” hit the top of the Cash Box singles chart. A week later, the song peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
1964: “You Really Got Me” by The Kinks peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100.
1964: The Beach Boys first live album, Beach Boys Concert, hit #1 on the Billboard pop chart. It was the group’s first and only #1 non-compilation album in America as well as the first live album to top pop charts in the US. Recorded live at the Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento, California a year earlier, the LP held the top spot for the next four weeks during its sixty-two-week chart stay and was later certified gold. Brian Wilson soon after vacated his position in live performances, only joining the live group sporadically over the next 30 years, making the album the only live document of the original line up of the Beach Boys in officially released LP form.
1965: The Beatles performed their final two concerts in their hometown of Liverpool, England. There were more than 40,000 applications made for tickets at the 2,550-seat Empire Theatre.
1966: The self-titled debut album by Buffalo Springfield was released. It later peaked at #80 on the Billboard pop chart and was the first album to feature songwriting by Stephen Stills and Neil Young. The album was produced by the group’s managers, Charles Greene and Brian Stone, both of whom had minimal experience as record producers. The band was reportedly unhappy with the sound of the album, feeling that it didn’t reflect the intensity of their live shows. Buffalo Springfield asked Atco Records for time to re-record the album, but not wanting to miss the Christmas holiday season, the label insisted that the record be released as it was. They did, however, give Stills and Young permission to personally mix the mono version of the album themselves and the members of the band have long insisted that their mono version is superior to the stereo version. Recorded the same day as the album’s release and issued soon after was the band’s new single by Stills, “For What It’s Worth,” which became their only top 10 hit in March of 1967.
1967: In London, George Harrison began recording tracks for Wonderwall Music, his first solo album and the soundtrack to the Joe Massot film of the same name. Harrison’s principle collaborator on the album was British orchestral arranger John Barnham, a fellow student and collaborator of Indian musician Ravi Shankar. Barnham later worked with Harrison in 1970, both as a musician and orchestral arranger, on Harrison’s All Things Must Pass triple album.
1967: The Beatles opened the Apple Boutique retail store in London with party guests that included Eric Clapton and movie director Richard Lester. The shop was one of the first business ventures by The Beatles’ fledgling Apple Corps.. The business lost money at an alarming rate, and ended up closing in July the following year.
1968: The Rolling Stones threw a launch party for their newest album, Beggars Banquet, in the Elizabethan Room at the Gore Hotel in Kensington, London. Record executives and the band’s journalist and television friends were among those invited to banquet, which ended with a food fight with custard pies. The following day, the album was release in the US by London Records. A return to roots rock compared to the band’s previous LP, the psychedelic Their Satanic Majesties Request, it was the last Stones album released during founding member Brian Jones’ lifetime.
1968: Graham Nash quit the Hollies when he disapproved of planned sessions to record an album entirely of Bob Dylan covers. Days later, he co-founded Crosby, Stills & Nash. Early the following year, Nash was replaced by Terry Sylvester, formerly of the Escorts and the Swinging Blue Jeans.
1969: The Rolling Stones’ eighth British and tenth American album, Let It Bleed, was released in the UK a week after it was issued in the US. Originally scheduled for release earlier that year in July, numerous delays lead to the album finally being released after the completion of the band’s US tour.
1969: Badfinger released “Come and Get It,” the lead single from their second studio album, Magic Christian Music. Written and produced by Paul McCartney, the song was originally recorded by the group for the 1969 film The Magic Christian.
1970: “Tears of a Clown” by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles became the group’s fourth and final #1 on the Billboard R&B chart. A week later the record also became their first and only #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 before the departure of group leader Smokey Robinson.
1973: Band on the Run, the third album by Paul McCartney and Wings, was released in the UK two days before it came out in the US. Aided by two hit singles, initially modest sales of the LP improved and it eventually became the top-selling studio album of 1974 in the UK and Australia and remains one of McCartney’s most successful albums.
1973: After the success of The Dark Side of the Moon, Harvest Records repackaged Pink Floyd’s first two albums, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and Saucerful of Secrets, and released them together in the US as the double album set A Nice Pair.
1979: Fleetwood Mac released “Sara,” the second single from the band’s Tusk LP. Singer Stevie Nicks later confirmed that the song was about her best friend, Sara Recor, who married Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood.
1980: Rockpile, a band consisting of Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds, Billy Bremner, and Terry Williams, released “Teacher, Teacher” from their only album credited to the Rockpile name, Seconds of Pleasure. All four members contributed to prior and future solo albums by Edmunds and Lowe. The song was written by Kenny Pickett and Eddie Phillips, both of whom were former members of the 1960s British rock band The Creation.
1980: The Blues Brothers released their third album, Made in America. The live album was recorded during seven dates at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles, the culmination of a North American tour to promote the film The Blues Brothers that was released that summer.
1980: John Lennon gave what ended up being his last print interview with Rolling Stone magazine’s Jonathan Cott. Much of the material from the interview was shelved in the wake of Lennon’s death three days later, but the full text of the conversation was published by Rolling Stone thirty years later.
1982: Peter Gabriel released “I Have the Touch,” the second single from his fourth eponymous studio album, which was released in North America as Security.
1987: Former Go-Go’s lead singer Belinda Carlisle achieved her only #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Heaven Is a Place on Earth,” her biggest hit and second single from her second solo LP, Heaven on Earth.
1994: The Stone Roses released their second and final studio album, Second Coming.
2000: The soundtrack to the Coen Brothers film O Brother, Where Art Thou? was released. Produced by T Bone Burnett, the album was recorded before filming and features bluegrass, country, gospel, blues, and folk music appropriate to the film’s Depression-era setting. Contributing artists including Alison Krauss, John Hartford, Emmylou Harris, The Cox Family, and Norman Blake.
2005: The Rolling Stone released “Rain Fall Down,” the second single from their twenty-second British and twenty-fourth American studio album, A Bigger Bang.
Sonny Boy Williamson II, blues harmonica player, singer, songwriter, and influential blues harp stylist, was born Alex or Aleck Miller in Tutwiler, MS in 1912.
James Cleveland, singer, musician, and composer known as the King of Gospel music who incorporated traditional gospel with soul, pop, and jazz in choral arrangements, was born in Chicago, IL in 1931.
Little Richard, singer-songwriter, pianist, and actor, was born Richard Wayne Penniman in Macon, GA in 1932.
Chad Mitchell, founder of 1960s vocal group the Chad Mitchell Trio, was born William Chadbourne Mitchell in Portland, OR in 1936.
J.J. Cale, influential guitarist, singer, and songwriter, was born John Weldon Cale in Oklahoma City, OK in 1938.
Frank Wilson, songwriter, singer, and record producer for Motown Records who wrote for the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, the Four Tops, The Isley Brothers, and Smoky Robinson & the Miracles among others, was born in Houston, TX in 1940.
Geoff Emerick, sound engineer and record producer for many albums best known for his work with the Beatles on their albums Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Abbey Road, was born in Crouch End, North London, England in 1945.
Eduardo Delgado Serrato, original drummer for ? And the Mysterians, was born in Encinal, TX in 1945.
Andy Kim, singer and songwriter who was part of The Archies and also recorded under the stage name “Barry Longfellow” or simply “Longfellow,” was born Andrew Youakim in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1946.
Jim Messina, songwriter, singer, guitarist, recording engineer, record producer, and a member of Buffalo Springfield, a founding member of Poco, and half of the duo Loggins and Messina, was born in Maywood, CA in 1947.
Kim Simmonds, lead guitarist and founder of Savoy Brown who is considered one the architects of British blues, was born in Newbridge, Caerphilly, Wales in 1947.
Jay Lane, drummer with such groups as RatDog, Further, Scaring the Children, Alphabet Soup, Freaky Executives, and Primus, was born in San Francisco, CA in 1964.