1955: Disc jockey and promoter Alan Freed debuted his first Rock and Roll dance concert in New York City, promoting two shows featuring black performers billed as rock ’n roll artists. Staged at the St. Nicholas Arena in Manhattan, both shows sold out well in advance, with roughly 12,000 people filling the hall. Featured acts at the shows included Big Joe Turner, the Clovers, Fats Domino, the Moonglows, the Drifters, and the Harptones.
1956: Little Richard debuted on the US singles charts with “Tutti Frutti.” With its hard-driving sound and wild lyrics, the song became not only a model for many future Little Richard songs, but also a model for rock and roll itself, introducing several of rock music’s most characteristic musical features, including its loud volume, vocal style, and distinctive beat and rhythm.
1959: The Coasters released “Charlie Brown.” Written by Jerry Leiber and Miker Stoller, the single peaked at #2 on both the Billboard pop and R&B charts.
1965: Bob Dylan recorded “Subterranean Homesick Blues” during sessions for his fourth studio album, Bringing It All Back Home.
1965: Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames were at #1 on the UK singles chart with their first hit record, “Yeh, Yeh.” The song was Fame’s first of two top 20 hits in the US, where it peaked at #14. It was originally composed as an instrumental by jazz musicians Rodgers Grant and Pat Patrick and first recorded by Mongo Santamaría in 1963. Lyrics were written shortly thereafter by Jon Hendricks of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross.
1966: Just after his 18th birthday, singer David Jones changed his last name to Bowie to avoid being confused with Davy Jones of the Monkees. “Can’t Help Thinking About Me” by David Bowie and the Lower Third, released the same day, was the first single under his new name as well as the first Bowie record released in the US.
1967: The 5th Dimension debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with their cover of the John Phillips song first recorded by the Mamas & the Papas, “Go Where You Wanna Go.”
1967: The Human Be-In took place at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park Polo Fields. Attended by 25,000 people, it was a prelude to San Francisco’s Summer of Love, which made the Haight-Ashbury district a symbol of American counterculture and introduced the word “psychedelic” to suburbia. Musical acts included Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and Holding Company, and Quicksilver Messenger Service, in addition to spoken word performances by Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, and Gary Snyder.
1969: Paul Revere and the Raiders released “Mr. Sun, Mr. Moon” from their tenth studio album, Hard ‘N’ Heavy (with Marshmallow).
1969: “Good Lovin’ Ain’t Easy to Come By” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell was released as the first single from their third and final duet album, Easy.
1970: Diana Ross performed her last show with the Supremes at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Following the performance, Diana Ross’s replacement, Jean Terrell, joined the group and Ross officially began her career as a solo artist.
1971: “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)” by the Temptations was released on Motown’s Gordy label. Written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, the single became the third Temptations song to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
1973: Elvis Presley headlined a concert at the Honolulu International Center. Titled Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite, the show was broadcast live and aired in over 40 countries across Asia and Europe, drawing the largest worldwide television audience in the history of the medium with an estimated 1-1.5 billion viewers. Despite the satellite innovation, the United States did not air the concert until April 4, 1973 since the concert occurred the same time as that year’s Super Bowl. The show was the most expensive entertainment special at the time, costing $2.5 million. The concert was later released as a double album and became one of Elvis’ best-selling releases of the 1970s.
1977: David Bowie released his eleventh studio album, Low. Recorded after Bowie’s move to West Berlin, the album became the first of three collaborations with musician Brian Eno and producer Tony Visconti which were later termed the “Berlin Trilogy.”
1978: Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album logged a then record thirty-first week at the top of the Billboard pop chart. The record was surpassed in 1982 by Michael Jackson’s Thriller album.
1982: The J. Geils Band released “Freeze Frame,” the title track from their tenth studio album. It became the group second of two top 10 hits in the US, reaching #4.
1983: German band Nena released their eponymous first album. It was also the second album by its lead singer, Gabriele “Nena” Kerner.
1984: Paul McCartney was at the top of the UK singles chart with his third solo British #1 and title track of his fourth solo studio album, “Pipes of Peace.”
1985: Phil Collins released “Sussudio,” the second single and opening track from his third solo studio album, No Jacket Required.
1985: John Fogerty released Centerfield, his third solo studio album, first in nine years, and first for Warner Bros. Records. All vocals and instruments on the album are played entirely by Fogerty.
1992: Lou Reed released his sixteenth solo studio album, Magic and Loss. The concept album became Reed’s highest-charting LP on the UK chart, reaching #6.
1992: Eric Clapton’s soundtrack to the film Rush was released.
1996: Oasis went to #1 on the UK album chart with (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?. The group’s second of seven UK #1s, the LP spent a total of 145 weeks on the chart and became the group’s highest selling album, with worldwide sales exceeding 22 million.
2003: Kathleen Edwards released her first album, Failer.
2007: Amy Winehouse’s second album, Back to Black, topped the UK chart.
2008: Ringo Starr released his fifteenth studio album, Liverpool 8. It was Starr’s first album with EMI since leaving the label in 1975 following the end of the Beatles’ recording contract with the company.
2014: Bruce Springsteen released his eighteenth studio album, High Hopes. It became his eleventh #1 album in the US.
Clarence Carter, blues and soul singer, musician, songwriter and record producer, was born in Montgomery, AL in 1936.
Allen Toussaint, New Orleans singer, songwriter, pianist, producer, arranger, and solo artist, was born in Gert Town, LA in 1938.
Hubert Johnson, singer and original member of The Contours, was born in Detroit, MI in 1941.
T Bone Burnett, singer, songwriter, guitarist, and record producer, was born Joseph Henry Burnett III in St. Louis, MO in 1948.
Tim Harris, drummer for The Foundations, was born in 1948.
Lamar Williams, bassist for the Allman Brothers Band from 1972-1976 and co-founder of Sea Level, was born in Gulfport, MS in 1949.
Chas Smash, vocalist, acoustic guitarist, bass guitarist, harmonica player, and horn player for Madness, was born Cathal Joseph Smyth in Fitzrovia, London, England in 1959.
Steve Bowman, founding member and drummer for Counting Crows, was born in 1967.
Dave Grohl, drummer for Nirvana and frontman, lead singer, guitarist, songwriter, and founder of Foo Fighters, was born in Warren, OH in 1969.