1962: Marvin Gaye’s recording of Pat Ballard’s “Mr. Sandman,” simply titled “Sandman,” was released on Motown’s Tamla label as Gaye’s second single.
1963: The Beatles made their first national television appearance in the UK on popular ITV program Thank Your Lucky Stars performing “Please Please Me” at the bottom of a seven-act bill. The band’s presence on the show had been secured by singer-turned-impresario Dick James, who later became the group’s publisher.
1966: Simon & Garfunkel released their second single, “Homeward Bound.” The song peaked at #5 in US and had been written by Paul Simon after returning to England in the spring of 1964.
1967: The Beatles began work on the finale of their eighth studio album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, at EMI Studios in London, recording four takes of “A Day in the Life.”
1967: After topping the US charts at the end of 1966, The Monkees were at the top of the UK singles chart with “I’m a Believer,” which stayed at #1 for the next three weeks.
1970: John Sebastian, co-founder and primary singer and songwriter for The Lovin’ Spoonful, released his self-titled debut solo album. It became his most successful solo LP, reaching #20 on the Billboard chart. Both Reprise and MGM Records claimed ownership of the recording and simultaneously released the album with different covers but identical content, but a lawsuit brought by Reprise ultimately forced MGM to withdraw their album from the market. The album features support from several artists including David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash months before they became a performing trio.
1970: The Who recorded “The Seeker” at IBC Studios in London with producer and manager Kit Lambert.
1973: “I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)” by The Moody Blues was released. It was the second single from the group’s eighth studio album, Seventh Sojourn, and reached #36 in the UK and #12 in the US.
1973: Mott the Hoople released their cover of Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane” as the third single from their fifth studio album, All the Young Dudes.
1977: On the eve of president-elect Jimmy Carter’s inauguration, a commemorative concert was televised featuring artists that included Linda Ronstadt and Aretha Franklin. Notable audience members included John Lennon and Paul Simon.
1977: Pink Floyd performed their newest album, Animals, at a press event held at London’s Battersea Power Station, where the album’s cover photo had been taken. The album was released two days later.
1980: “Brass in Pocket” became the Pretenders’ first UK #1 single on the same day that their self-titled debut album started four weeks at the top of the album chart.
1980: Pink Floyd’s eleventh studio album, The Wall, started fifteen weeks at the top of the Billboard pop chart. It was the group’s third US #1 and went on to sell 23 million copies in America.
1982: “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts was released. Originally written and recorded by London band the Arrows, the very first version of the song by Jett had been recorded in 1979 with Sex Pistol members Steve Jones and Paul Cook and released as the B-side to Jett’s first single, a cover of Leslie Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me.” It was the re-recording in 1981 with the Blackhearts that became their first and biggest hit.
1987: Los Lobos released their third studio album, By the Light of the Moon.
1993: Rosanne Cash released her eighth studio album, The Wheel. Contributors to the album include Benmont Tench, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Patty Larkin, Bruce Cockburn, and Steuart Smith.
1993: Elvis Costello released The Juliet Letters, a collaborative album with the Brodsky Quartet.
1993: After disbanding in the wake of their 1987 album Tango in the Night, Fleetwood Mac’s classic lineup reunited for one day to perform at President Bill Clinton’s inaugural ball.
Bob Wooler, compère and DJ at The Cavern Club in Liverpool and important figure in the UK Merseybeat scene who introduced the Beatles to their manager, Brian Epstein, was born in Liverpool, England in 1926.
Richard Lester, film director who worked with the Beatles on A Hard Day’s Night and Help! and with John Lennon on How I Won the War, was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1932.
Johnny O’Keefe, singer and the first Australian rock and roll performer to tour the US, was born in Bondi Junction, New South Wales, Australia in 1935.
Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, electric blues vocalist, harmonica player, and drummer best known for his work with Muddy Waters who also co-founded the Legendary Blues Band, was born in Helena AR in 1936.
Phil Everly, singer, songwriter, and half of the duo the Everly Brothers with older brother Don, was born in Chicago, IL in 1939.
Janis Joplin, singer with Big Brother and the Holding Company and a solo artist, was born in Port Arthur, TX in 1943.
Dolly Parton, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer, was born in Pittman Center, TN in 1946.
Rod Evans, early vocalist for Deep Purple and Captain Beyond, was born in Eton, Buckinghamshire, England in 1947.
Robert Palmer, singer-songwriter, musician, producer, solo artist, and member of the Power Station, was born in Batley, West Riding of Yorkshire, England in 1949.
Martha Davis, solo artist and lead singer of The Motels, was born in Berkeley, California in 1951.
Dewey Bunnell, singer, guitarist, songwriter, and member of America, was born in Harrogate, England in 1952.
Eric Leeds, saxophone player best known for his work with Prince, was born in Milwaukee, WI in 1952.
Michael Boddicker, film composer and session musician who played synthesizer on albums by such artists as Michael Jackson, Earth, Wind & Fire, Randy Newman, Kenny Loggins, Barbara Streisand, Cheap Trick, the Pointer Sisters, and Diana Ross, was born in Cedar Rapids, IA in 1953.
Mickey Virtue, keyboardist and founding member of UB40, was born in Birmingham, England in 1957.