1956: Elvis Presley, along with Scotty Moore and Bill Black, made his national television debut on The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show on CBS. Among the tunes performed were “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” “Flip, Flop and Fly,” and “I Got a Woman.” Comedian and Stage Show producer Jackie Gleason said afterward, “He can’t last. I tell you flatly, he can’t last.”
1965: The Moody Blues achieved their only #1 single on the UK chart with their cover of Bessie Banks’ “Go Now!.” The Birmingham-based band went on to enjoy far more popularity in the US than their home country of England.
1966: Small Faces released “Sha-La-La-La-Lee,” their first single with keyboardist Ian McLagan. Since their previous single, “I’ve Got Mine,” had failed to chart, well-known songwriters Kenny Lynch and Mort Shuman were tapped to write a surefire hit. It became their first top 10 record in the UK, reaching #3.
1966: British singer Brian Poole announced his departure from the Tremeloes in pursuit of a solo career. The venture proved unsuccessful, but The Tremeloes went on to enjoy a number of hits through the rest of the 1960s and early 1970s.
1967: The Fours Tops appeared in concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London. At the time, the quartet’s single “Standing In the Shadows Of Love” was in its second of two weeks at its peak position of #6 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. Supporting acts at the show were The Dakotas, Madeline Bell, The Remo Four, and Johnny Watson.
1969: Motown Records released “My Cherie Amour” by Stevie Wonder. Originally titled “Oh, My Marsha,” the song was written with Sylvia Moy and Henry Cosby and composed by Wonder while he was at the Michigan School for the Blind. Nearly all the song’s instruments were recorded in late 1967 and Wonder’s vocals were added in early 1968. Its release was delayed by Motown until Wonder recovered from vocal issues, and it was later included as the title track on Wonder’s eleventh studio album.
1971: The Bee Gees recorded “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” at International Broadcasting Company Studios in London.
1974: Paul McCartney & Wings released “Jet,” the first American single from their 1973 album Band on the Run. The song went to #7 in the US, and differing accounts from McCartney claim that the title was inspired by either a pet Labrador Retriever or a pony he had owned.
1978: Fleetwood Mac’s eleventh studio album, Rumours, hit #1 on the UK chart after reaching #1 in the US in Spring of 1977.
1978: Pasadena, California band Van Halen made their first appearance on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with a cover of the Kinks’ hit “You Really Got Me,” which later made it to #36.
1979: Blondie had their first of five UK #1 singles with “Heart of Glass.”
1980: The J. Geils Band released their ninth studio album, Love Stinks.
1984: English new wave group General Public released their debut album, All the Rage. Former Clash guitarist Mick Jones was a founding member of the band, but left part way through the album’s recording.
1984: Genesis achieved their first top 10 single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with “That’s All,” which ultimately reached #6.
1985: The Smiths released “How Soon Is Now?.” The song was originally released as the B-side of “William, It Was Really Nothing” in 1984, but after it was issued as an A-side single, it went to #24 on the UK chart.
1985: Following Band Aid’s 1984 “Do They Know Its Christmas?” project in the UK the previous Christmas, singer and activist Harry Belafonte and fundraiser Ken Kragen organized an American benefit single for African famine relief. More than 45 of the most famous artists contributed to the recording of “We Are The World,” which had been written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie. The final recording session was held on the evening of January 28th at A&M Recording Studios in Hollywood. Among the artists that joined Jackson at the studio were Ray Charles, Billy Joel, Diana Ross, Cyndi Lauper, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Smokey Robinson, many of who had come from the American Music Award ceremony the same night. Upon entering the studio, musicians were greeted by a sign which read “Please check your egos at the door” as well as Stevie Wonder, who proclaimed that if the recording was not finished in one take, he and Ray Charles would be driving everyone home. Since its release, “We Are the World” has raised over $63 million for humanitarian causes, equivalent to $144 million today.
1988: To promote their thirteenth studio album, A Momentary Lapse of Reason, Pink Floyd floated a giant inflatable bed down the Thames River in London.
2003: Lou Reed released his nineteenth solo album, The Raven. The concept album recounts the short stories of Edgar Allen Poe and is based on POEtry, an opera Reed had co-written with Robert Wilson that premiered in 2000.
2014: After the announcement that guitarists Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes were leaving the Allman Brothers Band, Gregg Allman announced that the group would stop touring at the end of the year.
Anna Gordy Gaye, businesswoman, composer, songwriter, record executive, older sister of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, and former wife of Marvin Gaye, was born in Oconee, GA in 1922.
Ronnie Scott, jazz tenor saxophonist and co-founder of Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, one of the most popular jazz clubs in the world, was born Ronald Schatt in Aldgate, England in 1927.
Acker Bilk, clarinettist and vocalist best known for his #1 instrumental hit “Stranger on the Shore,” was born Bernard Stanley Bilk in Pensford, Somerset, England in 1929.
Neil Levang, guitar, mandolin, violin, and banjo player who played on recordings by such artists as Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond, Bobby Darin, Dean Martin, Bobbi Gentry, and Frank Zappa, was born in Adams, ND in 1932.
King Tubby, sound engineer who elevated the role of the mixing engineer to creative fame who developed the dub music genre and is often cited as the inventor of the concept of the remix, was born Osbourne Ruddock in Kingston, Jamaica in 1941.
Dick Taylor, guitarist, founding member of the Pretty Things, and early bassist of the Rolling Stones, was born in Dartford, Kent, England in 1943.
Brian Keenan, drummer for the Chambers Brothers and Manfred Mann, was born in New Yok City in 1943.
Marty Fried, drummer for the Cyrkle, was born in Neptune, NJ in 1944.
Robert Wyatt, drummer, vocalist, and songwriter for Soft Machine and a solo artist, was born in Bristol, England in 1945.
Rick Allen, keyboardist and vocalist for the Box Tops, was born in Little Rock, AR in 1946.
Eddie Bayers, session drummer who’s played on over 300 gold and platinum albums by such artists as the Beach Boys, Glen Campbell, Peter Frampton, Elton John, Mark Knopfler, Bob Seger, Sting, Steve Winwood, and Roseanne Cash, was born in Patuxent, MD in 1949.
William “Billy Bass” Nelson, original bassist for Funkadelic, was born in Plainfield, NJ in 1951.
Peter Schilling, synthpop singer-songwriter, was born Pierre Michael Shilling in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, West Germany in 1956.
Dave Sharp, guitarist and co-founder of the Alarm and the Hard Travelers, was born in Salford, England in 1959.
Sam Phillips, singer-songwriter, was born Leslie Ann Phillips in Glendale, CA in 1962.
Sarah McLachlan, singer and songwriter, was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1968.