1961: Bobby Lewis started seven weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Tossin’ and Turnin’” a week after the single began a ten-week run at the top of the R&B chart. The single was his only #1 on the Hot 100 and also ended up taking the top spot on Billboard’s year-end pop singles chart.
1964: Four days after the world premiere of the Beatles’ first feature film, A Hard Day’s Night, in London, the band arrived in their hometown of Liverpool for the first northern England screening at the Odeon Cinema. Roughly 200,000 people—a quarter of the city’s population—lined the route from the airport to Liverpool City Hall, where the Beatles attended a ceremony with local nobility and officials, in which each member was presented with a key to the city. On the same day, the band’s third studio album of the same name was released as well as a single of the LP’s title track. Nine days later, the album reached the #1 on the UK chart.
1964: The Four Tops released “Baby I Need Your Loving,” their first single with Motown Records. The record became the group’s first million-selling hit and peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100.
1964: Manfred Mann’s version of “Do-Wah-Diddy” was released. Originally recorded in 1963 by American vocal group The Exciters, Manfred Mann’s version became more commercially successful, spending two weeks at #1 on UK chart in August and two weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US in October.
1965: “In the Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett entered the Billboard Hot 100. The single peaked at #21 on the Hot 100 and in August, it became Pickett’s first #1 on the R&B chart.
1965: The Rolling Stones hit #1 for the first time in the US with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
1965: The seventh Beatles album released by Capitol Records in the US and Canada, Beatles VI, started six weeks at the top of the Billboard pop chart.
1967: “Pleasant Valley Sunday” by the Monkees was released as the lead single from their fourth album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.. Written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, the song peaked at #3 on both the Billboard and Cashbox pop charts.
1967: Bobbie Gentry’s first single, “Ode to Billie Joe,” was released. By the end of August, the song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and peaked at #17 on the country chart in October. In addition to being a big international seller, the single resulted in three Grammy awards out of eight nominations, including Best Female Vocal Pop Performance and Best New Artist.
1967: Memphis instrumental soul band The Bar-Kays released their debut studio album, Soul Finger. After signing with Stax Records, the group was tutored by members of Booker T. & the M.G.’s and Otis Redding selected them to be his backing band later that summer.
1967: Epic Records released Little Games, the fourth American album by the Yardbirds. It was the band’s first LP recorded after becoming a quartet with Jimmy Page as the sole guitarist and Chris Dreja switching to bass. It was also the only Yardbirds album produced by Mickie Most.
1967: Instrumental band The Shadows released their sixth album, Jigsaw.
1968: Eric Clapton announced that Cream was breaking up. The trio stayed together throughout most of the rest of the year, playing a farewell tour that culminated in a final gig at the Royal Albert Hall in London in November. They also recorded three songs for their last album, Goodbye, which was released in 1969 and was filled out with a handful of live cuts from the farewell tour.
1969: Tim Buckley released his third studio album, Happy Sad. Produced by former Lovin’ Spoonful members Zal Yanovsky and his replacement Jerry Yester, the album marked the beginning of Buckley’s experimental period and saw him incorporate jazz elements into his music.
1972: Pink Floyd released “Free Four” from their seventh studio album, Obscured by Clouds.
1972: Harry Nilsson’s eighth studio album, Son of Schmilsson, was released. Contributors include Nicky Hopkins, Klaus Voormann, Bobby Keys, Peter Frampton, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison, and most of the recording sessions were extensively filmed, per Nilsson’s request. The plan was to use the footage in a documentary titled Did Somebody Drop His Mouse?, but the film was never released. The album was Nilsson’s last to enter the top 20 on the Billboard pop chart, reaching #12.
1972: Following its release in the UK in late May, Peter Frampton’s debut solo studio album, Wind of Change, was released in the US.
1972: Chicago released their fourth studio album and first single-record LP, Chicago V.
1974: “Tin Man,” the first single from America’s fourth studio LP, Holiday, was released. It rose to #4 on the pop chart in November, making it the band’s fourth single to reach the US top 10.
1974: During the first North American leg of his Diamond Dogs concert tour, David Bowie began four days of recording for his first official live album, titled David Live, at Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1976: Washington D.C. pop band Starland Vocal Band was at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with their first single and only top 40 hit in the US, “Afternoon Delight.”
1976: Rod Stewart went to #1 on the UK album chart with his seventh LP, A Night on the Town. It became his last in a string of five #1 albums, and Stewart didn’t reach the top of the UK chart again until 2013 with Time.
1979: The Kink’s eighteenth studio album, Low Budget, was released in the US. The album had been recorded in New York rather than London and, while it wasn’t very successful in the UK, it was a critical and commercial success in America. It became the band’s highest-reaching album on the Billboard pop chart, peaking at #11, and became their best-selling non-compilation album.
1982: Marshall Crenshaw’s only entry onto the Billboard Hot 100, “Someday, Someway,” entered chart, where it peaked at #36 by the end of August.
1985: Prince and the Revolution released “Pop Life,” the second US and final UK single from Prince’s seventh studio album, Around the World in a Day.
1992: Peter Cetera released World Falling Down, his fourth solo studio album and third after leaving Chicago.
2000: Coldplay released their debut studio album, Parachutes. Upon release, the album quickly went to #1 on the UK chart.
2001: Jack Bruce released Shadows in the Air, his twelfth solo studio album.
2001: Melissa Etheridge released her seventh studio album, Skin.
2007: Stephen Stills released Just Roll Tape: April 26th, 1968, an album of demos he had recorded after attending a recording session by Judy Collins in New York. Stills had left the tapes in the studio and eventually considered them lost. When the studio was about to close in 1978, musician Joe Colasurdo, who was rehearsing there, was given the opportunity by the studio’s owner to take whatever tapes he wanted. Colasurdo saw Stills’ name on several tapes and over the next twenty-five years, attempted to get the tapes to Stills. Stills eventually received the tapes by way of Graham Nash, who encouraged him to release them.
2009: Robert Plant was honored as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in England.
2012: Live at the Checkerboard Lounge, Chicago 1981, a live album and concert video by The Rolling Stones and blues musician Muddy Waters, was released. Recorded in November of 1981, the performance took place at the Checkerboard Lounge, a blues club in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, which had been co-founded by blues guitarist Buddy Guy in 1972.
“Jumpin’ Gene” Simmons, rockabilly singer and songwriter best known for his 1964 novelty single “Haunted House,” was born Morris Eugene Simmons in Itawamba County, MS in 1933.
Johnny Griffith, musician and keyboardist for Motown Records in-house studio band The Funk Brothers, was born in Detroit, MI in 1936.
Mavis Staples, R&B, soul, and gospel singer, actress, activist, and solo artist who began her career with her family’s band The Staple Singers, was born in Chicago, IL in 1939.
Richie Albright, longtime drummer for Waylon Jennings who encouraged Jennings to incorporate elements of rock and roll, was born in Oklahoma in 1940.
Rodriguez, singer-songwriter who, despite remaining relatively unknown in the US, experienced significant success abroad, especially in South Africa, unbeknownst to him until the late 1990s, was born Sixto Diaz Rodriguez in Detroit, MI in 1942.
Jerry Miller, songwriter, guitarist, vocalist, and founding member of Moby Grape, was born in Tacoma, WA in 1943.
John “Beaky” Dymond, guitarist and vocalist for Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich, was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England in 1944.
Arlo Gurthrie, folk singer-songwriter and son of Woody Guthrie, was born in Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY in 1947.
John Whitehead, singer, songwriter, and one half of R&B duo McFadden and Whitehead with Gene McFadden, was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1948.
Greg Kihn, singer-songwriter and bandleader, was born in Baltimore, MD in 1949.
Neil Tennant, singer, songwriter, and co-founder of Pet Shop Boys , was born in North Shields, Northumerbland, England in 1954.
Béla Fleck, innovative banjo player best known for his work with New Grass Revival and his band the Flecktones, was born in New York City in 1958.
Sandy West, drummer and founding member of the Runaways, was born Sandra Sue Pesavento in Long Beach, CA in 1959.
Martyn P. Casey, bassist guitarist with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and other bands, was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England in 1960.
Imelda May, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has worked and collaborated with artists including Jeff Beck, T Bone Burnett, Bono, Noel Gallagher, and The Waterboys, was born Imelda May Clabby in Dublin, Ireland in 1974.