1956: Elvis Presley’s version of Lieber and Stoller’s “Hound Dog,” originally recorded by Big Mama Thornton in 1952, was released and almost immediately became a smash hit. “Hound Dog” was initially released as the B-side of “Don’t Be Cruel,” but the record was soon after re-released with “Hound Dog” displayed first and in larger print. Both sides topped Billboard’s Best Sellers in Stores and Most Played in Jukeboxes charts, while “Hound Dog” topped the country & western and rhythm & blues charts and peaked at #2 on the Billboard Top 100. Later reissues designated the pair as a double A-side single.
1964: “A Hard Day’s Night,” the title track from the Beatles’ third studio album, was released in the US backed with “I Should Have Known Better.”
1964: The Supremes recorded “Come See About Me” at Hitsville U.S.A. for Motown Records. The single became the group’s third of five consecutive releases to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
1964: The Beach Boys released their sixth studio album and second of 1964, All Summer Long. The album’s sessions were recorded in the aftermath of the British Invasion, marking a major turning point in the group’s career, and in bandleader and primary songwriter Brian Wilson as an artist. All Summer Long was to be their final album which celebrated in beach culture.
1967: The Byrds released “Lady Friend,” the group’s only song penned soley by David Crosby to appear as the A-side of a single.
1968: South African brass player Hugh Masekela achieved his only #1 hit with the instrumental “Grazing in the Grass,” which started four weeks at the top of Billboard’s R&B chart. The following week, the single began two weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
1968: Steppenwolf debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with their second single, “Born to Be Wild.” The record reached #2 by late August and remains the band’s highest-charting song.
1973: Chicago released “Saturday in the Park,” the first single from their fourth studio album, Chicago V.
1973: The soundtrack album to director Sam Peckinpah’s western film Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid by Bob Dylan was released. After performing for Peckinpah, Dylan was also offered an acting part in the film. On the same day as the album’s release, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” was released as a single.
1973: Queen’s self-titled debut album was released by EMI Records in the UK and Elektra Records in the US. The LP peaked at #83 on the Billboard pop chart.
1973: Jethro Tull released their sixth studio album, A Passion Play, in the UK. The US release of the album followed ten days later. Like the group’s previous LP, Thick as a Brick, it is a concept album comprising individual songs arranged into a single continuous piece of music across both sides of the record.
1974: “Then Came You” by Dionne Warwick and the Spinners was released. It became Warwick’s first single to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as her highest-charting R&B record, where it reached #2. It was also the first number-one pop hit for the Spinners. The song was later included on the Spinners’ fifth album, New and Improved, and Warwick’s album Then Came You.
1974: Eric Clapton’s version of Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff” entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart. By mid September, it became Clapton’s first solo #1 single in the US.
1977: After a massive blackout hit New York City, NRBQ played an all-acoustic set at The Bottom Line club with flashlights taped to their microphone stands.
1979: George Harrison released “Faster,” the third single from his self-titled eighth studio album. The song was inspired by Harrison’s year away from music-making in 1977, during which he traveled with the Formula 1 World Championship, and by his friendship with race car drivers such as Jackie Stewart and Niki Lauda.
1979: Dire Straits released “Lady Writer” from their second studio album, Communiqué.
1979: British band The Flying Lizards released their new wave version of “Money,” a song first recorded by Barrett Strong for Motown Records in 1959. Recorded for the group’s self-titled debut album, it became an unexpected hit and their most successful single, reaching #5 on the UK chart and #50 on the Billboard Hot 100.
1985: The Live Aid concerts, organized by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, were held simultaneously at the John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia and Wembley Stadium in London. The benefit’s performances were broadcast live via satellite for 18 consecutive hours and helped raise funds for relief of the ongoing Ethiopian famine. One of the largest-scale satellite link-ups and television broadcasts of all time, the concerts reached an estimated global audience of 1.9 billion, across 150 nations. Both concerts’ numerous acts included Elton John, Elvis Costello, Sting, Phil Collins, the Who, the Four Tops, Crosby, Still, and Nash, the Beach Boys, Santana, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, and many others. Queen, who had lost momentum by the early 1980s, delivered a fast-paced 20-minute set that drew from their entire catalog, and is widely considered to be the band’s greatest performance. Building off their success at Live Aid, Queen set off on what ended up being their final world tour the following year.
1985: The second album by Tears for Fears, Songs from the Big Chair, went to #1 on the Billboard pop chart for the first of four weeks.
1987: Terence Trent D’Arby released his debut studio album, Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D’Arby. The LP debuted at the top of the UK chart and eventually reached #4 in the US.
1992: Genesis released “Jesus He Knows Me,” the fourth single from their fourteenth studio album, “We Can’t Dance.”
1992: George Harrison’s second live album, Live in Japan, was released. Credited to “George Harrison with Eric Clapton and Band,” was recorded during his Japanese tour backed by Eric Clapton in December 1991. Aside from the 2001 reissue of All Things Must Pass, it was Harrison’s last release before his death in November 2001.
1993: Matthew Sweet released his fourth album, Altered Beast. Guests musicians on the LP include Mick Fleetwood, Jody Stephens, Pete Thomas, Richard Lloyd, Ivan Julian, and Nicky Hopkins.
2004: Jimmy Buffett released License to Chill, his twenty-fifth studio album and his only LP to reach #1 on the Billboard pop chart.
2010: Sting released his tenth studio album, Symphonicities. Issued on German classical label Deutsche Grammophon, the LP was released as a companion to the tour of the same name in which he performed reinterpretations of his songs with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra.
Paul “Hucklebuck” Williams, saxophonist, bandleader, and songwriter known for his highly successful 1948 single “The Huckle-Buck” who later worked in Atlantic Records’ house band and as a musical director for Lloyd Price and James Brown, was born in Lewisburg, TN in 1915.
Al Rex, bass player for Bill Haley & His Comets and its predecessor Bill Haley and the Saddlemen, was born Albert Floyd Piccirilli in Black Horse, PA in 1928.
Pete Escovedo, percussionist, bandleader, brief member of Santana, and father of Sheila E., was born in Pittsburg, CA in 1935.
Roger McGuinn, singer, songwriter, guitarist, solo artist, and co-founder and frontman of the Byrds, was born born James Joseph McGuinn III in Chicago, IL in 1942.
Tom King, songwriter, guitarist, arranger, founder of The Ousiders, and co-writer of their biggest hit, “Time Won’t Let Me,” was born in Cleveland, OH in 1942.
Stephen Bladd, drummer for The J. Geils Band, was born in Boston, MA in 1942.
Cheech Marin, comedian, actor, and half of the comedy duo Cheech and Chong, was born Richard Anthony Marin in Los Angeles, CA in 1946.
Rafael Bernardo Gayol, drummer best known for his work with Leonard Cohen who also played with artists that include BoDeans, Robbie Robertson, Shawn Colvin, Joe Ely, and Eliza Gilkyson, was born in Mexico City, Mexico in 1958.
Lawrence Donegan, musician, journalist, and bassist for The Bluebells, was born in Stirling, Scotland in 1961.
Gerald Levert, R&B singer, songwriter, producer, and son of Four Tops member Eddie Levert, was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1966.
Leon Bridges, soul singer, songwriter, and record producer, was born in Atlanta, GA in 1989.