1940: Billboard magazine published its first chart ranking the sales of recorded songs, “National List of Best Selling Retail Records.” Tommy Dorsey topped the inaugural top 10 retail list with “I’ll Never Smile Again.” Record rankings later expanded to include radio airplay and eventually lead to the birth of the comprehensive “Billboard Hot 100” in August of 1958 as the premier national songs chart. Prior to July 27, 1940, Billboard had highlighted the national “Sheet Music Best Sellers,” “Records Most Popular on Music Machines,” and “Songs With the Most Radio Plugs” on a handful of New York radio stations.
1955: Chuck Berry’s first single, “Maybellene,” entered the Billboard R&B chart where, in August, it started eleven weeks at #1 and reached #5 on the pop chart.
1957: The Everly Brothers had the best-selling song in America with their first hit single, “Bye Bye Love,” which reached #2 on the Billboard pop chart and #1 on the country chart.
1959: Santo and Johnny’s first single, “Sleep Walk,” entered the US singles charts. The record later spent two weeks at #1 on September. The composition was a principal inspiration for Peter Green’s 1968 instrumental “Albatross,” which in turn inspired the Beatles’ song “Sun King.”
1959: The Drifters were at the top of Billboard’s R&B chart with “There Goes My Baby.”
1968: Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass achieved their fifth #1 LP on the Billboard pop chart with their tenth album, The Beat of the Brass.
1968: Jose Feliciano’s cover of the Doors’ “Light My Fire” entered the Billboard Hot 100. The song became his first international hit, and reached #3 by the end of August, just a year after the original version had topped the chart.
1968: “Magic Bus” by the Who was released in the US, where it later reached #25. The single peaked at #26 in the UK, where it was released over fourteen weeks later.
1972: The Temptations released their sixteenth studio album, All Directions. The album features the group’s twelve-minute cover of “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” which was originally recorded by Undisputed Truth with the same producer, Norman Whitfield. Though he had little involvement with the album, it was Motown lyricist Barrett Strong’s final LP with the group, after which he left Motown to restart his career as a recording artist.
1973: Steely Dan released “Show Biz Kids,” the first single from their second studio album, Countdown to Ecstasy.
1974: Paul McCartney & Wings had their first #1 album in the UK with their third studio album, Band on the Run.
1976: After years of harassment from the Nixon administration, including attempts to have him deported, John Lennon finally received his green card, granting him permanent residency in the United States.
1976: Bruce Springsteen’s recording career was put on hold for a year as a result of a lawsuit against his manager and publisher, Mike Appel, who had also co-produced Springsteen’s latest album, Born to Run. The dispute began when Springsteen was made aware that contracts he’d signed with Appel in 1972 meant that he would never see the full benefits of his work. Appel counter-sued, and Springsteen was prevented from entering the recording studio until the case was resolved.
1977: The Grateful Dead released Terrapin Station, their ninth studio album, first with Arista Records, and first studio album after the band had returned to live touring after a nearly two-year hiatus.
1979: John Mellencamp, then known as “John Cougar,” released his self-titled third album with his new record company, Riva Records.
1980: The Go-Go’s released “We Got the Beat.” Originally recorded for UK label Stiff Records, the band later re-recorded the song for American label I.R.S. Records and it was released again in January of 1982 as the lead single from their debut album, Beauty and the Beat. The second version became a top 10 hit in the US and the group’s signature song.
1981: Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks released her first solo album, Bella Donna. That September, the LP went to #1 in the US.
1981: Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry released her first solo album, KooKoo, while she and boyfriend Chris Stein were taking a break from Blondie. Produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, the album showcases the fusion of rock, funk, and dance music that later became their trademark. In the US, the album went to #25 and reached #6 in the UK.
1981: The Human League released “Love Action (I Believe in Love),” the second single from their third studio album, Dare. It became the group’s first top 10 record in the UK, where it peaked at #3.
1987: 10,000 Maniacs released second major-label LP, In My Tribe.
1990: San Francisco band Jellyfish released their debut studio album, Bellybutton.
1991: British band Jesus Jones’ breakthrough hit, “Right Here, Right Now,” peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
1992: Morrissey released his third solo studio album, Your Arsenal.
1993: The Smashing Pumpkins released their second studio album, Siamese Dream.
2018: Boz Scaggs released his nineteenth studio album, Out of the Blues.
Bob Thiele, record producer who worked on numerous classic jazz albums and was the head and founder of several record labels such as Impulse! and Flying Dutchman, was born in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY in 1922.
Harvey Fuqua, singer, songwriter, record producer, founder of 1950s doo-wop group the Moonglows, and key figure in the development of Motown Records, was born in Louisville, KY in 1929.
Andy White, session drummer who replaced Ringo Starr on the Beatles’ first single, “Love Me Do,” and played with artists that included Chuck Berry, Billy Fury, Herman’s Hermits, and Tom Jones, was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1930.
Nick Reynolds, folk artist and founding member of The Kingston Trio, was born in San Diego, CA in 1933.
Andy McMaster, musician, singer, songwriter, and member of The Motors whose songs have been recorded by several artists, was born in Calton, Glasgow, Scotland in 1941.
Allan Ramsay, bassist for Gary Lewis and the Playboys, was born in 1943.
Bobbie Gentry, singer-songwriter and one of the first female artists to compose and produce her own material, was born Roberta Lee Streeter near Woodland, MS in 1944.
Karl Mueller, bass guitarist and founding member of Soul Asylum, was born in Minneapolis, MN in 1963.
Juliana Hatfield, singer-songwriter formerly of Blake Babies, The Juliana Hatfield Three, Some Girls, and The Lemonheads, was born in Wiscasset, ME in 1967.
Pete Yorn, singer-songwriter and musician, was born in Pompton Plains, NJ in 1974.