1956: Roy Orbison debuted on the US singles charts with “Ooby Dooby.”
1961: Motown Records released Hi… We’re The Miracles, the first album by the record company’s first group, on their Tamla subsidiary label. The album features several songs which played an important role in defining The Motown Sound and establishing songwriters Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy.
1962: “Twist and Shout” by The Isley Brothers was released on Wand Records. Originally recorded by R&B vocal group The Top Notes, the song became the Isley Brothers’ first top 40 pop hit, first to enter the Billboard R&B chart, and first to chart in the UK.
1965: Bob Dylan finished recording “Like a Rolling Stone” on the second day of the song’s production. Dylan had struggled to find the essence of the song the day before, demoing the composition without success in 3/4 time. For the second session, the musicians reconvened with rookie guitarist Al Kooper as a guest of producer Tom Wilson. A breakthrough was made when the song was tried in a 4/4 rock music format, and Kooper improvised the organ riff for which the track is known.
1966: The Beatles made a surprise live appearance on UK television program Top of the Pops, performing “Paperback Writer” and “Rain.” It was the group’s last live musical television appearance apart from the worldwide transmission of “All You Need Is Love” a year later.
1967: The three-day Monterey International Pop Music Festival began at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in California. Between 25,000 and 90,000 people attended the event to see The Byrds, the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Buffalo Springfield, the first large-scale public performance by Janis Joplin, the introduction of Otis Redding, and the first major American appearances by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Who, and Ravi Shankar. The festival embodied the theme of California as a focal point for the counterculture movement and is generally considered one of the beginnings of the 1967 “Summer of Love.” It also became an inspiration and template for future music festivals, including the Woodstock Festival held two years later in New York.
1967: Pink Floyd released their second single, “See Emily Play,” in England. It reached #6 in the UK charts and was released in the US in late July.
1969: “Break Away” by The Beach Boys was released. The song was written by Brian Wilson and his father Murry Wilson, who was credited as “Reggie Dunbar.”
1969: Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band released their studio LP, Trout Mask Replica. Produced by Frank Zappa, the double album combines elements of several genres of music and is regarded as an important work of experimental music and art rock.
1970: Grand Funk Railroad released their third album, Closer to Home.
1972: Steely Dan released their first single, “Dallas,” which features lead vocals by drummer Jim Hodder. The song was not included on the band’s debut album, Can’t Buy a Thrill, was included on the 1978 Japan-only compilation Steely Dan. Poco recorded a cover of the song for their eighth studio album, “Head Over Heels,” in 1975.
1972: David Bowie’s fifth studio album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, was released by RCA Records. Centered around Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust alter ego, a rock star who acts as a messenger for extraterrestrial beings, the album is largely considered Bowie’s breakthrough work. It later peaked at #5 on the UK chart and #75 in the US.
1972: The self-titled debut album by English band Roxy Music was released.
1972: The Who released the single “Join Together” in the UK. Originally conceived of for the group’s abandoned “Lifehouse” album, the song was issued in the US three weeks later.
1975: Peter Frampton played at the Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael, California. Recordings from this show, along with the following night’s show at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom, were included as part of his chart topping double album Frampton Comes Alive!.
1978: Wings released “I’ve Had Enough,” the second single from their sixth studio album, London Town.
1978: The Clash released “(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais.” The song was recorded for but not included on the band’s second studio album, Give ‘Em Enough Rope, but was included on the American version of their self-titled debut album.
1979: Electric Light Orchestra started five weeks at #1 on the UK chart with Discovery, the group’s first album to top the chart.
1980: The Blues Brothers, starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as Jake and Elwood Blues, premiered in Chicago at a private screening in Norridge for local crew and politicians ahead of its national release a few days later. The film includes appearances by such artists as Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, James Brown, Cab Calloway, and John Lee Hooker.
1980: Carly Simon released her ninth studio album and first with Warner Bros. Records, Come Upstairs.
1983: Ringo Starr released his ninth studio album, Old Wave. Contributors to the album included Joe Walsh, Eric Clapton, Gary Brooker, and John Entwistle.
1984: Roger Waters kicked off his Pros and Cons tour in Stockholm, with the North American leg following a month later. Members of Waters’ band included guitarist Eric Clapton, guitarist and bassist Tim Renwick, drummer Andy Newmark, bassist and organist Chris Stainton, keyboardist Michael Kamen, and saxophonist Mel Collins.
1985: “Stir It Up” by Patti LaBelle was released as the third single from the sound track to the 1984 film Beverly Hills Cop.
1986: The Smiths’ third studio album, The Queen is Dead, was released in the UK by Rough Trade Records. A week later the album was released in the US by Sire Records.
1991: Big Audio Dynamite II released their fifth album, The Globe. The LP was not issued in the US until early August.
1996: Rage Against The Machine, the Beastie Boys, Smashing Pumpkins, Fugees, Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Lee Hooker, Beck, Sonic Youth, Yoko Ono, De La Soul, and Richie Havens all appeared at the two-day Tibetan Freedom Concert at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park in support of Tibet’s independence from China. A sell-out crowd of over 100,000 people made it the largest US benefit concert since Live Aid in 1985.
1998: Little Feat released their twelfth studio album, Under the Radar.
1998: Ringo Starr’s eleventh studio album, Vertical Man, was released in the US. Following the success of The Beatles Anthology project, the album was an attempt at a commercial comeback by Starr, who enlisted the help of several musician friends including Brian Wilson, Tom Petty, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick.
2002: Elvis Presley was back on the UK singles chart for the first time since 1977 when a remix of his 1968 song “A Little Less Conversation,” mixed by Dutch musician Tom Holkenborg, better known as Junkie XL, debuted at #1 on the chart. In the US, the single reached #50.
2015: James Taylor released his nineteenth studio album, Before This World. It was Taylor’s first new studio album of original material since October Road in 2002.
Lamont Dozier, member of Motown songwriting team Holland-Dozier-Holland who has co-written and produced several #1 hits, was born in Detroit, MI in 1941.
Eddie Levert, singer-songwriter and lead vocalist for the O’Jays, was born in Bessemer, AL in 1942.
John Rostill, musician, bassist, songwriter, and composer who was a member of the Shadows and other bands who backed artists such as the Everly Brothers and Tommy Roe, was born in Kings Norton, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England in 1942.
Barbara Martin, singer and original member of The Supremes, was born in Detroit, MI in 1943.
Rudolph “Chip” Damiani, drummer and founding member of the Remains, was born in Waterbury, CT in 1945.
Iain Matthews, singer, songwriter, and solo artist who started out as a vocalist with Fairport Convention before forming his own bands, Matthews’ Southern Comfort and Plainsong, was born Iain Matthew McDonald in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, England in 1946.
Tom “Bones” Malone, jazz musician and trombone, trumpet, and saxophone player for the Blues Brothers Band, was born in Honolulu, HI in 1947.
Peppy Castro, guitarist and vocalist for Blues Magoos, was born Emil Thielhelm in 1949.
Robbin Thompson, singer-songwriter and member of early Bruce Springsteen band Steel Mill, was born Robert Wickens Thompson in Boston, MA in 1949.
Malcolm Mortimore, drummer and percussionist who has played with acts including Gentle Giant, Arthur Brown, Ian Dury, Tom Jones, Chris Jagger, Frankie Miller, Mick and Chris Jagger, Chris Spedding, and others, was born in Wimbledon, London, England in 1953.
Ian Mosley, drummer and member of Marillion, was born in Paddington, London, England in 1953.
Garry Roberts, former lead guitarist for Boomtown Rats, was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1954.
Femi Kuti, Nigerian musician and eldest son of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, was born Olufela Olufemi Anikulapo Kuti in London, England in 1962.