1956: “Be-Bop-A-Lula,” the first single by Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps, was released. The record reached #5 and sold over a million copies.
1956: Elvis Presley made his second appearance on Milton Berle’s comedy-variety radio and television show Texaco Star Theater, in which his hip-swinging gyrations during his performance of his new single, “Hound Dog,” provoked howls of outrage. Television critics panned him, the New York Times wrote “Mr. Presley has no discernible singing ability,” and the New York Herald Tribune described Presley as “unspeakably untalented and vulgar.”
1961: Roy Orbison had his first #1 single in the US with “Running Scared.” Orbison and his songwriting partner, Joe Melson, later said that they had written the song in “about five minutes.”
1961: The Kingston Trio released their tenth studio album, Goin’ Places. A day after completing recording sessions for the album, the Trio embarked on their first foreign tour. Upon their return, Dave Guard announced his intention to leave the group due to his displeasure with a discrepancy in publishing royalties and his perception that the group needed to grow musically. John Stewart was later hired to take Guard’s place.
1962: Elvis Presley released his seventh studio album, Pot Luck.
1964: British band Davie Jones and the King Bees released their first single, “Liza Jane,” an arrangement of the early 1900s standard “Li’l Liza Jane.” Despite promoting the single on several television shows and generous radio coverage, the record sold poorly and the group was subsequently dropped by Decca Records. Less than two years later, Davie Jones became David Bowie.
1964: The Rolling Stones started their first US tour with a show at the Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino, California.
1965: “Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones was released as a single in the US ahead of the American version of the band’s Out of Our Heads LP. It became the Stones’ first #1 hit in the US as well as several other countries.
1965: The Who’s second single, “Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere,” was released in the US. It was the band’s first release with pianist Nicky Hopkins and, like the Beatles song “I Feel Fine,” is one of the first records to feature guitar feedback.
1965: Johnny Rivers’ rendition of the Willie Dixon song “Seventh Son” entered the Billboard Hot 100 on its way to reaching #7 a month later.
1969: The Who released “I’m Free,” the second single from their fourth studio album, Tommy.
1970: Procol Harum released their fourth album, Home. After the departure of organist Matthew Fisher and bassist David Knights and the addition of former member Chris Copping, the band had returned to the lineup when they had been known as The Paramounts before changing their name to Procol Harum.
1971: James Taylor’s cover of Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend” entered the Billboard Hot 100. By the end of July, the song became his only #1 on the pop chart.
1971: Paul and Linda McCartney’s Ram album reached #1 on the UK chart.
1971: Grand Funk Railroad broke the Beatles’ box office record, selling out Shae Stadium in 72 hours. The concert, later held in July, grossed more than $300,000.
1974: Singer-songwriter Patti Smith recorded her first single, a cover of the rock standard “Hey Joe.” Smith’s version includes a brief monologue about fugitive heiress Patty Hearst.
1976: Carly Simon’s sixth studio album, Another Passenger, was released. Produced by Ted Templeman, Simon is backed on the album by The Doobie Brothers and Little Feat.
1979: Wings released “Getting Closer,” the second single from their soon-to-be-released seventh and final studio album, Back to the Egg.
1982: Roxy Music scored their third #1 album in the UK with their eighth and final studio album, Avalon.
1988: English synth-pop duo Pet Shop Boys played one of their first live gigs at London’s Piccadilly Theatre. Actor Ian McKellen had persuaded them to join a benefit event he’d organized in opposition to the recently passed Section 28 legislation, which prohibited the promotion and acceptance of homosexuality in England, Wales, and Scotland. Earlier that year, McKellen had starred as a vampire in the music video for the Pet Shop Boys single “Heart.” The Section 28 ruling was repealed twelve years later.
1989: Van Morrison released “Have I Told You Lately,” the first single from his nineteenth studio album, Avalon Sunset.
1989: Paul McCartney released his eighth solo studio album, Flowers in the Dirt. The LP earned McCartney some of his best reviews in years, and later reached #1 on the UK chart.
1989: Passion, Peter Gabriel’s soundtrack album to the 1988 Martin Scorsese film The Last Temptation of Christ, was released. Gabriel spent several months after the film’s release further developing the music, and finally released it as a full-fledged album instead of a film soundtrack. The album has since been considered a landmark in the popularization of world music, and won a Grammy Award for Best New Age Album in 1990.
1995: “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” by U2 was released as a single from the soundtrack to the film Batman Forever.
1995: The Human League released “Filling up with Heaven,” the third and final single from their seventh studio album, Octopus.
1995: Van Morrison released Days Like This, his twenty-third studio album.
2001: Room for Squares, the debut studio album by singer-songwriter John Mayer, was released. It has since become Mayer’s best-selling album to date.
2001: Lucinda Williams released her sixth studio album, Essence.
2001: Radiohead released their fifth studio album, Amnesiac.
2003: Annie Lennox’s third studio album, Bare, was released in Europe. Issued five days later in North America, it became her first top 10 album in the US and highest-charting album on the Billboard pop chart, where it peaked at #4.
2005: Oasis topped the UK chart with their sixth album, Don’t Believe the Truth.
2007: Bruce Springsteen released Live in Dublin, a concert DVD and two-CD set that comprises performances with The Seeger Session Band at The Point Theatre in Dublin, Ireland during a 2006 concert tour.
2012: Neil Young and Crazy Horse released Americana, Young’s first collaborative album with backing band Crazy Horse since Greendale in 2003.
2012: To coincide with the group’s fiftieth anniversary, The Beach Boys released That’s Why God Made the Radio, their twenty-ninth studio album and first of all new material in twenty years. It was the group’s first LP to feature guitarist and backing vocalist David Marks since Little Deuce Coupe in 1963, and the first album since the death of co-founder Carl Wilson in 1998. The album debuted at #3 on the Billboard pop chart a week and a half later, making it the band’s highest-charting studio album of new material since 1965, and stretched their span of top 10 albums to forty-nine years.
Floyd Butler, singer and original member of The Friends of Distinction, was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1937.
Gary De Carlo, vocalist for Steam who co-wrote and sang lead on their 1969 hit “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” was born in 1942.
Michael Davis, bass guitarist, songwriter, producer, and original member of MC5, was born in Chico, CA in 1943.
Freddie Stone, guitarist, vocalist, and co-founder of Sly & Family Stone and brother of frontman Sly Stone, was born Frederick Stewart in Vallejo, CA in 1947.
Tom Evans, musician, singer, and songwriter with Badfinger, was born in Liverpool, England in 1947.
Laurie Anderson, avant-garde performance artist, musician, and author, was born Laura Phillips Anderson in Glen Ellyn, IL in 1947.
Ronnie Dyson, singer and actor who played the lead role in the Broadway production of “Hair,” was born in Washington, D.C. in 1950.
Peter Erskine, drummer and member of jazz fusion groups Weather Report and Steps Ahead, was born in Somers Point, NJ in 1954.
Richard Butler, lead singer for the Psychedelic Furs and a solo artist, was born in Kingston upon Thames, London, England in 1956.
Kenny G, saxophonist, composer, and bandleader, was born Kenneth Bruce Gorelick in Seattle, WA in 1956.
Gary Newby, singer, songwriter, musician, and founding member of The Railway Children, was born in England in 1966.