1956: “Blue Suede Shoes” by Carl Perkins entered the Billboard R&B chart. It was the first time a country music artist made it on the R&B charts.
1959: “(Now and Then There’s) A Fool Such as I” by Elvis Presley was released. Published in 1952 by songwriter Bill Trader, the song was first recorded by country musician Hank Snow in 1953. Since then, the song has also been covered by artists including Petula Clark, Bob Dylan, and Rodney Crowell.
1962: One-hit wonder Bruce Channel hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Hey! Baby.”
1964: Simon & Garfunkel recorded their original acoustic version of “The Sound of Silence” for inclusion on their debut studio album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.. The album was a commercial failure, and it wasn’t until producer Tom Wilson, unbeknownst to Simon & Garfunkel, remixed the track with overdubbed electric instruments and drums that it became a #1 hit at the beginning of 1966. Once they learned of the new version’s success, the duo hastily reunited to record their second album.
1965: “Eight Days a Week” by the Beatles went to #1 on the Cash Box chart. A week later the record topped the Billboard Hot 100.
1966: The Beach Boys began recording “God Only Knows” at United Western Recorders in Hollywood.
1966: Bob Dylan recorded “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” at Columbia’s Music Row Studios in Nashville. After demoing the song for the backing musicians, producer Bob Johnston suggested a brass band arrangement. After summoning a trombone player, the session proceeded in the middle of the night with everyone marching and singing around the studio.
1967: Pink Floyd released their debut single, “Arnold Layne.” According to bassist Roger Waters, the song, written by lead singer Syd Barrett, was based on a real person who had a hobby of stealing women’s clothes and undergarments from their washing lines.
1967: Jeff Beck released his first solo single, “Hi Ho Silver Lining.” Written by American songwriters Scott English and Larry Weiss, the song was first released by English band The Attack just a few days earlier. Their version failed to chart, but Beck’s recording became his biggest solo hit, reaching the top 20 on the UK chart in 1967 and 1972. The single’s B-side was an instrumental titled “Beck’s Bolero,” conceived while Beck was still a member of the Yardbirds, had been inspired by French composer Maurice Ravel’s “Ravel’s Bolero.” The track later received greater exposure on Beck’s debut album Truth, released in 1968. The recording session brought together a group of musicians that included Jimmy Page, Keith Moon, John Paul Jones, and Nicky Hopkins, who later agreed that the lineup was a first attempt at what later became Led Zeppelin.
1967: Singer-songwriter Cat Stevens released his debut album, Matthew and Son.
1967: Aretha Franklin’s eleventh studio album, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, was released. Atlantic Records owner Jerry Wexler had picked up Franklin after the expiration of her contract with Columbia Records and looked to Rick Hall and his FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama to produce a hit record. After a less than remarkable career with Columbia, Franklin’s new album took the singer to new heights, reaching #2 on the Billboard pop chart, #1 on the R&B chart, and was certified gold later that year. The album also included two top 10 singles, the album’s title track, and Franklin’s cover of Otis Redding’s “Respect.”
1969: “Good Times Bad Times,” the opening track from Led Zeppelin’s self-titled debut album, was issued as the band’s first single in the US.
1971: After Paul McCartney filed suit against the other three members of the Beatles for the dissolution of their partnership, a London court appointed an independent receiver to handle assets of the Beatles until mutually acceptable terms for their break-up could be found. The ruling also barred former manager Allen Klein from any further meddling with the band’s affairs, though he continued to be involved in the solo careers of John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr.
1972: Thin Lizzy released their second studio album, Shades of a Blue Orphanage. The album’s title combines the name of the members’ previous bands, Shades of Blue and Orphanage.
1973: Steely Dan’s debut studio album, Can’t Buy a Thrill, entered the top 20 on the Billboard pop chart, peaking two weeks later at #17. The same week, the second single from the album, “Reeling in the Years,” also entered the Billboard Hot 100, where it eventually reached #11.
1973: Pink Floyd’s eighth studio album, The Dark Side of the Moon, was released in the US following its release in the UK at the beginning of the month. Initially developed during live performances, the album was recorded with engineer Alan Parsons at Abbey Road Studios in London using advanced recording techniques such as multi-track recording and tape loops. The album became the band’s biggest commercial and critical success as well as one of the best-selling albums in the world. The LP also spent over 740 weeks on the US Billboard chart over a fourteen year period.
1975: Elvis Presley began his final recording session at RCA’s Hollywood studios for his twenty-second studio album, Today.
1975: John Lennon’s version of Ben E. King’s 1961 classic “Stand By Me” was released. It was the only single from his Rock ‘n’ Roll album, which had been released earlier that year. The record reached #20 on the US charts, #30 in the UK, and #10 in Canada. It was also Lennon’s final hit before his five year retreat from the music industry.
1975: Carnegie Hall overflowed with Moody Blues fans to hear the debut performance by former members Justin Hayward and John Lodge, who were on the road to promote their new album, Blue Jays.
1976: The Temptations released the album Wings of Love. Producer Dennis Edwards had wanted to produce a solo album by lead singer Dennis Edwards, so he de-emphasized the vocals of the group’s other members, which lead to his dismissal as their producer after the album’s release.
1976: Wings released “Silly Love Songs,” the first single from their fifth studio album, Wings at the Speed of Sound. Written in response to John Lennon and music critics accusing Paul McCartney of predominantly writing “silly love songs” and “sentimental slush, “it became McCartney’s twenty-seventh #1 hit as a songwriter.
1978: The Buzzcocks released their first studio album, Another Music in a Different Kitchen.
1979: Gloria Gaynor achieved her only #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 with her biggest hit, “I Will Survive.”
1980: “Going Underground” by The Jam was released. The single was their first top 10 it on the British chart, where it debuted at #1.
1981: Guitarist Jimmy Page made his first public performance since the breakup of Led Zeppelin, joining Jeff Beck onstage as a surprise encore guest at London’s Hammersmith Odeon.
1990: Eric Clapton released “Bad Love,” a song co-written with Foreigner lead guitarist Mick Jones, as a single from his eleventh solo studio album, Journeyman.
1992: Red Hot Chili Peppers released “Under the Bridge,” the second single from their fifth studio album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik.
1997: The Bee Gees released their twenty-first studio album, Still Waters.
1998: Eric Clapton released Pilgrim, his thirteenth solo studio album and first in nine years.
1998: Robbie Robertson released his third solo album, Contact from the Underworld of Redboy.
2002: Alanis Morissette went to #1 on the US album chart with her third straight #1 album, Under Rug Swept.
Dexter Tisby, vocalist and founding member of The Penguins, was born in 1935.
Dean Torrence, co-founder, co-lead singer, and co-writer of surf rock duo Jan & Dean, was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1940.
Pete Nelson, vocalist for The Flower Pot Men, was born Peter William Lipscomb in Uxbridge, London, England in 1943.
Tom Scholz, songwriter, inventor, engineer, philanthropist, multi-instrumentalist, and founder of Boston, was born Donald Tom Scholz in Toledo, OH in 1947.
Gail Greenwood, bassist and guitarist for Belly, was born in Rhode Island in 1960.
Jeff Ament, songwriter, bassist, and founding member of Pearl Jam, was born in Havre, MO in 1963.
Rick Rubin, record producer and former co-president of Columbia Records who co-founded Def Jam Recordings and established American Recordings, was born in Long Beach, NY in 1963.
Edie Brickell, singer-songwriter and lead singer of Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, was born in Oak Cliff, Dallas, TX in 1966.
Dave Krusen, original drummer for Pearl Jam, was born in Tacoma, WA in 1966.