1964: 17-year-old Marianne Faithfull recorded her first single for Decca Records, a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “As Tears Go By,” accompanied by future Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. The song made it to the top 10 on the UK chart, peaked at #9 by August, and launched Faithfull’s career as a major singer.
1965: Donovan’s second single, “Colours,” was released in the UK ahead of its US release in June. An alternate mix of the song was included on his second album, Fairytale.
1965: “From the Bottom of My Heart (I Love You)” by The Moody Blues was released as a single in the UK. Two months later, it was released as part of the band’s North American debut album, Go Now: The Moody Blues #1.
1966: Percy Sledge was at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for the first of two weeks with his first single, “When A Man Loves A Woman.” Sledge had improvised the song with his band one night when he was upset over a failed romance, and a more polished version had been released in early April. The song was his only #1 single and also reached the top of the Billboard R&B chart, the Canadian singles chart, and peaked at #4 in the UK.
1966: “River Deep—Mountain High” by Ike and Tina Turner was released. The single became the duo’s biggest UK hit, reaching #3. Despite only making it to #88 on the US pop charts, producer Phil Specter considered it the high point of his production career.
1967: The Association made their television debut on The Smothers Brothers’ Comedy Hour on CBS.
1968: Creedence Clearwater Revival released their self-titled debut album. After recording several singles as the Golliwogs, producer and owner of Fantasy Records Saul Zaentz offered the band an opportunity to record a full-length album on the condition that they change their name.
1969: Smokey Robinson & The Miracles released “Doggone Right.” The song reached the top 10 on Billboard’s R&B chart and the top 40 on the pop chart, and was later included on the group’s album Time Out for Smokey Robinson & The Miracles.
1970: Neil Diamond released “Sweet Caroline.” It became his third top 10 hit on the US pop charts, reaching #4, and his first song to enter the UK chart, where it reached #8. In 2007, Diamond stated that the song was inspired by John F. Kennedy’s daughter, Caroline. In 2014, however, Diamond claimed it was about his then-wife Marcia, but the melody required a three-syllable name.
1971: Graham Nash released his debut solo studio album,, Songs for Beginners. The LP was one of four released by each member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in the wake of their chart-topping Déjà Vu album in 1970. The recording of the album directly followed Nash’s break-up with singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell and includes contributions by David Crosby, Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Dave Mason, David Lindley, Rita Coolidge, and Neil Young, who used the pseudonym “Joe Yankee.”
1971: Rod Stewart released his third solo album, Every Picture Tells a Story. Featuring both sides of his breakthrough hit single, “Reason to Believe” backed with “Maggie May,” the LP achieved similar success, becoming his first first #1 in the UK and US.
1976: The Allman Brothers Band dissolved for the first time after a tense US tour that culminated in Gregg Allman’s court testimony against the band’s road manager, Scooter Herring, who had been convicted of distributing cocaine, after which the band refused to communicate with Allman. Chuck Leavell, Lamar Williams, and Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson continued playing together in Sea Level, Dickey Betts formed Great Southern, and Gregg Allman founded the Gregg Allman Band. The band reunited at the end of 1978 to begin recording their reunion album, Enlightened Rogues.
1977: At a Gong reunion concert in Paris, Sting, Andy Summers, and Stewart Copeland played their first live gig together as members of a short-lived group led by bassist Mike Howlett called Strontium 90. The group played again in July under the name “the Elevators” and less than three months later in mid August, the trio of Sting, Summers, and Copeland played for the first time as the Police.
1977: Peter Frampton released his fifth studio album, I’m In You. Featuring guest musicians Stevie Wonder, Richie Hayward, Mike Finnigan, Ringo Starr, and Mick Jagger, it became Frampton’s highest-charting album, rising to #2 in the US, #1 in Canada, and was one of his only albums to chart in Europe.
1977: Stevie Wonder topped Billboard’s R&B chart with “Sir Duke” a week after the single reached #1 on the Hot 100.
1981: In their only American appearance that year, The Clash were booked to play Bond’s International Casino on Broadway in New York City in support of their new triple album Sandinista!. Originally intent on playing just eight gigs, the performances were dangerously oversold by greedy promoters, leading to fire marshals and the New York Building Department closing down both of the May 30th concerts. After a fiasco over tickets sold for the canceled shows, the band vowed to honor every last ticket and the number of shows was extended to seventeen.
1982: Eagles guitarist and vocalist Glenn Frey released his debut solo album, No Fun Aloud.
1982: A Flock of Seagulls released “Space Age Love Song,” the fourth single from their debut album.
1983: The second US Festival was held in San Bernardino, California. Over Memorial Day Weekend, each day of the festival focused on a different genre: New Wave, Heavy Metal, and Rock, with a fourth day for Country the following weekend. Featured acts included David Bowie, Van Halen, Stevie Nicks, U2, the Stray Cats, the Pretenders, INXS, the Clash, Joe Walsh, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, and more. Despite fewer incidents compared to the first Us Festival the year before, the event still lost $12 million.
1983: Guitarist Mick Jones played his final show with The Clash before he was fired from the band in September. Shortly after, Jones became a founding member of General Public, and after a short time with that group, formed Big Audio Dynamite.
1991: Sam Phillips sixth studio album, Cruel Inventions, was released. Produced by T Bone Burnett, the album was recorded with musicians that included Elvis Costello, Marc Ribot, Van Dyke Parks, Jerry Scheff, and Sandy Bull.
1991: The Smashing Pumpkins released their debut album, Gish.
2004: The Electric Prunes released their seventh studio album, California, which features founding members James Lowe, Ken Williams, and Mark Tulin.
2007: After a preview concert for fan club members, the Police began a worldwide reunion tour marking their 30th anniversary in Vancouver, Canada.
2013: John Fogerty released Wrote a Song for Everyone, a collection of Creedence Clearwater Revival songs and new compositions that Fogerty recorded with an array of musicians and groups including Bob Seger, Dawes, My Morning Jacket, Foo Fighters, Allen Toussaint, and Alan Jackson.
T-Bone Walker, blues guitarist, singer, songwriter, pioneer, and innovator of the jump blues and electric blues sound who is widely recognized as the first bluesman to go electric and was a major influence on greats such as Billboard King, Buddy Guy, Albert King, Freddie King, Otis Rush, and Albert Collins, was born Aaron Thibeaux Walker in Linden, TX in 1910.
Papa John Creach, blues violinist who as a journeyman, worked with artists like Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Big Joe Turner, T-Bone Walker, and Nat King Cole, and later worked with Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna, and the Grateful Dead, was born John Henry Creach in Beaver Falls, PA in 1917.
Sonny Burgess, rockabilly guitarist and singer, was born in Newport, AR in 1929.
Tony Mansfield, drummer for Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, was born Anthony Bookbinder in Manchester, England in 1943.
Gladys Knight, singer, songwriter and actress, and leader of Gladys Knight and the Pips, was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1944.
Gary Stewart, outlaw country songwriter and musician, was born in Jenkins, KY in 1944.
John Fogerty, singer, songwriter, guitarist, founder of Creedence Clearwater Revival, and a solo artist, was born in Berkeley, CA in 1945.
Stacy Sutherland, singer, songwriter, and lead guitarist for the 13th Floor Elevators, was born in San Antonio, TX in 1946.
Ray Laidlaw, drummer for Lindisfarne, was born in North Shields, Tyne And Wear, England in 1948.
Steve Strange, lead singer for Visage, was born Steven John Harrington in Newbridge, Caerphilly, Wales in 1959.
Roland Gift, lead singer for Fine Young Cannibals, was born in Birmingham, England in 1961.