1964: The Animals recorded “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” which had been first recorded by Nina Simone earlier that year. The song later became the group’s third top 10 hit in the UK, reaching #3, and peaked at #15 in the US and #4 in Canada.
1964: Aretha Franklin released her sixth studio album, Runnin’ Out of Fools.
1966: Stevie Wonder released his sixth studio album, Down to Earth.
1966: Martha and the Vandellas released their fourth studio album, Watchout!. It was also their last studio album to feature songs from William “Mickey” Stevenson and Motown songwriting and production team Holland–Dozier–Holland, who all left Motown the following year.
1968: The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s third and final album, Electric Ladyland hit #1 on the Billboard pop chart. The double album was the group’s only studio LP to reach the top of an American chart.
1968: Led Zeppelin signed to the Atlantic Records label with a reported $200,000 advance—a monumental sum at the time.
1970: Stephen Stills, co-founder of Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, released his self-titled debut solo studio album. It was one of four solo albums released by each member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in the wake of their chart-topping album, Déjà Vu.
1970: Massachusetts group The J. Geils Band released their eponymous debut album.
1973: Denny Laine, a founding member of both The Moody Blues and Wings, released his first solo album, Ahh… Laine!.
1973: The Kinks released their twelfth studio album, Preservation Act 1. Though it wasn’t well received commercially and critically, live performances of the material were much better received.
1973: David Bowie’s first UK television special, The 1980 Floor Show, aired on NBC as an episode of The Midnight Special, both as a promotional tool for his seventh studio album, Pin Ups, and to further break into the American market. Bowie’s last performance as the Ziggy Stardust persona with The Spiders From Mars, the show was a lavish stage production filmed over three days at The Marquee Club in London’s Soho in front of members of Bowie’s fan club with additional performances by guests that included singer Marianne Faithful and the Troggs.
1974: John Lennon’s fifth studio LP, Walls and Bridges, became his second solo album to go to #1 on the Billboard pop chart.
1974: John Lennon hit #1 on the Billboard hot 100 with “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night,” the lead single from his fifth studio album, Walls and Bridges. Lennon had been the last member of the Beatles to achieve a #1 single in America and the record was his only song to top the US charts during his lifetime. Lennon was joined in the studio by Elton John, who features on harmony vocals and piano. Lennon was skeptical that the song would be a hit and promised John that he’d appear on stage at one of John’s performances if the single reached #1. After the record achieved the feat, Lennon appeared at John’s Thanksgiving performance at Madison Square Garden less than two weeks later. It was Lennon’s last major concert appearance.
1974: “Boogie On Reggae Woman” by Stevie Wonder entered the Billboard Hot 100, eventually rising to #3. The single also spent two weeks at the top of the R&B chart.
1979: Paul McCartney released “Wonderful Christmastime.” It was his first solo single since forming the band Wings, who had released their final studio album, Back to the Egg, the previous summer.
1979: The Jam released their fourth studio album, Setting Sons.
1984: John Lennon released “Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him.” The song was originally recorded by his wife Yoko Ono for their joint album Double Fantasy in 1980. Lennon’s version served as the title track from a tribute album to Ono to celebrate her 50th birthday that contains covers of Ono’s songs recorded by several artists including Harry Nilsson, Rosanne Cash, Elvis Costello, and Sean Lennon. The album was purportedly one of John Lennon’s projects, but he died before he could see its completion.
1987: R.E.M. released “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine),” the second single from their fifth studio album, Document. The song originated from a previously unreleased song called “PSA” that was later reworked and released as a single in 2003 under the title “Bad Day.”
1993: The Pointer Sisters released their fifteenth and final studio album, Only Sisters Can Do That.
1993: “All For Love” by Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart, and Sting was released as a single in the US. Recorded for the motion picture soundtrack to The Three Musketeers, the song became a worldwide hit, reaching #1 across Europe, Australia, and North America.
1996: The Beatles topped the Billboard pop album chart with Anthology 3, the third in a trilogy of compilation albums that included rarities and alternative tracks from the band’s career. The album became the group’s third double album in a row to reach #1 on the US charts, equaling a record set by Donna Summer in the 1970s.
1999: “The Great Beyond” by R.E.M. was released as the lead single from the soundtrack to Man on the Moon, a biographical film about entertainer Andy Kaufman. It became the band’s most successful single on the UK chart, reaching #3.
2010: Bruce Springsteen released The Promise, a collection of previously unreleased songs which were recorded during the Darkness on the Edge of Town sessions in 1977-1978, with some vocals and additional instrumentation overdubs recorded in 2010.
W.C. Handy, highly influential composer and musician who was the first to publish music in the blues form and referred to himself as the “Father of the Blues,” was born William Christopher Handy in Florence, AL in 1837.
Jesse Stone, influential rhythm and blues musician and songwriter best known for composing “Shake, Rattle and Roll” under the pseudonym Charles Calhoun, was born in Atchison, KS in 1901.
Herb Abramson, record producer and co-founder of Atlantic Records, was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1916.
Hubert Sumlin, Chicago blues guitarist and singer, was born in Greenwood, MS in 1931.
Bob Gibson, folk singer and a key figure in the folk music revival in the late 1950s and early 1960s whose songs have been recorded by numerous groups, including the Limeliters, Peter, Paul and Mary, Simon & Garfunkel, the Byrds, the Smothers Brothers, Phil Ochs, and the Kingston Trio, was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1931.
Troy Seals, singer, songwriter, and guitarist whose compositions have been recorded by artists such as Nancy Sinatra, Randy Travis, Conway Twitty, Hank Williams Jr., Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Levon Helm, and Jerry Lee Lewis, has played guitar on numerous sessions for recording stars, and has collaborated on compositions with Waylon Jennings, Vince Gill, Will Jennings and others, was born in Bighill, KY in 1938.
Toni Brown, pianist and co-lead vocalist for Joy of Cooking, was born in 1938.
John Ryanes, bass vocalist for the Monotones, was born in Newark, NJ in 1940.
Dan Penn, singer, musician, songwriter, and record producer who co-wrote many soul hits of the 1960s, was born Wallace Daniel Pennington in Vernon, AL in 1941.
Derek Lawrence, record producer known for his work with groups including Joe Meek’s Outlaws, Deep Purple, Wishbone Ash, Jethro Tull, and The Pretty Things, was born in Barnet, London, England in 1941.
Mabon “Teenie” Hodges, guitarist and songwriter who was a central component of Hi Records’ house band the Hi Rhythm Section and is best known for co-writing and performing on many hits by Al Green and other artists including Ann Peebles and Syl Johnson, was born in Germantown, TN in 1945.
Chi Coltrane, singer and pianist, was born in Racine, WI in 1948.
Pattie Santos, original female vocalist for It’s A Beautiful Day, was born in San Francisco, CA in 1949.
David Ricketts, musician, record producer, and member of David & David, was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1953.
Harry Rushakoff, session musician and drummer for Concrete Blonde, was born in Chicago, IL in 1958.
Gary Mounfield, bassist best known as a member of The Stone Roses, was born in Crumpsall, Manchester, England in 1962.
Diana Krall, jazz pianist and singer, was born in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada in 1964.