1955: James Brown and the Famous Flames recorded their first demo, performing “Please, Please, Please” at a radio station in Macon, Georgia. The session lead to their signing with King Records, where they re-recorded the song in February the following year, after which it climbed to #6 on the R&B chart.
1960: Elvis Presley released his version of “Are You Lonesome Tonight?,” a song written by Roy Turk and Lou Handman in 1926 and first recorded by Charles Hart in 1927.
1962: The Beatles started a two-week residency at the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany. It was the band’s second engagement at the club, and on occasion, they shared the bill with Little Richard, who they had performed with in Liverpool, England the previous month.
1963: The Rolling Stones released their second single in UK, “I Wanna Be Your Man,” a song written for them by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
1965: The Temptations released their third studio album, The Temptin’ Temptations.
1965: The Supremes released their seventh studio album, Merry Christmas.
1966: The Doors signed for a month-long engagement at their first New York City gig at the trendy Ondine Discotheque nightclub. The band visited the club for the first time the day before on Halloween, after which they mixed their debut album with producer Paul Rothchild.
1968: George Harrison became the first member of the Beatles to release a solo album in the UK with the soundtrack to the Joe Massot film, Wonderwall. The album was later released in the US in early December.
1968: Canned Heat released their third studio album, Living the Blues.
1969: “Suspicious Minds” by Elvis Prelsey reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Presley’s eighteenth and final US #1 hit during his lifetime.
1969: Creedence Clearwater Revival’s anti-war anthem “Fortunate Son” entered the Billboard Hot 100, later peaking at #3.
1969: “Up On Cripple Creek” by the Band entered the Billboard Hot 100. Four weeks later, the song became their first top 40 hit.
1969: “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” by B.J. Thomas entered the Billboard Hot 100. The song had been written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach for the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and later won a Grammy Award for Best Original Song. Thomas had been recovering from laryngitis, which made his voice sound hoarser than the version that was released as a 7-inch single.
1970: The Grateful Dead released their fifth studio album, American Beauty.
1970: The Beatles’ Abbey Road album spent the first of eight weeks at #1 on the Billboard pop chart. The LP later spent an additional non-consecutive 3 weeks at #1, trading places twice with Led Zeppelin’s second album.
1971: Billy Joel released his debut studio album, Cold Spring Harbor. The LP was named after a hamlet in Huntington, New York near Joel’s hometown.
1971: Howard Wales and Jerry Garcia released the jazz fusion album Hooteroll?.
1972: James Taylor released his fourth studio album, One Man Dog.
1972: The Hollies released Romany, their first album not to feature lead singer Allan Clark, who was replaced by Mikael Rickfors.
1973: Roxy Music released Stranded, the group’s third studio album, first without founding member Brian Eno, and first on which Bryan Ferry was not the sole songwriter. Additional writing contributions were provided by Andy Mackay and guitarist Phil Manzanera.
1974: Poco released their seventh studio album, Cantamos.
1974: After the departure of bassist Mike de Albuquerque during sessions for Electric Light Orchestra’s Eldorado album, Kelly Groucutt made his debut with the band at the start of their tour in support of the album in Detroit, MI. Groucutt was asked by band leader Jeff Lynne to adopt a stage name since the group had already had a number of members named Michael, Mike, or Mik, so Groucutt decided to go with his school nickname, Kelly.
1974: Kraftwerk released Autobahn, their fourth studio album and first to fully embrace the repetitive electronic sound they would become known for.
1975: Jefferson Starship achieved their only #1 with their second studio LP, Red Octopus, when it hit the top of the Billboard pop chart. It has since become the best-selling album by any incarnation of Jefferson Airplane and its spin-off groups.
1975: The Band released their sixth studio album, Northern Lights – Southern Cross. It was the first album to be recorded at their new California studio, Shangri-La, and the first album of all new material since 1971’s “Cahoots.”
1975: “Island Girl,” the lead single from Elton John’s tenth studio album, Rock of the Westies, became his fifth #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. It spent three weeks at the top of the chart and was certified gold before the end of the year.
1975: Faces played their final show at Labor Temple in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Rod Stewart’s more successful solo career, Ron Wood’s increased involvement with the Rolling Stones, and the group’s lack of enthusiasm culminated in the announcement of their breakup in December.
1976: Elton John released “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word,” the first single from his eleventh studio album, Blue Moves.
1979: Simple Minds released their second studio album, Real to Real Cacophony.
1979: Hall & Oates released their eighth studio album, X-Static.
1979: Jefferson Starship Freedom at Point Zero, their fifth studio album, first with new lead singer Mickey Thomas, and first after both Marty Balin and Grace Slick left the previous year.
1980: Boz Scaggs released “Miss Sun” to promote the release of his greatest hits compilation Hits!. The song was written by David Paich and instrumental and vocal backing were provided by future Toto members Paich, David Hungate, Steve Lukather, and Jeff Pocaro.
1982: Duran Duran released “Rio,” the fourth single and title track from their second studio album.
1983: The Rolling Stones released “Undercover of the Night,” the lead single from their seventeenth British and nineteenth American album, Undercover.
1987: At a concert in Indianapolis during their Joshua Tree Tour, U2 appeared as one of their own opening acts disguised as a country band called the Dalton Brothers. The band repeated the appearance of their country alter egos at shows in Los Angeles, California and Hampton, Virginia.
1990: Big Audio Dynamite II released Kool-Aid, the group’s first album after band leader Mick Jones changed their name from Big Audio Dynamite.
1993: Kate Bush released her seventh studio album, The Red Shoes. It was accompanied by the short film The Line, the Cross and the Curve and was her last album before a twelve-year hiatus.
1994: Tom Petty released Wildflowers, his second solo studio album and first after signing with Warner Bros. Records. The album features all members of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, with the exception of drummer Stan Lynch.
1994: Carly Simon released her sixteenth studio album, Letters Never Sent.
2005: A day after it was released in Europe, Santana’s twentieth studio album, All That I Am, was released in the US.
Don Robey, record label executive, songwriter, record producer, founder of Peacock Records, and eventual owner of Duke Records who developed the careers of many rhythm and blues artists in the 1950s and 1960s, but was notorious for business practices including violence and intimidation, was born in Houston, TX in 1903.
Andre Williams, R&B singer and producer who worked with artists such as Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, Parliament, Ike & Tina Turner, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, in addition to his solo recordings, was born Zephire Andre Williams in Bessemer, AL in 1936.
Mike Burney, jazz saxophonist and member of Wizzard, was born in Great Barr, Birmingham, England in 1944.
Ric Grech, multi-instrumentalist and bassist for Family, Blind Faith, Traffic, and Ginger Baker’s Air Force, was born Richard Roman Grechko in Bordequx, France in 1946.
Bob Weston, guitarist and member of Fleetwood Mac in the early 1970s who also recorded and performed with Graham Bond, Long John Baldry, Murray Head, Sandy Denny, and Danny Kirwan, was born in Plymouth, Devon, England in 1947.
David Foster, musician, record producer, composer, songwriter, and arranger who co-founded Airplay, played with Ronnie Hawkins, Chuck Berry, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Boz Scaggs, co-wrote songs for Chicago, and has produced artists that include Chaka Khan, Chicago, Rod Stewart, Barbara Streisand, and Whitney Houston, was born in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada in 1949.
Dan Peek, singer, songwriter, musician, and member of America, was born in Panama City, FL in 1950.
Beau Jocque, Creole zydeco musician and songwriter, was born Andrus J. Espre in Kinder, LA in 1953.
Lyle Lovett, singer-songwriter, actor, and producer, was born in Klein, TX in 1957.
Eddie MacDonald, bass player with the Alarm, was born in St. Asaph, Wales in 1959.
Anthony Kiedis, lead singer and songwriter for Red Hot Chili Peppers, was born in Grand Rapids, MI in 1962.
Magne “Mags” Furuholmen, songwriter, keyboardist, guitarist, and bassist for A-ha, was born in Oslo, Norway in 1962.