1958: “16 Candles” by The Crests entered the Billboard singles charts. It later became the group’s first and biggest hit record, reaching #2 on the pop charts and #4 on the R&B chart.
1958: Richie Valens’ second single from his self-titled debut album, “Donna” back with “La Bamba,” entered the Billboard pop singles chart. The A-side became Valens’ first top 10 hit, reaching #2 on both the Billboard and Cash Box charts.
1961: Chicago blues legend Howlin’ Wolf made his first appearance in the UK for his premier European tour promoting his latest single, “Little Baby.”
1964: The Who, previously known as “The High Numbers,” performed their first gig under their new name at London’s Marquee Club, kicking off a sixteen-week residency at the venue.
1966: With touring behind them, the Beatles began work on their eighth album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, keen to utilize the recording studio to its fullest potential. The first song recorded was John Lennon’s “Strawberry Fields Forever,” which later incorporated vocal and instrumental overdubs and speed-altering tape effects.
1967: The Beatles released “Hello, Goodbye” backed with “I Am the Walrus,” the group’s first single after the death of manager Brian Epstein. Both tracks were also released as part of the soundtrack LP to their film Magical Mystery Tour.
1967: English progressive rock group Kaleidoscope released their debut album, Tangerine Dream.
1969: Tim Buckley released Blue Afternoon, his fourth studio album, first that he produced himself, and first for Frank Zappa’s Straight Records label.
1971: The Kinks released their ninth studio album, Muswell Hillbillies. Their first album with RCA Records, it was titled after the Muswell Hill area of London where band leader Ray Davies and guitarist Dave Davies grew up and the band formed in the early 1960s.
1972: The Kinks released “Celluloid Heroes,” the second single from their eleventh studio album, Everybody’s in Show-Biz.
1972: Lou Reed released “Walk on the Wild Side,” the first single from his second solo album, Transformer. It was his only song to enter the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart, reaching #16.
1972: David Bowie released “The Jean Genie,” the lead single from his sixth studio album, Aladdin Sane.
1972: Nearly a year after it was released in the US, “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” by John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and the Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir was issued in the UK.
1973: Ringo Starr achieved his first solo #1 single in the US with “Photograph,” a song he’d co-written with fellow Beatles bandmate George Harrison and the only song officially credited to the pair. The record was Starr’s third top 10 hit in the UK, reaching #8.
1974: As the newly-formed Jefferson Starship wrapped up their 1974 tour at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom, former Jefferson Airplane member Marty Balin, who had disassociated himself from the band in 1971, joined them onstage to sing “Caroline,” a song Balin had written with Paul Kantner earlier that year. By the following year, Balin had joined the group with his old bandmates and their next LP, Red Octopus, became the group’s only album to reach #1.
1975: An article in Newsweek Magazine about the sinking of American shipping freighter the SS Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior during a storm inspired Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot to write “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” Released three years later, the song topped the Canadian charts, reached #1 on the US Cash Box chart, and #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it Lightfoot’s second most successful single behind “Sundown.” Lightfoot reportedly considers the song to be his finest work.
1978: London-based new wave group Tubeway Army, lead by singer Gary Numan, released their self-titled debut album.
1978: The Clash released “Tommy Gun,” the first single from their second studio album, Give ‘Em Enough Rope.
1986: Eric Clapton released his tenth solo studio album, August. It was produced by Phil Collins and longtime Clapton associate Tom Dowd.
1989: Phil Collins released his fourth studio album, …But Seriously.
1992: Leonard Cohen released his ninth studio album, The Future. Written and recorded during the same time as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the 1992 Los Angeles riots, it was his longest album to date and features a large cast of musicians and engineers in several different studios.
Tommy Allsup, session guitarist and member of Buddy Holly’s “touring” Crickets, who also worked with Bob Willis, Ritchie Valens, the Big Bopper, Roy Orbison, and Willie Nelson, was born in Owasso, OK in 1931.
Jim Yester, guitarist, vocalist, and keyboardist with The Association, was born in Birmingham, AL in 1939.
Donald “Duck” Dunn, bassist and session musician for Stax Records house band Booker T. and the M.G.’s, who played on thousands of records by countless artists, was born in Memphis, TN in 1941.
Wayne Jackson, soul and R&B musician who played trumpet in the Mar-Keys, the house band at Stax Records, and was a member of The Memphis Horns, was born in West Memphis, AR in 1941.
Pete Best, first drummer for the Beatles from 1960-1962 who later started the Pete Best Band in 1988 with younger brother Roag, was born Randolph Peter Scanland in Madras, India in 1941.
Billy Connelly, musician, actor, and comedian who started out as a member of The Humblebums with Gerry Rafferty and Tam Harvey before going solo, was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1942.
Richard Tee, pianist, studio musician, singer, arranger, and solo artist who has several hundred studio credits, including singles by artists such as Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, Bill Withers, the O’Jays, George Harrison, Billy Joel, was born Richard Ten Ryk in Brooklyn, NY in 1943.
Robin Williamson, multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and founding member of the Incredible String Band, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1943.
Lee Michaels, singer, songwriter, keyboardist, and organist, was born Michael Olsen in Los Angeles, CA in 1945.
Clem Burke, drummer for Blondie who has also played with such groups as The Romantics, Pete Townshend, Eurythmics, Dramarama, The Fleshtones, Iggy Pop, Joan Jett, and the Ramones, was born Clement Bozewski in Bayonne, NJ in 1954.
John Squire, musician, songwriter, and guitarist for The Stone Roses, was born in Broadheath, Altrincham, Cheshire, England in 1962.
Gary Stonadge, bassist for Big Audio Dynamite, was born in 1962.