1955: “The Great Pretender” by The Platters was released. The song was written by their manager and producer, Buck Ram, who had previously been a successful songwriter. The record became the group’s second #1 on the R&B chart and first #1 on the pop charts.
1956: Elvis Presley topped Billboard’s Best Sellers in Stores and Most Played by Jockeys lists with “Love Me Tender.”
1957: Sam Cooke appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show to sing his debut single, “You Send Me.” Cooke was the final act of the program and his performance was unfortunately cut short moments into the first verse when the live program ran long. The Ed Sullivan Show received so many complaints that Cooke was immediately re-booked for December 1. After his televised performance, “You Send Me” hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100.
1962: “He’s a Rebel” by The Crystals became the group’s first and only #1 and first of three top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100. In reality, the song was recorded by a trio called the Blossoms. The song’s writer, Gene Pitney, had originally intended it for the Shirelles, but they had declined. Producer Phil Spector then learned that singer Vicki Carr planned to release her recording of the song as her debut single, and Spector was determined to have his own version on sale first and beat her to the chart. Since the Crystals were currently on tour on the east coast, Spector had Los Angeles girl group The Blossoms record the song, but credited it to the Crystals, much to the Crystals’ surprise when they heard “their” new song introduced by disc jockeys on the radio. The quintet shortly after was joined by 15-year-old Dolores Brookes, since none of the Crystals’ members could mimic Blossoms lead singer Darlene Love.
1963: One of the first instances of the term “folk rock” was used by Billboard magazine to label “Devil’s Waitin’” by The Glencoves, which the magazine described as “having a wide-open folk rock sound.”
1965: The Beatles recorded “Michelle” for their sixth studio album, Rubber Soul. The song later won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1967.
1966: Jefferson Airplane recorded “Somebody to Love” at RCA’s studios in Hollywood, California. The song had been written by singer Grace Slicks’ brother-in-law Darby Slick while he and Grace had been members of their previous band, The Great Society.
1966: The Easybeats released Volume 3, the band’s third studio album and last recorded in their home country of Australia before relocating to England.
1967: The Beatles completed filming for their television movie special Magical Mystery Tour, with sequences for George Harrison’s song “Blue Jay Way” shot at Sunny Heights and Ringo Starr’s house in Weybridge.
1967: Fleetwood Mac released their first single, “I Believe My Time Ain’t Long.” A cover of Robert Johnson’s “Dust My Broom,” the record was specifically patterned after Elmore James’ rendition from 1951 that made the song a blues classic.
1969: Diana Ross & the Supremes released Cream of the Crop, their eighteenth studio album and last to feature lead singer Diana Ross.
1970: Diana Ross released her second solo studio album, Everything Is Everything.
1972: Thin Lizzy released their rendition of the traditional Irish song Whiskey in the Jar.
1973: Hall & Oates released their second studio album, Abandoned Luncheonette. It reached #33 on the Billboard chart and was their most commercially successful during their time with Atlantic Records.
1973: The Who’s double album Quadrophenia was released in America, where it later reached #2 on the Billboard pop chart.
1977: During a concert at the Empire Pool in London, Elton John announced that he would not be touring anymore before playing “Sorry Seems to Be The Hardest Word.” It ended up being a short retirement, and two years later, he was back on the road.
1979: The Eagles’ sixth studio album, The Long Run, reached #1 after debuting on the Billboard chart at #2 two weeks prior.
1979: Sly Stone released Back on the Right Track as the ninth studio album attributed to Sly and the Family Stone. It was the second LP by Stone credited to the group after their breakup in 1975, though some of the original Family Stone members, including Cynthia Robinson, Pat Rizzo, Freddie Stone, and Rose Stone, make contributions to this album. It was also the first Sly Stone album not produced by Stone. The project was instead lead by Mark Davis.
1979: British musician Robin Scott, using the pseudonym “M,” topped the Billboard Hot 100 with his only entry on the chart, “Pop Muzic.” The song had reached #2 in the UK earlier in May.
1984: Paul McCartney went to #1 on the UK album chart with Give My Regards to Broad Street, his fifth studio album and the soundtrack to the film of the same name.
1984: Chaka Khan topped the Billboard R&B chart with “I Feel For You,” the title track from her fifth solo album.
1986: John Lennon’s second posthumous album, Menlove Ave., was released in the UK a week after it was issued in the US.
1986: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds released their fourth studio album, Your Funeral… My Trial.
1987: Prince released “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man,” the fourth and final single form his ninth studio album, Sign o’ the Times.
1991: An estimated 300,000 people attended a free concert at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco to see Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Journey, Santana, Jackson Browne, Tracy Chapman, John Fogerty, the Grateful Dead, and Joan Baez who all performed to honor promoter Bill Graham, who had died the week before.
1992: Bob Dylan released his twenty-eighth studio album, Good as I Been to You. Composed entirely of traditional folk songs and covers, it was Dylan’s first entirely solo, acoustic album since Another Side of Bob Dylan in 1964.
1995: Bonnie Raitt and Bryan Adams released Rock Steady, a duet by the pair from Raitt’s “Road Tested” live album that was written by Adams and Gretchen Peters.
1998: Beck released his sixth studio album, Mutations.
2004: Eric Clapton was named Commander of the British Empire at Buckingham Palace in London.
Mable John, blues vocalist and the first female signed by Berry Gordy to Motown’s Tamla label who also recorded for Stax Records and was a member of Ray Charles’ backing group, the The Raelettes, was born in Bastrop, LA in 1930.
Bert Jansch, leading figure of the 1960s British folk revival, collaborator with artists such as John Renbourn and Anne Briggs, and a founding member of Pentangle, was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1943.
Nick Simper, bass guitarist and founding member of Deep Purple and Warhorse who began his career in bands such as Johnny Kidd & the Pirates, The Flower Pot Men, and Lord Sutch’s Savages, was born in Norwood Green, Southall, Middlesex, England in 1945.
Bobby LaKind, conga player, vocalist, songwriter and occasional backup drummer with The Doobie Brothers who started out with the band as a lighting roadie, was born in New York in 1945.
Tommy “Dee” DeGeneres, keyboardist for John Fred and His Playboy Band, was born in Baton Rouge, LA in 1946.
Joe Lala, musician, percussionist, actor, voice actor, singer, and co-founder of Blues Image who also worked with The Byrds, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Manassas, The Stills-Young Band, The Bee Gees, Whitney Houston, Joe Walsh, Andy Gibb, and many others, was born in Ybor City, FL in 1947.
Lulu, singer-songwriter, actress, and television personality, was born Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie in Lennoxtown, Stirlingshire, Scotland in 1948.
Adam Ant, singer, musician, and leader of Adam and the Ants, was born Stuart Leslie Goddard in Marylebone, London, England in 1954.
Ian McNabb, singer-songwriter, musician, and former frontman for The Icicle Works, was born Robert Ian McNabb in Mossley Hill, Liverpool, England in 1960.
James Prime, keyboardist for Deacon Blue, was born in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland in 1960.
Matthew Ashman, guitarist with Adam and the Ants and Bow Wow Wow, was born in Mill Hill, Barnet, England in 1960.
Steven Wilson, singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist, and founder of Porcupine Tree who has worked with such artists as King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Andy Partridge, Yes, Marillion, Tears for Fears, and Roxy Music, was born in Kingston upon Thames, London, England in 1967.
Courtney Barnett, singer, songwriter, and musician, was born in Sydney, Australia in 1987.