1961: Lee Dorsey achieved his only #1 hit with “Ya Ya” when it topped the Billboard R&B chart. It was also his first and highest-reaching record on the Hot 100 chart, where it peaked at #7.
1964: Irish band Them, fronted by 19-year-old Van Morrison, released their version of the traditional Delta blues song “Baby, Please Don’t Go.” Their rendition was heavily inspired by John Lee Hooker’s version of the song, which he recorded in 1949 as “Don’t Go Baby.” It became the group’s first charting single, reaching #10 in the UK and #102 in the US. The record’s B-side, “Gloria,” was written by Morrison and became a garage rock staple.
1964: During their first promotional visit to Britain, the Beach Boys appeared live on ITV’s Ready Steady Go!, performing “I Get Around” and “When I Grow Up (to Be a Man).”
1965: Jefferson Airplane, then a relatively unknown band, performed at the San Francisco Mime Troupe Appeal Party at the Calliope Ballroom, the first concert organized by promoter Bill Graham. Graham had been hired to manage the troupe, whose fourth performance of the Italian play Il Candelaio in San Francisco park had been banned when the parks commission revoked their permit, citing their production as “indecent, obscene, and offensive.” The troupe’s founder, Ronald Davis, however, claimed the reason the city banned the play was that it was “critical of bourgeois society.” Graham alerted the press to the impending confrontation and drew a crowd of 1,000 who witnessed Davis’ arrest. The following year, a San Francisco judge ruled that the parks commission could not censor performances in the park. The benefit that Graham had organized raised $4,000 for the Mime Troupe and a few months later, Graham leased a venue called the Fillmore and started hiring local bands to perform there.
1965: After the success of their hit single “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” the Rolling Stones topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the second time with “Get Off of My Cloud.”
1965: “It’s My Life” by the Animals entered the Billboard Hot 100, eventually peaking at #23. The song was written for the group by Brill Building songwriters Roger Atkins and Carl D’Errico.
1966: The Beach Boys’ 1966 UK tour started at Finsbury Park, Astoria in London.
1967: The Monkees released their fourth studio album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.. Recorded as the group began exerting more control over their music, it became their fourth consecutive album to reach #1 in the US.
1968: The Monkees’ $750,000 feature film Head premiered in New York City. The satirical musical adventure features appearances by Frank Zappa, Dennis Hopper, boxer Sonny Liston, as well as the film’s co-writers: director Bob Rafelson and co-producer Jack Nicholson.
1968: Joe Cocker topped the UK chart with his first #1 single, a cover of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends.”
1970: “Lonely Days” by The Bee Gees was released. The song became their first top five hit in the US, peaking at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and reached #1 on the Cash Box and Record World charts. The song had been written during the trio’s reunion sessions, after Robin Gibb had left the group early the same year.
1970: “No Matter What,” the lead single from Badfinger’s No Dice album, was released.
1970: Former Pink Floyd frontman Syd Barrett released his second and final solo studio album, Barrett. The LP was produced by Pink Floyd members David Gilmour and Richard Wright, who also provided musical backing.
1971: Marvin Gaye went to #1 on Billboard’s R&B chart with “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler),” the third single from his eleventh studio album, What’s Going On.
1971: The Who released “Behind Blue Eyes,” the third single from their fifth studio album, Who’s Next.
1971: Sly and the Family Stone released “Family Affair,” the lead single from their fifth studio album, There’s a Riot Goin’ On. It became the group’s third #1 on the US pop and R&B charts.
1971: Philadelphia R&B group The Stylistics released their self-titled debut album.
1976: The Steve Miller Band scored their second US #1 hit with “Rock’n Me,” the second single from their ninth studio album, Fly Like an Eagle. The record achieved lasting commercial and critical success, reaching #1 in Canada, #3 in the US, and #11 in the UK.
1980: At London’s Hammersmith Odeon, Paul Simon kicked off a tour of the UK by buying a drink for each member of the audience, amounting to a $2,000 tab.
1981: The Cars released their fourth studio album, Shake It Up.
1981: Rod Stewart released his eleventh studio album, Tonight I’m Yours.
1981: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark released their third studio album, Architecture & Morality.
1982: Marvin Gaye started ten weeks at #1 on the Billboard R&B chart with “Sexual Healing,” the lead single from his seventeenth studio album, Midnight Love.
1983: The Pointer Sisters released their tenth studio album, Break Out. It reached #6 on the Billboard R&B chart and became their only top 10 LP on the US and UK pop charts, peaking at #8 and #9 respectively.
1987: Stevie Wonder released his twenty-first studio album, Characters.
1989: “Woman in Chains” by Tears for Fears and featuring singer Oleta Adams was released as the second single from the group’s third studio album, The Seeds of Love.
1990: Steve Winwood released his sixth solo studio album, Refugees of the Heart.
1990: The Pogues released their fifth studio album, Hell’s Ditch.
1995: Queen released Made in Heaven, the group’s fifteenth and final studio album, as well as the group’s first release after the death of lead singer Freddie Mercury. The remaining members worked with vocal and piano recordings by Mercury before his death, adding new instrumentation. The album later debuted at #1 on the UK chart and reached #58 in the US.
2004: Rod Stewart scored his first #1 album in the US in twenty-five years with Stardust: The Great American Songbook Volume III.
2007: Dion released his thirteenth studio album, Son of Skip James. The LP mostly consists of covers of well-known blues songs and its title references blues legend Skip James, to whom Dion was a friend.
Adolphe Sax, musician and inventor of the saxophone, was born in Dinant, Southern Netherlands in 1814.
Paul English, longtime drummer for Willie Nelson, was born in Vernon, TX in 1932.
Joseph Pope, co-founder of R&B and soul group The Tams, was born in Atlanta, GA in 1933.
Eugene Pitt, co-founder of doo wop and soul group The Jive Five, was born in Brooklyn, New York City in 1937.
P.J. Proby, singer, songwriter, and actor, was born James Marcus Smith in Houston, TX in 1938.
Guy Clark, folk and country singer-songwriter whose songs have been recorded by artists including Jerry Jeff Walker, Jimmy Buffett, Lyle Lovett, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and others, was born in Monahans, TX in 1941.
Doug Sahm, songwriter, guitarist, and band leader of the Sir Douglas Quintet, was born in San Antonio, TX in 1941.
George Young, founding member of The Easybeats and Flash and the Pan and one-half of the songwriting and production duo Vanda & Young, was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1946.
Glenn Frey, guitarist, vocalist, pianist, songwriter, solo artist, and original member of the Eagles, was born in Detroit, MI in 1948.
Rushton Moreve, original bassist for Steppenwolf who co-wrote their hit single “Magic Carpet Ride,” was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1948.