1955: Buddy Holly, along with sidemen Larry Welborn and Bob Montgomery, opened for Bill Haley and his Comets at a concert in Lubbock, TX. In the audience was talent agent Eddie Crandall, who, in a few weeks, arranged for Holly to record his first demo.
1957: “Wake Up Little Susie” by the Everly Brothers was #1 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart. In the weeks to follow, the record also topped the “Most Played by Jockeys” and “Top 100” lists.
1957: Sun Records released one of the first albums issued on the label, Johnny Cash’s debut album, Johnny Cash with His Hot and Blue Guitar!.
1964: The Marvelettes released “Too Many Fish in the Sea,” which later became the group’s first top 40 pop hit in almost a year, reaching #25 on the Billboard Hot 100. The single is the only one in which members Georgeanna Tillman and Katherine Anderson had lead on the A-side, and it was the final A-side appearance for Tillman. It was the first single produced by Norman Whitfield as well as one of the first hits written by Whitfield, who co-wrote the song with Eddie Holland.
1966: “Friday on My Mind” by Australian band The Easybeats was released in the UK. It became their first international hit, reaching #1 Australia, #6 in Britain, #16 on Billboard Hot 100, in addition to charting in several other countries.
1966: Former R&B cover band Pink Floyd debuted an entire set of original music at All Saints Hall in London.
1967: Bobbie Gentry’s debut album, Ode to Billie Joe, took the top spot on the Billboard pop chart, ending the Beatles’ fifteen-week run at #1 with their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.
1967: Sam & Dave started seven weeks at #1 on the Billboard R&B chart with their second song to top the chart, “Soul Man.”
1967: Martha Reeves and the Vandellas released “Honey Chile,” the first single that billed Martha Reeves by her full name.
1968: Tyrannosaurus Rex released their second studio album, Prophets, Seers & Sages: The Angels of the Ages. The LP failed to chart, but after the success of the T. Rex albums Electric Warrior in 1971 and The Slider in 1972, Prophets, Seers & Sages: The Angels of the Ages was paired and reissued with their first album, My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair… But Now They’re Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows, and reached #1 on the UK chart. The double LP was titled Tyrannosaurus Rex: A Beginning by A&M Records for release in the US, where the original albums had never before been released.
1969: “Someday We’ll Be Together” by the Supremes was released. The song had been originally written by Johnny Bristol, Jackey Beavers, and Harvey Fuqua in 1961 and recorded by Bristol and Beavers as “Johnny and Jackey” for the Tri-Phi label the same year. The label was afterward bought by Motown, and all three songwriters joined Berry Gordy’s record company. In 1969, Bristol was preparing a new version of the song for Jr. Walker & the All-Stars, but Gordy felt the song would be perfect as the first solo singer for Diana Ross, who was making her exit from the Supremes. Bristol harmonized with Ross in the studio as a warm-up, and Bristol’s ad-libbed vocal track with words of encouragement for Ross was accidentally recorded. Bristol liked the results and has his vocal recorded alongside Ross’s for the final version. When Gordy heard the song, he decided to have it released as the final single by Diana Ross & the Supremes even though neither of the Supremes’ other members sang on the record. Ross’s first solo single instead became “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand),” released in 1970.
1969: Elvis Presley released his eleventh album and first live album, From Memphis to Vegas / From Vegas to Memphis. The first half of the double album contains live recordings of Presley’s hits at the International Hotel in Winchester, Nevada, while the second LP contains new material recorded at American Sound Studio in Memphis.
1970: The Spinners had their first #1 on the Billboard R&B chart with “I’ll Be Around.” Three weeks later the song also became the group’s first to enter the top 10 on the pop chart.
1972: 14-year-old Michael Jackson achieved his first solo #1 on the Billboard pop chart with “Ben.”
1974: Jethro Tull released “Bungle in the Jungle,” the first single from their seventh studio album, War Child, which was released the same day in the US. Both the single and the album were simultaneously released in the UK twelve days later.
1977: Heroes, David Bowie’s twelfth studio album, was released. The second installment of Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy produced by Brian Eno and Tony Visconti, it was the only album of the trilogy to be wholly recorded in Berlin, and featured contributions by King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp. The album’s title track remains one of Bowie’s best known and acclaimed songs.
1977: Elvis Costello released his fourth single, “Watching the Detectives.” Inspired by the Clash and composer Bernard Herrmann, it became Costello’s first hit single on any national chart, reaching #15 in the UK and charting modestly in the US, Canada, and Australia.
1977: Ultravox, at the time known as “Ultravox!,” released their second studio album, Ha!-Ha!-Ha!.
1980: Earth, Wind & Fire released their tenth studio album, Faces.
1981: Prince released this fourth studio album, Controversy. It was produced by Prince, written (with the exception of one track) by him, and he also performed most of the instruments on its recording.
1983: Cyndi Lauper released her debut studio album, She’s So Unusual.
1985: INXS released their fifth studio album, Listen Like Thieves. It became the group’s second #1 in their home country of Australia and is also considered their international breakthrough, reaching #11 in the US and and charting in several other countries.
1985: The Cars released “Tonight She Comes.” It was the group’s final top 10 hit on the pop charts, reaching #7 on the Billboard Hot 100, and their final #1 on Billboard’s Top Rock Tracks chart.
1989: Tracy Chapman’s second album, Crossroads, became her second #1 LP on the UK chart.
1991: Belinda Carlisle released her fourth studio album, Live Your Life Be Free.
1994: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant released No Quarter: Jimmy Page & Robert Plant Unledded, a live reunion album recorded during an MTV special titled UnLedded. In addition to acoustic numbers, the album features a reworking of Led Zeppelin classics featuring a Moroccan string band and an Egyptian orchestra.
1996: Donovan released his sixteenth studio album, Sutras. After the success of Johnny Cash’s stripped-down American Recordings, producer Rick Rubin sought out other artists who he felt would benefit from the same model. By the time recording sessions began in 1995, Donovan had prepared over one hundred songs.
2007: Filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich’s documentary about Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Runnin’ Down a Dream, debuted at the New York Film Festival.
2008: Lucinda Williams released her ninth studio album, Little Honey, which includes guest appearances by Elvis Costello, Susanna Hoffs, Matthew Sweet and Charlie Louvin.
2014: Bob Seger released his seventeenth studio album, Ride Out.
Bill Justis, pioneering rock and roll musician, composer, arranger, and songwriter best known for the 1957 instrumental hit “Raunchy,” was born William Everett Justis, Jr. in Birmingham, AL in 1926.
Robert Parker, R&B singer and musician who started his career as a saxophonist playing with such artists as Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, Irma Thomas, and Huey Smith, was born in New Orleans, LA in 1932.
Cliff Richard, early rock and roll singer and musician, was born Harry Rodger Webb in Lucknow, United Provinces, British India in in 1940.
Billy Harrison, guitarist, vocalist, and founding member of Them, was born in 1942.
Denis D’Ell, lead singer and harmonica player for The Honeycombs, was born Dennis James Dalziel in London, England in 1943.
Colin “Bomber” Hodgkinson, bass player with Alexis Korner, Rocket 88, Spencer Davis Group, Ten Years After, and co-founded Back Door, was born in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England in 1945.
Justin Hayward, songwriter, guitarist, solo artist, and lead singer with The Moody Blues, was born in Swindon, Wiltshire, England in 1946.
Norman Harris, soul and R&B guitarist, songwriter, arranger, founding member Philadelphia studio band Mother Father Sister Brother, and a producer for acts that include the Four Tops, The Temptations, Curtis Mayfield, Blue Magic, Eddie Kendricks, and Barbara Mason, was born in Danville, VA in 1947.
Kazumi Watanabe, jazz fusion guitarist, was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1953.
Thomas Dolby, singer, songwriter, musician, and producer, was born Thomas Morgan Robertson in London, England in 1958.
Natalie Maines, singer, songwriter, activist, and leader singer of The Chicks, was born in Lubbock, TX in 1974.