1962: The debut album by The Beach Boys, Surfin’ Safari, was released by Capitol Records.
1962: The Beatles signed their first real management contract with Brian Epstein, who would receive twenty-five percent of the group’s earnings. The fathers of George Harrison and Paul McCartney signed for their sons, who were still minors.
1965: After an acoustic set at Carnegie Hall, Bob Dylan presented his new touring band, the Hawks, a group who had formerly backed Ronnie Hawkins. Comprised of electric guitarist Robbie Robertson, organist Garth Hudson, pianist Richard Manuel, bassist Rick Danko, and drummer Levon Helm, the group later achieved success in their own right as The Band.
1965: The Yardbirds released “Evil Hearted You.” The single reached #3 on the UK chart and was written by Graham Gouldman, who had written the band’s two previous singles, “For Your Love” and “Heart Full of Soul.”
1965: The Byrds released “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season),” the lead single and title track from their second studio album. Written by Pete Seeger and adapted from the Book of Ecclesiastes, The Byrds’ recording became the most successful version of the song, striking a nerve with the American public as the Vietnam War escalated. It became their second #1 single, their final top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and reached #26 in the UK. Roger McGuinn had created the song’s arrangement for Judy Collins’ 1964 album, Judy Collins 3, and in July of 1965, during the Byrds’ tour of the American Midwest, McGuinn’s future wife, Dolores, requested The Byrds record the song. The master recording reportedly took seventy-eight takes spread over five days to complete.
1966: Jimi Hendrix made his UK stage debut when he jumped onstage to jam with newly formed Cream at London’s Regent Street Polytechnic. Former Animals bassist and Hendrix manager Chas Chandler bumped into Cream members Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce shortly after accompanying Hendrix to England and told them about the guitarist he’d brought from America. Clapton encouraged Chandler to bring him to Cream’s show at the Polytechnic, and Hendrix’s performance of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killing Floor” in double-time made an indelible impression on Clapton and Cream.
1966: Moody Blues co-founder Denny Laine left the band. Replaced by Justin Hayward, Laine formed the Electric String Band later that year. He then briefly played with Balls and Ginger Baker’s Air Force before joining Paul McCartney’s band, Wings, all the while releasing his own solo albums.
1967: Pink Floyd arrived in New York to begin their initial US tour in support of their first album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. The band’s visas had failed to arrive in the US on time, so the first six tour dates had to be canceled. After several cancellations, their first US performance was given early in November at San Francisco’s Winterland Auditorium.
1969: The Beatles’ eleventh studio album, Abbey Road, was released in US less than a week after it was issued in the UK. Though their following album, Let It Be, was the final album the band completed, the sessions for Abbey Road were the last to include all four members of the group.
1969: The Byrds released “Ballad of Easy Rider,” the lead single and title track from their eighth studio album. Written by Roger McGuinn with help from Bob Dylan, the song was initially released as a solo performance by McGuinn as part of the soundtrack to the 1969 film “Easy Rider.”
1969: The Monkees released The Monkees Present, their eighth studio album. It was the group’s second album released after the departure of Peter Tork and the last to feature Michael Nesmith until Justus in 1996.
1970: Curtis Mayfield left the Impressions to start a solo career and form his own record label, Curtom Records. Curtom went on to release records by the Impressions, Leroy Hutson, the Five Stairsteps, the Staple Singers, Mavis Staples, Linda Clifford, and Baby Huey and the Babysitters, many of which were produced by Mayfield.
1970: During sessions for her second solo album, “Pearl,” in Los Angeles, Janis Joplin recorded an a cappella take of “Mercedes Benz.” It was the last song she recorded before her death three days later.
1971: Cat Stevens’ fifth studio album, Teaser and the Firecat, was released. The LP shared a title with a children’s book written and illustrated by Stevens that was published a year later and has been out of print since the mid 1970s.
1973: Elvis Presley’s nineteenth studio album, Raised on Rock / For Ol’ Times Sake, was released.
1974: “Cats in the Cradle” from Harry Chapin’s fourth studio album, Verities & Balderdash, was released as a single. Less than a week later, the single entered the Billboard Hot 100 and eventually became his first and only US top 20 hit and first single to reach #1 in late December.
1974: John Cale released Fear, his fourth solo studio album and first of three LPs for Island Records.
1976: John Mellencamp, then known as “Johnny Cougar,” released his debut studio album, Chestnut Street Incident. The album was co-produced by David Bowie’s manager, Tony Defries, who changed Mellencamp’s name to “Johnny Cougar.” Mellencamp later said he had no knowledge of the name change until the album was finished, and it took him fifteen years before he had his real full name on an album.
1977: The Runaways released their third studio album, Waitin’ for the Night. It was their first as a quartet and saw Joan Jett take over lead vocals after the departure of Cherie Currie.
1982: Marvin Gaye released his seventeenth studio album, Midnight Love. It was Gaye’s last album released before his death and ultimately became the most successful album of his career.
1982: Steely Dan co-founder Donald Fagen released his debut solo studio album, The Nightfly.
1984: U2 released their fourth studio album, The Unforgettable Fire. It was the band’s first album produced by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois after they decided pursue a new musical direction following the harder-hitting rock of their previous album, War.
1984: The Ramones released Too Tough to Die, their eighth studio album and first with drummer Richie Ramone.
1984: Joan Jett released her fourth studio album and third with her backing band the Blackhearts, Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth.
1985: Sting released “Fortress Around Your Heart,” the third single from his first solo album, The Dream of the Blue Turtles.
1986: Prince released Diamonds and Pearls, his thirteenth studio album and first with his new backing band, The New Power Generation.
1988: Tracy Chapman released “Baby Can I Hold You,” the third and final single from her self-titled debut studio album.
1992: R.E.M. released “Drive” as lead single from their eighth studio album, Automatic for the People.
1994: Eric Clapton topped the Billboard pop chart with his blues cover album, From the Cradle. Clapton’s twelfth solo studio album, it was his second to #1 in the US and first #1 in the UK.
2001: Elton John released his twenty-sixth studio album, Songs from the West Coast.
Richard Harris, actor and singer, was born in Limerick, Ireland in 1930.
Albert Collins, blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter known as “The Master of the Telecaster,” was born in Leona, TX in 1932.
Geoff Stephens, songwriter and record producer who co-wrote many hit songs and formed The New Vaudeville Band, was born in New Southgate, North London, England in 1934.
Jerry Martini, saxophonist and co-founder of Sly and the Family Stone, was born in Denver, CO in 1943.
Donny Hathaway, soul singer, keyboardist, songwriter, and arranger, was born in Chicago, IL in 1945.
Martin Turner, bass guitarist, lead vocalist, and a founding member of Wishbone Ash, was born in Torquay, Devon, England in 1947.
Mariska Veres, lead singer for Shocking Blue, was born Maria Elisabeth Ender in The Hague, Netherlands in 1947.
Earl Slick, guitarist and solo artist known for his collaborations with artists that include David Bowie, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Robert Smith, was born Frank Madeloni in Brooklyn, NY in 1952.
Yogi Horton, session and touring drummer who worked with Aretha Franklin, John Lennon, David Byrne, Deborah Harry, Hall & Oates, Diana Ross, The B-52’s, and many others, was born Lawrence Horton in 1953.
Martin Cooper, keyboardist and saxophonist for Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark, was born in Liverpool, England in 1958.
Youssou N’Dour, singer, songwriter, composer, and politician who has collaborated with artists that include Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Tracy Chapman, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Lou Reed, and Bruce Cockburn, was born in Dakar, Senegal in 1959.