1962: James Brown’s evening performance at the Apollo Theater in Harlem was recorded for the album Live at the Apollo. Released the following Spring, the self-financed LP by Brown and his vocal group, the Famous Flames, cost $5,700 to produce. Brown’s record label, King Records, originally opposed issuing the album, believing that a live album featuring no new songs would not be profitable, but finally relented under pressure from Brown and his manager, Bud Hobgood. Live at the Apollo went on to sell over a million copies and many record stores found themselves unable to keep up with demand. It went to #2 on the Billboard pop chart and has since been considered one of the greatest live albums.
1963: Bob Dylan recorded “The Times They Are a-Changin’” and “One Too Many Mornings” at Columbia Studios in New York. Both appeared early the next year on Dylan’s third studio album, The Times They Are a-Changin’.
1966: Simon and Garfunkel released their third studio album, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, after spending almost three months in the recording studio. The album peaked at #4 on the Billboard pop chart and was eventually certified triple platinum.
1966: “Mellow Yellow” by Donovan was released in the US. The follow-up to his first US #1 hit earlier that summer, “Sunshine Superman,” it eventually peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #8 in the UK. Paul McCartney contributed backing vocals for the song in addition to playing bass on a portion of Donovan’s Mellow Yellow album. Likewise, Donovan played a small part in helping to write lyrics for the Beatles’ song “Yellow Submarine.”
1969: Paul McCartney publicly denied rumors that he had died in a car accident in 1966. The rumors asserted that after McCartney’s death, he had been replaced by a lookalike, and that the Beatles had hidden clues to Paul’s death in some of their songs. In a November issue of Life magazine, Paul paraphrased Mark Twain, reassuring fans that “Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” “However,” he continued, “if I was dead, I’m sure I’d be the last to know.”
1970: Santana’s second studio album, Abraxas, became the band’s first #1 on the Billboard pop chart.
1970: Pink Floyd achieved their first #1 album with their fifth studio LP, Atom Heart Mother, when it topped the UK chart.
1971: Don McLean released his second studio album, American Pie. Dedicated to Buddy Holly, the LP produced two #1 singles and became McLean’s most successful album, topping the charts in the US and Canada, and reaching #3 in the UK.
1971: The Grateful Dead released their self-titled second live album. Commonly known as Skull and Roses, the double album became their first be certified gold by the RIAA and remained their best seller until it was surpassed by the band’s first compilation album, Skeletons from the Closet: The Best of Grateful Dead.
1973: Jackson Browne released his second studio album, For Everyman. By the end of the year, the LP peaked at #43 on the Billboard pop chart.
1975: Bob Dylan completed the final version of his protest song about the imprisonment of boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter titled “Hurricane.” Two separate takes were spliced together to create the eight-and-a-half minute track.
1975: Elton John released his tenth studio album, Rock of the Westies. The LP debuted on the Billboard pop chart at #1 after his previous album, “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy,” had achieved the same feat.
1975: Roxy Music released their fifth studio album, Siren.
1978: Linda Ronstadt released her version of “Ooh Baby Baby,” a song first recorded by The Miracles in 1965, as the second single from her ninth studio album, Living in the USA.
1978: Bob Dylan released “Changing of the Guards” from his eighteenth studio album, Street-Legal.
1978: The Bee Gees released “Too Much Heaven,” the lead single from their fifteenth studio album, Spirits Having Flown.
1980: In Britain, John Lennon released “(Just Like) Starting Over,” his first single in five years and the first single released from his album with wife Yoko Ono, Double Fantasy. Its US release followed three days later. After Lennon’s death, the single went to #1 on both sides of the Atlantic and was Lennon’s first solo #1 in the UK.
1980: David Bowie released “Fashion” from his fourteenth studio album, Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps).
1980: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark released their second studio album Organisation. It became their first album to reach the top 10 in the UK. Drummer Malcolm Holmes, who had played with the band before, was recruited as a full-time member, replacing a TEAC tape recorder named “Winston.”
1980: Cheap Trick released their their fifth studio, All Shook Up, which was produced by former Beatles producer George Martin.
1980: At a ceremony in London, the British Minister of the Arts presented Paul McCartney with a medallion cast in rhodium to commemorate McCartney being named the most successful composer of all time by the Guinness Book of Records.
1981: Generation X singer Billy Idol put out his first solo release, a four-track EP titled Don’t Stop.
1983: Billy Idol released “Rebel Yell,” the lead single and title track from his second studio album. Idol later said that the inspiration for the song had come from an event he attended in which Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones were drinking from a bottle of “Rebel Yell” bourbon whiskey.
1981: “Leather and Lace” by Stevie Nicks and Don Henley entered the Billboard Hot 100, ultimately reaching #6.
1983: Frankie Goes to Hollywood released their debut single “Relax.” Despite the controversy surrounding the song, it reached #1 on the UK and one of the most commercially successful records of the decade.
1987: Sting topped the UK chart with his second solo album, …Nothing Like the Sun.
1987: John Cougar Mellencamp released “Cherry Bomb,” the second single from his ninth studio album, The Lonesome Jubilee.
1989: The Smithereens released their third studio album, 11. It became the band’s highest reaching album on the Billboard pop chart, peaking at #41.
1989: The court case began between John Fogerty and Fantasy Records, who had acquired the exclusive distribution and publishing rights to the music of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Fantasy had accused Fogerty of plagiarizing his own song, “Run Through the Jungle,” when writing his 1984 solo single “The Old Man Down the Road.” Company executive Saul Zaentz sued Fogerty for $140 million in damages, but even though Zaentz ultimately lost the case, Fogerty was still unable to play his own songs for years. In 2005, after Fantasy Records was sold to the Concord Music Group, Fogerty re-negotiated the rights to his music, and re-signed with the Fantasy label.
1992: Simple Minds went to #1 on the UK chart with the compilation album, Glittering Prize 81-92.
1995: A day after it was issued in the UK, the Smashing Pumpkins’ third studio album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, was released in the US.
1995: Bob Seger released his fifteenth studio album, It’s a Mystery. Recorded with The Silver Bullet Band, it was Seger’s last album before taking a hiatus from the music industry until the release of Face the Promise in 2006.
1995: John Hiatt released Walk On, his thirteenth studio album and first with Capitol Records.
2005: Guitarist Eric Clapton, bassist Jack Bruce, and drummer Ginger Baker completed their brief 2005 reunion tour with a series of concerts at New York’s Madison Square Garden. After three nights of performing, the trio had had enough.
Sonny Terry, blues and folk musician known for his energetic blues harmonica style, was born Saunders Terrell in Greensboro, GA in 1911.
Lewis Hamlin Jr., trumpet player and director of James Brown’s backing band, the Famous Flames, was born in Macon, GA in 1930.
The Big Bopper, musician, songwriter, and disc jockey whose big rockabilly look, style, voice, and exuberant personality made him an early rock and roll star, was born Jiles Perry Richardson Jr. in Sabine Pass, TX in 1930.
Bill Wyman, musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, and bass guitarist for the Rolling Stones from 1962-1993 who later formed Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings, was born William George Perks, Jr. in Lewisham, London, England in 1936.
Jimmy Dawkins, Chicago blues and electric blues guitarist and singer, was born in Tchula, MS in 1936.
Santo Farina, guitarist, songwriter, and half of the duo Santo and Johnny with his brother, was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1937.
Don Gant, singer, songwriter, co-founder of The Neon Philharmonic, and record producer for artists including Jimmy Buffett, Lefty Frizzell, Eddy Raven, and Roy Orbison, was born in 1942.
Ted Templeman, drummer, guitarist, and vocalist with Harpers Bizarre and a record producer for Warner Bros. Records, was born in Santa Cruz, CA in 1944.
Jerry Edmonton, drummer for Steppenwolf, was born Gerald McCrohan in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada in 1946.
Dale “Buffin” Griffin, drummer and founding member of Mott the Hoople, was born Terence Dale Griffin in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, England in 1948.
Alonza Bevan, bassist for Kula Shaker, was born in Hounslow, Middlesex, England in 1970.