1957: Jerry Lee Lewis recorded “Great Balls of Fire” at Sun Studio in Memphis. The single later reached #2 on the Billboard pop chart, became his second #1 on both the R&B and Country charts, and was his first #1 in the UK.
1962: After five years on the gospel music circuit, Little Richard made his return to rock and roll as he kicked off his first ever tour of the UK, sharing the bill with Sam Cooke, Jet Harris, The Jetblacks, Sounds Incorporated, and The Breakaways.
1964: At EMI’s studios in London, the Beatles recorded “She’s a Woman,” an attempt by Paul McCartney to imitate Little Richard’s vocal style. The song was later released as the B-side of their Christmas single, “I Feel Fine.”
1965: Dusty Springfield released her second studio album, Ev’rything’s Coming Up Dusty.
1966: After switching to a freeform-based progressive rock format at the end of July, WOR-FM in New York City, under the leadership of disc jockey Murray “the K” Kaufman, finally had their first day of broadcast with disc jockeys after the AFTRA union resolved a pay dispute with parent company RKO. The freeform format was the first of its kind in New York City radio and other notable jockeys on the station at the time included Scott Muni and William “Rosko” Mercer.
1966: Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels entered the Billboard Hot 100 with a medley of Shorty Long’s “Devil With a Blue Dress” and Little Richard’s “Good Golly, Miss Molly.” The single later became their only top 5 hit on the chart.
1968: While still a member of the Jeff Beck Group, singer Rod Stewart signed a solo contract with Mercury Records.
1968: The Beatles recorded “I’m So Tired” and “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” for their self-titled ninth studio album known as the “White Album.”
1968: At the same time that the Mamas and the Papas were breaking up, Cass Elliot made her live debut as a solo artist at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Shortly before her first performance, however, Elliot became ill and was unable to rehearse with her band. The shows weren’t canceled, and what initially was planned to be three weeks of shows was over in one night after harsh reviews lead to the cancellation of all remaining performances, after which Elliot returned to Los Angeles.
1971: The Hollies released their eleventh studio album, Distant Light, in the UK. It was the group’s last UK album before the brief departure of lead vocalist and founding member Allan Clarke. The LP was later issued in the US in April of 1972.
1972: Billy Preston released his seventh studio album, Music Is My Life. The LP contains Preston’s first #1 single, “Will It Go Round in Circles,” and was his first to feature his future A&M Records label-mates the Brothers Johnson.
1977: Following Peter Gabriel’s departure two years earlier, guitarist Steve Hackett announced that he was leaving Genesis to pursue a solo career.
1977: Bill Joel’s breakthrough fifth studio LP, The Stranger, entered the Billboard pop chart on it’s way to #2 in February.
1980: Talking Heads released their fourth studio album, Remain in Light. Longtime collaborator and producer Brian Eno sought to assist the group in dispelling notions that the band was merely a vehicle for frontman and songwriter David Byrne, drawing on influences from Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, African polyrhythms, funk, and electronics. Sessions also included side musicians including Adrian Belew, Nona Hendryx, and Jon Hassell.
1980: Prince released his third studio album, Dirty Mind.
1981: Beach Boys co-founder Mike Love released his debut solo studio album, Looking Back with Love.
1983: Yes released “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” the first track and lead single from their eleventh studio album, 90125. The song later became the group’s only single to reach #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and Mainstream Rock charts.
1987: Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll, director Taylor Hackford’s documentary tribute to Chuck Berry, with Keith Richards as musical director, made its US theatrical debut the same day that Berry was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1988: U2 had their first #1 single in the UK with “Desire,” the lead single from the group’s hybrid live/studio album, Rattle and Hum.
1991: Eric Clapton released his fifth live album, 24 Nights, which comprises performances from forty-two concerts at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 1990 and 1991.
1991: John Mellencamp released Whenever We Wanted, his eleventh studio album and first to be credited to his real name without his former “Cougar” stage name.
1996: Chris Isaak released his sixth studio album, Baja Sessions.
1996: Jimmy Buffett released Christmas Island, his first Christmas album and twenty-fifth overall.
2000: Radiohead achieved their second #1 on the UK album chart with their fourth studio album, Kid A. Two weeks later, the album became the group’s first #1 in the US, debuting at the top of the Billboard chart.
2001: Simple Minds released Neon Lights, a collection of cover versions put together as a warm up for what would be the next album, Cry.
2002: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released their eleventh studio album, The Last DJ. The album marked the return of bassist Ron Blair, albeit late in the recording process.
2002: Gov’t Mule released The Deep End, Volume 2, their fifth studio album and second release featuring songs recorded with guest bassists following the death of original bass player Allen Woody.
Pete Drake, Nashville-based record producer, pedal steel guitar player, and one of the most sought-after backup musicians of the 1960s, who played on thousands of recordings and was the first to popularize use of the effects unit known as the talk box, was born Roddis Franklin Drake in Augusta, GA in 1932.
Doc Green, baritone member of The Drifters from 1958-1962, was born in 1934.
Fred Cash, soul singer and member of The Impressions, was born in Chattanooga, TN in 1940.
Buzz Clifford, pop singer and songwriter who wrote songs recorded by artists such as Petula Clark, Clyde McPhatter, Lou Rawls, Leon Russell, Freddie King, and Kris Kristofferson, was born Reese Francis Clifford III in Berwyn, IL in 1941.
Dave Arbus, multi-instrumentalist and co-founder of East of Eden, was born in Leicester, England in 1941.
Ray Royer, original guitarist for Procol Harum who left after the group’s first single to co-found Freedom, was born in Essex, England in 1945.
Butch Rillera, drummer for Redbone, was born in 1945.
Tony Wilson, songwriter, bassist for Hot Chocolate, and a solo artist, was born in Trinidad in 1947.
Johnny Ramone, songwriter, guitarist, and founding member of the Ramones, was born John William Cummings in Forest Hills, NY in 1948.
Hamish Stuart, guitarist, bassist, singer, composer, record producer, and original member of Average White Band who later joined Paul McCartney’s band in 1989, Ringo Starr’s All-Star band in 2006, and has also worked with such artists as Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Smokey Robinson, and Diana Ross, was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1949.
CeCe Winans, gospel singer, was born Priscilla Marie Winans in Detroit, MI in 1964.