1952: At Atlantic Records on West 56th Street in New York City, company president Ahmet Ertegun began recording his newest signing, 21-year-old Ray Charles, who’d signed with Atlantic eight days earlier.
1958: Lloyd Price recorded “Stagger Lee” in New York City for ABC-Paramount. Originally recorded by Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians in 1911 as “Stack O’ Lee Blues,” the American folk song that recounts the murder of Billy Lyons by “Stag” Lee Shelton in St. Louis, Missouri in 1895. Price’s version ended up reaching the top Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in February of 1959.
1962: Sam Cooke released “Nothing Can Change This Love” backed with “Somebody Have Mercy” as the lead single from his eleventh studio album, Mr. Soul.
1962: Following their third studio session a week earlier, the Beatles returned to EMI’s London studios for a third attempt at recording both sides of their debut single. Producer George Martin was worried about the quality of Ringo Starr’s drumming, so he brought in experienced session player Andy White to play for the session. Starr was relegated to playing tambourine on “Love Me Do” and maracas on its B-side, a remake of “P.S. I Love You.” The band also recorded a new arrangement of their song “Please Please Me” after Martin expressed his displeasure with the slow, Roy Orbison-styled rehearsal from the previous week. Afterward, EMI began pressing “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You” as the Beatles’ debut single. Initial pressings featured Ringo Starr on drums from the September 4th session, but these were later replaced with the Andy White version.
1964: Beatles member George Harrison formed his own music publishing company, Mornyork Ltd, which by early December later that year, changed its name to Harrisongs Ltd. Both Harrison and fellow Beatles member Ringo Starr had been unsatisfied with their writer’s royalties and the unremarkable status implicit in their business arrangement with Northern Songs, a company established in 1963 by music publisher Dick James and Beatles manager Brian Epstein on behalf of primary Beatles songwriters John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Harrison wrote “Only a Northern Song” in 1967 about his dissatisfaction with the company, and upon the expiration of his contract in 1968, left Norther Songs and adopted Harrisongs. Starr similarly founded Startling Music.
1964: Manfred Mann’s debut British album, The Five Faces of Manfred Mann, was released in the UK. A significantly different LP with the same name was later released as the group’s second album in the US the following February.
1965: The Beatles topped the Billboard pop chart for the first of nine weeks with the North American version of their fifth studio album, Help!.
1967: The Beatles began filming their television film, Magical Mystery Tour, shooting throughout the West Country of England, including Devon and Cornwall, although most of the footage was not used in the finished film.
1967: Chad & Jeremy released their sixth studio album, Of Cabbages and Kings.
1968: The Beatles began recording “Glass Onion” for their self-titled double album known as “The White Album.”
1970: Billy Preston released his fifth studio album, Encouraging Words. Produced by Preston and George Harrison, it was Preston’s last of two albums for the Beatles’ Apple label, after which he moved to A&M Records.
1977: David Bowie and Bing Crosby recorded a duet of the Christmas song “The Little Drummer Boy” with an added counterpoint, “Peace on Earth,” at Elstree Studios in London. The track had been recorded for Crosby’s final television Christmas special, Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas. The song peaked at #3 on the UK chart and became one of Bowie’s best selling records.
1981: Ultravox released their fifth studio album, Rage in Eden.
1982: Frank Zappa’s only US top 40 hit, “Valley Girl,” recorded with his 14-year-old daughter, Moon Unit, peaked at #32 on the Billboard Hot 100.
1982: American Fool, John Mellencamp’s fifth studio album, released under the name John Cougar, began nine weeks at #1 on the Billboard pop chart.
1982: Chicago started two weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with their second single to top the chart, “Hard To Say I’m Sorry.”
1987: Prince’s Paisley Park recording studios officially opened in Chanhassen, Minnesota. The expansive, $10 million, 65,000 square foot complex was used not just by Prince, but also by many artists from around the world including Fine Young Cannibals, Bob Mould, R.E.M., Mavis Staples, George Clinton, Warren Zevon, Stevie Wonder, Patti LaBelle, Poi Dog Pondering, BoDeans, and Angélique Kidjo.
1987: Jethro Tull released their sixteenth studio album, Crest of a Knave, after a three year hiatus caused by a throat infection of lead singer Ian Anderson. It became the band’s most successful LP since the 1970s and won the 1989 Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental.
1987: The Temptations released Together Again, their thirty-fourth studio album and first released under Motown Records’ Motown imprint label. All previous Temptations releases had been issued on the Gordy label, which had been discontinued.
1989: Melissa Etheridge released her second studio album, Brave and Crazy.
1989: Eurythmics released We Too Are One, the duo’s seventh studio album and last until Peace in 1999.
1990: UB40 released their cover of “The Way You Do The Things You Do,” originally recorded by The Temptations in 1964, from their ninth studio album, Labour of Love II.
1991: Stephen Stills released the studio album Stills Alone, which features Stills on acoustic and electric guitar with minimal or no accompaniment.
2001: John Hiatt released his sixteenth studio album, The Tiki Bar is Open.
2001: Boz Scaggs released his fourteenth studio album, Dig.
2001: John Hartford’s last album recorded before his death, Hamilton Ironworks, was released. Recorded with the Hartford String Band, the album features Hartford’s interpretations of several traditional fiddle tunes.
2001: Nick Lowe released the album The Convincer.
2012: Dave Matthews Band released their eighth studio album, Away from the World.
Estelle Axton, record executive and co-founder of Stax Records with her brother, Jim Stewart, was born in Middleton, TN in 1918.
Charles Patrick, lead singer of doo-wop group The Monotones, was born in 1938.
Bernie Dwyer, drummer for Freddie and the Dreamers, was born in West Didsbury, Manchester, England in 1940.
Jack Ely, lead singer and guitarist for The Kingsmen, was born in Portland, OR in 1943.
Mickey Hart, drummer and percussionist for the Grateful Dead, a solo artist, and musicologist, was born Michael Steven Hartman in Brooklyn, NY in 1943.
Leo Kottke, acoustic guitar singer and songwriter who has collaborated with John Fahey, Lyle Lovett, Mike Gordon, Rickie Lee Jones, and many others, was born in Athens, GA in 1945.
Dennis Tufano, solo artist and original lead singer of The Buckinghams, was born in Chicago, IL in 1946.
John Martyn, singer-songwriter and guitarist, was born Ian David McGeachy in New Malden, Surrey, England in 1948.
Tommy Shaw, singer, songwriter, guitarist, Styx frontman, solo artist, and co-founder of Shaw Blades, was born in Montgomery, AL in 1953.
Jon Moss, drummer for Culture Club who also played with other bands including London, The Nips, The Damned, and Adam and the Ants, was born in Wandsworth, South London, England in 1957.
Mick Talbot, keyboardist, songwriter, composer, record producer, and member of groups including the Style Council and Dexy’s Midnight Runners, was born in Wimbledon, London, England in 1958.
Victor Wooten, songwriter, record producer, and bassist for Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, was born in Mountain Home, ID in 1964.
Moby, electronic multi-instrumentalist, DJ, record producer, singer, and songwriter, was born Richard Melville Hall in Harlem, NY in 1965.
Harry Connick, Jr., singer, composer, and actor, was born in New Orleans, LA in 1967.
Richard Ashcroft, singer, songwriter, guitarist, lead vocalist for the Verve, and a solo artist, was born in Wigan, Lancashire, England in 1971.
Johnny Buckland, multi-instrumentalist and lead guitarist and co-founder of Coldplay, was born in Islington, London, England in 1977.