1954: “Blueberry Hill” by Fats Domino entered the US pop charts. It later peaked at #4, making it his most successful recording of all time. It was also his sixth single to reach the top of the R&B chart, spending eight weeks at #1 in November.
1961: Bob Dylan landed his first major gig opening for the Green Briar Boys at Gerde’s Folk City in New York for two weeks. Afterward, New York Times critic Robert Shelton’s review about “a bright new face in folk music…that’s bursting at the seams with talent” essentially launched Dylan’s career.
1962: The Temptations released “Paradise,” the third single from their debut album, Meet the Temptations. It became the group’s first charting single on the Billboard pop charts, reaching #22 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart.
1964: Roy Orbison went to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Pretty Woman,” his second single to top the US charts and third to hit #1 in the UK. The record ultimately sold seven million copies and marked the high point in Orbison’s career.
1964: The Kinks debuted on the US charts with “You Really Got Me,” which later climbed to #7 on the Billboard Hot 100.
1967: The Temptations released “(Loneliness Made Me Realize) It’s You That I Need,” the fourth and final single from the group’s fifth studio album, “The Temptations with a Lot o’ Soul.” It was one of a few pre-psychedelic era songs the group recorded with more than two members singing lead and the only one that charted.
1968: Dusty Springfield began sessions for her Dusty in Memphis album at the American Sound Studio in Memphis, Tennessee. Having never before released an entire album of solely R&B songs, Springfield had hoped to reinvigorate her career by turning to the roots of soul music, and had signed with Atlantic Records, the home label of one of her soul music idols, Aretha Franklin.
1969: The Byrds released “Wasn’t Born to Follow” from their fifth studio album, The Notorious Byrd Brothers. Written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, the song also recorded by King with her short-lived band the City for their only album, Now That Everything’s Been Said.
1969: The Hollies released “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.” The song was originally recorded by Kelly Gordon earlier that year, and the Hollies’ version became a worldwide hit.
1969: The Beatles’ eleventh album, Abbey Road, was released in the UK. Less than a week later it was issued in the US. Despite being released before the group’s final LP, Let It Be, recording sessions for the album were the last in which all four Beatles participated. Selling four million copies in its first two months of release, it debuted at #1 in the UK, where it remained for seventeen weeks, and spent a total of eighty-one weeks on the albums chart. Reaction overseas was similar, with it spending twelve weeks at the top of the US Billboard pop chart.
1970: “See Me, Feel Me” by The Who entered the Billboard Hot 100 on its way to reaching #12.
1972: The J. Geils Band released their first live album, “Live” Full House, which was recorded at The Cinderella Ballroom in Detroit.
1974: John Lennon released his fifth solo studio album, Walls and Bridges, in the US a week before it was issued in the UK. The album was recorded and released in the midst of Lennon’s “Lost Weekend” during his 18-month separation from wife Yoko Ono. “Whatever Gets You thru the Night,” the album’s lead single, became Lennon’s first #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 as a solo artist, topping the chart the same week the album also went to #1. In the UK, the album reached #6 and “Whatever Gets You thru the Night” peaked at #36.
1979: U2 released their first record in their home country of Ireland, a three-song 12-inch EP released by CBS Records titled Three, with an initial run of 1,000 individually numbered copies. Two of the three tracks, “Out of Control” and “Stories for Boys,” were re-recorded the following year and included on the band’s debut album, Boy.
1981: Genesis scored their second #1 album when their eleventh studio LP, Abacab, went to the top of the UK chart.
1984: Prince released “Purple Rain,” the third single and title track from his sixth studio album. The song later peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
1987: “Touch of Grey” by the Grateful Dead peaked at # 9 on Billboard Hot 100. It was the group’s only single to enter the top 60, and their only song to reach #1 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart.
1989: Paul McCartney began his first major tour outing in ten years, his first world tour in thirteen years, and his first tour under his own name with a show in Drammen, Norway. The tour was also the first time McCartney included a substantial number of Beatles songs in the set list.
1989: Record producer Daniel Lanois released his debut solo album, Acadie. Largely written and recorded in New Orleans, the album contains vocals by Lanois in both English and French.
1989: Thompson Twins released their seventh studio album, Big Trash.
1994: The Rolling Stones released “You Got Me Rocking,” the second single from their twentieth British and twenty-second American studio album, Voodoo Lounge.
1995: Prince released his seventeenth studio album, The Gold Experience. The LP was credited to his stage name at the time, an unpronounceable symbol depicted on the cover known as the “Love Symbol.”
2000: Mark Knopfler released his second solo studio album, Sailing to Philadelphia. Guest vocalists on the album include James Taylor, Van Morrison, and Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze.
2000: John Hiatt released his fifteenth studio album, Crossing Muddy Waters.
George Gershwin, composer and pianist whose compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, was born Jacob Bruskin Gershowitz in Brooklyn, NY in 1898.
Marty Robbins, country and western singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and actor, was born Martin David Robinson in Glendale, AZ in 1925.
George “Pops” Chambers, bassist and eldest brother in The Chambers Brothers, was born in Carthage, MS in 1931.
Joe Bauer, drummer for The Youngbloods, was born in Memphis, TN in 1941.
Bryan Ferry, singer, songwriter, musician, solo artist, and lead singer and songwriter of Roxy Music, was born in Washington, County Durham, England in 1945.
Lynn Anderson, country, singer, and songwriter, was born in Grand Forks, ND in 1947.
Olivia Newton-John, singer, songwriter, actress, and activist, was born in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England in 1948.
Stuart Tosh, drummer, songwriter, and vocalist who recorded and toured with several artists and groups during the 1970s and 1980s including Pilot, The Alan Parsons Project, 10cc, Camel, and Roger Daltrey, was born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1948.
Tony Fox Sales, bassist who, together with his brother Hunt, worked with Todd Rundgren, Iggy Pop, Tin Machine with David Bowie, Bob Welch, and Glenn Cornick, was born in Cleveland, OH in 1951.
Cesar Rosas, singer, songwriter, guitarist, and co-founder of Los Lobos, was born in Hermosillo, Mexico in 1954.
Craig Chaquico, guitarist, songwriter, composer, record producer, solo artist, founding member of Jefferson Starship and Starship, and the only member of either band to play on every song, album, tour, and video since 1993, was born in Sacramento, CA in 1954.
Carlene Carter, singer-songwriter and daughter of June Carter and Carl Smith, was born in Gallatin, TN in 1955.
Tracey Thorn, singer, songwriter, half of the duo Everything but the Girl, and a solo artist, was born in Brookmans Park, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England in 1962.
Shannon Hoon, lead singer for Blind Melon, was born Richard Shannon Hoon in Lafayette, IN in 1967.