1962: Martha and the Vandellas released their first single for Motown, “I’ll Have to Let Him Go.” The song was originally intended for singer Mary Wells, but when Wells couldn’t make the session, Martha Reeves, then an assistant and secretary to songwriter, composer, and producer William “Mickey” Stevenson, was asked to sing it in her place for a demo record and she recruited Rosalind Ashford, Gloria Williams, and Annette Beard to back her. The performance so impressed Stevenson and Motown president Berry Gordy that they signed the group to the label.
1963: Chad & Jeremy released “Yesterday’s Gone,” the lead single and title track from their debut album. Although the duo went on to have a string of hits in the US through the mid-1960s, the song was their only hit in their native land, the UK.
1963: Cilla Black released her debut single, “Love of the Loved.” The song was one of Paul McCartney’s earliest compositions, credited to Lennon—McCartney, and was recorded by the Beatles at their audition for Decca Records in 1962. Black’s version was produced by George Martin and reached #35 on the UK chart.
1964: The Beach Boy’s made their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show performing “I Get Around” and “Wendy.”
1968: The Hollies released “Listen to Me,” a song written by Tony Hazzard. It was the last Hollies single to feature Graham Nash before he left the group and reached #11 on the UK chart.
1968: English band Status Quo released their debut album, Picturesque Matchstickable Messages from the Status Quo.
1969: The 5th Dimension entered the Billboard Hot 100 with their cover of Laura Nyro’s “Wedding Bell Blues.” The group had previously achieved hits with other songs by Nyro such as “Stoned Soul Picnic” and “Sweet Blindness,” and their recording of “Wedding Bell Blues” became their second and last #1 on the chart.
1972: Cat Stevens released his sixth studio album, Catch Bull at Four.
1973: The Rolling Stones made their first appearance on US television in six years when they performed “It’s Only Rock and Roll” on the premiere of ABC TV’s Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert.
1974: Elvis Presley released “Promised Land,” the first single and title track from his twenty-first studio album. The song was first recorded by Chuck Berry in 1964, with lyrics written by Berry set to the melody of the American folk song “Wabash Cannonball.”
1975: Harry Chapin released his fifth studio album, Portrait Gallery.
1976: Ringo Starr’s fifth album, Ringo’s Rotogravure, was issued in US a week and a half after its release in the UK. The album reached #28 in the US and didn’t make the chart in Britain.
1978: Dr. Hook released “Sharing the Night Tonight” from their eighth studio album, “Pleasure & Pain.” The song was originally recorded by Lenny LeBlanc and then Arthur Alexander in 1976.
1980: The Police had their third UK #1 single with “Don’t Stand So Close to Me.” In the US, the song became their first to reach the top 10.
1982: Depeche Mode released their second studio album, A Broken Frame. Written entirely by Martin Gore, the LP was recorded after the departure of Vince Clarke, who had left to form Yazoo with singer Alison Moyet.
1984: German synth-pop group Alphaville released their debut album, Forever Young.
1986: After being featured in the summer films Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Back to School, The Bealtes’ version of “Twist and Shout” was back on the Billboard Hot 100 after 20 years, reaching #23. The song’s seven-week run in the US Top 40, combined with its original 16-week run in 1964, made “Twist and Shout” the longest-running Top 40 hit for the Beatles at 23 weeks.
1986: Cyndi Lauper released her second studio album, True Colors. Both it and her first LP, She’s So Unusual, peaked at a career-high of #4 on the Billboard pop chart.
1989: Billy Joel released “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” the lead single from his eleventh studio album, Storm Front. The song references more than one hundred headline events between 1949, the year of his birth, and 1989, and went to #1 in December.
1993: Pet Shop Boys released their fifth studio album, Very. It became the English duo’s most successful album in the UK, reaching #1, as well as a top 10 hit in several other countries. In the US, it became their second-highest album on the Billboard chart, reaching #20.
1994: Steely Dan co-founder Walter Becker released his first solo album, 11 Tracks of Whack.
1994: R.E.M. released their ninth studio album, Monster.
1994: The Dave Matthews Band released their debut album, Under the Table and Dreaming.
1994: Big Head Todd and the Monsters released their fourth studio album, Strategem.
1994: Emerson, Lake & Palmer released their ninth and final studio album, In the Hot Seat.
1994: Carlos Santana, along with his brother Jorge and cousin Carlos Hernandez, released a collaborative album titled Santana Brothers.
2004: R.E.M. released “Leaving New York,” the lead single from their thirteenth studio album, Around the Sun.
2004: The Vote for Change Tour, which featured artists that included Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Dave Matthews Band, Dixie Chicks, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, John Fogerty, John Mellencamp, Keb’ Mo’, Pearl Jam, Peter Frampton, and R.E.M., began at McCaw Hall in Seattle, Washington.
2005: Neil Young released his twenty-sixth studio album, Prairie Wind. Featuring an acoustic-based sound, the album was in part dedicated to his father, writer Scott Young, who had died earlier that year.
2005: Big Star released In Space, the group’s fourth and final studio album and their first new studio recording since 1974. Original members Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens were joined by former Posies members Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow.
2005: Boz Scaggs’ twelfth studio album, Fade Into Light, was released in the US. The album had first been released in Japan in 1996.
2010: Eric Clapton released his eighteenth studio album, Clapton.
2011: Matthew Sweet released his eleventh studio album, Modern Art.
Raymond Edwards, member of The Silhouettes, was born in Virginia in 1922.
Don Nix, songwriter, composer, arranger, musician, author, and instrumental figure in the creation of the distinctive “Memphis soul” sound developed at Stax Records, who had started his career as a sax player for the Mar-Keys, the group that later became Booker T. and the M.G.’s, was born in Memphis, TN in 1941.
Randy Bachman, lead guitarist, singer, songwriter, and a founding member of the Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in 1943.
Greg Ham, songwriter and actor who played sax, flute, organ, piano, and synthesizer with Men at Work, was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1953.
Robbie Shakespeare, influential bass guitarist and record producer best known as one half of reggae rhythm section and production duo Sly and Robbie with Sly Dunbar, who produced albums by Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, and Bunny Wailer and recorded with artists such as Mick Jagger, Robert Palmer, Grace Jones, Joe Cocker, and Bob Dylan, was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1953.