1959: Motown Records locally issued their first single, “Bad Girl” by The Miracles. Motown did not yet have national distribution, so the record was licensed to Chess Records, who had released it nationwide a week earlier. Written by lead singer Smokey Robinson and Motown founder Berry Gordy, the record became the Miracles’ first national chart hit, reaching #93 on the Billboard Hot 100.
1965: At a recording session at RCA Studios in Hollywood, the Rolling Stones began recording “Get Off Of My Cloud.” Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, the song was a reaction to the group’s sudden increase in popularity and their aversion to the expectations placed upon them after the success of their hit single and first #1 in the US, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
1966: The Byrds released “Mr. Spaceman,” the third and final single from their third studio album, Fifth Dimension.
1966: In preparation for his role in Richard Lester’s film How I Won The War, John Lennon was given an army-style haircut and a pair of new glasses to wear. Although the hairstyle proved a temporary measure, the old-fashioned, round National Health “granny” glasses quickly became a trademark of Lennon’s public image. They soon became fashionable, and he retained the look for the rest of his life.
1967: During an eight hour session, the Beatles continued work on their Magical Mystery Tour project, recording overdubs for “I Am The Walrus,” a demo by Paul McCartney of his then-incomplete song “The Fool on the Hill,” and a single take of the rhythm track for George Harrison’s “Blue Jay Way.”
1967: After it’s original screening in San Francisco earlier in May, Director D.A. Pennebaker’s movie documenting Bob Dylan’s 1965 British concert tour, Don’t Look Back, widely considered one of the greatest rockumentaries of all time, premiered in New York City.
1968: After an invitation from George Harrison, Eric Clapton recorded his guitar solo for the Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” playing “Lucy,” the Gibson Les Paul guitar that he had given Harrison a month earlier. Clapton was wary of playing on a Beatles song, but Harrison insisted it would be fine.
1968: The Doors made their UK stage debut with the first of two nights at the Roundhouse club in London in which they shared the bill with Jefferson Airplane.
1969: David Bowie got his first big break when “Space Oddity” entered the UK chart. The song peaked at #5 six weeks later. After it was re-released in 1975, it became Bowie’s first #1 record.
1969: The Monkees released “Good Clean Fun,” the second single from their eighth studio album, The Monkees Present.
1970: Jimi Hendrix made what ended up being his final concert appearance, performing with the second incarnation of the Jimi Hendrix Experience—with bassist Billy Cox—at the third and final day of the Open Air Love and Peace Festival on the German island of Fehmarn.
1975: Red Octopus, Jefferson Starship’s second album and only #1 LP, started its first of four non-consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard pop chart.
1979: Aretha Franklin released her twenty-fifth studio album, La Diva. The album marked the end of her twelve-year tenure with Atlantic Records and a run of nineteen original albums.
1982: Culture Club released “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?.” The third single from the group’s debut album, Kissing to Be Clever, it became their first major hit and reached #1 and #2 on multiple charts around the world.
1982: The Jam released “The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had to Swallow).” It was the group’s penultimate single and reached #2 on the UK chart.
1982: Peter Gabriel’s fourth self-title solo album, known as the “Security” LP, was released. It reached #6 in UK and #28 in US.
1982: Icehouse released their second studio LP, Primitive Man.
1983: Cyndi Lauper released “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” as the lead single from her debut studio album, She’s So Unusual. Originally written and recorded in 1979 by Robert Hazard, Lauper’s version became her breakthrough hit, reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March 1984.
1985: John Cale released his tenth solo studio album, Artificial Intelligence.
1986: English vocal group Bananarama had their only #1 hit with their cover of Shocking Blue’s “Venus.”
1994: Widespread Panic released their fourth studio album, Ain’t Life Grand.
2005: The Rolling Stones released their twenty-second British and twenty-fourth American studio album, A Bigger Bang. After the eclectic Bridges to Babylon LP, the band had sought to make a basic rock record reminiscent of their 1970s releases.
Jimmy Reed, blues singer, musician, and influential figure to artists such as Elvis Presley and the Rolling Stones, was born in Dunleith, MS in 1925.
Henry Diltz, folk musician, member of the Modern Folk Quartet, session musician for the Monkees, official photographer at Woodstock, the Monterey Pop Festival, and Miami Pop Festival, and photographer of numerous album covers, was born in Kansas City, MO in 1938.
David Allan Coe, outlaw country and blues singer, songwriter, and musician, was born in Akron, OH in 1939.
Elliot Mazer, audio engineer and record producer best known for working with Linda Ronstadt, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, The Band, and Janis Joplin, was born in 1941.
Dave Bargeron, trombonist, tuba player, and member of Blood, Sweat & Tears from 1970-1978, was born in Athol, MA in 1942.
Roger Waters, singer, songwriter, composer, and bassist for Pink Flord as well as a solo artist, was born George Roger Waters in Great Bookham, Surrey, England in 1943.
Buddy Miller, singer, songwriter, musician, producer, and key member of Emmylou Harris’ touring group, The Hot Band, who has also played and toured with Jim Lauderdale, Kinky Friedman, Alison Kraus, Robert Plant, Patty Griffin, and his wife, Julie Miller, was born in Fairborn, OH in 1952.
Paul Waaktaar-Savoy, songwriter and guitarist for A-ha, was born in Oslo, Norway in 1961.
Macy Gray, R&B and soul singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, and actress, was born Natalie Renée McIntyre in Canton, OH in 1967.
Dean Fertita, multi-instrumentalist and solo artist best known as a guitarist and keyboardist for Queens of the Stone Age, The Raconteurs, and the Dead Weather, was born in Royal Oak, MI in 1970.
Dolores O’Riordan, singer, songwriter, and lead vocalist for the Cranberries, was born in Ballybricken, County Limerick, Ireland in 1971.
Nina Persson, solo artist and lead singer and lyricist for The Cardigans, was born in Örebro, Närke, Sweden in 1974.