1956: Eddie Cochran signed his first and only recording contract, a one year deal with Liberty Records. He went on to give Liberty three top 40 hits over the next four years, including “Summertime Blues,” “Twenty Flight Rock” and “C’mon Everybody.”
1958: The Kingston Trio released their version of the folk song “Tom Dooley.” It went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached the top 10 on the R&B chart.
1962: “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett, who created all of the song’s voices and sound effects, entered the Billboard Hot 100. Six weeks later, just over a week before Halloween, the single started two weeks at the top of the chart.
1967: The Beatles began recording the instrumental “Flying” from their Magical Mystery Tour album under its original name at the time, “Aerial Tour Instrumental.”
1970: The Jackson 5 released their third studio album, Third Album.
1970: Martha Reeves and the Vandellas released their seventh and penultimate studio album, Natural Resources. The LP marked the return of lead singer Martha Reeves, who was recovering from time in a mental institution while struggling with an addiction to painkillers.
1971: Following Cindy Birdsong’s departure from Patti LaBelle & the Bluebells to join the Supremes, the remaining trio of Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx, and Sarah Dash released their self-titled first album as Labelle.
1972: Mott the Hoople released their fifth studio album, All the Young Dudes. It was the band’s first album for CBS and Columbia Records after three years with Island and Atlantic.
1972: T. Rex released “Children of the Revolution.” The single reached #2 on the UK chart.
1973: The Allman Brothers Band started five weeks at the top of the Billboard pop chart with their fourth studio LP and only #1 in the US, Brothers and Sisters.
1976: Hall & Oates released their fifth studio album, Bigger Than Both of Us. The first single from the album, “Rich Girl,” later became the duo’s first #1 hit.
1976: Wailers co-founder Bunny Wailer released his debut solo album, Blackheart Man. It features some of Jamaica’s leading musicians as well as contributions from Wailers members Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Carlton Barrett, and Aston Barrett.
1977: Jimmy McCulloch, best known for playing lead guitar with Paul McCartney and Wings, left the group to join a re-launched Small Faces. Around the same time, drummer Joe English also left and returned to Macon, Georgia, where he began playing with Chuck Leavell’s band Sea Level.
1978: The Buzzcocks released “Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)” from their second studio album, Love Bites. It became the band’s highest-reaching single on the UK chart, peaking at #12.
1978: Dave Edmunds released Tracks on Wax 4, his fourth studio album and first solo release to feature all four members of the band Rockpile: Edmunds, Billy Bremner, Nick Lowe, and Terry Williams.
1978: David Bowie released his second live album, Stage, which had been recorded during his Isolar II world tour earlier that year in the spring.
1979: Michael Jackson started five weeks at the top of the Billboard R&B chart with “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.” In October, the single spent one week at #1 on the Hot 100.
1979: Led Zeppelin scored their eighth and final #1 album in the UK with their last studio album, In Through the Out Door. A week later, it went to #1 on the Billboard pop album chart in the US.
1984: Stevie Wonder had his only #1 single in the UK with his international hit, “I Just Called to Say I Love You.”
1986: The Human League released their fifth studio album, Crash.
1986: The B-52’s released their fourth studio album, Bouncing off the Satellites. Despite the radio success of the track “Summer of Love,” the album received little promotion due to the band’s disinterest in touring after the death of guitarist Ricky Wilson, who had died after recording, but before the album’s release.
1997: “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin was released as the band’s first single in the UK— twenty-eight years after their second album first hit record stores. In 1969, the band and their manager, Peter Grant, had considered releasing the song as a single, but opted to stick with putting out just albums. Atlantic Records released a shorter, edited version in the US to earn more radio airplay, which singer Robert Plant reportedly hated. Nonetheless, it reached #4 in the US, leading Atlantic Records’ British offices to consider releasing any Led Zeppelin song as a single in the UK, but the band still wasn’t interested in compromising their sound. Finally, in 1997, Led Zeppelin celebrated their 30th anniversary with the UK release of “Whole Lotta Love,” edited from the original 5:33 version to 4:50, but not quite as short as the original 3:10 edit that had such success on American radio. The newly issued single made it to #21 on the UK chart—seventeen years after the band had broken up.
1997: Elton John released “Something About the Way You Look Tonight,” the second single from his twenty-fifth studio album, The Big Picture, in the UK. Ten days later the track was issued in the US.
2009: Phish released their twelfth studio album, Joy. As part of a limited edition box set, the band also released a second album titled Party Time.
Jimmie Rodgers, influential singer-songwriter and musician widely regarded as “the Father of Country Music,” was born in Meridian, MS in 1897.
Harlan Howard, country songwriter whose songs have been recorded by several different artists, was born in Detroit, MI in 1927.
Earl Nelson, soul singer, songwriter, and half of the duo Bob & Earl, was born in Lake Charles, LA in 1928.
Patsy Cline, influential country and pop singer, was born in Winchester, VA in 1932.
Guitar Shorty, blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter, was born David William Kearney in Houston, TX in 1939.
Dante Drowty, leader of Dante & The Evergreens who later wrote and produced songs for Herb Alpert, The Isley Brothers, and others, was born in 1941.
Brian Cole, bass guitarist and founding member of the The Association, was born in Tacoma, WA in 1942.
Sal Valentino, musician, singer and songwriter best known as lead singer of The Beau Brummels who later fronted Stoneground before going solo, was born Salvatore Spampinato in San Francisco, CA in 1942.
Kelly Groucutt, bassist for Electric Light Orchestra from 1974-1983, was born in Coseley, Staffordshire, England in 1945.
Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, keyboardist, vocalist, and founding member of the Grateful Dead, was born in San Bruno, CA in 1945.
Dean Daughtry, keyboardist with the Classics IV and co-founder of the Atlanta Rhythm Section, was born in Kinston, AL in 1946.
George Tickner, musician, songwriter who was a member of Frumious Bandersnatch, played with Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders, and co-founded Journey, was born in Syracuse, NY in 1946.
Benjamin Orr, singer, bassist, and co-founder The Cars, was born Benjamin Orzechowski in Lakewood, OH in 1947.
David “Shuffle” Steele, keyboardist, and synthesizer player, and bassist for Fine Young Cannibals, was born in Cowes, Isle of Wight, England in 1960.
Aimee Mann, singer-songwriter and guitarist who started out as the bassist and vocalist for ‘Til Tuesday before going solo, was born in Richmond, VA in 1960.
Neko Case, singer-songwriter, solo artist, and member of The New Pornographers, was born in Alexandria, VA in 1970.