1924 : Vernon Dalhart’s “The Prisoner’s Song” becomes the first country record to sell a million copies — a milestone for public acceptance of the genre.
1938 : Robert Johnson, famous for his song Crossroads, where he sings about making a deal with the Devil to attain his musical prowess, is poisoned during a gig in Greenwood, Mississippi. Most accounts claim the guy who owned the club put the poison in Johnson’s whiskey bottle because Johnson was having an affair with his wife. He died three days later at age 27.
1952 : The original version of ‘Hound Dog’ was recorded by Willie Mae (Big Mama) Thornton. It would become the first hit for the song-writing team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and went on to top the Billboard R&B chart for seven weeks, selling nearly two million copies.
1963 : Elvis Presley’s Girls! Girls! Girls! LP is certified gold
1963 : The Four Seasons sue their struggling first label, Vee Jay, for non payment of royalties and move to Mercury/Philips Records. This would be the first of a long line of incidents that would doom the label.
1964 : The Kinks score their first hit as “You Really Got Me”, written by Ray Davies on his mother’s piano, enters the British charts.
1964 : Manfred Mann were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Do Wah Diddy Diddy’, the bands first of three UK No.1’s. The song which was written by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich was originally recorded in 1963 by the American vocal group The Exciters.
1964 : The Supremes recorded ‘Baby Love’, the song went on to be the group’s first UK No.1 and second US chart topper. It was also the second of five Supremes songs in a row to go to No.1 in the United States
1965 : Jefferson Airplane made their live debut at San Francisco’s Matrix Club. The photograph of the members of Jefferson Airplane that was featured on the front cover of their best-known album, Surrealistic Pillow (1967), was taken inside the Matrix.
1965 : Mike Smith, lead singer of The Dave Clark Five, suffered two broken ribs when he was pulled off the stage by fans. The group were in Chicago at the beginning of a US tour.
1965 : The Beatles arrived at Kennedy International Airport for a tour of North America. The set list for the tour was ‘Twist and Shout’, ‘She’s a Woman’, ‘I Feel Fine’, ‘Dizzy Miss Lizzie’, ‘Ticket to Ride’, ‘Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby’, ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’, ‘Baby’s in Black’, ‘Act Naturally’, ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, ‘Help!’, ‘I’m Down’ and ‘I Wanna Be Your Man.’ The tour was not a happy one for The Beatles, John Lennon took to screaming off-microphone obscenities at the audiences.
1966 : Lovin Spoonful started a three week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Summer In The City’, it made No.8 in the UK. The song features a series of car horns during the instrumental bridge, starting with a Volkswagen Beetle horn, and ends up with a jackhammer sound, in order to give the impression of the sounds of the summer in the city.
1966 : With some members of the media turning on The Beatles after John Lennon’s comments that they are “more popular than Jesus” are published, the Texas radio station KLUE-AM holds the first “Beatles Bonfire,” where people can burn their Beatles albums.
1966 : ‘Revolver’ The Beatles seventh album release in three years started a seven-week run at No.1 on the UK charts. It spent a total of 34 week’s on the UK chart and was also a US No.1. The title “Revolver”, like “Rubber Soul” before it, is a pun, referring both to a kind of handgun as well as the “revolving” motion of the record as it is played on a turntable.
1967 : Fleetwood Mac made their live debut when they appeared at the National Jazz and Blues Festival in Windsor. Also on the bill Jeff Beck, Cream, Small Faces, The Move, The Pink Floyd, Donovan and Chicken Shack.
1967 : A planned Joan Baez concert at Washington DC’s Constitution Hall is canceled after the Daughters of the American Revolution protest her recent anti-war remarks concerning Vietnam.
1968 : Recorded on this day, The Beatles – “Yer Blues”
1969 : Recorded on this day, The Guess Who – “American Woman”
1971 : Saxophonist King Curtis Ousley was stabbed to death by a vagrant on the front steps of his New York home. Ousley had worked with John Lennon and also played on The Coasters ‘Yakety Yak’.
1971 : John Lennon flew from Heathrow Airport to New York, he never set foot on British soil again.
1971 : Pink Floyd played their first ever-Australian date when they appeared at the Festival Hall in Melbourne. The group, who were on an Asia Pacific tour, played just one other date in Australia – Sydney, two nights later.
1977 : Yes scored their second UK No.1 album with their eighth studio album’Going For The One’. The album marked the return of keyboardist Rick Wakeman, who departed in 1974 over musical differences.
1975 : Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band play the first of five sold-out shows at The Bottom Line in New York City. The shows help establish Springsteen as a great live performer and draw national attention.
1977 : Bachman-Turner Overdrive announce that the group is splitting up (though they would reunite within six years).
1980 : Four masked robbers broke in to Todd Rundgren’s New York house and proceeded to steal Hi-Fi equipment and paintings after tying the musician up. It was reported that one of the intruders had been humming his hit ‘I Saw The Light’.
1982 : American soul singer Joe Tex died at his home in Navasota, Texas, following a heart attack, just five days after his 49th birthday. Had nine US Top 40 hits including the 1972 US No.2 single ‘I Gotcha’.
1982 : Major American record companies including CBS Atlantic and Warner Brothers all made staff cut-backs as the industry plunged into ‘the worst shape in its history’.
1983 : KC and the Sunshine Band were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Give It Up’. The American disco group’s only UK chart topper spent three weeks at No.1
1990 : While warming up for an outdoor concert at Wingate Field in Flatbush, Brooklyn, Curtis Mayfield is paralyzed by a lighting tower which falls from the stage and onto his back. He will remain a quadriplegic for the next nine years until his death in 1999.
1992 : Neil Diamond played the first of six sold-out nights at Madison Square Garden in New York. Diamond would bring in over $40 million from touring this year, the second highest in the music industry.
1993 : Steely Dan, who broke up in 1981, re-form and begin a US tour at The Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Walter Becker explains: “We spent all the money from the last tour. We made $800 each and it’s all gone now.”
1994 : Members from Oasis and The Verve were arrested after smashing up a hotel bar and breaking into a church to steal communion wine. Both bands had been appearing at Hulsfred Festival in Sweden.
1994 : Woodstock ’94 was held in Saugerties, New York, attended by over 350,000 fans, the festival featured Green Day, Nine Inch Nails, Aerosmith and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Tickets cost $135.00, (£89.00).
1999 : Ex Guns N’ Roses member Slash was arrested accused of assaulting his girlfriend at his Sunset Boulevard recording studio by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies. He was released on bail.
1999 : Mick Jagger’s marriage to model Jerry Hall was been declared null and void at the High Court in London. Neither Jagger nor Hall were present for the 30-minute hearing before Mr Justice Connell. After hearing evidence on behalf of Hall the judge ruled their “marriage” in Bali in 1990 was not valid either in Indonesia or under English law, and a decree of nullity was granted to Hall. The annulment avoided what had been expected to be a long and costly court battle, in which Ms Hall, 43, was reportedly seeking a £30m share of Jagger’s wealth.
2002 : Adam Ant pleaded guilty to threatening drinkers at The Prince Of Wales Pub in London in January of this year. The former 1980’s pop star had returned to the bar with a starting pistol after being refused entry. He had also thrown a car alternator through the window of the pub.
2004 : ‘Angels’ by Robbie Williams was voted the best single which should have been a number one but never was, in a poll for music channel VH1. The ballad, which reached No.4 in December 1997, beat Savage Garden’s ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’ and Aerosmith’s ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing.’ Other songs said to have deserved a number one included Madonna with ‘Ray of Light’, ‘Beautiful Stranger’, ‘Crazy For You’ and ‘Material Girl’, Bon Jovi with ‘Always’ and Oasis with ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Live Forever’. Sir Cliff Richard’s hit ‘Millennium Prayer’ was voted the worst number one single of all time.
2007 : Fats Domino is honored as an “American Music Legend” by the Recording Industry Association of America.
2007 : Amy Winehouse pulled out of two Rolling Stones gigs in Hamburg Germany citing exhaustion, British group Starsailor replaced Winehouse for the shows.
2009 : Guitarist Les Paul died in hospital in White Plains, New York at the age of 94 suffering from severe pneumonia. Paul is credited with developing one of the first solid-body electric guitars, which went on sale in 1952 and contributed to the birth of rock. He also developed other influential recording innovations such as multi-track recording and overdubbing. In the early 50s, Paul and his wife Mary Ford had a string of hits including ‘Mockin’ Bird Hill’, ‘How High the Moon’, and ‘Vaya Con Dios’.