1953 : Popular WDIA disc jockey Rufus Thomas signs with an upstart Memphis label called Sun Records in order to release a song called “Bear Cat,” an answer record to Big Mama Thornton’s hit Hound Dog.
1955 : American jazz saxophonist and composer Charlie Parker died of a heart attack in New York City while watching Tommy Dorsey’s Orchestra on television. He was 34. The coroner who performed his autopsy mistakenly estimated Parker’s 34-year-old body to be between 50 and 60 years of age. (After years of drug and alcohol abuse).
1958 : A Philadelphia court sentences Billie Holiday to one year probation for pleading guilty to heroin possession two years earlier.
1963 : The Beatles played at the Granada Cinema in Bedford. Also on the bill, Chris Montez and Tommy Roe. John Lennon, suffering from a heavy cold, was unable to perform, so The Beatles set was rearranged so that George and Paul could sing the parts that John usually sang.
1965 : In the Bahamas, The Beatles wrap up filming on their second movie, Help!.
1965 : Singer James Darren guest stars on the “Surfin’ Fred” episode, the fifth season finale of ABC-TV’s The Flintstones, playing a singer named, naturally, James Darrock.
1967 : Released on this day, The Velvet Underground – “The Velvet Underground And Nico”
1968 : The Rolling Stones started recording their next single ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ with new producer Jimmy Miller at Olympic studios in London. Keith Richards has stated that he and Jagger wrote the lyrics while staying at Richards’ country house, where they were awakened one morning by the sound of gardener Jack Dyer walking past the window. When Jagger asked what the noise was, Richards responded, “Oh, that’s Jack – that’s jumpin’ Jack.”
1969 : Paul McCartney marries girlfriend Linda Eastman at the register office in Marylebone, London, and again at the Anglican church in St. John’s Wood. No other Beatles attend. Paul then went to Abbey Road studios in the evening to work.
1969 : Infamous London police officer Det. Sgt. Norman Pilcher, well-known for singling out and busting rock stars, enters George Harrison’s house in Esher, Surrey, England and arrests the Beatle and his wife Pattie for possession of marijuana (specifically, cannabis resin).
1969 : At tonight’s Grammy Awards ceremonies, the big winners are Simon & Garfunkel, who win Record of the Year for Mrs. Robinson and Glen Campbell, who wins Album of the Year for By The Time I Get To Phoenix.
1971 : The Allman Brothers Band played the first of two nights at the Fillmore East, New York. Both shows were recorded and released as The Allman Brothers live double album, which became the groups breakthrough album.
1971 : Paul McCartney wins his lawsuit to dissolve The Beatles and turn their affairs over to a receiver – not Allen Klein, who is managing the other members.
1974 : John Lennon and Nilsson get drunk and disorderly at a Smothers Brothers comedy show at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. They get thrown out, and Nilsson takes heat in the press for being a bad influence on Lennon. Said Nilsson: “It ruined my reputation for 10 years. Get one Beatle drunk and look what happens.”
1977 : The Sex Pistols were involved in a fight at London’s Speakeasy Club with Bob Harris, presenter of BBC 2’s The Old Grey Whistle Test, resulting in one of the shows engineers needing 14 stitches in his head. Two days later Harris’s solicitors contact Derek Green at A&M the bands record label. Harris’s management also managed Peter Frampton, one of the label’s top acts at A&M. Green discussed the matter with the company’s two founders, Jerry Moss and Herb Alpert and the decision is made to cancel the Pistols contract and halt production of the bands first single, ‘God Save The Queen’.
1983 : U2 scored their first UK No.1 album with ‘War’, which went on to spend a total of 147 weeks on the chart. The album featured the singles ‘New Years Day’ and ‘Two Hearts Beat As One’.
1983 : Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler had her only UK No.1 single with a song written by Meat Loaf’s producer, Jim Steinman, ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’. Also No.1 in the US, (the only Welsh artist to score a US No.1), Canada and Australia, the single sold over 5 million copies.
1996 : Nancy Sinatra gives her famous white go-go boots, the ones that were made for walkin’, to the Beverly Hills Hard Rock Cafe.
2001 : “Freud’s Dilemma,” the first ever episode of The Chris Isaak Show, airs on Showtime. The new adult comedy stars Chris Isaak playing a wannabe rock star.
2001 : Judy Garland’s ‘Over The Rainbow’ was voted the Song Of The Century in a poll published in America. Musicians, critics and fans compiled the list by the RIA. The highest placed UK act was The Rolling Stones (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction in 16th place. The Beatles had ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ at No. 28.
2003 : On the eve of The Rolling Stones’ first tour of China, the Chinese government provides the group with a list of provocative songs the group is prohibited from playing, including Brown Sugar, Honky Tonk Women and Let’s Spend The Night Together.
2004 : Rosalind Morganfield, the 34 year old daughter of Blues artist Muddy Waters, surrendered to police after a warrant was issued accusing her of being involved in the 1996 murder of 19 year old Timothy Jason Harrington during a drug deal.
2006 : Former Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour went to No.1 on the UK album chart with his third solo album ‘On An Island.’ In 2009 UK radio station Planet Rock held a poll asking listeners to name the ‘Greatest Solo Album Written By A Former Band Member’. David Gilmour was voted into first place with ‘On An Island.’
2007 : Disappointed with his share of the profits from a cell phone commercial that was authorized to use the group’s famous 1968 hit The Weight, The Band’s Levon Helm sues Cingular, the commercial’s creator.
2007 : Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Patti Smith, R.E.M., The Ronettes and Van Halen are inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in New York City.
2007 : Amy Winehouse made her US television debut on the Late Show with David Letterman performing ‘Rehab’. The song went on to win three Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and also won an Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song.
2008 : American Idol does an all-Beatles episode, somehow securing the rights to the songs after years of negotiations.
2009 : Hundreds of fans queued at the O2 arena in London as Michael Jackson tickets went on sale to the public. The 50-year-old pop veteran had confirmed he would be playing a 50-date residency at the venue, beginning on 8 July 2009. Some 360,000 pre-sale tickets had already sold. Organisers said the This Is It tour had become the fastest-selling in history, with 33 seats sold each minute. Prices ranged from £170 to £10,000, but tickets bought directly from the singer’s website cost up to £75. Jackson had said this would be the last time he would perform in the UK.
2010 : Over 130 people were arrested and eight people were hospitalised as fans tried to gatecrash a Metallica show in Colombia. 1,500 police and four tanks were brought in to manage the crowds as property was vandalized and destroyed, as thousands of ticketless fans rioted during Metallica’s first Colombian concert in eleven years.
2012 : Doobie Brothers drummer Michael Hossack died at his home in Dubois, Wyoming at the age of 65. He had been battling cancer for some time and succumbed to complications of the disease with his family at his side. Hossack was a member of the Doobie Brothers between 1971 and 1973, playing on several of the band’s best-known hits, including ‘Listen to the Music’ and ‘China Grove’.
2013 : Bob Dylan was voted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, marking the first time a rock musician had been chosen for the elite honor society. Officials in the Academy – which recognises music, literature and visual art – were unable to decide if Dylan belonged for his words or his music and instead inducted him as an honorary member like previous honorees Meryl Streep, Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese.