1952 : After Atlantic Records bought Ray Charles’ contract from Swingtime, Charles recorded his first session for Atlantic, cutting four songs. Over the next seven years, he will record such classics as ‘Mess Around,’ ‘I Got a Woman,’ ‘Hallelujah, I Love Her So’ and ‘What’d I Say.’
1954 : The DJ Alan Freed makes his move from Cleveland to New York, where he begins broadcasting his “Alan Freed Rock ‘n’ Roll Show” on WINS. The first white DJ to play black music, Freed brings R&B music to a wider audience in New York, and the sound would quickly go mainstream with the rise of Elvis and the popularization of Rock Music.
1955 : The legendary DJ Alan Freed puts on the “First Anniversary Rock ‘n Roll Party” at Brooklyn’s Paramount Theater. Acts on the bill include Chuck Berry, The Cardinals, and Tony Bennett, which was a little incongruent.
1956 : Elvis Presley first appears on the cover of TV Guide.
1956 : Eddie Cochran signed a one year contract with Liberty Records, Cochran went on to give Liberty three top 40 hits over the next several years including ‘Summertime Blues,’ ‘Twenty Flight Rock’ and ‘C’mon Everybody’.
1957 : Bobby Helms makes his national TV debut on CBS’ Ed Sullivan Show.
1957 : Reet Petite’ by Jackie Wilson was released for the first time, it became a UK No. 1, 29 years later. During a 1975 benefit concert, Wilson collapsed on-stage from a heart attack and subsequently fell into a coma that persisted for nearly nine years until his death in 1984.
1965 : An ad appears in Variety announcing auditions for The Monkees TV show.
1966 : Dick Clark guests on ABC-TV’s Batman.
1968 : The Beatles performed ‘Hey Jude’ on the UK television show ‘Frost On Sunday’ in front of an invited audience. The song was the first single from The Beatles’ record label Apple Records and at over seven minutes in length, ‘Hey Jude’ was, at the time, the longest single ever to top the British charts. It also spent nine weeks as No.1 in the United States—the longest run at the top of the American charts for a Beatles’ single.
1968 : Led Zeppelin appeared at Raventlow Parken, Nykobing, Falster, Denmark supported by The Beatnicks and The Ladybirds, (who were a all girl topless go-go dancing outfit). This was the group’s third ever live gig.
1971 : The Tams were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Hey Girl Don’t Bother Me’, a reissue of a 1964 US hit.
1973 : Marvin Gaye started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Let’s Get It On’, his second US No.1, only reached No.31 in the UK.
1973 : The Allman Brothers started a five week run at No.1 on the US album chart with ‘Brothers And Sisters’, the group’s only US No.1.
1974 : Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and the Beach Boys all appeared at the New York ‘Summersault ’74’ at Roosevelt Raceway in Westbury.
1976 : Riding the wave of this Frampton Comes Alive! album, Peter Frampton gets invited by President Gerald Ford to spend the day at the White House.
1977 : Guitarist Jimmy McCulloch left Wings to help re-form The Small Faces. McCulloch had played with Paul McCartney’s band on the Venus and Mars and Wings At the Speed of Sound albums, as well as on the Wings Over America tour. He died two years later at the age of 26. Drummer Joe English also left Wings at this time, joining Sea Level.
1979 : Led Zeppelin scored their eighth UK No.1 album when ‘In Through The Out Door’ went to the top of the charts for two weeks.
1982 : Cher begins filming the movie Silkwood.
1984 : Stevie Wonder had his first UK No.1 with ‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’. Taken from the film ‘Lady In Red’, it was 18 years after Wonder’s chart debut in 1966. The song stayed at No.1 for six weeks.
1988 : It’s the finale of a 4-day “garage sale” where Elton John cleans house, which in his case looks like a high-end Hoarders. Among the items sold are the boots he wore in the movie Tommy and his Statue of Liberty stage costume that the 41-year-old feels he has outgrown. The take is $6.2 million.
1988 : Bad Religion return with their third album Suffer – their first full-length in five years and one of their best selling albums of all time. Suffer sees the return of the classic How Could Hell Be Any Worse? lineup, now a five-piece featuring Greg Graffin (vocals), Brett Gurewitz (guitar), Greg Hetson (guitar), Jay Bentley (bass) and Pete Finestone (drums).
1990 : Jon Bon Jovi went to No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Blaze Of Glory’, a No.2 in the UK. The track appeared in the motion picture Young Guns II, for which it was originally recorded.
1993 : Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love appeared on stage together at a show in Hollywood. They performed a song they wrote together ‘Penny Royal Tea’.
1997 : Derek Taylor the publicist for The Beatles died aged 67. Taylor had been responsible for many of the legends surrounding their career and had also worked with The Beach Boys and The Byrds. In 1967 he helped organize the Monterey Pop Festival together with Lou Adler and John Philips. He helped launch the Beatles Anthology trilogy in the 90’s.
1997 : 29 years after the band first formed, Led Zeppelin released ‘Whole Lotta Love’, their first ever single in the UK. The track recorded in 1969 and featured on the bands second album was issued to promote their re-issued back catalog.
2002 : Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson started his new job as an airline pilot. The heavy metal singer qualified as a £35,000 – a year first officer with Gatwick based airline Astraeus who took holidaymakers to Portugal and Egypt.
2002 : Gordon Lightfoot undergoes an emergency stomach operation in a suburban Toronto hospital.
2003 : David Bowie performed the first interactive concert when his performance was beamed live into 21 cinemas from Warsaw to Edinburgh. Members of the audience talked to Bowie via microphones linked to ISDN lines and took requests for songs from fans.
2004 : Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant was guest of honor at the unveiling of a statue of 15th century rebel leader Owain Glyndwr at Pennal church, near Machynlleth in Wales. Plant, who owns a farmhouse in the area had donated money towards a bronze sculpture of the Welsh prince.
2004 : The Honorable Oscar B. Goodman, Mayor of the City of Las Vegas proclaimed this day as Queen Day after the British group.
2005 : Rod Stewart was ordered to pay a Las Vegas casino $2m for missing a New Year concert in 2000. Stewart had said he was unable to play at the Rio hotel and casino because his voice disappeared after an operation to remove a cancerous thyroid tumor. The singer said his voice only recovered in time to begin a world tour in June 2001 and he had since performed 150 shows.
2005 : A charity album featuring some of the biggest bands in the UK was thought to be the fastest ever produced. Coldplay, Radiohead, Kaiser Chiefs, Antony and the Johnsons, The Magic Numbers, The Coral, Bloc Party and Gorillaz were among those who recorded tracks for ‘Help: A Day in the Life.’ The whole 22-track album was made available for download from the War Child website the following day.
2007 : Lynyrd Skynyrd is inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
2011 : Jury selection began for the involuntary manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray. Prospective jurors were asked to fill out a 30-page questionnaire to determining their level of knowledge of the case and any strong views about Jackson or Murray.