1954 – Bill Haley recorded ‘Rock Around the Clock’ at Pythian Temple studios in New York City. Considered by many to be the song that put rock and roll on the map around the world. The song was used over the opening titles for the film ‘Blackboard Jungle’, and went on to be a world-wide No.1 and the biggest selling pop single with sales over 25 million. Written by Max C. Freedman and James E. Myers, ‘Rock Around The Clock’ was first recorded by Italian-American band Sonny Dae and His Knights.
1957 – The ‘King of Skiffle’ Lonnie Donegan was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Cumberland Gap.’ The Scottish musician was a former member of Chris Barber’s Jazz Band.
1963 – Bob Dylan performed his first major solo concert at the Town Hall in New York City. Dylan played a 24 song set including ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’, ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’, ‘Highway 51’ and ‘Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie’.
1966 – Jan Berry (Jan and Dean) was almost killed when he crashed his car into a parked truck a short distance from Dead Man’s Curve in Los Angeles. Berry was partially paralysed and suffered brain damage. Berry was able to walk again after extensive therapy.
1967 – Mick Jagger was punched in the face by an airport official during a row at Le Bourget Airport in France. Jagger lost his temper after The Stones were being searched for drugs resulting in them missing their flight.
1968 – Pink Floyd released their fourth UK single ‘It Would Be So Nice’, written by Richard Wright with Roger Waters’ ‘Julia Dream’ on the B-side. Pink Floyd were on tour in Europe on this day, and played their second night at the Piper Club, in Rome, Italy.
1969 – The 5th Dimension started a six week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Aquarius / Let The Sunshine In’, a No.11 hit in the UK.
1975 – During an interview with Playboy Magazine David Bowie announced his second career retirement, saying, “I’ve rocked my roll. It’s a boring dead end, there will be no more rock ‘n’ roll records from me. The last thing I want to be is some useless f—ing rock singer.”
1989 – Two DJ’s on Los Angeles station KLOS asked ‘what ever happened to David Cassidy’ The singer called the station up and the presenters invited him onto the show. David played three songs live on air and was subsequently signed by a new record label.
1989 – Garth Brooks released his self-titled debut album which was both a critical and chart success, peaking at No.13 on the Billboard 200 and No.2 on the Top Country Albums. This album contains Brooks earliest hits, including his first ever single, ‘Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)’, and his first No.1, ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes’ and the Academy of Country Music’s 1990 Song of the Year and Video of the Year, ‘The Dance’.
1990 – The Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Centre announced that Asteroids 4147-4150, would be named Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr after the four members of The Beatles.
1995 – Two weeks after her death, George W. Bush, (then the governor of Texas), declared “Selena Day” in Texas. The Mexican American singer Selena was murdered aged 23 by the president of her fan club Yolanda Sald’var on 31st March 1995.
1997 – R Kelly started a three-week run at No.1 on the UK singles chart with his Grammy award winning song ‘I Believe I Can Fly.’ A No.2 hit in the US, the track was featured in the film ‘Space Jam’.
2000 – Metallica filed a suit against Napster, Yale University, The University of Southern California and Indiana University for copyright infringement.
2005 – Mariah Carey released ‘The Emancipation of Mimi’, the album entered the US chart at number one, going six times platinum in less than a year, and subsequently became the most successful album of 2005.
2007 – The Beatles company, Apple Corps, settled a £30 million ($59.2 million) royalties dispute with the band’s label, EMI. The suit alleged unpaid royalties on Beatles albums based on an audit of sales between 1994 and 1999, a period which included the release of three Anthology compilations. Details of the settlement were not disclosed.
2010 – The Vatican’s official newspaper L’Osservatore Ramano published a story praising The Beatles and saying that it forgave John Lennon for his 1966 comment that the group was “bigger than Jesus.” Lennon told a British newspaper in 1966 – at the height of Beatlemania – that he did not know which would die out first, Christianity or rock and roll.
2012 – Saxophone player Andrew Love died aged 70. He was best known for being a member of The Memphis Horns with trumpet player Wayne Jackson where the two created the signature horn sound at Stax Records on hit records by Otis Redding, Sam & Dave and others such as Neil Diamond, Elvis Presley and Dusty Springfield.
2014 – The Pulp hit ‘Common People’ was voted the top Britpop anthem by listeners of BBC Radio 6 Music in the UK, beating Oasis, Blur and Suede to take the title. More than 30,000 people voted, with The Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ second and Oasis tracks ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ and ‘Wonderwall’ in third and fourth.
2015 – Grammy Award-winning rapper Nelly was arrested on drugs charges after police stopped the bus in which he was travelling in Tennessee. Officers found “five coloured crystal-type rocks that tested positive for methamphetamine, as well as a small amount of marijuana and other drug paraphernalia” and handguns on board the tour bus.
2016 – A US court ruled that Led Zeppelin founders Robert Plant and Jimmy Page must face trial in a copyright row over the song ‘Stairway to Heaven’. The copyright infringement action had been brought by Michael Skidmore, a trustee for the late Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe, who played on the same bill as Led Zeppelin in the 1960s, and claimed he should be given a writing credit on the track.
2016 – A report showed that British artists including Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran and Adele had helped the music industry return to meaningful growth for the first time in almost 20 years. British artists accounted for five of the top 10 selling albums during 2015, as the global music industry generated $15bn.