1968 - Marvin Gaye scored his first U.S. No. 1 single when "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" started a five-week run at the top. The song has a long history - written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for Motown Records in 1966, first meant for Gladys Knight & the Pips, then recorded by The Miracles, then recorded by Marvin Gaye and placed on his 1968 album In the Groove. The Gaye recording has since become an acclaimed soul classic. In fact, Motown acts hold the top three spots on the Hot 100 on this date:
1) "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" by Marvin Gaye
2) "Love Child" by The Supremes
3) "For Once In My Life" by Stevie Wonder
1969 - The Jackson Five made their first network television appearance in the U.S. when they appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show". They perform their debut Motown single "I Want You Back."
1971 - Led Zeppelin IV was riding high in the Top 10 of the US album charts. The typeface for the lyrics to Stairway to Heaven, printed on the inside sleeve of the album, was Jimmy Page's contribution. He found it in an old arts and crafts magazine from the late 19th century. He thought the lettering was interesting and arranged for a designer to create a whole alphabet.
1977 - At the peak of the disco era, the film Saturday Night Fever opens in theaters. The soundtrack contains two previous #1 hits and four new ones.
1979 - The Clash released their third studio album London Calling in the UK. It made it to our shores in January 1980. Bridging a traditional punk rock sound and a new post-punk aesthetic, London Calling reflects the band's growing interest in styles beyond their punk roots, including reggae, rockabilly, ska, New Orleans R&B, pop, lounge jazz, and hard rock. Themes include social displacement, unemployment, racial conflict, drug use, and the responsibilities of adulthood.
2006 - The co-founder of Atlantic Records Ahmet Ertegun died, aged 83. Ertegun who founded Atlantic Records with Herb Abramson in 1947 helped make Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin stars and signed The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin in the early 70s. He suffered a head injury when he fell at a Rolling Stones concert at New York's Beacon Theatre in October, and died after slipping into a coma.
Singer Charlie Rich ("The Most Beautiful Girl") was born today in 1932.
Frank Allen of The Searchers is 77.
Singer Joyce Vincent Wilson, Tony Orlando and Dawn ("'Knock Three Times") is 74.
AC/DC bass player Cliff Williams is 71.
Mike Scott, Waterboys, is 61.
Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical) is 32.
On This Day In Music History are gathered from This Day in Music, Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, Song Facts and Wikipedia.