1956 - Buddy Holley becomes "Buddy Holly" when he signs a recording contract with Decca Records that leaves out the "e" in his last name.
1971 - Frank Zappa was forced to cancel a concert at London's Royal Albert Hall after venue officials deemed Zappa's classical opus "200 Motels" to be obscene and refused to allow its performance. The music provided the soundtrack to the film of the same name. It's typically wacky Zappa of the era, with unpredictable sharp turns between crunchy rock bombast, orchestration, and jazz/classical influences, as well as interjections of wacky spoken dialogue.
1973 - The Jamaican cult classic film The Harder They Come is released in the US. The Perry Henzell-directed film casts real-life reggae performer Jimmy Cliff as an aspiring reggae singer who turns to a life of crime after getting mixed up with a corrupt record producer. Black Jamaicans praise the movie (the first ever produced on the island by natives) for bringing their authentic experience to the big screen, citing the use of reggae music and Jamaican patois against the backdrop of real locations with real Jamaican performers.
But those very attributes make the film difficult to market in the US.
"Nobody would take it," Henzell explains in a 1995 interview with Variety. "They'd never heard of reggae music, and nobody was interested in black people in Jamaica."
The actors' thick accents is difficult for many English speakers to understand, making the use of subtitles necessary. It doesn't find an appreciative audience until it runs on the midnight circuit a few months later, where the subtitles take a backseat to the real star of the movie: the soundtrack, featuring four songs from Cliff, including the title track, and tunes from reggae artists like Desmond Dekker, Toots and the Maytals, and The Slickers. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
1975 - Queen released "Killer Queen" which went on to become their first hit single in the U.S. Freddie Mercury said this about the song: "It's about a high class call girl. I'm trying to say that classy people can be whores as well". Besides using his grand piano like he normally did, Mercury overdubbed the song with an upright piano to give the track a vaudeville sound.
1977 - Television release their debut album, Marquee Moon. It doesn't chart in the US but is later hailed by many critics as landmark, with a guitar sound that influences a number of New Wave and rock acts.
1980 - David Bowie and wife Angela are officially divorced, although they've been separated since the mid-'70s. David gets custody of their son Zowie, now known as Joe.
1981 - R.E.M. held their first recording sessions at Bombay Studios in Smyrna, GA. Among their first recordings was the band's first single "Radio Free Europe," as well as the EP "Chronic Town" and the band's album debut "Murmur." According to an interview in Online Athen's "R.E.M. in the Hall" series, producer/engineer Joe Perry said the band arrived to their first recording session focused and ready to rock. "They wanted to record eight songs, complete with overdubs, vocals, mixing and cassette (copies), which was really ambitious. I was probably charging them $12 or $15 an hour, and they were all business. They were very serious."
Terry Melcher, who was behind hits by the Byrds, Ry Cooder and the Beach Boys (and the son of actress Doris Day) was born on this day in 1942.
Creed Bratton, from the band Grass Roots and Creed from the TV show The Office, is 78.
Vince Neil, singer for Motley Crue, is 60.
Guy Man (Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo), French electronic musician with Daft Punk, is 47.
On This Day In Music History are gathered from This Day in Music, Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, Song Facts, Allmusic, and Wikipedia.