Aretha Franklin, the singer who helped define the sound of soul and influenced countless artists across genres, was born today in 1942. A pioneering vocalist and powerful pianist rightly dubbed "the Queen of Soul," Franklin was raised singing gospel and parlayed that experience into a iconic crossover career in popular music. Not only did Franklin's voice raise the bar for pop and soul singers to follow, she embodied a powerful model of an African-American female artist addressing her experiences and demanding -- in her signature song, an Otis Redding cover, -- "Respect." (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

1963 - Johnny Cash recorded the June Carter/Merle Kilgore song 'Ring Of Fire.' The song was originally recorded by June's sister Anita Carter, on her 1963 album Folk Songs Old and New as '(Love's) Ring of Fire'. Cash claimed he had a dream where he heard the song accompanied by 'Mexican trumpets'. It became the biggest hit of Johnny Cash's career, staying at No.1 on the US charts for seven weeks.

1966 - At a photo session at Bob Whitaker's studio in London, The Beatles posed in white coats using sides of meat with mutilated and butchered dolls for the cover of their next American album, Yesterday and Today. After advance copies were sent to disc jockeys and record reviewers, negative reaction to the cover photo was so strong Capitol recalled 750,000 copies from distributors to replace the cover. The total cost to Capitol to replace the cover and promotional materials was $250,000, wiping out their initial profit.

1972 - Deep Purple's album Machine Head is released in America. Most of it was recorded in their hotel after the Montreux Casino, where they planned to record it, burned down, a story told in the song "Smoke On The Water."

1985 - Prince won an Oscar for Best Original Song Score for the film Purple Rain. Even without the movie, Purple Rain is regularly called one of the greatest albums in music history, but as a soundtrack, it is even more highly praised: In 2007, Vanity Fair magazine named it "the best soundtrack of all time." It's notable that Prince's Oscar marked the last time the Best Original Song Score award was presented; since then, the Academy has changed the category name to Best Original Musical, which helps distinguish it from Best Original Score.

1995 - Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder was rescued from drowning after a riptide dragged him 250 feet offshore in New Zealand.

2001 - At the Academy Awards, where she was nominated for Best Song from her movie "Dancer In The Dark", Bjork wore a swan dress complete with a purse that looked like an egg, which she "laid" on the red carpet. Such bold fashion would not be seen again until Lady Gaga's stunning raw beef frock.

2006 - Country musician, singer, songwriter and band leader Alvis Edgar "Buck" Owens, Jr. died. He pioneered the Bakersfield sound, a reference to Bakersfield, California. One of the most successful American singer-songwriters ever, he had 21 No. 1 country songs in the 60s and 70s with his band the Buckaroos. Beginning in 1969, Owens co-hosted the TV series Hee Haw with Roy Clark and remained until 1986.

2007 - Elton John sets the record for the most performances at New York's Madison Square Garden when he performs there for the 60th time - on his 60th birthday.


Celebrated American songwriter Hoyt Axton was born on this day in 1938. He wrote "Joy To The World" among many other hits for other artists.

Elton John is 74. Some of the aliases Sir Elton has used checking into hotels include, Prince Fooboo, Sir Humphrey Handbag, Lillian Lollipop, Lord Choc Ice, Lord Elpus, Binky Poodleclip and Sir Henry Poodle.

On This Day In Music History is sourced from This Day in Music, Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, Song Facts and Wikipedia.

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