1944 - On shore leave from the Merchant Marines, Woody Guthrie arrived at Folkway Records' studios in New York City, where he started recording. Among the songs during these sessions was "This Land Is Your Land," which became an iconic populist protest anthem, covered by artists including Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen.
1956 - Chuck Berry recorded "Roll Over Beethoven" which was released by Chess Records the following month. It is said that Berry wrote the song in response to his sister Lucy always using the family piano to play classical music when Berry wanted to play pop music. The lyric "roll over Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news" refers to how classical composers would roll over in their graves upon hearing that classical music had given way to rock and roll.
1969 - "The Israelites" by Desmond Dekker became the first single by a Jamaican artist to be a bona fide hit in the U.S. The song was a success despite Dekker's strong Jamaican accent. Decker (from The Metro newspaper, April 18, 2005): "It all happened so quickly. I didn't write that song sitting around a piano or playing a guitar. I was walking in the park, eating corn. I heard a couple arguing about money. She was saying she needed money and he was saying the work he was doing was not giving him enough. I relate to those things and began to sing a little song - "You get up in the morning and you slaving for bread." By the time I got home it was complete. And it was so funny, that song never got out of my mind. It stayed fresh in my head. The following day I got my little tape and I just sang that song and that's how it all started."
1969 - Elektra Records drop the MC5 from their roster after the group takes out an ad in an underground newspaper castigating the department store chain Hudson's for not stocking their debut album, Kick Out The Jams. Hudson's didn't want it on their shelves because of a line in the title track: "Kick out the jams, motherf--ker!" The ad included the company logo and said; 'F--k Hudsons.'
1974 - Queen make their US live debut at Regis College in Denver, supporting Mott the Hoople. Their trek ends early when Brian May develops hepatitis a month later. The set list that night started as the Queen II album did, with the instrumental ‘Procession.’ It contained other new songs such as ‘Father To Son,’ ‘White Queen (As It Began)’ and ‘Ogre Battle.’ The band also played that current UK hit, their first single ‘Keep Yourself Alive’ and such covers as Elvis‘ ‘Jailhouse Rock’ and ‘Big Spender,’ the latter much associated with Shirley Bassey. Setlist:f you wish you could have been at Regis College that night like I do, then here is the set list from that night:
– Father to Son
– Ogre Battle
– White Queen (As It Began)
– Great King Rat
– Doing Alright
– Son and Daughter
– Keep Yourself Alive
– Seven Seas of Rhye
– Jailhouse Rock (Elvis Presley cover)
– Shake, Rattle and Roll (Big Joe Turner & His Blues Kings cover)
– Stupid Cupid (Connie Francis cover)
– Big Spender (Shirley Bassey cover)
– Modern Times Rock’n’Roll
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
1992 - Nirvana appears on the cover of Rolling Stone with Kurt Cobain wearing a T-shirt that reads, "Corporate Magazines Still Suck."
Composer Henry Mancini was born on this day in 1924. Mancini is best known for his iconic film scores, which include such well-known numbers as "The Pink Panther Theme", the "Peter Gunn Theme" and "Moon River."
Gerry Rafferty (of Stealers Wheel) was born on this day in 1947.
Midnight Oil lead singer and former Member of the Australian House of Representatives Peter Garrett is 68.
Paul Buchanan of The Blue Nile is 65.
Dave Pirner, frontman for Soul Asylum, is 57.
Chance the Rapper is 28.
On This Day In Music History is sourced from This Day in Music, Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, Song Facts, Metro Sonic, Udiscover Music and Wikipedia.