Willie Hugh Nelson was born on this day in 1933, making him 88 today. One of the most popular country figures of all time - especially in the "outlaw country" sub-genre - his discography includes 94 studio albums (consisting of 69 solo studio albums and 25 collaborative studio albums), 13 live albums, 51 compilation albums and 41 video albums, he's acted in more than 30 films, and he is widely-known for his activism and political views - mainly for the use of biofuels and the legalization of marijuana. He has won many, many awards in his lifetime, and he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993, and he received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1998. And he's still going strong, pivoting to online performances in the time of COVID-19, and petitioning President Biden to make April 20 a national holiday. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
1967 - Aretha Franklin's classic version of Otis Redding's "Respect" was released. Franklin's version is so definitive that most people assume she was the first to record the song. "Respect" has become the song most closely associated with Franklin throughout her career. It was Aretha's idea to cover this song. She came up with the arrangement, added the "sock it to me" lines, and played piano on the track. Her sister Carolyn, who sang backup on the album, also helped work up the song.
1975 - Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" marks the end of the Vietnam War as the American Radio Service plays the tune during the Fall of Saigon - a signal for American personnel to evacuate.
1976 - After a gig in Memphis, Bruce Springsteen took a cab to Elvis Presley's Graceland home and proceeded to climb over the wall. A guard took Springsteen to be another crazed fan and apprehended him. Springsteen remains a lifelong fan of Presley and writes the song "Fire" as a tribute to him after catching a particularly poor performance in Philadelphia in 1977. Elvis dies before the demo can find him.
1993 - Mick Ronson died of cancer in England. The guitarist was David Bowie's right-hand man during the Ziggy Stardust days and had also worked with Ian Hunter, Bob Dylan and Morrissey. Released the 1974 solo album 'Slaughter On Tenth Avenue' and co-produced Lou Reed's album Transformer
Duke Ellington, composer of more than 1,000 pieces for piano and big bands, was born on this day in 1899.
Lonnie Donegan was born on this day in 1931. Donegan is credited as the founder of the skiffle genre, a style of music that inspired and influenced 1960s British pop musicians, including the Beatles.
Blues guitarist and singer-songwriter Otis Rush ("I Can't Quit You Baby") was born today in 1934.
Motown singer Tammi Terrell was born on this day in 1945.
Tommy James, leader of Tommy James and the Shondells, is 74.
Carnie Wilson of Wilson Phillips (and daughter of Beach Boy Brian Wilson) is 53.
Cranberries bassist Mike Hogan is 48.
On This Day In Music History is sourced from This Day in Music, Song Facts and Wikipedia.