1968 - Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham made their live debut as Led Zeppelin but billed as The New Yardbirds at Teen Club in Gladsaxe (a suburb in the outskirts of Copenhagen, Denmark). A local review stated; 'Their performance and their music were absolutely flawless, and the music continued to ring nicely in the ears for some time after the curtains were drawn after their show. We can therefore conclude that the new Yardbirds are at least as good as the old ones were'.
1978 - Keith Moon, drummer with The Who, died of an overdose of heminevrin prescribed to combat alcoholism. Moon had attended a party the night before organized by Paul McCartney for the launch of the "The Buddy Holly Story" movie. He played on all The Who albums from their debut, 1965's My Generation, to 1978's Who Are You, which was released two weeks before his death.
1974 - The 101ers made their performing debut at the Telegraph pub in Brixton. The pub rock band featured singer, guitarist Joe Strummer who would later join The Clash.
1979 - Gary Numan releases the album, 'The Pleasure Principle'. Contained the hit, 'Cars'. A song about how people use technology and material goods to isolate themselves from human contact. Numan told Mojo magazine March 2008 about the original inspiration for this song: "A couple of blokes started peering in the window and for whatever reason took a dislike to me, so I had to take evasive action. I swerved up the pavement, scattering pedestrians everywhere. After that, I began to see the car as the tank of modern society."
1994 - Weezer release their breakthrough single, "Buddy Holly," named for the rock and roll icon on what would have been his 58th birthday. The early demo of this song had a slower tempo and some different lyrics. The chorus originally referenced famous dancing duo Fred & Ginger: "Oo-wee-oo you look just like Ginger Rogers, Oh, oh, I move just like Fred Astaire," before it was changed to "Oh wee-ooh, I look just like Buddy Holly, Oh, oh, and you're Mary Tyler Moore." (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
1996 - Rap star Tupac Shakur is shot five times in a drive-by following a boxing match in Las Vegas. He dies six days later at age 25.
2003 - Warren Zevon, singer-songwriter and musician, died at his home in Los Angeles. Few of rock & roll's great misanthropes were as talented, as charming, or as committed to their cynicism as Warren Zevon. A singer and songwriter whose music often dealt with outlaws, mercenaries, sociopaths, and villains of all stripes. When Zevon received a diagnosis of terminal lung cancer, David Letterman turned an entire hour over to his friend for conversation and music.
"Enjoy every sandwich," Zevon advised, as good parting words.
Buddy Holly was born today in 1936. He passed in 1959. He lives just 22 years but influences many of the biggest stars of the '60s, including The Beatles. Don McLean's "American Pie" is about his death.
Gloria Gaynor is 78.
Chrissie Hynde, founding member of the Pretenders is 70 today.
Benmont Tench, (keyboardist for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) is 68.
Eazy-E, rapper with NWA, was born today in 1964. He passed in 1995.
Highlights for Today in Music History are gathered from This Day in Music, Song Facts, Salon, Allmusic, and Wikipedia.