1968 - At Liverpool University, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham perform as "The New Yardbirds" for the last time as they assume the moniker Led Zeppelin.
1973 - David Bowie released his seventh album Pin Ups. The album is a collection of cover versions of some of Bowie's favorite songs, including tracks by Pink Floyd, The Pretty Things, The Who, The Yardbirds and The Kinks.
1979 - Following a vicious legal battle with MCA Records, the third Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers album, Damn The Torpedoes, is released on the label's new subsidiary, Backstreet Records.
After releasing two albums, the band's label, Shelter Records, was sold to MCA. Petty refused to go along, leading to a spate of lawsuits that played out while the band was recording the album. After Petty declared bankruptcy, he and the label came to an agreement where the band recorded for Backstreet, which would be dedicated to Petty.
United against a common enemy, the band formed a stronger bond and found a creative spark not present on their previous album, You're Gonna Get It! (1978). Damn The Torpedoes, produced by Jimmy Iovine, is a breakthrough, selling over 3 million copies in America and reaching #2 on the Albums chart. The song "Refugee" is directly inspired by what transpired:
Everybody's had to fight to be free
You see you don't have to live like a refugee
(Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Sacks & Co)
1984 - The Talking Heads concert movie Stop Making Sense opens in theaters. A highly unconventional film that doesn't rely on crowd shots or backstage footage, it's hailed as a triumph of the genre. Conceived by frontman David Byrne, Talking Heads made their 1983 tour supporting their Speaking In Tongues album an immersive and somewhat unsettling visual experience, with Byrne incorporating a series of unpredictable stage moves into his performances: he plays a gunshot victim in "Psycho Killer," smacks himself in the head during "Once In A Lifetime," and slithers like a jellyfish for "Life During Wartime."
The title comes from a line in the song "Girlfriend Is Better," which Byrne performs wearing a very big suit. In an interview with himself to promote the film, Byrne asked why. "I wanted my head to appear smaller and the easiest way to do that was to make my body bigger," he said, "because music is very physical and often the body understands it before the head."
1985 - Thanks to an innovative video that takes place in a comic book, "Take On Me" gives the Norwegian group a-ha a #1 hit in America. The comic landscape was created by husband-and-wife team Michael Patterson and Candace Reckinger using rotoscoping, which involves tracing over live action footage to create realistic movements in animation.
Today in 1944, Peter Tosh was born, a core member of The Wailers with Bob Marley. He toured with the Rolling Stones and had an international hit with a duet with Mick Jagger. Interesting fact, he was an avid rider of unicycles. Tragically murdered in 1987 during a home invasion.
On This Day In Music History is sourced from This Day in Music, Allmusic, Song Facts and Wikipedia.