1936 - Blues musician Robert Johnson began his first recording sessions. The recording session was held in San Antonio, Texas, in room 414 of the Gunter Hotel, which was set up as a temporary recording studio. In the ensuing three-day session, Johnson played 16 selections, and recorded alternate takes for most of these. These recordings have not only entered the realm of blues standards ("Love in Vain," "Crossroads," "Sweet Home Chicago," "Stop Breaking Down"), but were adapted by rock & roll artists as diverse as the Rolling Stones, Steve Miller, Led Zeppelin, and Eric Clapton.
1970 - George Harrison released "My Sweet Lord," his first single as a solo artist. The spiritual tune went to No. 1 in the U.S. This was the first #1 hit for any Beatle after the band broke up. Highly unusual for a hit song, Harrison repeats part of a Hindu mantra in the lyric when he sings, "Hare Krishna... Krishna, Krishna." When set to music, this mantra is typically part of a chant that acts as a call to the Lord. Harrison interposes it with a Christian call to faith: "Hallelujah" - he was pointing out that "Hallelujah and Hare Krishna are quite the same thing."
1974 - The Rolling Stones scored their fifth U.S. No.1 album with It's Only Rock 'N Roll. The album was the last Stones album for guitarist Mick Taylor. It's uneven, but at times It's Only Rock 'n Roll catches fire. The songs and performances are stronger than those on Goats Head Soup; the tossed-off numbers sound effortless, not careless. Throughout, the Stones wear their title as the "World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band" with a defiant smirk, which makes the bitter cynicism of "If You Can't Rock Me" and the title track all the more striking, and the reggae experimentation of "Luxury," the aching beauty of "Time Waits for No One," and the agreeable filler of "Dance Little Sister" and "Short and Curlies" all the more enjoyable.
1991 - Queen frontman Freddie Mercury issues a statement confirming he has AIDS and calling for help in fighting the disease. "I felt it correct to keep this information private to date to protect the privacy of those around me," he writes. "However, the time has come now for my friends and fans around the world to know the truth and I hope that everyone will join with my doctors and all those worldwide in the fight against this terrible disease." (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Mercury dies the next day.
Betty Everett, who had a big hit with "'The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)", was born today in 1939.
Bruce Hornsby is 67.
Tommy Marth, late saxophone player with the Killers, was born today in 1978.
Miley Cyrus is 29.
On this Day In Music History is sourced from Allmusic, This Day in Music, Song Facts and Wikipedia.