1958 - The first "Greatest Hits" compilation is released, and it's by Johnny Mathis. It's a huge hit, and the format catches on quickly. The Mathis album stays in the Billboard 200 album chart for over 9 years, a record not broken until Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon.
1977 - David Bowie and Iggy Pop perform together on Dinah Shore's daytime show on NBC. Iggy, alongside bassist Tony Sales, Hunt Sales on drums and with Bowie on keys would slam through new tracks ‘Sister Midnight’ and ‘Fun Time’ for a stunned audience.
1980 - R.E.M. played their first ever gig when they appeared at St Mary's Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia. The band had no name at this point - according to Michael Stipe, they had considered "Twisted Kites" and "Cans of Piss" - but they settled on "R.E.M." after Stipe selected it at random from a dictionary. Fortunately.
1988 - Tracy Chapman's eponymous debut album is released. Sounding for all the world as if it was recorded in the early '70s -- that is, if all you paid attention to were the sonics, since Chapman's songs are clearly a result of the Reagan revolution. Even the love songs and laments are underscored by a realized vision of trickle-down modern life -- listen to the lyrical details of "Fast Car" for proof. The record continues to sound fresh because Chapman's writing is so keenly observed and her strong, gutsy singing makes each song sound intimate and immediate.
1994 - Kurt Cobain of Nirvana committed suicide by firearm at his home in Seattle. Strangely, like Jimi, Janis, Jim Morrison and Brian Jones, he was 27 when he died. Cobain formed Nirvana with Krist Novoselic in 1985 and established it as part of the Seattle music scene and grunge genre. Despite releasing only three full-length studio albums in their seven-year career, Nirvana has come to be regarded as one of the most influential and important rock bands of the modern era.
A suicide note was found that said, "I haven't felt the excitement of listening to as well as creating music, along with really writing . . . for too many years now". Photo by Fernando Leon/Getty Images)
2002 - Layne Staley, lead singer of Alice in Chains, passed away at age 34.
2005 - On the eleventh anniversary of Kurt Cobain's suicide, his hometown of Aberdeen, Washington adds the phrase "Come As You Are" to its welcome sign.
2008 - Apple's iTunes overtook Wal-Mart to become the largest music retailer in the US.
2012 - Jim Marshall, who made rock ’n’ roll rawer and noisier by inventing the Marshall amplifier died. His amplifiers and speakers known as 'Marshall stacks' were used by Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and almost every other major rock guitarist in the ’60s and ’70s and by the next generation of guitarists as well, including Kurt Cobain, Eddie Van Halen and Slash.
1935 - Peter Grant, manager of Led Zeppelin was born on this day in 1935. Known as being one of the shrewdest and most ruthless managers in rock history, Grant secured 90% of concert gate money and intimidated record store owners who dealt in bootlegs. The former wrestler also worked as a film extra and bodyguard.
Agnetha Faltskog from ABBA is 71.
Stan Ridgeway, founding member of Wall Of Voodoo, is 67.
Christopher 'Kid' Reid (Kid N Play) is 58.
Mike McCready, lead guitarist for Pearl Jam, is 56.
Paula Cole is 54.
Pharrell Williams is 49.
On this Day In Music History is sourced from Far Out magazine, Allmusic, This Day in Music, Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, Song Facts and Wikipedia.