1962 - Less than three months before her death, Marilyn Monroe made one of her last public appearances at President John F. Kennedy's 45th birthday celebration, where she famously sang "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" in his honor.
1972 - Elton John releases Honky Chateau. Considerably lighter than Madman Across the Water, Honky Chateau is a rollicking collection of ballads, rockers, blues, country-rock, and soul songs. On paper, it reads like an eclectic mess, but it plays as the most focused and accomplished set of songs Elton John and Bernie Taupin ever wrote. Includes "Rocket Man and becomes his first #1 album in America, igniting a run of six consecutive chart toppers.
1973 - "Kodachrome," a big hit for Paul Simon, was released. Paul Simon was working on a song with the title "Coming Home" when the word "Kodachrome" came to him. He had no idea what it meant, but knew it would make for a much more interesting song than "Coming Home." Paul Simon recorded this at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Alabama with the famous Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. He sought out the musicians when he found out they played on "I'll Take You There" by the Staple Singers, and was surprised to learn that they were not Jamaican musicians, but four guys from the South.
1978 - Dire Straits released their first major label single, "Sultans Of Swing," recorded on a $180 budget.
1986 - Former Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel transitions from cult performer to pop star with the release of his fifth solo album, So. It's the catchiest, happiest record he ever cut. From the Otis Redding soul raver "Sledgehammer", to "In Your Eyes," his greatest love song, and "Don't Give Up," a moving duet with Kate Bush; all illustrated the strengths of the album: Gabriel's increased melodicism and ability to blend African music, jangly pop, and soul into his moody art rock.
1999 - Moby releases Play, a downtempo collection of electronic tunes built on samples of field recordings and old blues numbers. Thanks to music licensing, the songs reach lots of ears and the album becomes a global hit.
For the album, he mines Alan Lomax's archive of field recordings and old blues and gospel records for samples to pair with ambient beats.
The problem is, nobody wants to listen it. Music journalists aren't interested in it and neither are radio stations, so Moby turns to licensing to get his songs heard. Among several placements in movies, TV shows, and commercials, "Porcelain" shows up in the Leo DiCaprio thriller The Beach, "Find My Baby" promotes American Express, and "Bodyrock" sells Rolling Rock beer.
Moby envisioned it as being his last record before moving in a different career direction. Instead it gave his music a new lease of life. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for FYF)
Joey Ramone was born today in 1951. The Ramones are often cited as the first band to define the punk rock sound. A block of East 2nd Street in New York City was officially renamed Joey Ramone Place.
Pete Townshend is 77. As guitarist (became known for his eccentric stage style swinging his right arm against the guitar strings in a windmill style) and composer of The Who , he became the driving force behind one of the most powerful, inventive and articulate bodies of work in rock. From early classic three-minute singles like ‘My Generation’, ‘Substitute’ and ‘I Can See For Miles’, through to complete song cycles in the shape of Tommy, Lifehouse and Quadrophenia, Pete established himself as one of the most gifted and imaginative musicians working in the rock field.
Grace Jones, singer, actress, and model, is 74.
Dusty Hill, ZZ Top bassist, was born on this day in 1949.
AC/DC drummer Philip Rudd is 68.
On this Day In Music History is sourced from This Day in Music, Allmusic, The Who.com Song Facts and Wikipedia.