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1969 - The Beatles' "Get Back," featuring piano from Billy Preston, hits #1 in America. The sound of "Get Back" harkened back to the early days when they were road warriors and was advertised as "The Beatles as nature intended." Paul McCartney: "We were sitting in the studio and we made it up out of thin air... we started to write words there and then... when we finished it, we recorded it at Apple Studios and made it into a song to roller coast by."

1974 - All-time genius of jazz composing, arranging, piano, and band-leading (he led a star-studded orchestra continuously for almost 50 years), Duke Ellington died in New York City at the age of 75.

1974 -David Bowie released Diamond Dogs. Originally conceived as a concept album based on George Orwell's 1984, Diamond Dogs evolved into another one of Bowie's paranoid future nightmares. While not a step forward, it's not a total waste either. "Rebel Rebel", "1984," "Candidate," and "Diamond Dogs" all offering some sort of pleasure, but it is the first record since Space Oddity where Bowie's reach exceeds his grasp.

The cover art features Bowie as a striking half-man, half-dog grotesque painted by Belgian artist Guy Peellaert. It was controversial as the full painting clearly showed the hybrid's genitalia.

1999 - Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991, was honored on a new set of millennium stamps issued by the Royal Mail. Mercury, was a keen stamp collector himself, and his collection was bought by the Post Office in 1993. He put together a substantial collection that included stamps from different British colonies.


Bob Dylan is 81. His influence on popular music is incalculable. As a songwriter, he pioneered several different schools of pop songwriting, from confessional singer/songwriter to winding, hallucinatory, stream-of-consciousness narratives. As a vocalist, he broke down the notion that a singer must have a conventionally good voice in order to perform, thereby redefining the vocalist's role in popular music. As a musician, he sparked several genres of pop music, including electrified folk-rock and country-rock. And that's just the tip of his achievements. Dylan's force was evident enough during his height of popularity in the 1960s -- the Beatles' shift toward introspective songwriting in the mid-'60s never would have happened without him -- but his influence echoed throughout several subsequent generations, as many of his songs became popular standards and his best albums became undisputed classics of the rock & roll canon. Dylan's influence on folk music was equally powerful, and he marks a pivotal turning point in its 20th century evolution, signifying when the genre moved away from traditional songs and toward personal songwriting. Even when his sales declined in the '80s and '90s, Dylan's presence rarely lagged, and his commercial revival in the 2000s proved his staying power. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for VH1)

Patti Labelle is 78. Scored the No.1 single 'Lady Marmalade', (with Labelle). Labelle became the the first African-American vocal group to land the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

Albert Bouchard, drummer for Blue Oyster Cult, is 75.

Cynthia "Plaster" Caster, an artist known for her plaster casts of celebrities' genitalia and breasts, was born on this day in 1947.

Rosanne Cash is 67.

Rich Robinson, guitarist for The Black Crowes, is 52.

On this Day In Music History is sourced from This Day in Music, Allmusic, Song Facts and Wikipedia.

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