1938 - Blues legend Robert Johnson dies. after being poisoned by a jealous man. If the blues has a truly mythic figure, one whose story hangs over the music the way Charlie Parker's does over jazz or Hank Williams' does over country, it's Robert Johnson, certainly the most celebrated figure in the history of the blues.
The myth is that he went to the crossroad and sold his soul to the Devil to become a great guitarist. The truth is he died after being poisoned by a jealous man.
1962 - Pete Best is fired as drummer for The Beatles, replaced by Ringo Starr. The group's manager Brian Epstein does the firing by calling Best into his record shop and giving him the bad news.
1966 - The Monkees released their first single, "Last Train to Clarksville." It's a lighthearted-sounding song with a somber subtext: The lyric is about a guy who gets drafted into the Vietnam War and wonders if he's ever coming home. Critics called them "The Pre-Fab Four".
1969 - During a North American tour Led Zeppelin appeared at the Convention Hall in Asbury Park with Joe Cocker as support. Zeppelin had been asked to perform at Woodstock but due to this gig commitment were unable to attend. And down the road Bruce Springsteen's band Child played the first of two shows over two days at the Student Prince, Ashbury Park. Springsteen was also unable to attend Woodstock due to these gigs.
1977- The King died. He was 42. Elvis Presley belongs on the short list of artists who changed the course of popular music in the 20th century. He may not have invented rock & roll, but he was indisputably its first rock star, a singer whose charisma intertwined tightly with his natural talent for a combination that seemed combustible, sexy, and dangerous. He undeniably kick-started the rock & roll era, shaping the sound and attitudes of the last few decades of the 20th century in the process, but he also built a distinctive body of work that reflected the best of what American music has to offer. (Photo by Getty Images)
1975 - Peter Gabriel split from Genesis.
1985 - Red Hot Chili Peppers release the cocaine-fueled funk album Freaky Styley, produced by Parliament-Funkadelic founder George Clinton, and welcome back guitarist Hillel Slovak.
1995 - Neil Young releases Sleeps with Angels, the title of which is inspired by the death of Kurt Cobain.
2018 - Aretha Franklin died in Detroit at the age of 76. She was known as "The Queen of Soul" and one of the best-selling musical artists of all time. More than any other performer, she epitomized soul at its most gospel-charged.
Scott Asheton, drummer for Iggy Pop and the Stooges, was born today in 1949. He passed away in 2014.
James "J.T." Taylor of Kool & The Gang is 69.
Madonna is 64.
Emily Robinson, singer songwriter with The Chicks is 50.
On this Day In Music History are gathered from Allmusic, This Day in Music, Song Facts and Wikipedia.