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1955 - Chuck Berry does the duck walk for the first time. “Well, when I was a kid I used to scoot under the table, and whenever company would come around you know or my sisters or parents would tell me, go under the table and I’d do it because it was entertainment for the family or aunts or whatever,” Berry once revealed.

Adding: “And one time at the Paramount when I first did it, you know, Brooklyn Paramount, I did it in the act during an instrumental and it got a big ovation and so I coined it as one of the things I should do in the act. And ever since I’ve been doing it.”

On this night, it has been pointed out, he crouched to hide the wrinkles in his suit. Either way, a trademark move is born.

1965 - An ad appears in Variety looking for "Four Insane Boys, Ages 17-21" to star in a new TV show: The Monkees.

1973 - Marvin Gaye started a two-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Let's Get It On." music critic Jon Landau wrote of the song: "'Let's Get It On' is a classic Motown single, endlessly repeatable and always enjoyable. It begins with three great wah-wah notes that herald the arrival of a vintage Fifties melody....and a long, moody fade-out that challenges you not to play the cut again."

1982 - Peter Gabriel released Security. It flows easily and enticingly, with certain songs -- the eerie "San Jacinto," "I Have the Touch," "Shock the Monkey" -- arising from the wash of sound. That's not to say that the rest of the album is bland easy listening -- it's designed this way, to have certain songs deliver greater impact than the rest. Security remains a powerful listen, one of the better records in Gabriel's catalog, proving that he is becoming a master of tone, style, and substance, and how each part of the record enhances the other.

1992 - Tom Waits releases Bone Machine, a sonic avalanche of apocalyptic percussion sounds, snarls, and deathly wails. The arrangements are accordingly stripped of all excess flesh; the very few, often non-traditional instruments float in distinct separation over the clanking junkyard percussion that dominates the record. It's a chilling, primal sound made all the more otherworldly (or, perhaps, underworldly) by Waits' raspy falsetto and often-distorted roars and growls. All of it adds up to Waits' most affecting and powerful recording, even if it isn't his most accessible.

1993 - Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain appear on stage together for the first time, performing at Club Lingerie in Los Angeles. They play "Pennyroyal Tea" and "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?"

2016 - Jamaican singer, songwriter and producer, Prince Buster died. Prince Buster defined the sound of ska in the 1960s before going on to inspire the Two Tone movement of the late '70s. The band Madness took their name from the Prince Buster song, "Madness."


Jimmie Rodgers was born on this day in 1897. He has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Song Writers Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Pasty Cline was born on this day in 1932. One of the greatest singers in the history of country music, Patsy Cline also helped blaze a trail for female singers to assert themselves as an integral part of the Nashville-dominated country music industry.

Ron Pigpen McKernan of The Grateful Dead was born on this day in 1945. From his biker looks to his gruff, dusty voice, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan managed to work that combination into one of the '60s most encompassing jam bands. His love for gospel and blues led him to be one of the founding members of the Grateful Dead. But with a segue from less blues to more psychedelia -- and for Pigpen, a healthy liver to a troubled one -- Tom Constanten and Keith Godchaux were varyingly brought in to take over for the ailing keyboardist. After the Dead toured Europe in 1972, Pigpen could no longer tour with the band. He died in March of 1973. Depending on the source, either Jerry Garcia or a girlfriend gave him the nickname, "Pigpen." Citing the Peanuts cartoon character or his "funky approach to life and sanitation."

Benjamin Orr, bassist for The Cars, was born today in 1947.

Aimee Mann, Til Tuesday and solo artist, is 62.

Neko Case, New Pornographers and solo artist, is 52.

Avicii was born on this day in 1989. He passed in 2018.

Highlights for Today in Music History are gathered from Far Out Magazine, Allmusic, Grunge, This Day in Music, Song Facts and Wikipedia.

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