1970 - Jimi Hendrix jams with Eric Burdon and War at the London club Ronnie Scott's two days before his death. It's the last time he would play music.
1977 - Talking Heads release their debut studio album, Talking Heads: 77. It featured staggered rhythms and sudden tempo changes, the odd guitar tunings and rhythmic, single-note patterns, the non-rhyming, non-linear lyrics that came across like odd remarks overheard from a psychiatrist's couch, and that voice, singing above its normal range, its falsetto leaps and strangled cries resembling a madman trying desperately to sound normal. Using existing elements in an unusual combination to create something new that still managed to be oddly familiar made Talking Heads: 77 a landmark album.
1977 - Pioneer Brit pop legend Marc Bolan of T. Rex died in an automobile crash in England. Girlfriend Gloria Jones (she sang the original version of "Tainted Love", later covered by Soft Cell) was at the wheel. Bolan was one of the first pioneers of the glam rock movement of the 1970s.
1979 - The Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" was released. Although it was not the first single to feature rapping, it is generally considered to be the song that first popularized hip hop in the United States and around the world. The song's opening lyric, "I said a hip hop, the hippie, the hippie to the hip-hip-hop and you don't stop," is world-renowned.
1984 - The TV series Miami Vice makes its debut with a two-hour episode that includes a scene featuring the Phil Collins hit "In The Air Tonight."
It's clear from the intro that the show is about pretty pictures put to music: there is no voiceover in the opening theme and no shots of the actors, just glamorous Miami iconography. This style is repeated in the episode itself, as "In The Air Tonight" is used in a long, emotional scene with little dialogue in what amounts to a music video.
1985 - Kate Bush released her fifth studio album Hounds of Love, spearheaded by "Running Up That Hill," her biggest single since "Wuthering Heights." Hounds of Love was carefully crafted as a pop record, and it abounded in memorable melodies and arrangements, the latter reflecting idioms ranging from orchestrated progressive pop to high-wattage traditional folk; and at the center of it all was Bush in the best album-length vocal performance of her career.
2006 - 65-year-old Bob Dylan becomes the oldest person to top Billboard's Albums chart when Modern Times goes to #1. Modern Times is raw; it feels live, immediate, and in places even shambolic. Rhythms slip, time stretches and turns back on itself, and lyrics are rushed to fit into verses that just won't stop coming. Modern Times is the work of an untamed artist who, as he grows older, sees mortality as something to accept but not bow down to, the sound that refuses to surrender to corruption of the soul and spirit. It's more than a compelling listen; it's a convincing one.
2008 - Motown songwriter and producer Norman Whitfield died. Whitfield collaborated with Barrett Strong on such hits as "I Heard It through the Grapevine," "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," "(I Know) I'm Losing You," "Cloud Nine," "War," "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" and "Car Wash."
B.B. King was born today in 1925. Universally hailed as the king of the blues, the legendary B.B. King was without a doubt the single most important electric guitarist of the last half of the 20th century. His bent notes and staccato picking style influenced legions of contemporary bluesmen, while his gritty and confident voice -- capable of wringing every nuance from any lyric -- provided a worthy match for his passionate playing. He was a major influence on Eric Clapton and Rolling Stone magazine placed him behind only Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. (Photo by Scott Harrison/Getty Images)
Kenny Jones, drummer in the Small Faces, Faces, and The Who, is 74.
Ron Blair, bassist, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, is 70.
Bilinda Butcher, vocalist and guitarist for My Bloody Valentine, is 61.
Singer-songwriter Richard Marx is 59.
Salsa pop star and actor Marc Anthony is 54.
Justine Frischmann frontwoman of Elastica is 53.
On this Day In Music History was sourced from Allmusic, This Day in Music, Song Facts and Wikipedia.