1899 - The world's first jukebox, then known as a "nickel in the slot machine," was installed at San Francisco's' Palais Royal Hotel. It had been created by simply adding a coin slot to an Edison phonograph. The machine had no amplification and patrons had to listen to the music using one of four listening tubes. In its first six months of service, the machine earned over $1000.
1936 - Blues legend Robert Johnson began his first recording sessions. The recording session was held in San Antonio, Texas, at the Gunter Hotel, which Brunswick Records had set up as a temporary recording studio. In the ensuing three-day session, Johnson played 16 selections, and recorded alternate takes for most of these. These recordings have not only entered the realm of blues standards, but were adapted by rock & roll artists as diverse as the Rolling Stones, Steve Miller, Led Zeppelin, and Eric Clapton.
1970 - Cat Stevens releases Tea For The Tillerman. It was an album about living in the modern world while rejecting it in favor of spiritual fulfillment. It's his breakthrough in the US, where "Wild World" becomes his first hit.
1970 - George Harrison released "My Sweet Lord," his first single as a solo artist. The song is about the Eastern religions he was studying.
Highly unusual for a hit song, Harrison repeats part of a Hindu mantra in the lyric when he sings, "Hare Krishna... Krishna, Krishna." When set to music, this mantra is typically part of a chant that acts as a call to the Lord. Harrison interposes it with a Christian call to faith: "Hallelujah" - he was pointing out that "Hallelujah and Hare Krishna are quite the same thing."(Photo by Getty Images)
1976 - After Elvis had invited him, Jerry Lee Lewis shows up at Presley's Gracland mansion just before three o'clock in the morning, driving a brand new Lincoln Continental, which he accidently rams into the famous front gates with the wrought-iron music notes. Elvis' cousin, Harold Loyd, who was manning the gates, didn't recognize Jerry Lee and called the police. The press later reported that The Killer was waving a pistol in the air, demanding to see Elvis. It was a story that tour guides at Graceland told for years, but Jerry Lee emphatically denied. "I really didn't mean to do nothin' to harm Elvis. He was my friend. I was his." The two never saw each other again.
1991 - Queen frontman Freddie Mercury issued a statement confirming he has AIDS and calling for help in fighting the disease. "I felt it correct to keep this information private to date to protect the privacy of those around me," he wrote. "However, the time has come now for my friends and fans around the world to know the truth and I hope that everyone will join with my doctors and all those worldwide in the fight against this terrible disease." Mercury died the next day.
Betty Everett, who had a big hit with "'The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)", was born today in 1939.
Bruce Hornsby is 68.
Alison Mosshart, The Kills and Dead Weather (with Jack White) is 44.
On this Day In Music History are gathered from This Day in Music, Song Facts Allmusic, Classic Bands, and Wikipedia.