1964 - The Beatles held the top five places on the U.S. singles chart, at No. 5 "Please Please Me," No. 4 "I Want To Hold Your Hand," No. 3, "Roll Over Beethoven," No. 2 "Love Me Do," and at No. 1 "Can't Buy Me Love." They also had another nine singles on the chart, bringing their total to fourteen singles on the Hot 100.
1968 - US civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. is killed after being shot on a Memphis motel balcony. King's life inspires a number of songs, including U2's "Pride (In The Name Of Love)."
Further musical tributes are conflated with the death of Senator Robert Kennedy, who is killed two months later: The Rascals' "People Got to Be Free," inspired by King and Kennedy, goes to #1 in August; later in the year Dion has a hit with "Abraham, Martin and John," a song about King, Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln. Even Elvis gets in on it, with a King/Kennedy song called "If I Can Dream."
In ensuing years, songwriters of all stripes lionize King. Public Enemy pleads his case in "By the Time I Get to Arizona"; Rage Against the Machine calls him a "Renegade of Funk."
1996 - Jerry Garcia's ashes are scattered in the Ganges river in India by Dead guitarist Bob Weir and Garcia's widow, Deborah.
There was nothing in his will with instructions on where to spread his ashes, so why the Ganges? Bob Weir: “I had a dream in which it was revealed that he wanted to go “down to the river” and that river was the Ganges. So that’s where we took him. I take my dreams quite seriously.”
However, this was made without the knowledge of other family members like Jerry Garcia’s first wife Carolyn (Mountain Girl) four daughters and his brother Cliff Garcia.
Carolyn Garcia: “There was no reason on Earth to take Jerry’s ashes to India. A country he’d never been to, and dump them into the most polluted river on the face of the Earth.”
Muddy Waters, born McKinley Morganfield, was born today in 1913. Muddy Waters was the single most important artist to emerge in post-war American blues. A peerless singer, a gifted songwriter, an able guitarist, and leader of one of the strongest bands in the genre (which became a proving ground for a number of musicians who would become legends in their own right), Waters absorbed the influences of rural blues from the Deep South and moved them uptown, injecting his music with a fierce, electric energy and helping pioneer the Chicago Blues style that would come to dominate the music through the 1950s, ‘60s, and '70s. The depth of Waters' influence on rock as well as blues is almost incalculable, and remarkably, he made some of his strongest and most vital recordings in the last five years of his life. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
South African trumpeter and singer Hugh Masekela was born on this day in 1939. While he possessed an extensive jazz background, he enjoyed major popular success as one of the earliest innovators in the world fusion genre. His 1968 chart-topping cover of "Grazin' in the Grass" hit the charts in five consecutive decades.
Berry Oakley, bassist for The Allman Brothers Band, was born today in 1948. Although most focused on either the fluid and melodic twin guitar harmonies of Dickey Betts and Duane, Allman or Gregg Allman's soulful vocals, it was Oakley's sturdy basslines that often kept the songs together (especially during their long and winding jams).
He tragically died under similar circumstances as bandmate Duane Allman. Oakley was riding a motorcycle (3 blocks from where Duane met his fate) and collided with a bus. At first refusing medical attention, friends eventually took Oakley to the same hospital Allman was treated at, where he died from his injuries.
Gary Moore, guitarist for Thin Lizzy, was born today in 1952. One of rock's more underrated guitarists, Gary Moore's eclectic career traversed blues, heavy metal, progressive rock, and jazz fusion and, in addition to finding success as a solo act, he was associated with numerous different bands, most notably Thin Lizzy.
On This Day In Music History was sourced from This Day in Music, Rock and Roll Garage, Allmusic, Song Facts and Wikipedia.