1966 - The Beach Boys released the critically-lauded Pet Sounds. The group here reached a whole new level in terms of both composition and production, layering tracks upon tracks of vocals and instruments to create a richly symphonic sound. Conventional keyboards and guitars were combined with exotic touches of orchestrated strings, bicycle bells, buzzing organs, harpsichords, flutes, Theremin, Hawaiian-sounding string instruments, Coca-Cola cans, barking dogs, and more. It wouldn't have been a classic without great songs, and this has some of the group's most stunning melodies, as well as lyrical themes which evoke both the intensity of newly born love affairs and the disappointment of failed romance (add in some general statements about loss of innocence and modern-day confusion as well). (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
The album was so good Paul McCartney said it heavily influenced him during the making of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
1970 - The Who release their acclaimed album Live At Leeds in America. It was recorded three months earlier at the University of Leeds in England. Here, the Who sound vicious -- as heavy as Led Zeppelin but twice as volatile -- as they careen through early classics with the confidence of a band that had finally achieved acclaim but had yet to become preoccupied with making art. In that regard, this recording -- in its many different forms -- may have been perfectly timed in terms of capturing the band at a pivotal moment in its history.
1983 - Michael Jackson does the Moonwalk for the first time on TV when he breaks out the move on the Motown 25th anniversary TV special. It happened when Jackson performs "Billie Jean" live, and the first time he wears his single, sequined glove on stage.
Jackson didn't invent the move - Jeffrey Daniel performed it on Soul Train in 1979 and claims he was brought in to teach it to Jackson before the special. It was then known as the Backslide.
1987 - U2 started a three-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "With Or Without You," the group's first U.S. No. 1. It was a song that dated back to The Unforgettable Fire tour, but the band wanted no part of it. The Edge thought it was awful. Too sentimental.
Arrangements were tried and discarded until you hear the one on the finished song. Even then, The band's manager Paul McGuinness was resistant to U2 releasing it as a single, as he thought it was too sonically unusual.
Bono explained that the lyrics had romantic intentions, saying, "there's nothing more revolutionary than two people loving each other. One, 'cause it's so uncommon these days, and two, 'cause it's so difficult to do."
1998 - Five years after it was first released (in Danish), "Torn" goes to #1 on the US Airplay chart with a version by the Australian actress Natalie Imbruglia.
Billy Cobham is 77. Generally acclaimed as fusion's greatest drummer, Billy Cobham's explosive technique powered some of the genre's most important early recordings -- including groundbreaking efforts by Miles Davis and the Mahavishnu Orchestra -- before he became an accomplished bandleader in his own right.
Robert Fripp, guitarist for King Crimson, is 77. A truly singular figure in rock music, Robert Fripp is a guitarist, composer, and bandleader who has brought a unique, strikingly intelligent perspective to his work. One of the most technically gifted guitarists in rock, Fripp is the thinking-person's guitar hero, showing no interest in shredding but eager to challenge himself and blaze new trails with unusual techniques, unique group configurations, and collaborations with other open-minded talents. Founder (and only constant member) of King Crimson. He's also worked with Brian Eno, David Bowie, Talking Heads and Blondie.
During the pandemic, Fripp, along with wife Toyah Wilcox, began The Sunday Lunch videos. It's a humorous collection of covers. Check out their cover of Satisfaction below.
Jonathon Richman is 72. A singer and songwriter who has stubbornly (and joyfully) followed his muse in a career that began in the early '70s. His band the Modern Lovers would often be cited as a precursor to the first wave of punk and included Jerry Harrison who went on to join Talking Heads and David Robinson who became the drummer in The Cars.
Richman enjoyed a serious career boost in the late 90's when he appeared in the hit film There's Something About Mary, popping up occasionally to sing songs that commented on the story and the characters.
On This Day In Music History was sourced from This Day in Music, Cheat Sheet, Allmusic, Song Facts and Wikipedia.