1969 - The Beatles had not only their biggest hit, but also the largest selling record of the 1960s when "Hey Jude" reached the top of the US charts. The song, written by Paul McCartney for John's son Julian, would stay at number one in America for nine weeks and sell over eight million copies.
1972 - The Temptations release "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone." The single is cut to 6:58 because there's not enough vinyl on a 45 to handle the 11:46 album version. The Temptations version was a No.1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and won three Grammy Awards in 1973.
This was the last big hit recorded in Motown's famous Studio A, located in a two-story house in Detroit. Most of Motown's studio work had moved to Los Angeles by then, but The Temptations still recorded in Detroit.
1976 - Stevie Wonder released his eighteenth studio album, Songs in the Key of Life. It's Wonder's longest, most ambitious collection of songs, a two-LP (plus accompanying EP) set that -- just as the title promised -- touched on nearly every issue under the sun, and did it all with ambitious (even for him), wide-ranging arrangements and some of the best performances of Wonder's career. Songs in the Key of Life contains nearly a full album on love and relationships, along with another full album on issues social and spiritual. Stevie Wonder had talent to spare during the mid-'70s, and instead of letting the reserve trickle out during the rest of the decade, he let it all go with one massive burst. (Photo by PIERRE VERDY / AFP) (Photo by PIERRE VERDY/AFP via Getty Images)
Television host Ed Sullivan was born today in 1901. Sullivan hosted the most popular variety programme on US television during the 50s and 60s. He presented hundreds of the most important musical acts of the era to a wide audience; it was on The Ed Sullivan Show that most of America first saw Elvis Presley and the Beatles. Guest musical acts nearly always performed live, some backed by Sullivan’s orchestra, led by Ray Bloch.
Ben E. King was born today in 1938. From the groundbreaking orchestrated productions of the Drifters to his own solo hits, Ben E. King was the definition of R&B elegance. King's plaintive baritone had all the passion of gospel, but the settings in which it was displayed were tailored more for his honey smooth phrasing and crisp enunciation, proving for perhaps the first time that R&B could be sophisticated and accessible to straight pop audiences. King's approach influenced countless smooth soul singers in his wake, and his records were key forerunners of the Motown sound.
Moon Zappa daughter of Frank Zappa is 56. Thus begins a tradition of oddball names for the Zappa children. She and her dad scored a hit with "Valley Girl".
St. Vincent is 41. Born Anne Erin Clark, she began her music career as a member of the Polyphonic Spree and was also a member of Sufjan Stevens's touring band before forming her own band in 2006. . In 2012, she released Love This Giant, an album made in collaboration with David Byrne.
1991 - American jazz trumpeter, bandleader and composer Miles Davis died of a stroke and pneumonia. Throughout his wildly prolific, five-decade-long career, the revolutionary jazz composer, trumpeter, and bandleader pioneered a number of jazz subgenres, including hard bop, jazz-fusion, free jazz, and more. In addition to releasing the most popular jazz album of all time (1959’s Kind of Blue), Davis’ lengthy discography includes such groundbreaking titles as Birth of the Cool (1957) and Sketches of Spain (1960).
2009 - Lucy Vodden, the childhood pal of John Lennon's son Julian, passed away at the age of 46. She was the inspiration for The Beatles' track, "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," written mostly by John after Julian showed his father a nursery-school drawing he made and called "Lucy - in the sky with diamonds," depicting his classmate.
2022 - "Gangsta's Paradise" rapper Coolio dies at 59. Coolio was one of the first rappers to balance pop accessibility with gritty, street-level subject matter and language. Despite his nods to hardcore, his music was clearly more happy-go-lucky at heart; he shared the West Coast scene's love of laid-back '70s funk.
On This Day In Music History was sourced from This Day in Music, Song Facts Allmusic, and Wikipedia.