1954 - Elvis Presley makes his one and only appearance at the Grand Ole Opry, where he sings "Blue Moon Of Kentucky." It doesn't go over well with the crowd, which does not approve of his take on traditional country music. The Opry's talent director, Jim Denny, reportedly tells Presley he should go back to driving a truck. Elvis swears never to return.
1967 - All six members of The Grateful Dead were busted by California narcotics agents for possession of marijuana at the group's 710 Ashbury Street House in San Francisco.
1970 - Pink Floyd release Atom Heart Mother. An acquired taste even for fans, especially since it kicks off with a side-long, 23-minute extended orchestral piece that may not seem to head anywhere, but is often intriguing, more in what it suggests than what it achieves. Then, on the second side, Roger Waters, David Gilmour, and Rick Wright have a song apiece, winding up with the group composition "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast" wrapping it up. At times, impenetrable, but it does point to Pink Floyd getting better with the larger picture instead of the details.
1971 - Soul Train makes its debut, with guests Gladys Knight & the Pips, Eddie Kendricks, and Honey Cone. It stays on the air an 35 years.
1976 - Future Colorado resident Joe Cocker is the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, where he performs "Feelin' Alright" with his nemesis impersonator, John Belushi.
1979 - The Police release Regatta de Blanc. Nonstop touring had sharpened the Police's original blend of reggae-rock to perfection, resulting in breakthrough success. Containing a pair of massive hit singles -- the inspirational anthem "Message in a Bottle" and the spacious "Walking on the Moon" -- the album also signaled a change in the band's sound. Whereas their debut got its point across with raw, energetic performances, Reggatta de Blanc was much more polished production-wise and fully developed from a songwriting standpoint.
1981- The Police release Ghost In The Machine. Here, the Police had streamlined their sound to focus more on their pop side and less on their trademark reggae-rock. Their jazz influence had become more prominent. The production has more of a contemporary '80s sound to it and Sting proved once and for all to be a master of the pop songwriting format. While it was not a pop masterpiece, Ghost in the Machine did serve as an important stepping stone between their more direct early work and their more ambitious latter direction, resulting in the trio's exceptional blockbuster final album, 1983's Synchronicity.
1995 - Oasis released their much-anticipated second album, (What's The Story) Morning Glory. If Definitely Maybe was an unintentional concept album about wanting to be a rock & roll star, (What's the Story) Morning Glory? is what happens after the dreams come true. Oasis turns in a relatively introspective second record, filled with big, gorgeous ballads instead of ripping rockers. Oasis are hardly innovators, yet they have a majestic grandeur in their sound that makes ballads like "Wonderwall" or rockers like "Some Might Say" transcendent.
2000 - Radiohead release Kid A, the highly anticipated follow-up to their acclaimed 1997 album OK Computer. Daunting expectations for anyone, even for a band eager to meet them, so it's little wonder that Kid A was so difficult to complete. Radiohead’s creative breakthrough arrived when the band embraced electronica -- which was nearly a cliché by the end of the '90s, when everyone from U2 to Rickie Lee Jones dabbled in trip-hop or techno. This emphasis on texture, this reliance on elliptical songs, means that Kid A is easily the most successful electronica album from a rock band: it doesn't even sound like the work of a rock band, even if it does sound like Radiohead.
"American Pie" singer Don McLean is 78.
Richard Hell (born Richard Lester Meyers) is 74. A pivotal figure on the nascent New York punk rock scene as it first came to flower in the mid-1970s. As an early member of two seminal groups, Television and the Heartbreakers, Hell helped establish CBGB as the home base of what came to be called punk, and with his air of defiant cool and edgy fashion sense (he pioneered creatively ripped clothing and T-shirts with challenging slogans), he crafted a template for the punk image that was taken up around the world.
Sting is 72. Sting rode the new wave expansion to superstardom. Once he topped the charts around the world, he returned to the progressive fusion roots he left behind so he could play a nervy blend of reggae, punk, and pop with the Police. He went solo after the trio's 1983 album Synchronicity and its accompanying hit "Every Breath You Take" turned the group into household names. That laid the groundwork for an adventurous career that encompassed jazz, classical music, worldbeat, and stage musicals.
He earns his nickname when a fellow musician says he looks like a bee in his yellow-and-black striped sweater. (Photo by Eric Feferberg / AFP)
2017 - Tom Petty, 66, went into cardiac arrest at his Malibu home. Later that night, after his friends and family gathered, he was taken off life support. Tom Petty’s Cause of Death: Accidental Overdose.
Petty had been prescribed the drugs to treat emphysema, knee issues and a fractured hip, his family said in a statement accompanying the results. Petty’s coronary artery disease had been a persistent problem throughout his final tour.
“Despite this painful injury, he insisted on keeping his commitment to his fans and he toured for 53 dates with a fractured hip and, as he did, it worsened to a more serious injury,” Petty’s wife Dana and daughter Adria wrote in the statement. “On the day he died, he was informed his hip had graduated to a full-on break and it is our feeling that the pain was simply unbearable and was the cause for his overuse of medication.”
On a positive note we now know for certain he went painlessly and beautifully exhausted after doing what he loved the most, for one last time, performing live with his unmatchable rock band for his loyal fans on the biggest tour of his 40 plus year career. He was extremely proud of that achievement in the days before he passed."
Petty had recently completed a 40th anniversary tour with his band, the Heartbreakers. It was intended to be his “last trip around the country,” though he told Rolling Stone he wasn’t going to stop playing. “I need something to do, or I tend to be a nuisance around the house,” he said.
On This Day In Music History was sourced from This Day in Music, Allmusic, Rolling Stone, Song Facts and Wikipedia.