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1967 - Scott Mckenzie releases San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair). John Phillips from The Mamas And The Papas wrote this as the unofficial anthem for the Monterey Pop Festival, which was near San Francisco. Phillips helped organize the festival.

1985 - Dire Straits release Brothers in Arms. Brothers in Arms brought the atmospheric, jazz-rock inclinations of Love Over Gold into a pop setting, resulting in a surprise international best-seller. Of course, the success of Brothers in Arms was helped considerably by the clever computer-animated video for "Money for Nothing," a sardonic attack on MTV. But what kept the record selling was Mark Knopfler's increased sense of pop songcraft -- "Money for Nothing" had an indelible guitar riff, "Walk of Life" is a catchy up-tempo boogie variation on "Sultans of Swing," and the melodies of the bluesy "So Far Away" and the down-tempo, Everly Brothers-style "Why Worry" were wistful and lovely. Dire Straits had never been so concise or pop-oriented, and it wore well on them.(Photo by JONAS EKSTROMER/SCANPIX SWEDEN/AFP via Getty Images)

1985 - New Order release Low-Life. Low-Life marks the point where the band's fusion of rock and electronics becomes seamless. The record is filled with hooky, hummable pop songs, but just as important are the experimental techniques that the band employ. The melodica-led pop song "Love Vigilantes" is a perfect opener, a surprising bit of songcraft with the kind of melody that's built to be a timeless earworm. "The Perfect Kiss" is almost the equal to that track melodically; however, the skittering beats, gleaming sequencers, and electronic handclaps point more forcefully toward the dancefloor. By the end of Low-Life, there's no mistaking that New Order have reached a peak, experimenting with their sound and their style, yet keeping every moment wrapped in an unmistakable humanness.

1994 - Black Hole Sun" is released as the second single off Soundgarden's album Superunknown. Chris Cornell stated in a 2014 interview with Entertainment Weekly that the title came from something he heard on the news - he thought the anchor said "black hole sun," but he really was saying something else. Cornell started thinking about the phrase and decided to write a song around it, as he felt it was a thought-provoking title.

2011 - "Like A Rolling Stone" was voted Bob Dylan's best song by Rolling Stone magazine, who had asked the opinions of a panel of writers, academics and musicians to compile a poll to mark Dylan's 70th birthday on May 24 of that year.

'Like A Rolling Stone', was described by U2's Bono as 'a black eye of a pop song', while Mick Jagger praised the simplicity of 'Desolation Row'. Keith Richards argued that the original 1963 solo version of 'Girl From The North Country', ranked 30th, was superior to Dylan's 1969 duet of the same song with Johnny Cash.

2014 - Sturgill Simpson released his second studio album, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music. The first single is "Turtles All the Way Down." The track features Simpson's lyrics that refer to Jesus, the Old Testament, Buddha, mythology, cosmology, drugs, and physics, before concluding that "love is the only thing that saved my life," making it a glorious cosmic cowboy song. One of two covers is "The Promise." Originally a hit for the British pop band When in Rome in 1989, Simpson utterly transforms it into a progressive honky tonk love song and makes it his own.

Metamodern Sounds in Country Music is wildly adventurous; it extends the musical promise outlaw music made to listeners over 40 years ago.


Ritchie Valens was born on this day in 1941. Forever will be known as one of the two musicians (along with the Big Bopper) who perished with Buddy Holly in 1959, when their private plane crashed in the midst of a Midwest tour. At the time, Valens had only recently established himself as one of the most promising young talents in rock & roll, just barely missing the top of the charts with "Donna," a number two hit, and pioneering a blend of rock and Latin music with the single's almost equally popular flip side, "La Bamba." Like many rock stars who died prematurely, it's difficult to assess his unrealized potential; he was only 17 at the time of his death, and had just barely begun to make records. Nevertheless, Valens' music has endured for decades.

Interesting note: The lyrics of Led Zeppelin's Boogie With Stu were taken from the Ritchie Valens song "Ooh My Head." Since Valens was dead, his mom was given a composer credit so she would get some royalties. That's why "Mrs. Valens" is listed on the album. The composer credit reads: Page/Plant/Jones/Bonham/Ian Stewart/Mrs. Valens.

Stevland Hardaway Morris, Stevie Wonder, is 74. Stevie Wonder is a soul music giant, a beloved American icon, and an indisputable genius of popular music. The musician's heightened awareness of sound has helped him create vibrant music teeming with joyous positivity, even when he's written about heartbreak and addressed issues of race, spirituality, and society in general. Wonder's recordings are a richly eclectic and singular brew of soul, funk, rock & roll, Broadway/Tin Pan Alley-style pop, jazz, reggae, and African elements. Combined with his elastic voice, peerless melodic facility, gift for complex arrangements, and taste for lovely ballads, his broad appeal over the decades has been unmatched.

Magic Dick, of the J. Geils Band, is 79. Richard Salwitz -- also known as Magic Dick -- began performing with John "J." Geils and Daniel Klein in their acoustic blues group when the three went to Worcester Poly Tech circa 1964-1966. This core merged with the singer and drummer of another Boston-based band, the Hallucinations, creating the J. Geils Band, an ensemble as identified by Magic Dick's harp as it is by the guitarist's abilities (along with his nickname!) and lead singer Peter Wolf's persona.

Danny Kirwan, an early member of Fleetwood Mac, was born today in 1950. Guitarist/singer Danny Kirwan was a member of Fleetwood Mac, helping to bridge their early blues-rock phase to their eventual conventional pop/rock approach, from the late '60s through the early '70s.

Although Kirwan's presence helped inspire the band to issue such classic releases as 1969's Then Play On, 1970's Kiln House, 1971's Future Games, and 1972's Bare Trees, his fellow bandmembers quickly saw the dark side of the young musician, who was alcoholic and prone to mood swings. The situation began to put a strain on the group, and after one specific incident while on tour in 1972 (which Kirwan smashed his guitar prior to a show and refused to play on-stage), the 22-year-old guitarist was handed his walking papers.


2020 - Astrid Kirchherr, the German photographer whose early shots of The Beatles helped turn them into icons, died at the age of 81 after a short illness. While dating the band's original bassist, Stuart Sutcliffe, she cut his hair into the iconic mop top style that the group became famous for.

2012 - Donald Dunn, bassist with Booker T and the M.G.'s, died in his sleep after playing a show at the Blue Note nightclub in Tokyo the night before. As the bassist for Booker T. & the MG's, Donald "Duck" Dunn became, like James Jamerson at Motown, the man who provided a groove for an entire generation to dance to. In Dunn's case it was the legendary Memphis record label Stax/Volt, where he laid down basslines for soul stars such as Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, and Albert King, helping to create one of the largest bodies of soul and R&B music that exists. He was also part of the backing band for Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi's Blues Brothers

1988 - Chet Baker passes away. An icon of West Coast cool jazz, Chet Baker rose to fame in '50s with his lyrical trumpet lines and spare, romantic singing. After being handpicked for a West Coast tour with Charlie Parker, he burst onto the scene as a member of Gerry Mulligan's pianoless quartet, whose recording of "My Funny Valentine" made him a star even beyond his cult jazz audience. Signed to Pacific Jazz, he released a series of popular albums beginning with 1954's Chet Baker Sings, which featured his definitive vocal take of "My Funny Valentine;" from then on his signature song.

On This Day In Music History was sourced, curated, copied, pasted, edited, and occasionally woven together with my own crude prose, from This Day in Music, Music This Day, Allmusic, Song Facts and Wikipedia.


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