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1954 - A single that proved to be a turning point in popular music, "Rock Around The Clock" by Bill Haley & The Comets, was released. It was not the first rock and roll record, nor was it the first successful record of the genre, but Haley's recording nevertheless became an anthem for rebellious 1950s youth and is widely considered to be the song that, more than any other, brought rock and roll into mainstream culture around the world. It stalls on the charts, but becomes a hit a year later when it is used in the movie Blackboard Jungle. The song is ranked No. 158 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

1966 - Bob Dylan and The Band played at the ABC Theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland. Some members of the audience were unhappy with Dylan ‘going electric’, and attempted to overpower the band by playing their own harmonicas. Ahh, the Sixties...

1967 - Because of the line, "I'd love to turn you on," the BBC bans The Beatles song "A Day In The Life," claiming it may promote drug use.

1968 - The Beatles armed with a bunch of new songs after their visit to India, met at George Harrison's home in Esher, Surrey. They taped 23 new songs on George's 4-track recorder, many of which would end up on The Beatles' next two albums, (The White Album) and Abbey Road. The demos include: ‘Cry Baby Cry’, Revolution’, ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, ‘Blackbird’ and ‘Child of Nature’ (a Lennon song that became ‘Jealous Guy’). It was released with The Beatles (White Album) deluxe set at The Esher Demos. At Esher, they’re having fun; it’s a moment of jovial, intimate warmth – for almost the last time, you can hear they’re still in love with being Beatles together.

1977 - The Jam release In The City. On their debut, the Jam offered a good balance between the forward-looking, "destroy everything" aggression of punk with a certain reverence for '60s beat and R&B. In an era that preached attitude over musicianship, the Jam bettered the competition with good pop sense, strong melodies, and plenty of hooks that compromised none of punk's ideals or energy, plus youth culture themes and an abrasive, ferocious attack.

1997 - Foo Fighters release their second album, The Colour And The Shape. It’s all polished thunder, rock & roll that’s about precision not abandon. Some may miss that raw aggression of Grohl’s earlier work, but he’s such a strong craftsman and musician that such exactness also suits him, highlighting his sense of melody and melodrama, elements abundantly in display on the album’s two biggest hits, the brooding midtempo rockers “My Hero” and “Everlong.”

1983 - The Police release Every Breath You Take. This is one of the most misinterpreted songs ever. It is about an obsessive stalker, but it sounds like a love song.

In a 1983 interview with the New Musical Express, Sting explained: "I think it's a nasty little song, really rather evil. It's about jealousy and surveillance and ownership." Regarding the common misinterpretation of the song, he added: "I think the ambiguity is intrinsic in the song however you treat it because the words are so sadistic. On one level, it's a nice long song with the classic relative minor chords, and underneath there's this distasteful character talking about watching every move. (Photo by ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP via Getty Images)

2000 - The Red Hot Chili Peppers release Dani California. According to lead singer Anthony Kiedis, "Dani" is a representation of every girl that he's come across in his life. "Dani" also appears in the 2002 Red Hot Chili Peppers song "By The Way" and is the "Teenage bride with the baby inside" on their 1999 song "Californication."

The guitar part sounds a lot like Tom Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance," prompting speculation that Petty would sue the Red Hot Chili Peppers. In Rolling Stone magazine, Petty said: "I seriously doubt that there is any negative intent there. And a lot of rock and roll songs sound alike. Ask Chuck Berry".


Joe Cocker was born today in 1944. Known for his distinct, bluesy voice and his heartfelt renditions of Beatles classics.“He brought Ray Charles to the mix as an influence on rock & roll,” E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt said of Cocker for Rolling Stone‘s 100 Greatest Singers. Over the course of a career that stretched six decades, Cocker released 22 studio albums as well as his famed live LP Mad Dogs & Englishmen. Cocker’s performance at Woodstock on August 17, 1969 is also regarded as one of the most iconic sets from the legendary festival. Cocker was living in Colorado when he died in 2014.

Cher is 78. She first records as "Bonnie Jo Mason," and then "Cherilyn." Teaming up with Sonny Bono in 1964, they record as "Caesar and Cleo," before changing it to "Sonny and Cher" the next year. When they hit it big with "I Got You Babe," she sticks with Cher.

No one could guess it was merely the first step in an ongoing artistic redefinition that would continue for decades. After the smash success of Sonny & Cher's recordings and TV show, Cher scored pop hits on her own, such as "Half Breed" and "Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves" in the '70s, before switching into disco mode for "Take Me Home." In the '80s, she became an esteemed actress, with lead roles in the highly acclaimed films Mask and Moonstruck (the latter earned her an Oscar). Incredibly, she followed that by returning to the pop charts in the late '80s with "If I Could Turn Back Time" and, ten years later, becoming a Madonna-like dance-pop diva with the megahit "Believe."

Jane Wiedlin is 66. She had her first success as the guitarist in the Go-Go’s, playing on classic iconic singles like “We Got the Beat” and “Our Lips Are Sealed” that helped make them the most popular female group to emerge from the punk/new wave boom of the late '70s and early '80s. Creatively restless, Wiedlin left the band in 1984, releasing a charting solo single, “Blue Kiss,” and a self-titled solo debut, Jane Wiedlin, a year later in 1985. She also pursued an acting career and appeared in several films, including Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Clue, and added her distinct voice-overs to the television shows King of the Hill, Batman: The Animated Series, Mission Hill, and Pinky and the Brain, plus all three Scooby Doo films. She also sang on the song "Cool Places" with Sparks.

Dan Wilson is 63. He gained recognition on the indie scene playing in Trip Shakespeare His songwriting resume includes "Closing Time," which he wrote for his band Semisonic, "Not Ready to Make Nice" (co-written with the Chicks) and "Someone like You" (co-written with Adele).


2012 - Robin Gibb, one-third of the Bee Gees and a singer-songwriter who helped to turn disco into a global phenomenon by providing the core of the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever, died at age 62. As a member of the Bee Gees, he sold over 100 million records worldwide during the course of a career in which he sang lead on many of their great pop hits, such as "Massachusetts," "I Gotta Get a Message to You," "I Started a Joke," "New York Mining Disaster 1941," and "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart." While Gibb's falsetto became the Bee Gees' signature during the disco era, it was Robin's quietly passionate tenor that defined their first run of hits, and his harmony vocals with his brothers Barry and Maurice were always an integral part of their sound.

2021 - Drummer Roger Hawkins died age 75. He was best known for playing as part of the studio band known as the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. His drumming can be heard on dozens of hit singles, including tracks by Percy Sledge (‘When a Man Loves a Woman’), Aretha Franklin (‘Respect’), Wilson Pickett (‘Mustang Sally’. Hawkins also worked with Duane Allman, Joe Cocker, Paul Simon, Bob Seger, Bonnie Bramlett, Boz Scaggs, Albert King, Traffic, Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton and Willie Nelson.

2013 - Ray Manzarek, died at age 74. One of the influential keyboard players in the history of rock music. Manzarek grew up in Chicago, then moved to Los Angeles in 1962 to study film at UCLA. It was there he first met Doors singer Jim Morrison, though they didn’t talk about forming a band until they bumped into each other on a beach in Venice, California, in the summer of 1965 and Morrison told Manzarek that he had been working on some music. “And there it was!” Manzarek wrote in his 1998 biography, Light My Fire. “It dropped quite simply, quite innocently from his lips, but it changed our collective destinies.”

The Doors didn’t have a bassist, so Manzarek often played the bass parts on his Fender Rhodes piano. He also played a Vox Continental organ, which can be heard on the famous intro to “Light My Fire” and numerous other Doors classics.

On This Day In Music History are gathered from This Day in Music, Rolling Stone, Music This Day, Song Facts and Wikipedia.

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