1954: Elvis Presley records Blue Moon of Kentucky at Sun Studio in Memphis, TN. The tune was written in 1946 by bluegrass musician Bill Monroe. The song was the B-side to That’s All Right, Elvis’ first single that was released on July 19 that year. That’s All Right was written by blues singer by Arthur Crudup in 1946. In 1950, Crudup also wrote one of my favorite songs performed by Elvis, My Baby Left Me.
1955: The rock & roll classic Rock Around the Clock is released by Bill Haley & His Comets, a no. 1 single and their biggest hit. Max C. Freedman and James E. Myers wrote the tune in 1952. What I’ve always liked about Bill Haley’s version are the fantastic guitar and sax solos by Franny Beecher and Joey Ambrose, respectively.
1959: Simple Minds lead singer James “Jim” Kerr is born in Glasgow, Scotland. Jim started his music career in 1977 with the punk rock band Johnny and the Self Abusers. In November 1977, the band changed its name to Simple Minds. Their first album, Life in a Day, came out in April 1979. I’m mostly familiar with the band’s work from the 80s. Some of my favorite songs from that period include Waterfront (1983), Don’t You Forget About Me (1985), Alive and Kicking (1985), Sanctify Yourself (1986) and Belfast Child (1989). Jim continues to record and perform with the Simple Minds, which released their 16th studio album Big Music in 2014.
1962: Bob Dylan records the iconic Blowin’ In the Wind at Columbia Recording Studios in New York City. It also happens to be one of the first folk songs I learned when starting to play the guitar.
1966: A closet rocker who shall remain unnamed is born. He once played in a band with big ambitions. While a professional career in music didn’t work out, which perhaps was for the better, music changed his life. He continues to be a huge rock music fan to this day.
1969: The Beatles record Maxwell’s Silver Hammer at Abbey Road Studios in London. The song was written and sung by Paul McCartney, though like most Beatles songs, it was credited to Lennon-McCartney. Written in October 1968, the tune was initially planned to be on the White Album. Instead it became the third song on the A-side of Abbey Road.
1971: David Bowie starts recording sessions at Trident Studios in London for The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. It was his fifth studio album and features some of my favorite Bowie songs, including Starman, Ziggy Stardust, Suffragette City and Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide.
1983: Every Breath You Take by The Police hits no. 1 on the U.S. singles charts where it would stay for eight weeks and become the biggest hit on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles in 1983.Written by Sting and included in the band’s 1983 album Synchronicity, it was also a no. 1 single for four weeks in the UK. Andy Summers’ signature guitar sound on the song became widely sampled thereafter.