John Densmore was born.
Sam Cooke replaces gospel legend R.H. Harris in the Soul Stirrers. Previously, Cooke had sung with the Pilgrim Travelers and the Highway QC's, both gospel groups. Cooke will sing with the Soul Stirrers for six years.
Carl Perkins records "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Honey Don't," which Sun releases together as a single on January 1, 1956.
Fats Domino appears with Big Joe Turner in the breakthrough rock and roll film Shake, Rattle and Roll, performing three songs. A month later, he also turns up in The Girl Can't Help It, singing "Blue Monday."
The film 'The Girl Can't Help It' is released. Little Richard performs three songs, including the title track. Other rockers who appear in the film include Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Fats Domino and the Platters.
Inspired by the success of Sun, Quinton Claunch, Bill Cantrell and Ray Harris form HI Records.
Nat King Cole hosts the 64th and final episode of The Nat King Cole Show, a 15-minute weekly variety show aired on NBC-TV. It ends for lack of national advertisers willing to sponsor a show hosted by a black man.
The Royaltones hit #17 with "Poor Boy".
The Teddy Bears (featuring Phil Spector) hit #1 with "To Know Him is to Love Him."
HI records scores its first big hit, "Smokie, Part 2,'" by the Bill Black Combo.
"Please Come Home for Christmas" is Charles Brown's last hit (#21 R&B, #76 pop). The Eagles' cover version becomes a Christmastime hit again in 1978, reaching #18.
Bobby Darin weds movie star Sandra Dee.
"Please Mr. Postman," by the Marvelettes, becomes Motown's first Number one pop hit and second million-seller.
"I Want to Hold Your Hand," the Beatles' first American single, is released by Capitol Records.
Dominique (The Singing Nun) was a hit.
The Zombies' first single, "She's Not There," quickly climbs to Number Two on the U.S. charts.
The Dave Clark Five reach Number One with "Over and Over."
"I Heard It Through the Grapevine," written by Marvin Gaye and recorded by Gladys Knight and the Pips, rises to Number Two. Exactly a year later, Gaye's own version will become the top song in the country.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience releases 'Axis: Bold as Love'. The album, which is released in the U.S. on January 15, includes such songs as "Little Wing," "If Six Was Nine," "Castles Made of Sand" and "Spanish Castle Magic."
Motown records occupy the three top spots on Billboard's Hot 100, and unprecedented feat.
Joni Mitchell and Graham Nash move into "Our House" on Laurel Canyon's Lookout Mountain Road.
A free concert is organized by the Rolling Stones at Altamont Speedway, outside San Francisco. The event turns ugly when sets are disrupted by violence from Hell's Angels, Marty Balin is knocked unconscious, and a concert-goer is stabbed to death.
James Taylor moves to California and begins working on a new album, 'Sweet Baby James', for a new label, Warner Bros.
A 25th Anniversary in Show Business Salute to Ray Charles, a cooperative venture between Atlantic and ABC comprising material from both labels, is released.
Give It Up, Bonnie Raitt's sophomore album, expands her range with three self-penned songs and outside contributions from contemporary writers like Jackson Browne and Eric Justin Kaz.
Having moved to the West Coast, a dispirited Billy Joel begins a six-month stint as a lounge pianist under the name Bill Martin. He encapsulates the experience in a song that will serve as his creative and commercial breakthrough, "Piano Man."
Caravanserai finds Santana headed in a jazzy new direction with a somewhat altered lineup. Despite its anti-commercial daring, the album reaches #8, attesting to Santana's unassailable popularity.
Linda Ronstadt reaches Number One with the single "You're No Good" and the album Heart like a Wheel.
Kung Fu Fighting (Carl Douglas) was a hit.
Bonnie Raitt's fifth album, Home Plate, finds her working with fellow Southern Californians like Bill Payne (of Little Feat) and Tom Waits. She is profiled in a Rolling Stone cover story.
The Eagles' Hotel California spends the first of a total of eight weeks at Number One.
The Sex Pistols shock a nation when they are goaded into cursing on a TV talk show. The group is dropped by EMI.
Randy Newman scores a hit single with "Short People," which sits at Number Two for three weeks.
Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' is released.
Electric Universe, Earth, Wind & Fire's 16th album, is released. When it sells disappointingly, an exhausted Vernon White disbands the group.
Tears For Fears hits #4 in the UK with "Shout".
Broken Wings (Mr. Mister) was a hit.
Sub Pop 200, a three-EP boxed set, documents the Seattle music scene at an early creative peak.
Heart hits #13 with "Stranded".
MTV launches global on-air AIDS awareness campaign on "World AIDS Day." The new series of public service announcements convey the message: "Respect Yourself. Protect Yourself."
Nirvana's Nevermind hits Number One on Billboard's Top 200 album chart. It grosses $50 million in sales.
MTV begins to credit video directors on-screen.
MTV announces that it will be taking a "Free Your Mind" kiosk to the Western show in Anaheim, California. Originally designed for the Lollapalooza '93 tour, the interactive kiosk gauges the users' reactions to racial, religious and sexual issues of diversity.
Owners of Sub Pop sell 49% share of the company to the Warner Music Group for $20 million.
MTV recognizes World AIDS Day 1996 with "Positively Global," an MTV News special that examines HIV/AIDS' global impact on young people with contributing reports from MTV News in Asia, Brazil, Latin America, Europe and the U.S.
James Brown receives Kennedy Center Honors.