Home Day In Music History This Day In Music History: May 20th

This Day In Music History: May 20th


May 20th: On this day

1957, American crooner Andy Williams was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Butterfly’, the US singers only UK No.1 and the first of 40 hit singles from 1957 until 2002 on the UK chart.

1960, The Silver Beetles (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stu Sutcliffe, and Tommy Moore) played the first night of a short tour of Scotland backing singer Johnny Gentle, at Alloa Town Hall in Clackmannanshire. Three of the Silver Beetles adopted stage names: Paul McCartney became Paul Ramon, George Harrison was Carl Harrison, and Stuart Sutcliffe became Stuart de Stael.

1961, Cliff Richard made his TV debut on the UK ITV show ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars.’

1964, Rudy Lewis of The Drifters died aged 28 under mysterious circumstances the night before the group was set to record ‘Under the Boardwalk’. Former Drifters backup singer Johnny Moore was brought back to perform lead vocals for the recording session.

1966, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey of The Who grew tired of waiting for John Entwistle and Keith Moon to arrive for their gig at the Ricky Tick Club in Windsor, England so they took to the stage with the bass player and drummer of the local band that opened the show. When Moon and Entwistle finally arrived in the middle of the set, a fight broke out, with Townshend hitting Moon on the head with his guitar. Moon and Entwistle quit the band, (and rejoined a week later).

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.

1967, The Beatles new album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band had a special preview on the Kenny Everett BBC Light program, ‘Where It’s At’, playing every track from the album, (except ‘A Day In The Life’ which the BBC had banned saying it could promote drug taking).

1967, The Young Rascals started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Groovin’, also a No.8 hit in the UK. The group named themselves after a US comedy TV show. ‘Groovin’ was also covered by Booker T. & the M.G.’s, Gladys Knight & the Pips and Marvin Gaye.

1968, BBC 2 TV aired a short play ‘The Pistol Shot’, featuring a young dancer – artist called David Bowie.

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’).

1969, While watching a baseball game in Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, Peter Cetera of Chicago was set upon by four Marines (because they didn’t like the length of his hair). They broke his jaw, resulting in the singer spending two days in intensive care.

1969, Led Zeppelin started three days of recording and mixing sessions at A&R Studios in New York City, which included the recording of ‘Heartbreaker’ and various other parts for new tracks for the group’s forthcoming second album. The band were under pressure to finish sessions for their second album so they could release it in time for the Autumn market.

1970, Let It Be, the final feature film involving The Beatles was premiered simultaneously in London and Liverpool a week after the film’s US release.

1972, T Rex were at No.1 on the UK singles chart ‘Metal Guru’, the group’s fourth and final No.1. They also had the UK No.1 album with ‘Bolan Boogie’.

1978, Paul McCartney went to No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘With A Little Luck’, his sixth solo US No.1.

1978, The Buddy Holly story film was premiered in Holly’s hometown, of Lubbock, Texas. The film features an Oscar-nominated lead performance by Gary Busey.

1981, Bruce Springsteen appeared at Bingley Hall, Stafford, England during a European tour.

1989, Ferry ‘Cross The Mersey’ by Ferry Aid started a three week run at No.1 on the UK singles chart. The song was recorded to raise funds for the Hillsborough Football victims, Gerry Marsden, Paul McCartney, Holly Johnson and The Christians all featured on the recording.

1995, Don Henley from The Eagles married model Sharon Summerall. Guests included Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit, David Crosby, Randy Newman, Jimmy Buffett, Jackson Browne, Billy Joel, Sting and Sheryl Crow.

1995, Robson Green and Jerome Flynn started a seven-week run at No.1 on the UK singles chart with their versions of ‘Unchained Melody’ (There’ll Be Blue Birds Over) The White Cliffs Of Dover’. Actors Green and Flynn had performed the song in the UK drama series Soldier Soldier.

1997, U2 caused traffic chaos in Kansas City, Missouri after they paid for traffic control to close down five lanes so they could shoot the video for ‘Last Night On Earth’. Apart from major traffic jams, a passing Cadillac crashed into a plate glass window trying to avoid a cameraman.

1997, Foo Fighters released their second album ‘The Colour And The Shape’, the album was a Grammy nominee for Best Rock Album in 1998. Even though Foo Fighters are an American band, the word ‘Colour’ in the album title is always spelled with the British spelling. This was a nod to producer Gil Norton, who is British.

1998, Tommy Lee from Motley Crue was sentenced to six months jail after being found guilty of spousal abuse.

1998, The funeral of Frank Sinatra was held at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills. Mourners in attendance included, Tony Bennett, Faye Dunaway, Tony Curtis, Liza Minnelli, Kirk Douglas, Angie Dickinson, Sophia Loren, Bob Newhart, Mia Farrow and Jack Nicholson.

1998, Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward was taken to hospital in London after suffering a heart attack during a band rehearsal.

2001, R.E.M. started a two-week run at No.1 on the UK album chart with ‘Reveal’.

2003, Soul singer James Brown was pardoned for his past crimes in the US state of South Carolina. Brown had served a two-and-a-half-year prison term after an arrest on drug and assault charges in 1988 was granted a pardon by the State Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services. Brown, who appeared before the board, sang ‘God Bless America’ after the decision.

2005, Kylie Minogue had a cancerous lump removed from her breast at St Frances Xavier Cabrini Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. The singer had been due to begin the 20-date Australian leg of her current worldwide Showgirl tour in Sydney.

2006, Heavy metal monsters Lordi became Finland’s first ever Eurovision Song Contest winners after their song Hard Rock Hallelujah won in Athens. The band won the Eurovision public vote after singing their heavy rock anthem dressed in horror costumes.

2007, Linkin Park went to No.1 on the UK album chart with ‘Minutes To Midnight’ the bands fifth Top 20 UK album. Also a US No.1.

2007, Rihanna featuring Jay-Z started a 10 week run at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Umbrella’ which spent 10 consecutive weeks at No.1 in the UK making it the longest running No.1 single since Wet Wet Wet’s ‘Love Is All Around’. Rihanna and Jay-Z won a Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for the track.

2008, The US Congress passed a resolution designating May 13th as Frank Sinatra Day to honor his contribution to American culture.

2009, Michael Jackson delayed the opening four nights of his ‘This Is It’ UK tour at London’s O2 arena. Concert promoters AEG Live said the delay was necessary because the singer needed more time for dress rehearsals. The first show, on 8 July, was pushed back by five nights. Three other July dates would now not take place until March 2010.

2011, Babyshambles singer Pete Doherty was jailed for six months after being filmed taking crack cocaine by documentary-maker Robyn Whitehead the day before she died of heroin poisoning. A judge told the court that Doherty had an “appalling record” of committing offences, having made 13 other court appearances. Doherty, 32, had pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine.

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 from cancer aged 62. Bee Gees hits including: Massachusetts, I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You, How Deep Is Your Love and Stayin’ Alive, established their pop legacy by placing their falsetto harmonies at the centre of the 70s disco boom.

2013, Ray Manzarek, keyboard player and founder member of the The Doors died aged 74. Manzarek, who had suffered from bile duct cancer for many years, died in a clinic in Rosenheim, Germany, with his wife and brothers at his bedside. He formed The Doors with lead singer Jim Morrison in 1965 after a chance meeting in Venice Beach, Los Angeles.

2014, Prince Rupert Loewenstein, the Bavarian banker credited with turning The Rolling Stones into the world’s richest rock band, died at the age of 80. It was on Loewenstein’s advice that the Stones became tax exiles, decamping to the South of France in the 1970s. He famously wrote he was “never a fan of the Stones’ music”.

2015, The Rolling Stones played a surprise gig at the 1,300-capacity Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles during which they performed the entire Sticky Fingers album. The audience included Jack Nicholson, Bruce Willis, Harry Styles, Leonard Cohen and Patricia Arquette.

May 20th: Born on this day

1942, Born on this day, Jill Jackson, Paul and Paula, (1963 US No.1 & UK No.8 single, ‘Hey Paula’).

1944, Born on this day Joe Cocker, English singer and musician who had the 1968 UK No.1 single with his cover of The Beatles’ ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’, plus 8 other UK Top 40 singles. Scored the 1982 US No.1 single with Jennifer Warnes ‘Up Where We Belong’. In 2007 he was awarded a bronze Sheffield Legends plaque in his hometown and in 2008 he received an OBE at Buckingham Palace for services to music. Cocker died of lung cancer on 22 December 2014 in Crawford, Colorado.

1946, Born on this day Cherilyn Sarkasian, (Cher), American singer and actress, one-half of the folk rock husband-wife duo Sonny & Cher, (1965 UK & US No.1 single ‘I Got You Babe’). She became a television personality in the 1970s with her shows The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, watched by over 30 million viewers weekly during its three-year run. Solo hits include the 1991 UK No.1 single ‘The Shoop Shoop Song’, 1998 UK No.1 & 1999 US No.1 single ‘Believe’, plus over 15 other UK Top 40 singles).

1947, Born on this day Steve Currie, T Rex (1971 UK No.1 single ‘Hot Love’, plus over 20 other UK Top 40 singles). Currie died on 28th April 1981.

1952, Born on this day Warren Cann, drummer, Ultravox, (1981 UK No.2 single ‘Vienna’, plus 15 other UK Top 40 singles).

1954, Born on this day Jimmy Henderson, Black Oak Arkansas, (70’s US No.25 single ‘Jim Dandy To The Rescue’).

1955, Born on this day Steve George, Mr Mister, (1985 US No.1 & 1986 UK No.4 single ‘Broken Wings’).

1958, Born on this day Jane Wieldin, guitar, vocals, The Go-Go’s, (1982 US No.2 single ‘We Got The Beat’, 1982 UK No.47 single ‘Our Lips Our Sealed’) and solo (1988 UK No.12 single ‘Rush Hour’).

1960, Born on this day Sue Cowsill, The Cowsills, (1967 US No.2 single ‘The Rain, The Park & Other Things’, 1969 US No.2 single the theme from ‘Hair’). TV’s Partridge Family was based on the family.

1961, Born on this day Nick Heyward, guitar, vocals, Haircut 100, (1982 UK No.3 single ‘Love Plus One’) & Solo.

1961, Born on this day, Dan Wilson, American guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter. Singer with Semisonic, in which he wrote hits like ‘Secret Smile’, ‘Closing Time’ and ‘Chemistry’. Produced the 2007 US No.1 album Mike Doughty’s album Haughty.

1963, Born on this day Brian Nash, guitar, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, (1984 UK No.1 & US No.10 single ‘Relax’ and six other UK Top 40 singles).

1964, Born on this day Patti Russo, American singer/songwriter/actress. Best known as the female lead vocalist with Meat Loaf.

1966, Born on this day Thomas Gorman, guitarist, Belly, (‘Feed The Tree’ UK No.32 single 1993).

1967, Born on this day Kit Clark, Danny Wilson, (1988 UK No.3 single ‘Mary’s Prayer’).

1972, Born on this day Busta Rhymes, (1998 UK No.2 single ‘Turn It Up / Fire It Up’, 2003 UK No.3 single with Mariah Carey ‘I Know What You Want’).

1981, Born on this day Sean Conlon, vocals, Five, (1998 UK No.2 single ‘Everybody Get Up’, 1999 UK No.1 single ‘Keep On Movin’).

1981, Born on this day American singer and songwriter Rachel Platten best known for her 2015 single ‘Fight Song’ which became a world-wide hit.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Lets Connect


Must Read

(Some Of) The Best Post-Punk Bands Ever

Post-punk is a broadly defined musical genre that emerged in the mid to late 70s. Bands began experimenting with a variety of musical genres...