Music

Country music star George Jones dies

On this day in 2013, legendary country singer and songwriter George Jones, whose numerous hit songs include “White Lightning,” “Walk Through This World With Me” and “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” dies at age 81 in Nashville. In a career that spanned nearly 60 years, Jones had ...read more

Donna Summer, queen of disco, dies

On this day in 2012, singer and songwriter Donna Summer, who rose to fame during the 1970s with such disco anthems as “Love to Love You Baby” and “Hot Stuff,” dies at age 63 in Naples, Florida, after battling cancer. Also known for such 1980s hits as “She Works Hard for the ...read more

Pop superstar Whitney Houston dies at age 48

On this day in 2012, Whitney Houston, one of the world’s top-selling singers from the mid-1980s to late 1990s, is found dead in the bathtub of her suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. Houston’s death was the result of accidental drowning; heart disease ...read more

“Mambo King” Tito Puente is born

Tito Puente, the bandleader and percussionist who helped popularize Latin dance music and jazz in America, is born on this day in 1923 in New York City. During a career that spanned six decades, the dynamic showman nicknamed “El Rey” (The King), recorded over 100 albums, won five ...read more

Jazz great Jelly Roll Morton dies

On this day in 1941, Jelly Roll Morton—a native of New Orleans who became the first great jazz pianist, composer, arranger and bandleader—dies in Los Angeles, California. Born Ferdinand Joseph Lamothe in New Orleans (his year of birth is recorded variously as 1885 and 1890), he ...read more

“The Twist” ends record-setting run

On January 26, 1962, “The Twist” by Chubby Checker finally ends its record-setting run at #1.Back in 1958, Ernest “Chubby” Evans was a high-school student and part-time chicken-plucker about to be touched by the hand of fate, in the person of Dick Clark. For his industry holiday ...read more

“Satisfaction” comes to Keith Richards

In the early morning hours of May 7, 1965, in a Clearwater, Florida, motel room, a bleary-eyed Keith Richards awoke, grabbed a tape recorder and laid down one of the greatest pop hooks of all time: The opening riff of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” He then promptly fell back to ...read more

“Mandy” is Barry Manilow’s first #1 pop hit

Barry Manilow’s scores his first #1 single with “Mandy” on January 18, 1975. He would go on to sell more than 75 millions records over the course of his career.At the height of Barry Manilow’s popularity, none other than Frank Sinatra himself said of Manilow, “He’s next.” Yet ...read more

“Mother” Maybelle Carter is born

From the late 1920s all the way through the 1950s, she was a familiar presence on American radio and a powerful influence on the course of country music. First as part of a trio in partnership with her cousin Sara and her brother-in-law A.P., and later alongside her own three ...read more

“Lean On Me” begins its first stay at #1

Bill Withers stepped into a recording studio for the very first time at the age of 32, and two years later, he’d written and recorded one of the most beloved pop songs of the modern era: “Lean On Me,” which began its first stay at #1 on the pop charts on this day in 1972.Bill ...read more

“Funky Drummer” is recorded

Hip hop was born when DJs began rapping over dance records, and no dance records were better suited to rapping than those that included a “breakbeat”—a drum break that could be repeated almost endlessly as an accompaniment to rapping. It is impossible to know who first employed ...read more

“American Pie” hits #1 on the pop charts

On January 15, 1972, “American Pie,”, an epic poem in musical form that has long been etched in the American popular consciousness, hits #1 on the Billboard charts.The story of Don McLean’s magnum opus begins almost 13 years before its release, on a date with significance ...read more

Rudy Vallée is born

Before the electronic microphone became commonplace in the 1920s, the one quality that was required of every professional singer in every musical genre was a talent for vocal projection—i.e., the ability to make oneself heard over one’s instrumental accompaniment in a live or a ...read more