On This Day, April 12 In Music History


On this day April 12 in 1954 Bill Haley & His Comets recorded the now-iconic ‘Rock Around the Clock’ at the Pythian Temple studios in New York City. It was released on May 20 and it became the first Rock and Roll single to top the Pop Charts in the UK and US.

1957 – With his rendition of the Appalachian folk song ‘Cumberland Gap’Lonnie Donegan started a five-week stint at No.1 on the UK Singles chart.

1963 – Singer-songwriter Bob Dylan played a concert at the Town Hall in New York City. It was his first time performing in front of over a thousand people.

1966 William Jan Berry of the rock duo Jan and Dean was involved in a car accident and suffered severe injuries which left him in a coma for over two months. He received brain damage and was partially paralyzed but luckily Jan managed to recover.

1969 – With the medley ‘Aquarius’ / ‘Let The Sunshine In’The Fifth Dimension started a six-week run at No.1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

1975 – With ‘Philadelphia Freedom’, the Elton John Band hit number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 for the first of two weeks. Also a chart-topper in Canada that year and a No.12 hit in the UK.

1979 – Singer Mickey Thomas became the new lead vocalist of Jefferson Starship after Marty Balin and Grace Slick left the band. Before joining the band he was a member of the Elvin Bishop group.

1980 – Vocal group The Spinners started a two-week stint at No.1 on the UK Singles chart with ‘Working My Way Back to You / Forgive Me, Girl’.

1984 – Canadian progressive rock band Rush released their tenth studio album Grace Under Pressure’ through Anthem Records. The album was a commercial success selling over 1 million units. It also became a Top 5 hit in the UK and Canada, while in the US it peaked at No.10.

1989 – Country music singer and songwriter Garth Brooks released his eponymous debut album through Capital Nashville Records. The album went on to sell over 10 million copies and it reached No.13 on the Billboard 200 chart.

1997 – Rapper The Notorious B.I.G started a four-week run at No.1 on the US Billboard 200 with his posthumously released second studio album ‘Life After Death’.

1997 – With ‘I Believe I Can Fly’R. Kelly hit number one on the UK Singles chart for the first of three consecutive weeks.

1999 – Country music singer-songwriter and guitarist Lecil Travis Martin also known as Boxcar Willie died at the age of 67.

1999 – American boy band the Backstreet Boys released their now-signature song ‘I Want It That Way’. The single became a huge hit worldwide and it reached No.1 in more than 25 countries.

2003 – Nu metal band Linkin Park scored their first US Billboard 200 number one album with ‘Meteora’.

Linkin Park – Breaking The Habit

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2003 – Husband-and-wife rock duo The White Stripes topped the UK Albums chart with their fourth studio release ‘Elephant’.

2008 – With their fourteenth studio album ‘Accelerate’, alternative rock band R.E.M went to number one in the United Kingdom.

2008 – Singer and songwriter Mariah Carey scored her eighteenth US Billboard Hot 100 No.1 single with ‘Touch My Body’.

2012 – Britpop band Kaiser Chiefs scored their second chart-topping album in the United Kingdom with ‘Education, Education, Education & War’.

2012 – American saxophonist Andrew Love died at the age of 70. Best known as a member of The Memphis Horns.

2014 – The number one single in the UK on this day was ‘The Man’ by the American singer Aloe Blacc. With over 3 million copies sold worldwide, it’s Blacc’s most successful single as a solo artist.


1917 – Traditional pop and swing music singer Helen Forrest Fogel was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Best known for her work with big band leaders such as Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman and Harry James

1932 – American singer and multi-instrumentalist Herbert Khaury also known professionally as Tiny Tim was born in Manhattan, New York City. Best known for his 1968 hit song ‘Tiptoe Through the Tulips’.

1940 – Jazz pianist, keyboardist, bandleader, and composer Herbert “Herbie” Hancock was born in Chicago, Illinois. Best known for compositions such as ‘Watermelon Man’, ‘Maiden Voyage’, ‘Cantaloupe Island’ and ‘Rockit’ among others.

1944 – German-American singer-songwriter and guitarist John Kay was born Joachim Fritz Krauledat in Tilsit, Germany. He came to prominence as the frontman of the rock band Steppenwolf.

1947 – Singer and founding member of the disco group The Village PeopleAlexander Briley was born in Harlem, New York City.

1950 – American singer-songwriter, guitarist, pianist and actor David Cassidy was born in New York City.

1957 – Country music singer and guitarist Vincent ‘Vince’ Gill was born in Norman, Oklahoma. He rose to fame as the frontman of the band Pure Prairie League before establishing himself as a solo artist.

1958 – English guitarist William Sergeant better known by known by his stage name The Bunnymen was born in Liverpool. Best known as a founding member of the rock band Echo & the Bunnymen.

1962 – Co-founder and frontman of the rock band EverclearArthur “Art” Alexakis was born in Los Angeles, California.

1964 – Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Amy Ray was born in Decatur, Georgia. Best known as one half of the folk rock duo Indigo Girls.

1967 – British singer-songwriter Sarah Cracknell was born in Chelmsford, England. Best known as the lead vocalist of the electronic music band Saint Etienne,

1970 – American singer-songwriter, rapper, and multi-instrumentalist Nicholas “Nick” Hexum was born in Madison, Wisconsin. Best known as the co-founder and frontman of the alternative rock band 311.

1978 – Bassist and founding member of the pop rock band ColdplayGuy Berryman was born in Kirkcaldy, Scotland.

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