August 13 in music history

On this day, August 13 in Music History


On this day, August 13 in 1924 – Vernon Dalhart recorded ‘The Prisoner’s Song’. A tune that became one of the best selling records of the 1920s with over 1.3 million official sales. But by some estimates the number might have been closer to 7 million.

1952 – Willie Mae Thornton also known as Big Mama Thornton recorded the first and original version of ‘Hound Dog’. The record became a massive hit with her topping the charts for 7 weeks straight and selling half a million copies. However, the song is best best known for Elvis Presley‘s version from 1956.

1959 – Hall of Fame singer Brenda Lee recorded ‘Sweet Nothin’s’. A song that became her first big hit and reached No.4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It charted in the UK as well where it also peaked on the number 4 position.

1963 – Elvis Presley‘s fifth soundtrack album ‘Girls Girls Girls’ became a certified Gold record by the RIAA.

1964 – With their cover version of ‘Do Wah Diddy Diddy’Manfred Mann topped the UK singles chart. Also a big hit in the US, Sweden and Canada where it topped the singles chart as well.

1965 – At the Matrix Club in their hometown of San Francisco, Jefferson Airplane made their debut live performance.

1965 – At the height of their popularity, The Beatles released their fifth studio album called ‘Help!’ in the US. The record however was firstly released in the UK a week before on 6th of August.

20 Inspiring John Lennon Quotes

1966 – With ‘Summer in the City’Lovin Spoonful began a three week run at the top spot on the US singles chart. Also a Top 5 hit in many western sphere countries, especially Canada where it topped the singles chart as well.

1969 – Canadian rock band The Guess Who recorded one of their biggest hits ‘American Woman’. A song that topped both the Canadian and US singles charts.

The Guess Who – American Woman

1971 – Saxophonist Curtis Ousley also known as King Curtis by his stage name, was stabbed to death in front of his home in Manhattan after a brawl with drug dealers who didn’t want to move out of his building’s steps. He worked with John Lennon on his solo album ‘Imagine’ and played the solo on Aretha Franklin‘s hit single ‘Respect’.

1973 – American rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd introduced themselves to the world with the release of their debut album called Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd’. The record contains some of their most popular songs such as ‘Free Bird’, ‘ Simple Man’ and ‘Gimme Three Steps’.

1977 – Progressive rock band Yes topped the UK album chart with their eight studio album ‘Going for the One’. The record became a certified Gold record by the RIAA within a month after its release. It also climbed to Top 10 on the US album chart.

1982 – American singer and musician Joe Tex died on this day, August 13 aged 49 due to a heart attack. Best known for his hit songs ‘I Gotcha’, ‘Skinny Legs and All’ and ‘Hold What You’ve Got’.

1983 – Disco group KC and the Sunshine Band scored their first chart topping single in the UK with ‘Give It Up’. The song had moderate success in the US where it peaked at No.18, but it became Top 3 hit in Ireland, Belgium and Australia.

1988 – Def Leppard returned to number one on the US Billboard 200 chart with their fourth studio album ‘Hysteria’ on this day August 13 in music history.

1990 – Tragic event happened during an outdoor concert in Brooklyn when a stage lighting construction fell on Curtis Mayfield while performing. The incident left him paralyzed from the neck down.

1994 – Second day of Woodstock ’94 festival kicks off and welcomes Joe Cocker, Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, The Cranberries, Aerosmith and Cypress Hill on the stage.

2003 – American singer, songwriter and producer Ed Townsend died on this day August 13 due to a heart attack, aged 74.

2009 – Guitarist, songwriter and most importantly inventor Lester William Polsfuss also known as Les Paul passed away at the age of 94. With his skills and knowledge, Les helped the Gibson Guitar Corporation to develop one of the very first solid-body electric guitars.

2014 – With their debut single ‘Rude’Magic! topped the US singles chart. The song also became a massive hit worldwide and made it to Top 10 in dozens of countries.


1919 – British jazz pianist George Shearing was born on this day, August 13 in music history. Best known for his jazz compositions ‘Lullaby of Birdland’ and ‘Conception’.

1921 – American pianist, songwriter and vocalist Jimmy McCracklin was born on this day, August 13 in Elaine, Arkansas.

1938 – American Pop and R&B multi-instrumentalist David Cortez Clowney was born in Detroit, Michigan. Also known as Dave ‘Baby’ Cortez by his stage name.

1951 – Multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and composer Dan Fogelberg was born on this day, August 13 in music history.

1952 – Founding member, guitarist and singer for the OutlawsHughie Thomasson was born on this day in Buchannon, Virginia. He also played for Lynyrd Skynyrd as a replacement guitarist.

1958 – Northern Irish singer Seán Feargal Sharkey was born on this day, August 13 in music history. Best known for his work as frontman of punk band The Undertones.

1959 – Another member of punk band The Undertones, Michael Bradley was born on this day in music history.

1984 – English singer-songwriter and guitarist James Morrison was born in Rugby, Warwickshire. Best known for his debut album ‘Undiscovered’ which topped the UK albums chart.

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