On This Day, January 1 In Music History


On this day January 1 in 1953 – Singer-songwriter and guitarist Hank Williams died at the age of 29 from heart failure. Best remembered for scoring twelve country No.1 singles, including ‘Hey, Good Lokin”, ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart’, and ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’.

1962 – Decca Records held an audition for The Beatles and The Tremeloes. The label wasn’t impressed with The Beatles and decided to sign The Tremeloes which turned out to be a costly mistake.

1966 – Simon & Garfunkel went to number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart with ‘The Sound of Silence’ on this day January 1 in music history. The song was an international hit and t also reached No.1 in Japan and South Africa that year.

1969 – With their rendition of The Beatles song ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’, pop rock band Marmalade topped the UK Singles chart. Their version also reached No.1 in Austria and Norway while in Switzerland it peaked at No.2.

1972 – Singer-songwriter Carole King hit number one in the US on this day January 1 with her third studio album ‘Music’ for the first of three consecutive weeks.

1984 – English blues singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alexis Korner nicknamed “the founding father of British Blues” died of lung cancer at the age of 55.

1989Sub Pop Records signed Nirvana to a a one-year recording contract on this day January 1. The label previously signed Soundgarden and Mudhoney and played a vital role in popularizing the grunge genre.

1991 – Influential American songwriter, record producer, and arranger Samuel “Buck” Ram died at the age of 83.

1994 – With her greatest hits compilation ‘One Woman: The Ultimate Collection’Diana Ross went to number one on the UK Albums chart on this day January 1.

1995 – American blues singer-songwriter and guitarist Ted Hawkins died on this day at the age of 58 from a stroke.

1997 – Singer-songwriter and guitarist Townes Van Zandt died on this day January 1 at the age of 52. Best remembered for songs such as ‘To Live Is to Fly’, ‘Pancho and Lefty’, ‘If I Needed You’, and ‘For the Sake of the Song’.

2000 – Celine Dion topped the US Albums chart on this day January 1 in music history with her first English-language greatest hits compilation ‘All the Way…A Decade of Song’.

2004 – With ‘Let Me Love You’, R&B singer Mario hit number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart for the first of nine consecutive weeks. The song also became a chart-topper in Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and New Zealand, while in the UK it peaked at No.2.

2005 – With the fifth posthumously released studio album ‘Loyal to the Game’, rapper 2Pac went to number one in the US on this day January 1.

2Pac – Ghetto Gospel

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2007 – American country music singer-songwriter and guitar player Delano “Del” Reeves died at the age of 73. Best remembered for the songs ‘Girl on the Billboard’ and the trucker’s anthem ‘Looking at the World Through a Windshield’.

2011 – Taylor Swift hit number one on the US Billboard 200 with her third studio album ‘Speak Now’ for the first of four consecutive weeks on this day January 1 in music history.

2013 – American singer and actress Clara Ann Fowler better known professionally as Patti Page died at the age of 85. Best remembered as the best-selling female artists of the 1950s and for hits such as ‘With My Eyes Wide Open, I’m Dreaming’, ‘Tennessee Waltz’, and ‘I Went to Your Wedding’ among many others.

2019 – Singer-songwriter, instrumentalist, and educator Margaret Mary “Pegi” Young died on this day January 1 at the age of 66.

2020 – Multi-instrumentalist Martin “Marty” Grebb died at the age of 74. Best remembered for his work with the sunshine pop band The Buckinghams.


1884 – American jazz trumpeter and bandleader Oscar Phillip Celestin also known professionally as Papa Celestin was born in Napoleonville, Louisiana on this day January 1 in music history.

1923 – American jazz vibraphonist, pianist, composer, and bandleader Milton “Bags” Jackson was born in Detroit, Michigan.

1942 – Singer and guitar player Joseph Allen McDonald nicknamed “Country Joe” was born on this day January 1 in Washington, D.C. Best known as the frontman of the rock group Country Joe and the Fish.

1946 – American jazz singer Susannah McCorkle was born on this day January 1 in Berkeley, California.

1950 – American singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer, and engineer Steven Ripley was born in Boise, Idaho. He rose to fame as the co-founder and leader of the country rock band The Tractors.

1950 – English keyboardist and composer Morgan Fisher was born on this day January 1 in Middlesex, London. Best known as a member of the band Mott the Hoople.

1951 – American double bassist and Latin Jazz pioneer of Puerto Rican descent Andy Gonzalez was born in New York City.

1958 – American hip hop pioneer Joseph Saddler better known by his stage name Grandmaster Flash was born in The Bronx, New York on this day January 1 in music history.

1966 – British singer-songwriter and guitarist Melia Fletcher was born in London, England. Best known for fronting bands such as Heavenly, Talulah Gosh, Tender Trap, and Marine Research.

1967 – British DJ, producer, and record label owner John Digweed was born on this day January 1 in Hastings, England.

1971 – American jazz multi-instrumentalist and composer Chris Potter was born on this day in Chicago, Illinois.

1972 – Belgian singer, songwriter, guitarist and film director Thomas “Tom” Barman was born on this day January 1 in Antwerp, Flanders. He came to prominence as a member of the rock band dEUS.

1979 – Australian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Brody Dalle was born Bree Joanna Alice Robinson in Melbourne, Australia. Best known for co-founding and fronting the punk rock band The Distillers.

1986 – South Korean singer and songwriter Lee Sung-min also known by his stage names Sungmin and LIU was born in Goyang on this day January 1 in music history. He rose to fame as a member of the boy band Super Junior.

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