On This Day, March 20 In Music History


On this day March 20 in 1959 – With their rendition of the 1933 song ‘Smoke Gets in Your Eyes’, vocal group The Platters topped the UK Singles chart. The song also reached No.1 in Australia, the US, Canada, South Africa, and Italy.

1961 Elvis Presley scored his second No.1 single of the year in the US with ‘Surrender’. He previously topped the Billboard Hot 100 on January 2 with ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight?’.

1965 – The soundtrack album Goldfinger to the James Bond film of the same name started a three-week run at No.1 on the US Billboard 200 on this day March 20 in music history.

1968 – With ‘The Legend of Xanadu’Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich went to number one on the UK Singles chart.

1971 – Five months after her untimely death, Janis Joplin reached the top spot on the US Billboard Hot 100 with her rendition of ‘Me and Bobby McGee’.

1971 – With ‘Hot Love’, glam rock band T. Rex hit number one on the UK Singles chart for the first of six consecutive weeks.

1976 – British rock band Status Quo started a three-week stint at No.1 in the UK with their ninth studio album ‘Blue for You’.

1977 – The London Palladium theater banned Lou Reed from performing at their venue because of his punk and rebellious image.

1982 – With ‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll’Joan Jett and The Blackhearts hit number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 for the first of seven consecutive weeks.

1982 – New wave band The Jam reached the top spot on the UK Albums chart with their sixth and final studio LP ‘The Gift’.

1988 – Canadian-American jazz pianist, bandleader, composer, and arranger Gil Evans died on this day March 20 in music history, aged 75. Bees remembered for his collaboration with Miles Davis.

1991 – Michael Jackson signed the biggest contract in music history with Sony Music Entertainment worth more than one billion dollars.

1993 – With his rendition of ‘Oh Carolina’, Jamaican reggae musician Shaggy topped the UK Singles chart.

1999 – Welsh alternative rock band Stereophonics scored their first number one album in the UK with ‘Performance and Cocktails’.

2000 – American composer Vivian Fine died on this day March 20 at the age of 86 after suffering fatal injuries in an automobile accident.

2004 – With ‘Cha Cha Slide’, American DJ and songwriter Willie Perry also known as  Dj Casper reached No.1 on the UK Singles chart.

Dj Casper – Cha Cha Slide

YouTube player

2008 – Rock band the Eagles kicked off their 161 dates world tour ‘Long Road Out of Eden’ with a show at the O2 Arena in London. The tour concluded on November 19, 2011 with a show at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

2009 – American blues guitarist and singer Mel Brown died on this day March 20 at the age of 69. Best remembered for his work with Bobby Bland and for releasing a dozen solo albums.

2010 – The number one single in the United States on this day was ‘Break Your Heart’ by Taio Cruz ft. Ludacris.

2010 – With ‘Brother’, Irish boy band Boyzone scored their fourth consecutive number one album in the United Kingdom.

2015 – American drummer and percussionist Anthony Jude “A.J.” Pero died at the age of 55 from a heart attack. Best remembered for his work with heavy metal bands Twisted Sister and Adrenaline Mob.

2021 – Canadian rapper Drake broke his own record when ‘What’s Next’ became his fourth single to debut at No.1 on the US Billboard Hot 100. No other male artist has achieved such a feat.


1917 – English traditional pop music singer Vera Lynn was born in East Ham, London. In 2017 she became the oldest musician to have an album charting in the United Kingdom when her greatest hits compilation ‘Vera Lynn 100’ reached No.3

1918 – British jazz pianist, composer, writer and radio host Margaret Marian McPartland was born on this day in Slough, England.

1922 – Jazz saxophonist and bandleader Lawrence Joseph Elgart was born in New London, Connecticut.

1935 – American drummer and vocalist Samuel “Sam” Lay was born in Birmingham, Alabama. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.

1936 – Jamaican record producer, composer, and singer Lee “Scratch” Perry was born Rainford Hugh Perry in Kendall, Jamaica.

1937 – Country music singer-songwriter, guitar player, composer and actor Jerry Reed was born in Atlanta, Georgia.

1940 – American musician Glenn Schwartz was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Best known as the original guitarist of the rock band the James Gang.

1941 – American actor and singer Roger Lawrence Strunk also known professionally as Rod Lauren was born in Fresno, California.

1950 – British drummer Carl Palmer was born in Birmingham, England. Best known as the co-founder of the progressive rock supergroups Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Asia.

1951 – Blues rock guitarist and singer Jimmie Vaughan was born in Dallas, Texas. He is the older brother of Stevie Ray Vaughan.

1955 – Singer-songwriter and record producer Mariya Takeuchi was born in Izumo-shi, Japan. She is one of the best-selling Japanese artists with over 16 million records sold worldwide.

1959 – British guitarist, songwriter and one half of the pop music duo Go West, Richard Drummie was born on this day March 20 in London, England.

1972 – Scottish singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Alex Kapranos was born in Almondsbury, England. Best known as the frontman of the rock band Franz Ferdinand.

1976 – American singer and songwriter Chester Bennington was born in Phoenix, Arizona. He came to  prominence as the frontman of Linkin Park.

1982 – American multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer Nickolas “Nick” Wheeler was born in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Best known as the co-founder of the rock band The All-American Rejects.

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