On This Day, May 11 In Music History


On this day May 11 in 1959 – With the instrumental composition ‘The Happy Organ’Dave “Baby” Cortez went to number one on the US Billboard Hot 100.

1963 – The Beatles hit number one in the United Kingdom with their debut studio album ‘Please Please Me’ for the first of incredible thirty consecutive weeks which is the longest run for a non-soundtrack album. But that was not all because on December 7 they extended their stay at the top for a further 21 weeks with their second studio album ‘With the Beatles’, making it a total of 51 weeks at No.1.

1967 – The Bee Gees made their debut appearance on UK television on this day May 11 in music history when they performed ‘New York Mining Disaster, 1941’ on the music chart TV show ‘Top of the Pops (TOTP)’.

1970 Atlantic Records released a live album of selected performances from the 1969 Woodstock festival. The LP became a chart-topper in the US and Canada and was certified 2x Platinum in 1993.

1972 – John Lennon appeared on the Dick Cavett Show on this day May 11 where he premiered the controversial song ‘Woman Is The Ni***r of the World’ and also claimed that the FBI tapped his phone and was monitoring him. That statement turned out to be true.

20 Inspiring John Lennon Quotes

1973 – Stevie Wonder recorded ‘Higher Ground’ which was released as a single in July. Its a funk song that featured on his 1973 album Innervisions’ and it topped the US Hot R&B singles chart while on the Billboard Hot 100 it peaked at No.4.

1979 – American bluegrass guitarist, mandolinist, and vocalist Lester Flatt died on this day May 11 at the age of 64 from heart failure. Best remembered as one half of the duo Flatt and Scruggs.

1981 – Jamaican singer-songwriter, instrumentalist and pioneer of reggae music – Bob Marley died at the age of 36 after a long battle with cancer. He is one of the best-selling artists of all time with more than 75 million records sold worldwide.

1985 – Paul Hardcastle hit No.1 in the UK with the anti-Vietnam war song ’19’ for the first of five consecutive weeks on this day May 11 in music history.

1985 – With ‘Crazy For You’, Madonna scored her second number one single of the year in the US. She previously topped the Billboard Hot 100 with ‘Like a Virgin’ for four weeks in January.

1989 – Roy Orbison was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame by Eric Clapton at the induction ceremony held at the Radio City Music Hall in New York on this day May 11.

1991 – Swedish pop rock duo Roxette scored their fourth number one single on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart with ‘Joyride’. The song was a big international hit that year and became a chart-topper in thirteen other countries.

1995 – A tribute concert to Stevie Ray Vaughan was held in Austin, Texas on this day May 11. BB King, Dr. John, Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, Art Neville, Bonnie Raitt, and his brother Jimmie Vaughan performed at the event.

1996 – With their second studio album Fairweather Johnson’, rock band Hootie & the Blowfish went to number one in the US.

1997 – American trombonist, pianist, bandleader and arranger Ernie Fields died on this day May 11 in music history at the age of 92.

2002 – Indie rock band Doves scored their first chart-topper on the UK Albums chart with their second studio release ‘The Last Broadcast’.

2002 – Australian model and singer Holly Valance topped the UK Singles chart with her rendition of the Turkish song ‘Kiss Kiss’ (‘Şımarık’) on this day May 11.

2002 – With his sixth studio album ‘No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems’, country music singer Kenny Chesney topped the US Billboard 200 for the first time.

Kenny Chesney – The Good Stuff

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2003 – English bass guitarist and singer Noel Redding died on this day May 11, aged 57. Best remembered for his work with the bands The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Fat Mattress.

2008 – Founding member and drummer for the progressive rock band RushJohn H. Rutsey died on this day at the age of 55.

2013 – The number one album in the UK on this day May 11 in music history was the debut studio release ‘Home’ by the drum and bass band Rudimental.

2013 – Canadian singer Michael Bublé reached number one in the United States with his eighth studio album ‘To Be Loved’.

2014 – American bass guitarist Ed Gagliardi died on this day May 11, aged 62 after a long battle with cancer. Best remembered as a founding member of the rock band Foreigner

2017 – DJ Khaled ft. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper and Lil Wayne topped the UK Singles chart with ‘I’m the One’.

2019 – With her eighth studio album ‘Hurts 2B Human’, singer and songwriter Pink scored her third chart-topper on the US Billboard 200 on this day May 11.


1888 – Composer and lyricist Irving Berlin was born Israel Beilin in Tyumen, Russian Empire on this day May 11 in music history. He is considered one of the greatest songwriters in American history. Some of his songs include ‘God Bless America’, ‘Happy Holiday’, ‘White Christmas’, ‘Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better)’, ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’, etc.

1935 – Producer, manager and record label owner Christopher “Kit” Lambert was born in Knightsbridge, England. Best known as the manager of the rock band The Who and for co-founding the Track Record label.

1936 – Influential free jazz pianist, composer and bandleader Lovella May Borg also known as Carla Bley was born on this day May 11 in Oakland, California.

1941 – Singer-songwriter and actor Eric Burdon was born in Newcastle, England. He came to prominence as the lead singer of the rock group The Animals and the funk band War.

1943 – Bass guitarist Leslie “Les” Chadwick was born on this day May 11 in Liverpool, England. Best known as a founding member of Gerry and the Pacemakers.

1947 – Founding member and drummer of The Allman Brothers BandClaude Hudson ‘Butch’ Trucks was born on this day in Jacksonville, Florida.

1955 – Electronic musician and record producer Jonathan ‘J.J.’ Jeczalik was born in Banbury, England on this day May 11 in music history. Best known as the co-founder of the electronic music band The Art of Noise.

1966 – German drummer Christoph “Doom” Schneider was born in Berlin, Germany. Best known as a founding member of the metal band Rammstein.

1966 – British jazz pianist, arranger, bandleader, and composer Julian Joseph was born in London, England on this day May 11.

1976 – American musician, entrepreneur, and record producer Alexander Perls was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Best known for his music projects 009 Sound System and Aalborg Soundtracks.

1983 – Australian singer, actress and model Holly Rachel also known as Holly Valance was born in Fitzroy, Victoria. Best known for her 2002 hit ‘Kiss Kiss’ that topped the UK and Australian singles chart.

1986 – Bass guitarist, singer, and co-founder of the indie rock band The ViewKieren Webster was born in Dundee, Scotland on day May 11 in music history.

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