May 18 in music history

On this day, May 18 In Music History


On this day May 18 in 1959 – With his rendition of the Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller song ‘Kansas City’Wilbert Harrison topped the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. Interestingly, over three hundred music acts have covered the song including James Brown and The Beatles, but Wilbert‘s version is the most successful one.

1963 – With ‘If You Wanna Be Happy’Jimmy Soul went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the first of two weeks straight.

1963 – Lesley Gore‘s song ‘Its My Party’ entered the Top 40 on the Billboard chart. The single later topped the chart as well. It also became a number one hit in Australia and New Zealand while in the UK it peaked at #9.

1963 – The Beatles kicked off their first tour as the headline act on this day May 18 in music history. They started with a show in Slough, England.

1964 – The Animals recorded their version of the traditional folk song ‘House of the Rising Sun’ on this day, May 18. Few months after its release, the record went to number on the US, UK and French singles charts. Some call it “the first folk rock hit”.

1968 – With ‘Tighten Up’, vocal group Archie Bell & the Drells topped both the US Billboard Pop and R&B singles charts. It’s one of the first funk hits in music history.

1974 – Country and pop singer-songwriter Ray Stevens started a three-week stint at No.1 in the US with the novelty song ‘The Streak’. Also a chart-topper in the UK, Canada, and New Zealand that year.

1975 – “The First Lady of Country Music” – Tammy Wynette topped the UK, Irish and Dutch singles charts with ‘Stand By Your Man’. The song previously topped the US and Canadian single charts as well.

Tammy Wynette – Stand By Your Man

1980 – Drummer and founding member of KissPeter Criss left the band after 7 years of recording and touring. However, he made a comeback in 1996 and in 2014 was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the band.

1980 – Lead singer and founding member of Joy DivisionIan Curtis committed suicide on this day May 18 in music history, aged 23. The young musician struggled with depression and epilepsy throughout his life.

1981 – A two decades long partnership came to an end when Diana Ross left Motown Records and signed a $20 million contract with RCA Records.

1985 – Scottish rock band Simple Minds scored their first and only No.1 single in the United States with ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ on this day May 18.The song featured in the teen comedy-drama film ‘The Breakfast Club’.

1991 – Alternative rock band R.E.M. went to number one in the US with their seventh studio album ‘Out of Time’ on this day May 18 in music history. The album features one of the band’s most famous songs – ‘Losing My Religion’.

1991 – British girl group Bananarama released their fifth studio album ‘Pop Life’ through London Records. The band’s first LP without Siobhan Fahey in the lineup and also their last one as a trio.

1991 – The number one single in the United States on this day May 18 was ‘I Like the Way (The Kissing Game)’ by the R&B quintet Hi-Five.

1996 – Hip hop group Bone Thungs-n-Harmony hit No.1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 with ‘Tha Crossroads’ for the first of eight consecutive weeks.

1999 – Jamaican roots reggae and dub record producer Augustus Pablo died on this day May 18, aged 44.

2004 – English musician Albert Eccles also known professionally as Clint Warwick died at the age of 63 from a liver disease. Best remembered as a founding member and bassist of ‘The Moody Blues’

2004 – Rock musician Lenny Kravitz released his seventh studio album ‘Baptism’ on this day May 18 in music history.

2013 – Hip hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring singer Ray Dalton started a five-week stint at No.1 in the US with ‘Can’t Hold Us’. This was the duo’s second chart-topper of the year. They previously topped the Hot 100 with ‘Thrift Shop’.

2014 – American singer and actor Genaro Vitaliano also known as Jerry Vale died on this day May 18 at the age of 83.

2017 – Lead singer and founding member of Soundgarden and AudioslaveChris Cornell committed suicide at the age of 52.

15 Chris Cornell Facts You May Have Not Known


1911 – American blues singer and songwriter Big Joe Turner was born on this day May 18 in Kansas City, Missouri. His illustrious career spanning over six decades earned him an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.

1912 – American singer, actor and television personality Pierino Perry” Como was born on this day May 18 in music history. Best remembered for his 1957 chart-topping single ‘Round and Round’.

1944 – Gibraltarian singer, songwriter, and record producer Albert Hammond was born on this day in London, England.

1949 – Canadian musician William ‘Bill’ Wallace was born on this day May 18 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Best known for playing bass guitar with The Guess Who during their peak years.

1949 – English keyboardist, songwriter and record producer Richard ‘Rick’ Wakeman was born in Perivale, London. Best known for his work with progressive rock band Yes.

1950 – Founding member and singer of the rock band DevoMark Mothersbaugh was born on this day in Akron, Ohio.

1952 – The “King of Country” music – George Strait was born on this day May 18 in Poteet, Texas. He is one of the most successful music artists of all time having sold over 100 million records worldwide and scoring 53 No.1 hits on the singles charts.

1954 – Rock/new wave musician Eric Goulden also known as Wreckless Eric was born on this day May 18 in music history.

1957 – Romanian singer-songwriter and record producer Michael Cretu was born in Bucharest. Best known as the founder of the musical project Enigma.

1969 – American singer-songwriter and actress Marta Marrero also known professionally as Martika was born in Whittier, California.

1975 – American musician, filmmaker and former professional surfer Jack Johnson was born on this day May 18 in music history.

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